I’ve spent the last month or so with the Jackson 7-string Soloist — my first 7-string guitar. I must admit to being a bit nervous about picking up a 7-string for the first time, but this guitar lived up to everything I’ve come to expect from Jackson.
I have 20 guitars in my collection, four of them are Jacksons that I’ve purchased over the years. I continue to buy Jacksons1 because of the quality, tone and most important for me, the feel.
Anytime someone asks me which guitar they should buy, I tell them to sit down and play everything they can get their hands on. Start with the one that feels most comfortable and go from there.
The Jackson 7-string did feel a bit odd at first because the neck was wider than I was used to, but I expected that. Instead of putting off incorporating that seventh string into my playing, I jumped right in and started using it.
I’m actually glad I did that because it got the thing I was worried about the most out of the way and allowed me to focus on the guitar. By the way, playing with an extra string wasn’t at all as difficult as I thought it would. After a few days I was playing as easily as any of my 6-strings.
This Jackson has a mahogany body and rosewood fretboard with 24 frets. The neck is very comfortable to play, and like many of the Jacksons I own, is pretty flat. This is what Jackson calls its Speed Neck.
This Jackson Soloist also has a Floyd Rose, something I really like.
The Soloist uses EMG 707 Humbucking pickups at the neck and bridge. EMGs are my favorite pickups, so I was thrilled to see them in this guitar. The 707 was built specifically for 7-string guitars, so they really excel in bringing that hard crunchy tone to your music.
Of course, since this is a Jackson, you expect to be able to get a solid metal tone without much effort, and you can. I plugged into my Marshall JCM800 half stack and my 5150 half stack and the guitar screamed. Of course, depending on the settings, I had everything from a nice chunky rhythm to a piercing lead.
I was also able to clean up the tone quite a bit when rolling down the volume knob. I had to take it down almost half way to really get a cleaner tone, but it worked well. The dynamics of the JCM800 helped a lot with that too.
Since a lot of people are using their guitars with software amp simulators these days, I also tried the Jackson with a number of those. I didn’t have any issues with AmpliTube, Guitar Rig 5 or Pod Farm 2. Of course, the variety of tones you can get in software are almost endless, so I had a good time playing around with that.
The bottom line is very simple. If you want a quality, versatile guitar at a great price2, look no further than the Jackson Soloist.