World Music Supply | Jackson Slat Series

Hey guys, its Brian from World Music Supply here again to bring you your usual dose of guitar and gear reviews. In today’s blog I get the chance to look over, and review a few new guitars by our friends over at Jackson Guitars. The Model in question is their new SLAT series, which is a new model being released within their very affordable X series of guitars. SLAT stands for SoLoist Arch Top, as the guitar is overall based on the standard Soloist body, and architecture, however this guitar will not look, or sound like a typical soloist. The first and most obvious difference is the headstock, which rather than the typical triangle design, taken from the early Randy Rhoads designs, to a spear like design, with a 3X3 layout. The next most obvious difference is the smaller fretboard inlays that Jackson refers to as “Piranha” rather than their typical shark inlay.

The Jackson X Series SLATTXMG3-6 Electric Guitar in Matte Black

The Jackson X Series SLATTXMG3-6 Electric Guitar in Matte Black

There are a few different overall variants to the SLAT layout, with the main differences being, the addition of a 4A quilted maple top, the switch from a TonePros tune-o-matic string thru bridge, to a Floyd Rose Special Tremolo system, and the SLAT is also available as a seven string. For my review today, lets begin with the SLATTXMG3-6 which is a straight ahead rock machine, covered in a slick looking, Matte Black finish, and armed with the same equipment its whole family is armed with, and that is a super powered set of EMG 81 and 85 humbuckers.

Clean this guy is a joy to play, as the compound radius neck makes it super comfortable to play big open position chords, and as you move up the neck you slowly shift into the equally comfortable flattened out radius section of the neck, which while it is still comfortable to chord on, it is ideal for soloing or just noodling on. The sound of the EMG pickups was strangely not as dark as I usually find them this time around, whether that was the combonation of body woods, the fact that this guitar is a neck through style or what, but what ever it is let it be known that it sounds down right amazing. The tone was bold and snappy, but big enough that you could easily just strum chords all night and genuinely not sound bad.

The heart of this guitar however is its sound when you crank the amp and let this guitar open up. The tone is pure, and singing with sustain for days thanks to the neck through design, and the graphite reinforced three piece neck, which results in one of the most stable necks I have ever had the pleasure of playing. The fast neck profile is thin and quick to play on, but with enough girth to it that it never got uncomfortable. The tone was tight, and heavy as possible, with lots of note definition, and clarity. Drop tuned chords spoke with a dark and booming grunt, solos sang with a brilliant almost vocal quality, and you could even get away with playing full open position chords without the sound getting overly muddy or dark if you had the gain dropped a little bit.

The Jackson X Series SLATTXMGQ3-6 Electric Guitar in Trans Red

The Jackson X Series SLATTXMGQ3-6 Electric Guitar in Trans Red

This model is also available with a 4A quilt maple top in the SLATTXMGQ3-6, and while they look visually quite different, tonally they have a very similar flavor. The only real tonal difference is a slightly brighter attack in the Quilt maple version.

The  Jackson X Series SLATXMG3-6 Electric Guitar in Gloss Black

The Jackson X Series SLATXMG3-6 Electric Guitar in Gloss Black

However, there is a much different version of this guitar, with the Floyd Rose equipped version, which is available in gloss black as the SLATXMG3-6, and with a sunburst finished Quilt maple top in the SLATXMGQ3-6. The inclusion of a Floyd totally changes the voice of this guitar, giving it a lot more mid range punch and growl, not to mention allowing you to do monstrous dive bombs and up bends. The clean tone is still there, with all of the clarity and bright biting tone that the string thru version possessed.   

Dirty however, and this guitar possesses quite a different voice than its brother, with that extra mid range growl this guitar suddenly becomes a screamer. The power of a Floyd rose always takes the typical guitar, and gives it super powers, suddenly you can bend notes up a fourth, a fifth, well as high as you want if you don’t mind breaking strings. Power chords now bark out, single notes scream off the fretboard, and yet, the smoothness never leaves this instrument, this guitar is powerful.

The Jackson X Series SLATXMGQ3-6 Electric Guitar in Sunburst

The Jackson X Series SLATXMGQ3-6 Electric Guitar in Sunburst

The quilt top version of this guitar, renamed the SLATTXMGQ3-6 has slightly different voice than its gloss black brother, with the mid range heavy voice, now shifting into a more upper mid range area, and the bottom end of the guitar now possessing a slightly darker character. I still liked this version mind you, as it sounded glassier, and a little more refined. But lets not forget the beast that lays at the end of this review, the SLATTXMG3-7 7 String.

The Jackson X Series SLATTXMG3-7 7 String Electric Guitar in Gloss Black

The Jackson X Series SLATTXMG3-7 7 String Electric Guitar in Gloss Black

Now I want this to be mentioned before I start, I don’t play a ton of 7 string, anytime I’ve ever needed to go that low, I just use a baritone guitar. So to me, these two ranges have always existed on separate instruments, and have been treated as such. So suddenly not having that minor third after the D was a little wonky, and being able to move from my E down to a low B or even a low A, that was a strange feeling. However the one thing that felt like home to me was the EMG 707 pickups, as they have a very clear and even voice to them. The scale length was also a little different and foreign to me, as it was a strange scale length at 26.5 which is somewhere between a baritone and a standard fender length. This meant that when I tuned the B down to A to get huge, metal power chords, the string didn’t feel floppy or weird.

The compound radius was far more helpful and noticeable on this model than it was on the other variants of the guitar, which I chalk up to the fact that this guitars neck is just that little bit wider. The sustain on this guitar was still amazing, and the dark voice of this guitar really helped to accentuate the darker things that tend to get played on a 7 string.

chording on this guitar felt a little weird to me, but after a bit it started to feel pretty natural, and the chords still rung out with a clear, articulate voice. Moving up the neck to that nice flatter area, it is readily apparent how quick you really can play on a guitar like this. Distorted, this guitars voice is massive, sheer metal obnoxiousness. I was able to play straight ahead rock on most of the neck, and if I wanted to dip into some old Korn riffs, or more modern djent stylings, it was all there for the taking.

The Jackson X Series SLATTXMGQ3-7 7 String Electric Guitar in Trans Black

The Jackson X Series SLATTXMGQ3-7 7 String Electric Guitar in Trans Black

There is also a maple top version of the 7 string, called the SLATTXMGQ3 with its very handsome trans black finish, sounds just amazing, as adding that extra high end zing to an instrument with a darker voice really helps to accentuate its entire range. I was able to keep from sounding bass heavy even when I tuned the whole guitar down, even as far as two whole steps down, and never once did the guitar start to sound muddy or bass heavy.

Clean tones were janglier, with a more twangy edge to them, low note chords ringing out with piano like sustain. In a distorted setting, the maple topped 7 string roared out, with a thick, searing tone. The darker voice of the guitar that was present before, now with a tangy upper midrange, and even a little high end sizzle helping to pull this guitar up into a really focused midrange seat.

The Slat series is astounding, all of the models in the line are comfortable, the distinctive headstock shape looks really cool, and the finishes are a cool dash of classic Jackson, and modern metal flair. I could list reasons off for days why these models deserve their score, but I think my writing, and the numerous youtube videos Jackson released for these guitars speak for themselves, even if the guitarist screws up here and again. At the end of the day though, any metal guitarist, rock guitarist, or anyone just looking for a guitar to put in their stable with a distinctive voice, the new Jackson Slat series earns an easy 10 out of 10.

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World Music Supply | Jackson Guitars

Hey guys it’s Brian from World Music Supply here again, sorry for the lack of a post Monday, but it was Labor day here in the good ol’ US of A and I had to spend it getting caught up on school work, so to all of our American readers, I hope you had a better Labor day than I, and to our foreign readers, I hope you had a pleasant Monday. Getting down to business, in today’s blog, I get to take a look at some cool guitars from our friends over at Jackson. As I’ve mentioned before, the formation of Jackson guitars is actually pretty weird, the company was formed by Grover Jackson shortly after he acquired Charvel Guitars. Jackson was initially a brand name applied to models that were so far from the norm, that he was worried releasing them under the Charvel name might damage the image of the brand. The First major guitar designed for the Jackson brand was the Concorde, which was designed in conjunction with one Randy Rhoads. This sleek revamp of the Flying V design was a radical departure for guitar design at the time (the very beginning of the 80s) and the redesign of many other older designs became a hallmark of Jackson guitars, and by association the majority of the guitar scene of the 1980s, with sleeker, more slender, and pointier versions of classic designs.

The Jackson RRXMG Rhoads Electric Guitar Snow White with Black Pin Stripes

The Jackson RRXMG Rhoads Electric Guitar Snow White with Black Pin Stripes

In today’s blog I get a chance to review a “proper” Randy Rhoads with the RRXMG in Snow White with Black Pin Stripes, and a more typical Jackson with the SLX Soloist in Kawasabi Green. First up is the RRXMG, which is a fairly liberal take on the classic Randy Rhoads Concorde, with the smaller modern Rhoads shape, and more modern details, like a compound radius fretboard, a Floyd Rose Special, and a set of EMG 81 and 85 pickups. This Rhoads is a sight to behold, its sleek white basswood and maple neck through body create an amazingly resonant and tuneful guitar.

Plugged in this guitar has that standard 81 85 speaking voice, with it’s darker clean sounds, with a warm, mellow attack and long singing sustain. The added body that the EMGs give to your clean tone are very noticeable on a guitar like this, as the neck through design adds plenty of body to the tone as well, resulting in a big, fat tone, even on the thinner sounding bridge pickup. Playing all of the neo-classical clean passages that Randy strategically placed throughout many famous Ozzy songs on a guitar like this really helps define why these modern modifications to a classic design are so useful. The addition of a modern compound radius means that all of those single notes runs and complex chords without worrying about your hand cramping up or fretting out during fast runs, and the fuller sounding active pickups add a clarity and body that normal humbucking pickups just couldn’t replicate.

Plugged into a Randall RT503H and its matching cabinet, this guitar has more than enough power to match those classic RR tones, with all of the punch and power that made the Rhoads guitar so infamous. Running through every Ozzy song I had memorized, this guitar pulled more than its weight, with tones that were as close to the record as I’ve ever heard them, and with more than enough power on hand to go far further thanks to the powerful EMG pickups. Switching out of Ozzy mode, I was able to comp some more modern metal tones from this guitar as well, simply by dropping the tuning a little, and letting the EMG pickups do what they do best, be as loud as absolutely possible. EMGs have the ability to stay tight no matter how high, or how low the tuning, with increased sustain and harmonic response thanks to their increased output.

In short the RRXMG is one powerful machine, with sustain for days, and a look and feel of one of the most famous guitars in metal history.  For all of these facts the RRXMG earns itself a much deserved 10 out of 10.

The Jackson SLX Soloist Electric Guitar Floyd Rose Special Kawasabi Green

The Jackson SLX Soloist Electric Guitar Floyd Rose Special Kawasabi Green

Next up is the SLX Soloist, which while I picked the rather distinctive Kawasabi Green for the review, it’s available in both Black and Snow White as well. The reason  I picked Kawasabi Green out of the other two colors is simply, because one, it is very distinct looking, and two, because Jackson Guitars was made famous by a handful of shredders back in the 80’s, and nothing says 80’s quite the same as a neon green guitar. This guitar comes outfitted with a through body maple neck, a Floyd Rose Special tremolo, a compound radius fretboard, and a set of Duncan Designed HB102 pickups.

Plugged into a clean amp, the HB102 humbuckers are smooth and warm sounding, allowing for clean jazzy runs and slick chord tones, made all the more enjoyable thanks to the comfortable neck profile and the compound fretboard radius, which made it easier to chord on the low end of the neck, and play quick runs on the upper end, without ever feeling strange or inappropriate. The bridge pickup was just snappy enough to help me cut through, but not so brash as to make using it on its own painful or annoying to listen to, and the neck was warm and clear, without being too bass heavy or muddy sounding.

Plugged into the same Randall RT503H and matching Randall Cabinet, the SLX proved itself quite versatile, able to pull off everything from modern metal grind, with dropped chords having a big beefy low end to them without losing too much high end, and having just as much power when it came to playing more traditional styles of rock. Tuned up in standard, this guitar had no problem banging out classic 80’s riffs that range from two handed Van Halen style brashness, to Police style chordal runs. The comfortable radius of the neck made this all the better, allowing me to play more natural all along the neck, and the Floyd Rose made any style of dive bomb, swirling vibrato, and high flying trem arm acrobatics a breeze, always coming back to tune no matter what I threw at it.

The Soloist has been a hallmark of the Jackson line for decades, and playing this guitar I understand why. I think it’s easier to understand what a super-strat really is, and why that style of guitar ruled the market place for nearly 20 years when you play a guitar like this, with all of it’s amazing appointments and its sheer array of tones, the SLX Soloist earns itself an easy 10 out of 10.

World Music Supply | Washburn Guitars

Hey its Brian here from World Music Supply and I’m here to talk to you guys about some cool guitars from Washburn. Over the years Washburn has earned a reputation for cool guitar designs the world over, having crafted the custom guitars for artists like Paul Stanley of Kiss, Nuno Bettencourt of Extreme, the late Dimebag Darrell of Pantera, and even the likes of Bootsy Collins. When it comes to well made guitars, Washburn is one of the leading names in this day and age, and today we’re going to review three of these fantastic instruments, specifically the XMDLX2FRFPSB, the WMISTDLITECB, and lastly the XMPRO2USEPB.

The Washburn XMDLX2FRFPSB

The Washburn XMDLX2FRFPSB

First up to bat today is the XMDLX2FRFPSB, which while being just one of the many great guitars in the XM Deluxe 2 line, it is the only one in such a striking finish, I mean what more do you say about this finish, flamed transparent purple. No picture I take of it really does it justice, but wow, is this eye catching or what! The black hardware contrasts nicely, and gives it a very medieval feel to it, with its chunky black steel Floyd rose, and its royal purple coloring, this guitar is just something else.

Plugged in it’s the same story,  this guitar with its Seymour Duncan designed pickups, just sounds out of this world. Clean, this guitar had far more warmth and texture than any other strat style guitar in its price range. The tone had a fullness to it that you don’t get from many guitars in this price range, this is mainly thanks to its basswood body, and its beefy pickups. When I cranked the gain up on the amp however, this guitar just woke up. Suddenly, it was just singing, with a voice that evoked some of the greatest guitar legends of the 80s. all of that throaty sustain, and sweet bell like harmonics. Also, lets not forget that this guitar comes standard with a Floyd rose tremolo system, what that means is not only does this guitar have that thick 80’s style shred tone, but it has the hardware to back it up.

Within moments of cranking up the gain on this guitar, I was throwing down every great speed metal lick I could remember, with screaming harmonics, to dive bombs, to “beat it” style overly exaggerated vibrato. This guitar can do it all, is at a price that anyone can afford, and lets face it, it really has a look all its own, and it’s because of that fact that the XMDLX2FRFPSB gets a well deserved 10 out of 10.

The Washburn WMISTDLITECB Mighty Idol

The Washburn WMISTDLITECB Mighty Idol

Next up is the Mighty Idol WMISTDLITECB, which is a fantastic little guitar. I say little because it’s a LITE guitar, meaning Washburn has trimmed away as much of the bodies thickness as they can, while still retaining the natural tone of the instrument. This results in a guitar that has a brighter, quicker attack, and a weight that is a fraction of that of its non LITE brethren, while never being neck heavy, or thin sounding. Couple that with its Duncan USM Alnico pickups, and couple that with the coil tap switch and this is one Mighty Idol.

Plugged in the WMISTDLITECB has a smooth, resilient tone that has all of the warmth and body of a normal LP style guitar, but with a little more snap and shimmer to it than you would expect. Clean that translated to an almost acoustic quality, with very strat-y style colors available when you flick the coil tap. This all translated to smooth quick jazz tones, with all of the warmth and body of a big jazz box, just in a much smaller package. Thanks to its coil tap feature, it also has the capability of having great twangy tones, meaning you can do country style runs as well, which is always a handy thing to have in a guitar.

Distorted however, this guitar went from a good clean sound, to a great rock sound. Thanks to its thin body, it has a tone reminiscent of an SG, which means that this guitar has a lot of bark behind it, full of bold AC/DC style swagger and bite. What this means is this guitar has a lot of really vintage spark to it, playing it through a journey tune or two with the band, or a few back in black style riffs was no problem. Switching it into single coil mode, and I got a tone more reminiscent of a Jaguar, or mustang than a strat or tele, which is a good thing, as usually getting those short scale fender tones requires buying a much more expensive short scale fender. This all made playing a few of those shoe gaze style post-rock riffs a real joy, and also added up to a really unique guitar tone, a jaguar style tone locked away in a lespaul style body.

In short the WMISTDLITECB has a lot of real potential locked away in its tiny frame, from searing blues rock, clean country spank, big jazzy dancing, or even post-rock weirdness, this guitar has it all wrapped up in one simple package that is super easy on the eyes, and thankfully, the wallet. For this amazing ability, the WMISTDLITECB scores a 10 out of 10 for its jack of all trades style.

The Washburn XMPRO2USEPB

The Washburn XMPRO2USEPB

Last up for the day is the XMPRO2USEPB which is the most metal member of the XM PRO family of instruments. With its pearl black body, all black hardware, and its EMG 81/85 pickups this guitar is armed to the teeth so to speak. The longer Fender style scale length also means that this guitar can cope with lower tunings amazingly. I tested this guitar under two set-ups, one with standard .10 style electric guitar strings, all tuned up in standard, and a second review, with the guitar strung up in .13s tuned a step down.

Running clean and in standard tuning, this guitar has that nice warm, albeit dark tone that I have come to expect when it comes to EMG pickups. Granted, tweaking the amp a bit from my usual set up results in a nice, bright twangier sounding tone as well, but I am growing to like the warm rumble that I get from EMG pickups on my clean channel. It was great for doing jazzy style runs, and it warmed my country style licks right up. Just strumming the guitar resulted in warm bell like chords, with tons of string definition and body. Tuned down this guitar had great piano like sustain, with all of the snap, and brooding baritone esk sound that I wished it would.

Turning up the distortion a little, and this guitar came alive. Suddenly its dark clean tones, became monstrous distortion tones. Tuned in standard, this meant that I had the definition and body to comp anything from classic rock, to modern metal, all of it drenched in fiery distortion and perfect string to string definition. This fact is only expanded on when I dropped the tuning. Suddenly the guitar had a bark, and an attitude that really spoke, everything had its own unique sound, and this guitar really didn’t sound like any other metal guitar I have played before. It really had an attack and a clarity all its own. For this fact alone, the XMPRO2USEPB scores a perfect 10 out of 10.

World Music Supply | ESP & LTD Electrics

Hey guys it’s Brian here with World Music Supply again and today I’m going to talk a little bit about ESP guitars. ESP, which means Electric Sound Products, was founded by one Hisatake Shibuya in Tokyo in the mid 70’s making replacement parts for guitar. They eventually relocated to the US in the early 80’s and quickly made a name for themselves by making custom guitars for the likes of Vernon Reid of Living Colour, Ronnie Wood of the Rolling Stones and George Lynch. Since the early days ESP has prided itself on making beautifully crafted instruments at reasonable prices, and they keep this mind set in all of their products. Today I’m going to cover a few models from their LTD line, the VIPER 300, the EC1000, and the MH327.

The ESP Ltd Viper 300FM See-Thru Black Cherry

The ESP Ltd Viper 300FM See-Thru Black Cherry

The VIPER is a classic ESP shape, a modified, and heavily sculpted variation on an already classic double cutaway design, the VIPER 300 fits you like a dream. Its odd asymmetrical shape gives it a cool stylistic edge, and its powerful EMG Pickups provide it with a heavy sonic edge like no other active pickup can provide. The heavily flamed top gives it a nice classy look, and the flag inlays help to give it a very high class look.

Sitting down with the VIPER 300 and running it through its paces was revealing. The first thing I always notice about guitars with EMG pickups is how big and dark their clean sounds are, and this guitar is no exception. With big dark tones, which are almost jazzy in tonality, I was able to run through some slick changes with a very musical tone, and with its 24 frets, I was able to travel a lot further through these jazz runs than usual.

Cranking the gain on my amp up a little bit resulted in deep, full saturation. The EMG 81 and 85 Pickups provide big tone at any range, pulling up far more frequencies than their passive counterparts. This ability to pull up frequencies means that your tone has all of that sparkle that you get from compressors, but without the lack of dynamic control. The VIPER played smooth across its whole length, and with its thin U profile neck and its XJ Frets meant that it was also super fast across its whole length, and super easy to play lightning fast shred lines for hours without ever having to slow down.

The VIPER 300 is a fantastic guitar, with more than enough power to play even the darkest, heaviest metal, or even the most mellow of jazz licks. The VIPER 300 is a great guitar for literally any collection, and it gets a 10 out of 10, as its classic looks, powerfully versatile sounds, and handsome flamed top all add up to one monster of a guitar. 

The ESP LTD EC1000 Flamed Maple Antique Sunburst

The ESP LTD EC1000 Flamed Maple Antique Sunburst

Next up on the chopping block is the EC1000FM specifically the Aged Vintage Sunburst which features Seymour Duncan pickups, Tonepros locking TOM style bridge, and Sperzel  locking tuners. This guitar features a very handsome take on the classic LP style body shape, with a sharp looking florentine cutaway and stunning abalone inlays and binding all over the guitar.

Plugging the guitar in, I was confronted with some very powerful tones. This guitar practically cried out to play classic rock riffs, with its classic pairing of a mahogany body and a flamed maple top, and its powerful Seymour Duncan pickups, this guitar screamed. On clean settings it dazzled me with some of the most pristine cleans possible, able to be both bright and chimey and yet mellow and full all at once, and on a dirty setting it was able to bark and shout with the best of them. Like the last guitar, the EC1000 also features a Thin U neck contour and 24 XJ frets, which means that it still is a lighting quick shred machine. Now while this fit great with the more metal stylings of the  VIPER 300, it seems a tad out of place with the classic rock stylings of the EC1000, but it does give the EC1000 a very modern, shred friendly feel.

I personally love the EC1000, with its stunning good looks, and tones that just don’t stop, it’s no wonder that the EC series is one of ESP’s most popular models. For its ability to play almost any style of music and still look good doing it, the EC1000 gets a solid 9 out of 10, as while it is amazingly handsome, its flamed maple top might keep it from fitting in with some of the heavier genres of music, who tend to shy away from guitars that aren’t flat black shred machines.

The ESP LTD MH327 in See Thru Red

The ESP LTD MH327 in See Thru Red

Last up is the MH327, which has some rather unique qualities to this list of guitars, first off because it is the only one in this list which has a Floyd Rose tremolo, but more importantly, because this guitar has 27 frets. That means you can climb all the way up to a high G on the high E string without ever having to bend up to a note, when will you ever need this ability? I don’t know, but I want to find out. This guitar features the familiar Mahogany body with a flamed maple top that all of the other guitars, and it also features Seymour Duncan pickups like EC1000, however these pickups do differ from those on the EC1000, in that they are Custom 5 in the bridge and a Hot Rail in the neck.

The guitar sounded fantastic when plugged in too, with bright spanky mids, and a big full bottome end. I quickly found this guitar also had one final trick up its metaphorical sleeves in that, it also features a coil tap. This means that this guitar has more features than a swiss army knife, a floating double locking tremolo, a 27 fret neck, and the ability to sound like a big bold humbucker equipped guitar, or a bright, chimey single coil equipped guitar. The clean tones on the humbucker setting were full and fat, with enough body to be useful in any situation, and in single coil mode, it had a very convincing strat style tone.

Dirtying up the tone a bit, this guitar yielded some amazing shred worthy tones, with quick attack, and big powerful sustain. Playing within the key of G the extra frets proved worthy by allowing me to glide all the way up to that 27th fret without having to bend my way into that high G. The 27 frets however proved more useful when I dropped the tuning a full step and realized that I hadn’t lost any of the standard range of a 24 fret guitar in the process, and thanks to its Fender style 25.5’ scale length, I could drop my tuning without the strings feeling loose, or uncomfortable. In this dropped tuning, the MH327 loosed powerful metal tones left and right, and its Floyd Rose let me dive bomb and scream to my hearts contents.

The MH327 is one amazing machine, with more frets than almost any production guitar on the market today, and the fact that it comes stock with Seymour Duncan pickups which can be coil split, as well as a Floyd Rose, means this really is the swiss army knife of guitars. For its astonishing versatility and bold powerful tones, the MH327 snags a well deserved 10 out of 10.

so as you can tell, ESP produces some amazing guitars, all with their own particular style, voice and purpose. With the razor sharp looks of the VIPER, the vintage styling of the EC1000 or the futuristic design of the MH327, its clear that with so many styles, there is bound to be one that fits your specific need, and fits your personal budget, and their all available right now at Worldmusicsupply.com!