Scott Ian: “It makes me feel like I am a better player than I actually am!”

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Scott Ian: “It makes me feel like I am a better player than I actually am!”

Words by Peter Hodgson

Chatting with Anthrax's Scott Ian on the new American Series Soloist SL3

“When are you going to make Jackson production models in the USA again?” It’s a question Fender Musical Instrument Corporation (FMIC) has been hearing since they acquired the Jackson brand back in 2002.

And while Custom Shop instruments have been available out of the same Corona, California workshop that gives us Fender Custom Shop instruments, it’s now time for Jackson to proudly reclaim its Made In California heritage with the announcement of the American Series Soloist SL3.

Read up on all the latest interviews, features, and columns here.

The American Series Soloist SL3 is a homecoming for Jackson: it is manufactured in southern California, right where the brand first revolutionised metal guitars, and it pays tribute to its heritage by being designed specifically to be the fastest Jackson ever. And they’re putting their money where their mouth is with the promotional tagline “Fast as F#*!.” FMIC wants you to shred on this thing. They want you to push the limits of your playing and to be proud as f#*! about making those digits fly.

We’re talking alder body, rolled ebony fingerboard on a slim three-piece maple through-neck (reinforced with a pair of graphite rods and tweakable via a heel-end truss rod adjustment wheel), 12-16” compound radius fingerboard, double-locking tremolo, and Seymour Duncan pickups – a JB Trembucker in the bridge position augmented with high-powered SSL-6 single coils in the middle and neck.

It’s a fierce shredding machine and a whole bunch of Jackson players have jumped on board to back it up with their word. Players like LA-based Japanese shredder Yas Nomura, Brandon Ellis of The Black Dahlia Murder, Alyssa Day (whose debut EP Ruinous will be out early next year), Lee Malia of Bring Me The Horizon, Kevin Skaff of A Day To Remember… even thrash veteran and Jackson signature artist Scott Ian has even got his considerably nimble paws on this shred-beast.

We reached out to Scott for his thoughts and here’s what he had to say!

This new Soloist is said to be the fastest Jackson ever. What’s so slick about it? You already have one of the fastest picking hands in the world so the thought of you on a faster guitar is scary!

Hahaha! Yeah, the Jackson American Series Soloist SL3 is one of those guitars that makes me feel like I am a better player than I actually am! It’s so fast and easy to play. The neck is built for speed. The guitar is very reminiscent of the early ’80s San Dimas Charvel and early Jackson Soloists so it just feels very natural in my hands.

How do you personally like guitars set up for your playing style? 

I just recently switched from heavy gauge strings – .11-.56 back to .09-.42. The lighter strings feel way better for fast picking and they sound better as well. I don’t like my action too low, I like to be able to dig in with my right hand.

You go back with Jackson a long way. What was your first one? 

A 1982 custom shop Rhoads.

Your Jackson King V signatures are phenomenal. Got any cool customs lately? 

I just got two mirror top V’s, one with a Floyd, one without. I have a new mid-price “Dime Slime” KVXT with a Floyd Rose coming soon. I have a one-of-a-kind KV coming in a few months that I can’t talk about yet. It’s the coolest one I’ve ever done!

Can you get Charvel to bring back the Surfcaster? You rocked that thing well!

I’ve asked about that, maybe at some point that could happen. I love those as well.

Any plans for Anthrax to come back to Australia, or do we have to wait and see? Cos it’s been too long! 

We love playing in Australia and will for sure be there on the next record. I don’t know when that is yet, stay tuned!

Head to Jackson for more information.