Reviewed: Jackson San Dimas Adrian Smith

Jackson Guitars Australia | jacksonguitars.com.au | RRP: $1299

Jackson Guitars are a true testament to the needs of metal and rock guitar and bass players. Their instruments are well-built, trustworthy and solid, from the top-of-the-line products down to entry-level budget instruments. The USA Signature Adrian Smith San Dimas DK is a Strat-inspired shred machine built to the specs of Iron Maiden’s own axe-slinger. The Indonesian-built San Dimas Adrian Smith also plays beautifully, with a tinted satin urethane finished neck and classy flamed maple finish beneath the white pickguard. It’s comfortable like a Strat, but with the modern trimmings that Jackson has always provided.

Leads and licks come easily, and they feel blues inspired, much like Iron Maiden pushing the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. The guitar features an HSS pickup configuration, Floyd Rose Special and Jackson tuners to hold it all together. The bridge humbucker is a DiMarzio Super Distortion that can be tweaked and blended with the single coils thanks to the five-way pickup selector.

 

Straight out of the box, this San Dimas feels great. It was in tune, intonated, and it stayed there. While the Floyd doesn’t feature the usual cavity for bending notes up, the bridge still allows a player to add some flare to solos, but retains clarity and tuning stability thanks to the locking nut situated precisely 25.5” away (that’s the number of the beast, right?). The tinted satin urethane neck is a great addition to this San Dimas, as it feels almost completely unfinished but isn’t so rough that it gets in the way. Sliding up and down and around the one piece bolt-on neck is a dream, and fretting notes on any one of the 22 jumbo frets embedded in the ebony fingerboard is a breeze, and it’s inspired. The well-placed volume and tone knob are a comfortable distance away, and the pickup selector nestled between them makes for a comfortable guitar whether sitting or standing. The guitar feels balanced and comfortable, and the guitar’s body sits comfortably against the players torso, with the heel supporting your picking arm.

 

 

 

While playability is one thing, this guitar also shines in its sound. Not only is the anatomy of the guitar precisely positioned to give maximum resonance, clarity and tuning, but the DiMarzio Super Distortion brings the impact and power that DiMarzio and Iron Maiden share in their respective legacies. The Super Distortion is a passive humbucker used by the likes of Ace Frehley and Paul Gilbert, that is punchy and present without being overbearing, but also cleans up nicely. It really is the whole package. The addition of two single coil Samariam Colbalt Noiseless pickups makes for a bunch of different sounds available from this San Dimas. You can switch quickly and easily from super spanky Strat-style leads to thick and present riffs and licks. All configurations of the pickups are entirely useable, and really change the feel and voice of the guitar.

 

Jackson have really nailed a solid guitar for Adrian Smith. It fits with Iron Maiden’s aesthetic and history, as well as legacy of the Strat-style shape and the San Dimas itself, but retains modern and contemporary finishes and features. The guitar tunes well, and stays tuned thanks to the Floyd Rose Special and its locking nut. The three pickups and five-way selector offer a bunch of great tonal options, and the DiMarzio Super Distortion as standard provides the crunch. This Indonesian made San Dimas provides a bunch of great features in a tight package. For players looking for a more modern Strat, or even a gig-ready riff machine, the Adrian Smith San Dimas could be your next guitar. It looks great, feels better, and won’t let you down.

Hits and Misses

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Great maple finish

DiMarzio as standard

Floyd Rose Special as standard

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No cavity for Floyd

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