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Thread: Jackson Musings

  1. #1
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    Default Jackson Musings

    Since I seem to be leaning more toward another Jackson than a Fender, I thought I should start a new thread. There are two guitars that I'm looking at, the SL4X and the SDX/SDXQ. Here's some eye candy:
    SL4X in snow white


    SDX


    SDXQ


    All two/three are made in Indonesia. They have a Floyd Rose Special bridge which is the same as an original Floyd Rose except it has zinc saddles and block instead of steel and brass, respectively. The bridge is recessed on the SL4X and non-recessed on the SDX/SDXQ.

    The SL4X is the one I've talked about before. It is a Soloist which means that, like a Dinky, the body is 7/8 the size of a Strat. The body is Poplar and the fingerboard is Laurel. The pickups are Duncan Designed hot rails. It is neck through with a painted neck and the traditional Jackson headstock.

    The SDX/SDXQ is the import version of Adrian Smith's signature guitar (up the irons!). It has the "San Dimas" body shape which means traditional Strat sized. The HSS pickups are Jackson's own. The body is basswood with a flame maple top on the SDXQ. It is a bolt-on with a Fender-style headstock.

    The SDX is cheapest at $499. The SDXQ is next at $549. The SL4X is $599. All reasonably affordable. I tried an Indonesian Jackson in this price range and was very impressed by the construction, fit, and finish--moreso than the Mexican Fenders if I'm being honest.

    I'm leaning toward the SL4X for a couple of different reasons: 1) The SSS configuration would be way different than my DK2M's HH configuration, 2) it would fit in the Jackson hardshell case I have whereas the SDX/SDXQ would not, 3) it's a cool throwback to the old Charvel Spectrums that Jeff Beck, et al, played back in the day. The main disadvantage would be the painted neck which I think I could work around.

    The SDX/SDXQ are cool because of the Iron Maiden connection while still looking relatively conservative. I probably would prefer the neck on it. The HUGE strike against it is that the truss rod adjustment is at the heel of the neck so you have to take the neck off to adjust it. Now, my DK2M's neck is rock solid. I don't think I've adjusted the truss rod since I originally set it up. If I could be guaranteed that the SDX/SDXQ would be the same, I could deal with it. If it weren't for that, I would definitely be leaning that way.

    I listened to a number of clips of the pickups. All of them sound good. You will not get any traditional single coil sounds out of the SL4X's hot rail humbuckers. I'd probably have to swap out the middle and neck eventually for that purpose. The SDX/SDXQ's pickups I could probably wouldn't have to do anything with from what I've heard--at least not immediately.
    Axen: Jackson DK2M, Fender Deluxe Nashville Telecaster, ESP LTD Surveyor-414
    Amphen: Jet City JCA22H and JCA12S cab, Acoustic B20
    Effecten: "Thesis 96" Overdrive/Boost (aka DVM OD2), Hardwire DL-8 Digital Delay/Looper, DigiTech Polara Reverb, DigiTech EX-7 Expression Factory and CF-7 Chorus Factory, Danelectro CF-1 Cool Cat Fuzz
    "I don't need no instructions to know how to rock!"--Carl Brutananadilewski

  2. #2
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    Yikes! You have to take the NECK off to adjust it!?!? Or do you mean the pickguard? How can you adjust the neck without strings and some string tension on it? That certainly would be a huge drawback!

    The SDX certainly LOOKS like a strat; I'd never seen a Jackson with the strat headstock... it LOOKS like a strat, and HANGS like a strat, but does it QUACK like a strat? Interesting string tree on those - like some of the old Japanese guitars of the '60's. The one volume/one tone control makes me wonder why the strat didn't move to that over time...
    "GAS never sleeps" - Gil Janus

    "Now you got to pay your dues. Get that axe and play the blues." - Spudman

    Gear: Epiphone Sheraton II, Epiphone Wildkat, Epiphone Emperor Joe Pass, Fender MIM Strat, Tacoma DR-14, Recording King ROS-626, Johnson JR-200 resonator; Fender Super Champ XD amp

  3. #3
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    Yep, the neck must come off. It doesn't make adjusting the truss rod impossible, but it increases the degree of difficulty tremendously. I have no idea why they did that. Some people claim there are tone benefits because of course they do. My bass has a truss rod adjuster at the heel of the neck, but it's got a wheel thingy on it so you can adjust it with the neck on.

    I listened to some clips of those SDX/SDXQ pups. They may not quack just like a Strat but the quack positions were surprisingly good to my ears.
    Axen: Jackson DK2M, Fender Deluxe Nashville Telecaster, ESP LTD Surveyor-414
    Amphen: Jet City JCA22H and JCA12S cab, Acoustic B20
    Effecten: "Thesis 96" Overdrive/Boost (aka DVM OD2), Hardwire DL-8 Digital Delay/Looper, DigiTech Polara Reverb, DigiTech EX-7 Expression Factory and CF-7 Chorus Factory, Danelectro CF-1 Cool Cat Fuzz
    "I don't need no instructions to know how to rock!"--Carl Brutananadilewski

  4. #4
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    I asked on the Jackson/Charvel forum if you could adjust the truss rod by just removing the pickguard. Some Fenders have a notch by the neck pickup route for that purpose. Apparently there isn't one--unless you make one. Pity because otherwise it's a cool guitar.
    Axen: Jackson DK2M, Fender Deluxe Nashville Telecaster, ESP LTD Surveyor-414
    Amphen: Jet City JCA22H and JCA12S cab, Acoustic B20
    Effecten: "Thesis 96" Overdrive/Boost (aka DVM OD2), Hardwire DL-8 Digital Delay/Looper, DigiTech Polara Reverb, DigiTech EX-7 Expression Factory and CF-7 Chorus Factory, Danelectro CF-1 Cool Cat Fuzz
    "I don't need no instructions to know how to rock!"--Carl Brutananadilewski

  5. #5
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    Wow, that's an odd oversight... given that the early Fenders with the adjustment at the heel had the necessary accommodation.
    "GAS never sleeps" - Gil Janus

    "Now you got to pay your dues. Get that axe and play the blues." - Spudman

    Gear: Epiphone Sheraton II, Epiphone Wildkat, Epiphone Emperor Joe Pass, Fender MIM Strat, Tacoma DR-14, Recording King ROS-626, Johnson JR-200 resonator; Fender Super Champ XD amp

  6. #6
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    Just saw on Musician's Friend that they are blowing out a couple of ESP LTDs. I assume because they are old models that will not be in the new lineup.

    One is the SN-1000FR/FM with a Floyd and EMG 81-SA-SA pickup set.

    The other is SN-1000W with a Wilkinson, locking tuners, and a Duncan Custom 5 and two SSL-1s. Not sure why they went with vintage stagger pickups on a guitar with an almost 14" radius.

    Obviously the former would be more modern and metal (although Gilmour uses the EMG SAs), and the latter would be more traditional. The only issue is that I've never played an EMG neck, although they sound like what I'd like: thin, big frets, bigger radius. Decisions, decisions! I do also the fact that the EMG pups would be noiseless. Even though the 81 is considered one of THE metal pickups, I think it sound surprisingly good clean.

    The price of both of these would be slightly more than the Jackson SL4X, but I definitely wouldn't have to do anything with pickups. The only downside would be that I couldn't use my Jackson case for it.
    Axen: Jackson DK2M, Fender Deluxe Nashville Telecaster, ESP LTD Surveyor-414
    Amphen: Jet City JCA22H and JCA12S cab, Acoustic B20
    Effecten: "Thesis 96" Overdrive/Boost (aka DVM OD2), Hardwire DL-8 Digital Delay/Looper, DigiTech Polara Reverb, DigiTech EX-7 Expression Factory and CF-7 Chorus Factory, Danelectro CF-1 Cool Cat Fuzz
    "I don't need no instructions to know how to rock!"--Carl Brutananadilewski

  7. #7
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    I hate when that happens - just when you've made a 99% sure decision, they put something on sale that throws everything out the window...! The problem is that you don't have the time to really think about it so you jump - and then (sometimes) feel like "How did that happen - this isn't really what I wanted...?" Just a caveat from someone who's been there.
    "GAS never sleeps" - Gil Janus

    "Now you got to pay your dues. Get that axe and play the blues." - Spudman

    Gear: Epiphone Sheraton II, Epiphone Wildkat, Epiphone Emperor Joe Pass, Fender MIM Strat, Tacoma DR-14, Recording King ROS-626, Johnson JR-200 resonator; Fender Super Champ XD amp

  8. #8
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    then again....

    unfortunately, you only have the benefit of MY feedback here . Of course, it is sometimes just the opposite, as in, "Whoa, I almost pulled the trigger on that and just in the nick of time, I got the chance to scoop this MUCH COOLER/BETTER item!" Since it sounds like you weren't particularly excited by the pups on the other guitars, maybe this is the way to go.
    "GAS never sleeps" - Gil Janus

    "Now you got to pay your dues. Get that axe and play the blues." - Spudman

    Gear: Epiphone Sheraton II, Epiphone Wildkat, Epiphone Emperor Joe Pass, Fender MIM Strat, Tacoma DR-14, Recording King ROS-626, Johnson JR-200 resonator; Fender Super Champ XD amp

  9. #9
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    I hear you. The good thing is that MF has an excellent return policy.
    Axen: Jackson DK2M, Fender Deluxe Nashville Telecaster, ESP LTD Surveyor-414
    Amphen: Jet City JCA22H and JCA12S cab, Acoustic B20
    Effecten: "Thesis 96" Overdrive/Boost (aka DVM OD2), Hardwire DL-8 Digital Delay/Looper, DigiTech Polara Reverb, DigiTech EX-7 Expression Factory and CF-7 Chorus Factory, Danelectro CF-1 Cool Cat Fuzz
    "I don't need no instructions to know how to rock!"--Carl Brutananadilewski

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