Review: Jackson JS22-7 King V

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Review: Jackson JS22-7 King V

Jackson King V
Words by Lewis Noke Edwards

Jackson JS22-7 King V | Fender Music Australia | RRP $449

Jackson King V

There’s not much that’s more metal than a Jackson King V… except a seven-string version. The JS22-7 King V is a poplar-bodied, seven-string electric guitar, boasting the uniquely angular body shape that delineates the King V from the more traditional V. The maple neck, with graphite reinforcement and no less, is bolted to the body, for a controlled and tight response. Dual High-Output 7-String Humbucking pickups offer tone, with a three-position toggle between them.

The JS22-7 King V comes after a long line of angular masterpieces, the King V coming to fruition after Robbin “King” Crosby of Ratt popularised the design, though he almost played a double Rhoads extensively. Other popular players are Dave Mustaine, Wes Borland, Corey Beaulieu and Scott Ian, so you’re in good company.

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The King V presents itself uniquely, the weight of its body shifting it naturally more towards a classical position, whether sitting or standing, lending itself comfortable access right up the 24 frets. The body shape itself presents access to the top of the fretboard like no other body shape, there being literally no guitar body anywhere near the neck joint. The satin finish of both the neck and body aid in speeding around the back of the neck, satin being less sticky that glossy or poly finishes.

The additional string provides the weight and heft of dropped tunings, while retaining those top strings for leads and solos. Navigating the fretboard I found myself getting comfortable quite quickly, the body shape forcing me to sit straight up, more comfortably than I usually do (hunched, folded and sore very quickly), the freedom to reach for the top frets really inspiring some unique sounds thanks to the access.

The sound of the pickups is controlled, high output so they take gain well, but balanced and consistent for fast metal riffing and lightning fast shred. The neck pickup position is warm and rounded, lending itself to blues-esque kinda tones, while the bridge pickup offers a brighter response. Ironically, the traditional “Rhythm” and “Lead” options are switched here, the bridge being perfect for fast, articulate metal rhythms while the neck position offers a warm, smooth juxtaposition to otherwise brutal and bitey riffs. While the humbuckers are quite high output, they clean up nicely and retain the same balanced, even response when used for cleaner strumming or lead playing. Rolling off the tone a little reveals a previously untapped warmth!

The poplar body offers a bright, snappy acoustic response, being both generally lightweight while still being of strong build quality. The maple neck and amaranth fretboard are a great combo, amaranth also being known as purpleheart. It has a controlled bass response and a bright attack, making it a perfect wood for fretboards and not unlike rosewood, both aesthetically and sonically.

There’s 24 jumbo frets, built for wailing and finding notes at high speed. It’s a hardtail design for accurate tuning, especially drop tuning, with easy adjustment for intonation and set-up. The scale length of 26.5” makes it even more equipped for dropped tunings well below the factory tuning: E Standard with a low B.

The fretboard features a 12”-16” compound radius, meaning the fretboard flattens out as you get higher up the fretboard for better access to more contemporary playing styles. Traditionally, electric guitars feature radius’ from 9”-12”, so the Jackson – JS22-7 King V will feel like home at the lower frets before the radius flattens out for more comfortable fretting as you climb up the fretboard.

Beyond this, traditional sharktooth inlays litter the fretboards, and a uniquely offset headstock makes for a striking silhouette.

The Jackson JS22-7 King V is a lean, mean riffing machine. There’s not much to it, though every addition is essential. Dual humbuckers for big, modern sounds whether you select the neck or bridge position, and a three-way toggle switch to switch between either pickup or both! 

JS22-7 King V

All of this feeds a master volume and master tone, clean and simple. The body shape itself forces you to play comfortably, whether sitting or standing, while also offering you unparalleled access to all 24 jumbo frets – and beyond! The neck itself has a comfortable, modern, compound radius, uninhibited at the 24th fret thanks to the angular King V body shape.

Sonically and aesthetically, the Jackson JS22-7 King V is built for metal, with select woods for control, and balance, all tied together into a bolt on design to augment this balanced tonality even further. The addition of a low B string (or lower thanks to the scale length!) gives you the extended range of a low-tuned guitar, all the while retaining concise intonation and the freedom to noodle back up on a high E.

All in all, the Jackson JS22-7 King V is a tidy, refined package. It features everything you need and nothing you don’t, all the while looking just about as metal as you can get.

For local enquiries, visit Jackson Guitars.