Review: Jackson Concept Series Limited Edition Rhoads RR24

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Review: Jackson Concept Series Limited Edition Rhoads RR24

Jackson Concept Series RR24
Words by Christopher Hockey

Jackson Concept Series Limited Edition Rhoads RR24 | Fender Music Australia | RRP $3799.00

Metalheads have cause to rejoice this year as Jackson guitars roll out their Limited Edition Concept Series, a new line of guitars that brings custom shop quality to the masses. Featuring unconventional takes on Jackson’s well known body shapes at a very enticing price point, the Concept Series is designed for serious, high-performance guitarists and includes a plethora of top of the line upgrades. 

Chief amongst this new lineup is the Concept Series Rhoads RR24 FR H, an evolution of the late great Randy Rhoads’ beloved signature model. A great tribute to the memory of an incredible player, the RR24 FR H is a refined, angular offset instrument infused with aggressive tone and effortless playability, at a surprisingly accessible price. 

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Jackson guitars

The original Jackson Rhoads was commissioned by the man himself back in 1980, two years before his untimely death at just 25 years old. Rhoads’s first Jackson prototype was a white, pinstriped, asymmetrical Flying V-inspired model built by Grover Jackson, Tim Wilson, and Mike Shannon of Charvel Guitars, who went on to form Jackson that year. The guitar was originally intended to be called ‘The Original SIN’, but Rhoades nicknamed it ‘Concorde’ after the supersonic aircraft of the same name. 

Randy Rhoads

Rhoads re-designed a second prototype soon after as he felt the shape of the ‘Concorde’ was not different enough from a traditional Flying V. His creative solution was to elongate the top horn of the guitar so that the body became more reminiscent of a shark’s fin. Now, over forty years later, there are twenty-plus Jackson Rhoades models available and the instrument has become a staple of the heavy metal world. 

Featuring a solid Alder body finished in a sleek glossy black, the Concept Series RR24’s gleaming gold hardware and white pinstripe binding give it a serious air of class. With its single EMG humbucker and locking Floyd Rose bridge, there’s no mistaking what this tool is designed for. It’s a heavy metal guitar through and through, originally designed for one of the best shredders that ever lived and done so expertly. 

Jackson Rhoads Concept Series

Jackson’s neck-through-body construction ensures maximum comfort during long gigs along with endless sustain and ultra-smooth playability all the way across this guitar’s 24 jumbo stainless-steel frets. Graphite-reinforcement rods run through the 25.5” three-piece maple neck, protecting it against the ravages of touring, whilst the glossy black colour matched finish ties the aesthetic together nicely. Glow-in-the-dark Luminlay side dots are a fun but also practical addition for performing musicians, providing fretboard guidance at a quick glance, even on the darkest of stages. 

The gorgeous ebony fretboard is adorned with Jackson’s signature pearloid sharkfin inlays, maintaining the instrument’s classy up-market look. The ultra-fast 12”-16” compound radius fretboard is perfectly designed for easy chording and riffing near the nut and rapid, all-out leads as you move up the neck. Compound radius fretboards are very popular with metal guitarists as the neck has a smaller radius at the nut and larger radius at the body joint, creating a ‘best of both worlds’ situation for fast players who require high-performance tools to maintain their speed.

Floyd Rose 1000 series double-locking tremolo

Other notable features include handy locking strap buttons, an ultra-stable, dive-bomb friendly top-mount Floyd Rose 1000 series double-locking tremolo and Jackson’s famed pointed 6-in-line colour matched headstock, loaded with sealed die-cast tuners. Rarely has a Jackson been this decked out with bells and whistles at such an accessible price point, this a seriously high performance instrument that would look right at home in a top of the line custom shop rack. 

Engineered specifically for the forward-looking metal virtuoso himself, the sole EMG 81 pickup in this guitar is a match made in heaven. Sitting in the bridge position, the EMG 81 provides seriously high output, plenty of midrange harmonics and that classic aggressive EMG crunch. The 81 basically started a tone revolution upon its inception, propelling heavy metal forward into a new age of aggressive high output tone, and it remains one of EMG’s most popular pickups for good reason. 

Utilising powerful ceramic magnets and close aperture coils, the tone of the 81 was designed with detailed intensity, incredible amounts of high end sizzle, and liquid sustain. This pup will help your leads slice right through even the densest mix and their active design means they are highly powerful yet incredibly consistent and even sounding. The RR24 also features an EMG Afterburner push-pull pot, which essentially functions as a boost pedal built into your guitar. The Afterburner boosts input by up to 20dB at full rotation, perfect for a powerful boost for a lead break without having to mess around with pedals.

Overall, the Concept Series Rhoads RR24 is a refreshing new take on a beloved design. The gorgeous black and gold colour scheme is effortlessly classy, and the feel of this guitar in the hands has been absolutely perfected with this model. The ergonomic design ensures that fingers can fly freely up and down its 24 frets completely uninhibited, maximising the speed so essential to the heavy metal genre Rhoads helped to define. Modern touches like locking strap locks, the Afterburner push/pull system and glow in the dark side dots are nice little details that elevate this instrument above other iterations. 

With an incredibly raw, powerful sound that remains controllable at high gain settings, a deeply harmonically rich midrange and a searing high end, if you’re a heavy metal guitarist, particularly a lead guitarist, it would be hard to envisage a guitar better suited to your needs. Despite the tragically short length of Randy Rhoades’s fruitful career, his immense talent continues to shape and impact the genre to this day, as does his expertly designed signature instrument. 

Much like the man himself, this guitar has become an icon in its own right and the Concept Series has done it justice perhaps more than ever before. Bringing custom shop quality and all the bells and whistles you’d expect from a much more expensive guitar down to a mid-tier price bracket is a great thing for Randy fans, Jackson fans and everyone in between. So if shredding is your game and you’re ready to upgrade your weapon of choice to something truly classic, this is the guitar for you. 

For local Jackson enquiries, visit Jackson Guitars here.