Hi everyone, it’s Brian with World Music Supply here to bring you your usual dose of gear and guitar reviews, and do I have a treat in store for you all today! Today I am going to be talking about some of the new Jacksons that came out at NAMM this year, more specifically their new line of entry level seven and eight string guitars. Now they won’t be out on the market until the end of the month, but I got a chance to sit down, and quickly give these guys a once over just for you guys.
First up on the block today is easily the nicest, cleanest looking entry level seven string I have ever seen, the Jackson JS32-7 Dinky. Sure, it is an entry level guitar so the appointments aren’t stellar by any means. You have some nice high output Jackson made pickups an arched basswood body covered in a satin black finish, a comfy 26.5” scale length maple neck with a rosewood fingerboard with a consistent 16” radius. You also have 24 Jumbo frets and those cool Piranha fin inlays they debuted on the Slat series not too long ago. The stamped hard tail bridge is simplistic, but it would easily get the job done, nothing too complex.
Strung up with some lighter strings, the clean tone was tight and punchy, with lots of bright strat-y tones on the high strings and thick growl on the lows. The neck was surprisingly fast, my issue with seven strings is simply, I don’t own one, and I don’t really get to review enough of them to really get used to the girth of the neck. This guitar however, didn’t feel hugely different from a six string, sure there was that chunky low B down at the bottom, but my hand still fit the guitar perfectly well. The pickups were high enough output that even uncompressed there wasn’t a world of volume difference between all seven strings, and the dynamic range of the guitar was surprisingly wide as well. Clean tones rang out with plenty of snap and sustain, and of course the distorted tones were just brutal.
Sure it doesn’t do everything, and it doesn’t have a dozen different pick up combinations or special add-ons that make it into some dream machine of a guitar, but what it does have is a solid sound, and a comfortable feel. This guitar could easily be someone’s work horse, an affordable, no nonsense guitar, with enough muscle to get the job done in almost any situation in which you would need a seven string (which is getting to be more and more common nowadays) so for all of that, I would have to be crazy to award the JS32-7 anything less than a 10 out of 10.
Next up is the JS32-7 Q which is very similar to our last guitar, except for the fact that its basswood body is topped with a stunning quilted maple top, and the inclusion of the HT-7 fully adjustable bridge. Play wise, this did a bit for the playability, the bridge felt a little more comfortable, and the strat style 3 way switch was a nice change too, sure it might just be a tiny change, but I’m just sort of biased towards the strat/tele style switch. Sound wise, the guitar had more spank to it, with a brighter, glassier top end, and a little tighter sounding low end. But what this really does for the guitar is make it look a thousand times nicer, sure the simple matte black finish might do it for some people, but some of us guitarists getting into the extended range territory aren’t always going to be metal heads, so its nice to see a guitar that appeals to my aesthetic senses as well.
I liked this guitar, and the addition of the quilted top and beefier bridge were nice touches, but I cant say I found a world of difference between it and its more cost friendly sibling, so I am afraid I can only award the JS32-7 Q an 8 out of 10.
Last up for the day is the JS32-8 Q which is officially the first 8 string I have ever personally held. Until now, I have had admittedly had very little experience with this range of guitar, with the only one I have ever seen in person being Charlie Hunters fan fretted Novax, although I’m sure this guitar wasn’t meant for his style of music, this guitar was designed for forward thinking metal. As I’ve said before, I’m not the most metal of guitarists, and I’ve discussed before at how weird I felt on a seven string, so an 8 string felt as unfamiliar to me as a 6 string bass. So please take this review with a grain of salt.
The quilted trans red top was stunning, very rich, and very heavily quilted. The guitar balanced surprisingly well on a strap, and it wasn’t too heavy which impressed me. The pickups ultra high output pickups had a very deep, very dark sound when I played on the lower register, and simply sang on the high strings. The clean tone had a wonderfully wide range across the guitar, with dark short scale style bass tones on the one hand, and quasi strat tones on the other, a wonderful all in one style instrument. Playing thunderous rhythm parts was sort of simple after my hand got adjusted to the width of the guitar neck, which was pretty comfortable all things considered. The dark metal tone was apparent as soon as I kicked in some distortion, and dropping the tuning a step resulted in down right awesome sounding riffs. Its no wonder these things are popular all of a sudden.
Playing tapping riffs was probably the best part of my experience with the eight string, as I got to enjoy the extended range, without having to stretch my hand out so much. All in all, it was a fun experiment, and I could see how someone could get used to an instrument like this, all those extra notes, and the ability to play in the same range as a standard bass guitar was pretty fun, if a little intimidating. For the price this is going at, I was down right amazed at how good it looked, and at how great it sounded. There is just nothing else on the market right now that has this kind of bang for your buck attitude, and for that the JS32-8 Q earns itself a well deserved 10 out of 10.