Reviewed: Jackson Guitars SL2Q and SLX Soloist
Jackson have been a staple of metal and rock guitars and basses since Grover Jackson acquired Charvel guitars in the ‘70s. Synonymous with a seemingly endless list of big rock and metal acts, Jackson have continued to produce high quality instruments with a contemporary edge, and the SL2Q Pro Series Soloist and SLX Soloist both pay tribute to the timeless ‘Super Strat’ shape made famous by Jackson and Ibanez. The SLX Soloist is a budget-priced solid body electric with Duncan designed humbuckers, a Floyd Rose Special locking tremolo system and a red sparkle finish. The SL2Q, meanwhile, is a 24 jumbo-fretted solid body electric with dual Seymour Duncan Distortion humbuckers, a Floyd Rose 1000 Series double-locking tremolo system and eye-catching ‘Purple Phaze’ finish.
Reviewed: Jackson Guitars Pro Series Chris Broderick Soloist HT7
The seven-string electric has become quite commonplace in heavier styles of music, with the extended range typically adding extra low-end girth. While it can be used in many contexts, the humble seven-string is often synonymous with more shred-style players. Jackson have long catered for many rock/metal shredders, so it makes sense that they have a player such as Chris Broderick in their enclave and offer a number of seven-string guitars right across their range.
Reviewed: Framus D-Series Panthera
Framus Guitars is the guitar branch of famed German-based company Warwick Basses. In addition to guitars, Framus is known for its high-gain guitar heads and cabinets. After spending years producing high-end and custom built guitars for the likes of Devin Townsend, Cephalic Carnage and Candlemass, Framus has branched out into the more affordable D-Series that includes the Panthera.
Reviewed: Sterling by Music Man John Petrucci JP60
There is no doubt that John Petrucci is a hugely influential guitarist, musician and composer. Dream Theater have released 13 studio albums garnering numerous accolades and recognition from fans and the music industry alike, and Petrucci’s playing and writing continue to play a huge part in this success. Enjoying a long-standing relationship with Music Man, the band has collaborated on many iterations and variations of Petrucci signature models in a range of specifications. Making the Petrucci models even more accessible, Music Man has enjoyed success with the extension of these guitars in its Sterling line of instruments.
Reviewed: Fender Parallel Universe Jazz Tele
You know that particular look of elation marathon runners get once they finally schlep through that bastard ribbon? The well-deserved yet borderline smug grin that painters get when they finish whitewashing an entire interior? The way the electricity in the air changes when someone cleans up a table in a pool hall? If Fender guitars were suddenly anthropomorphised into human form then the Parallel Universe series would be its wry smile. With their oldest arch nemesis out of the running for all intents and purposes, they are freer than ever to stretch their inimitable wings and feel the heady creative breeze that encircles the top of the food-chain flow languidly over every pore and feather.
Reviewed: Hagstrom Guitars Paramore Artist Project Series
Karl Hagstrom began producing accordions in Sweden in 1925. After a trip to the United States in the 1950s and an introduction to rock n’ roll, Hagstrom decided to expand his business to producing and manufacturing electric guitars. According to Hagstrom’s website, the guitars were produced with materials traditionally used for accordions, but the influence goes further. Hagstrom has found a modern market for its distinctive guitars in Swedish black metal rockers Ghost, as well as the Foo Fighters and Dweezil Zappa. More recently, Justin and Taylor York of Paramore have designed three guitars in conjunction with Hagstrom’s Artist Project series: a solid body electric and two hollow body electrics. Hagstrom’s accordions inspire the new Artist Series Impala, designed in conjunction with Taylor York.
Reviewed: Sterling by Music Man Axis AX3
The Sterling by Music Man range is Ernie Ball Music Man’s answer to Epiphone and Squier: well-made instruments from a reputable company at a budget price. The Axis looks great and feels solid, but loses some points in playability, build quality and tuning. The guitar sounds great, even with stock pickups, but the edges of the frets can be a little harsh. These issues aren’t unfixable, but it’s not what you’d want straight out of the box.
Reviewed: Fender Player Series Telecaster
Let’s use much loved ‘90s cartoon series Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as an analogy for a moment. Imagine Leo Fender’s famed Stratocaster is Leonardo, a wise leader, the oldest of the crew and ready, willing and able to take any situation in stride. That would make his Telecaster the equivalent to Raphael—an emotionally raw, younger upstart with as much anti-authoritarian angst as it has a tendency towards its softer side. Leo himself then becomes Master Splinter and a certain other rival builder with evil robotic attachments, The Shredder, but I digress. Since their inception, the two at the top of every Fender catalogue have always had that hand-in-hand yet push/pull relationship. Even as individual as they are, you rarely think of one without thinking of the other.