Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Cincinnati, OH USA
So I've been slacking off... I still haven't taken any pics yet, but I have been playing this guitar to death, so here's my quick & dirty review (which is, of course, highly subjective):
1. Killer neck--Thicker and meatier than most Ibanez necks (except for the J-customs). Despite the thickness, it's still highly shredable.
2. Bound ebony fretboard--This adds to the shredabilty factor as well.
3. Neck through construction--I love the AANJ, but seriously, the AANJ can't compete with no neck joint whatsoever.
4. The pickups--Surprisingly, I like the duncans more than I thought I would. The Jazz pickup in the neck has a clarity exhibited only by the Air Norton. The JB at the bridge has good harmonics, but is not obnoxiously trebley. The middle position is a perfect blend of the two.
5. The finish--Killer transparent blue on flamed maple top. Nice grain. Fit and finish is very smooth.
6. Weight/sustain ratio--Very good. Sustains about as well as my Les Paul, but doesn't kill my back in the process.
1. 22 fret fretboard--Most Soloists have 24 fret necks, but this fixed bridge model only has 22. Granted, I don't spend a great deal of time on frets 23 & 24, but every now and then I wish I had them.
2. Finished neck--I've been spoiled by the au natural finishes on Ibanez necks recently. The Jackson's neck is painted and clearcoated, so it has a very different feel. When polished up properly, it's quite fast, but if you don't keep it clean all the grime will start to slow you down after a while.
3. Pickup adjustment--Call me anal, but the fixed bridge setup generally requires a higher pickup mounting ring at the bridge than at the neck. When I crank the neck pickup up to where I want it, I can't crank the bridge pickup high enough up to have even output levels. When I crank the neck pickup down to have even output level with the bridge, both pickups seem somewhat weak. I'll probably replace the stock mounting rings with Gibson rings so I can get the bridge pickup where I want it.
4. Pickup switching--Although the 3 switch positions are pretty versatile, I've been spoiled by the special-5 configuration, so I still feel like I'm missing something.
Anyway, overall, this is a killer axe. Playability is great and the tone is pretty sweet, too. If I can get the pickups mounted the way I want them, I imagine this will become one of my top players. If you're looking for a nice fixed-bridge guitar, check one of these out.