The Weigh Up: Reliqa on Jackson Pro Series Guitars & EVH Head (Gear Review)

jackson guitars pro series reliqa review

Welcome back legends! As Wall of Sound grows, we’re constantly looking for new and exciting ways to deliver killer content, done our way and an idea that’s been in the back of our minds for a few years now has finally come to fruition!

Introducing our new gear review series The Weigh Up, where we call upon our friends within the music industry to analyse everything from new guitars, gadgets, instruments, music gear and more which we hope will not only aid in their goals for world domination, but give other musicians an insight to new releases, must-have additions and possibly even pave the way for the next generation of shredder!

To kick off festivities, we’ve enlisted the help of Reliqa’s very own Brandon Lloyd (guitar) and Miles Knox (bass) to give us their rundown of some sweeeet new axes from Jackson guitars and the latest 5150 EVH Iconic Series Head… Let’s take a look:

We recently got the opportunity to sit down with a couple of Jackson’s guitar models from their Pro Series range, and noodle around to our heart’s content. Jackson have maintained a compelling reputation as one of the leading manufacturers in the heavy music game, so it was with excitement and anticipation that we unboxed exactly what they had sent to us…

PRO SERIES SOLOIST™ SL7A MAH HT

jackson guitar PRO SERIES SOLOIST™ SL7A MAH HT

First up today we’re taking a look at the Jackson Pro Series Soloist SL7A MAH HT Unicorn White.

Specs:

  • 25.5 scale length
  • Mahogany body with ash top
  • Through-body maple neck
  • 5-way pickup selector with volume and tone knob
  • Ebony fretboard with 24 jumbo frets
  • Pearloid piranha tooth inlays
  • Seymour Duncan Distortion humbucking pickups
  • Jackson HT7 hardtail bridge

Now, the Pro SL7A HT is a 7-string guitar, distinctively geared towards the hyper-modern playing styles of the modern metalcore landscape. If you’re primarily a 6-string player and looking to cultivate your capabilities in a darker and heavier context, this guitar is definitely for you.

The setup on the guitar straight out-of-the-box is fantastic. The intonation is spot on, and it has no trouble staying in-tune, handling aggressive picking and outrageous bends with a super satisfying degree of control. This is aided, no doubt, by the inclusion of locking tuners on the headstock – a feature which has become very common in Jackson’s models, and provide stability and consistency in the tuning.

Movement across the entire fretboard – your slides spanning an octave, or your jumping from shape to shape – is made fast and effortless by the super-thin oiled neck. You’ve got a full 24 jumbo frets to work with. The stock pickups are killer as well – they’ve got a great amount of high-end bite, balanced with a clear midrange for note definition.

And, of course, we have to talk about the body, boasting the spectacular Unicorn White finish. It’s not too extravagant, but it’s definitely classy, and really makes the guitar pop. The Pro SL7A HT is a model we had a lot of fun with, and highly recommend to anyone looking for a powerful 7-string unit to dig into.

PRO SERIES RHOADS RR24 CRACKLE

Next up we got to mess around with the Jackson Pro Series Rhoads RR24 Crackle.

Specs:

  • 25.5 scale length
  • Through-body maple neck
  • Seymour Duncan® JB TB-4 bridge and ’59 SH-1N neck humbucking pickups
  • Floyd Rose 1000 Series double-locking tremolo bridge
  • Three-way pickup toggle switch with volume and tone knob
  • 12”-16” compound radius bound ebony fingerboard with 24 jumbo frets and pearloid sharkfin inlays

This guitar has some serious big-balls attitude about it. If you’re looking to make a statement, the Rhoads RR24 has got you covered, both on and off the stage. That classic body shape couldn’t get any more metal, and Jackson have topped the aesthetics off with the blue crackle finish. The body shape has plenty of practicality to it as well though, allowing for fantastic access to the upper end of the fretboard. This paired with the, once again, beautifully efficient thin neck profile makes the RR24 the perfect model for your lead playing and shred-mastery.

Let’s look at some of the features. The output jack is cleverly located in the upper half of the body, which goes a long way to keeping the lead out of your way while you’re playing. The stock Seymour Duncan pickups deserve a shout. These are incredibly versatile pickups – the bridge pickup works perfectly for super heavy, crunchy rhythms, whilst the neck pickup sounds amazing for your huge leads and your soothing cleans.

And just like the SL7A HT, we have fantastic tuning stability across the board. The point of note here is that the RR24 comes with an in-built Floyd Rose tremolo, which is just one more set of articulations available for your next solo on this monster. You can dive bomb to your heart’s content and come out of it with a perfectly in-tune set of a strings.

If you’re going for the more thrash-inspired style, this is a great sounding guitar that has got half your attitude covered from the get-go. It’s the perfect lead-player unit that handles beautifully, and you’re going to want to try it out for yourself.

5150® ICONIC® SERIES 80W HEAD

We were lucky enough to be trying these guitars out through the tube EVH 5150 Iconic Series 80W Guitar Head.

Specs:

  • A 3-band EQ to assist with molding the tone.
  • Two separate channels with independent gain and volume controls.
  • Global resonance and presence knobs that alter the high and low end characteristics of the tone.
  • A boost function that adds an additional 10dB to the signal.
  • A built-in noise gate on the red channel.
  • Includes a 2-button footswitch to interchange between the green and red channel seamlessly.

This head was a treat to work with. The red channel sounds absolutely killer – super aggressive with a distinctive midrange and rounded body, without too much harshness. Even with the most minimal dialling in, it’s easy to get a great sounding distortion tone. The green channel isn’t anything mind blowing, but does a great job at providing a solid clean tone. It has some decent versatility though, and will yield a gritty crunch tone for when it’s required. The 5150 does have a built-in reverb available, which is a nice addition that you can get some sounds with. It’s certainly passable, but we would probably still recommend using a dedicated pedal for your verb.

The speaker-emulated XLR output is a fantastic inclusion for those that don’t necessarily want to use a cab and simply want to run directly into a PA system. At a much lower price point than its 5150 III counterpart, this head acts as a great entry point for those wanting to achieve a similar EVH sound without breaking the bank entirely.

All these products are available right now. Check out Jackson Guitars and the head from EVH for more details and to find your local dealership.

Review by BrandonLloyd and Miles Knox of Reliqa

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About Paul 'Browny' Brown (3369 Articles)
Dad, Wall of Sound Boss Man/Editorial Manager, Moshpit Enthusiast & Professional Beard Grower... Definitely NOT a Hipster!