Review: Jackson Guitars Pro Series Soloist SL7 HT
Currently offering 32 different seven-string guitar models, Jackson has positioned itself as a leading contender in the seven-string market. All of Jackson’s seven-string models are solidbody guitars with metal-and-shred-oriented built-for-speed designs, so if that’s your specialty as well and you’re looking for a seven-string, chances are good that Jackson has exactly the model you need. For players who prefer a hardtail bridge, traditional (i.e. non-slanted or multiscale) fretboard, passive pickups and a non-extended scale length, Jackson’s Pro Series Soloist SL7 HT is a great choice. Priced right in the middle of Jackson’s seven-string range, it offers a great balance of value and pro features.
The most distinctive feature of the Jackson SL7 HT is its body construction, which places a layer of ash with a distinctive transparent satin Charcoal Gray finish on top of a slab of mahogany. The single-piece maple neck extends all the way to the body’s heel for true neck-through-body construction, but ash laminates on the sides and back give the body a consistent look. Neck features include a 25 ½-inch scale length, single-layer bound ebony fingerboard with a 12-to-16-inch compound radius and 24 jumbo frets, oiled finish and a slim, flat profile. The headstock features a pointed seven-in-line reverse design and single-layer binding.
The strings are solidly anchored in place thanks to die-cast locking tuning machines and the string-thru-body bridge. The master volume and master tone controls have black metal dome-style knobs, and a five-position blade switch provides instant access to a variety of full humbucking and split-coil tones from the pair of Seymour Duncan SH-6 7 pickups with uncovered coils and ceramic magnets. The pickups are direct mounted to the body for enhanced resonance and dynamics.
Consistent with Jackson’s other Soloist models, the SL7 HT is a speed machine with a very fast-playing neck and controls perfectly placed for quick, easy access while remaining out of the way when playing. The neck is one of the most comfortable seven-string necks I’ve ever played, and despite having a very slim profile it feels rock solid. The high-output Duncan SH-6 humbuckers deliver remarkably clear and well-balanced sound. Thanks to treble and midrange emphasis with slightly rolled-back bass, the pickups allow the low B string to produce a brilliant, metallic clang rather than the deadened mush often encountered on seven-string guitars with non-extended scales. As a result, this SL7 HT sounds as good when played with a clean amp setting as it does when pushed to the brink with high-gain distortion.
LIST PRICE: $1,319.71
MANUFACTURER: Jackson, jacksonguitars.com
• The distinctive construction incorporates an ash top, mahogany body and single-piece maple neck that truly extends through the entire body.
• A pair of Seymour Duncan SH-6 7 humbucking pickups deliver an ideal combination of high-output punch and outstanding clarity.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Jackson’s expertise in designing and building seven-string solidbody guitars really shines through in the Pro Series Soloist SL7 HT, which delivers outstanding tone and playability for a surprisingly affordable price.