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Jackson SLX Soloist X Series Electric Guitar Review

I recently found myself searching for a good electric intermediate guitar, something worth spending money on. I did some research and read reviews and I eventually decided that the SLX Soloist X Series from Jackson was suitable for my needs. In this post I'll go over its pros, cons, and key characteristics compared to its closest competitors.

Things to Consider Before Buying a Guitar

Electric guitars need to be built well. Remember that it's easy to install new pickups, but using bad wood or poor construction materials cannot be fixed. Keep in mind that an electric guitar should not just sound good- it should sound consistent and keep its tone through years of use. It also has to be priced appropriately for its quality and intended purpose.

The Jackson SLX Soloist X Series

Jackson is a niche guitar company with one signature line- the Soloist, which has a lineage stretching back to the early days of metal. SLX Soloist X Series has professional-quality wood, electronics, construction, and durability. It has separate bridge and neck pickups designed by Duncan, 24 frets on a rosewood fingerboard, a Floyd Rose trem bridge, and a through-body neck design.

Pros

  • Great tone and sustain
  • Very well built
  • Good tone controls and toggles

Cons

  • Above average price
  • Limited color and finish options
  • No included gig bag

Features and Benefits

Sound and Control

Jackson SLX Soloist X Series Electric Guitar

The basswood body and Duncan pickups ensure a strong, warm tone with plenty of sustain. The switches allow for the neck, bridge, or both pickups to be turned on. The neck pickup is brighter for soloing to cut through the mix, and the bridge pickup is heavier for rhythm play. Both are humbuckers. There are 24 frets and a 25.5-inch scale.

Construction

The neck is maple and joins seamlessly to the basswood body. That join allows for superior sustain compared to bolt-on or set-in connections. The neck is fast and easy to play with a flatter profile for easier finger access. The jumbo frets allow low action without buzz. The body shape has a semi-cutaway at the bottom of the neck for easier play, especially for high-note bending or sliding.

Electronics

Jackson chose to ask Duncan to build pickups for them rather than using an off the shelf model. The tone they give lends itself better to rock and metal due to the warmth, but they are fairly flexible. There is no included preamp, which would increase the value. The pickups never display any signs of interference, buzz, or other problems.

​Rating

Design

4

Performance

5

Construction

4

Value for the Money

4

User Satisfaction

5

Alternatives

Jackson X Series Soloist SL3X

Jackson X Series Soloist SL3X

The SL3X is much like the SLX. It has more or less the same construction and design and is part of the same X Series. The SLX featured in this post costs $550 while this guitar costs $600. The difference is that rather than having 2 humbuckers, the SL3X has a bridge humbucker and two separate single-coil pickups for a different sound. This is the classic HSS configuration, and it allows for a little more treble and a different texture.

Comparison

Jackson Soloist SL3X X Series

Price: $600

Pickups: Duncan HR-101 x2 and HB103B

Special Features: HSS pickups with independent control

Jackson Soloist SLX X Series

Price: $550

Pickups: Duncan HB-102B and HB102N

Special Features: Floyd Rose bridge and neck-through construction

Schecter Omen Extreme-FR

Schecter Omen Extreme-FR

Schecter's $450 Omen Extreme-FR has a similar body design to the SLX, but it uses Schecter's in-house humbucker pickups rather than the ones that Jackson commissioned from Duncan. The result is a heavier sound that is especially suited to distortion. The other big difference is that while the SLX uses jumbo frets, the Schecter uses medium ones. This is a matter of comfort and preference, so try to test different fret sizes out in person to see what feels better for your hands.

Comparison

Schecter Omen Extreme-FR

Price: $449

Pickups: Schecter Diamond Plus x2

Special Features: Floyd Rose bridge and medium frets

Jackson Soloist SLX X Series

Price: $550

Pickups: Duncan HB-102B and HB102N

Special Features: Floyd Rose bridge and neck-through construction

Jackson X Series Soloist SLXT

Jackson X Series Soloist SLXT

The SLXT is another close cousin of the SLX. It costs $50 less at $500. There are two differences that separate the SLXT. First of all, it uses EMG pickups- an H4-B in the bridge position and H4-AN in the neck position. This provides a different and possibly more flexible sound compared to the Duncans in the SLX. The other big change is that rather than a Floyd Rose tremolo bridge, it uses a TonePros bridge with no trem.

Comparison

Jackson X Series Soloist SLXT

Price: $500

Pickups: EMG H4-B and H4-AN

Special Features: TonePros bridge

Jackson Soloist SLX X Series

Price: $550

Pickups: Duncan HB-102B and HB102N

Special Features: Floyd Rose bridge and neck-through construction

Final Thoughts

Jackson is attempting to bring their signature design to the broader public through their less expensive X Series of guitars. The SLX in particular contains Duncan humbuckers in the classic Jackson design for $550. At that price, the value is not quite what it could be, but the quality of sound is excellent. Alternatives use different pickups, drop the tremolo bridge, or modify the body shape. Jackson is known for their high-end models and celebrity endorsements, but the SLX provides all of that value in a midrange price. If that interests you, then check it out today. To know more information about other guitars, you can check out our intermediate guitar guide.

Stephanie Su
 

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 2 comments
Chris - December 30, 2017

For upcoming album, I will be trying Jackson SLXT X. Sweetwater gave me a good quote on it so I will buy it in a few months, looks great, First Jackson guitar I’ll ever try.

Reply
    Kurt - June 9, 2018

    I own a JS32 Dinky Blonde & an SLX Soloist in Slime Green. The SLX looks great and plays very fast. I have owned 12 Gibson’s. 6 SG’s, 4 Les Pauls, a Firebird and a 330. Only one SG played as fast as any of the Jackson’s I have owned, 2 Dinky’s, an RR5 & the SLX. But, the Jackson branded pickups on the JS32 have more chime than the Duncan Design pickups do in the middle position. Although the Duncan Design are more powerful than the Jackson pickups, the neck Duncan Design is an alnico magnet pickup & does not have the clarity of the ceramic magnet pickup at the bridge. After listening to and studying Seymour Duncan pickups, I have decided to replace the SLX Duncan Designed pickups with a set of Seymour Duncan Invader pickups. I truly believe this will increase the chime & clarity of the clean sound & leave NO problem with overdrive for a mere $169.00.

    Reply

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