The new Jackson RR24XT is an affordable version of the pointy classic that Ozzy Osbourne guitarist Randy Rhoads designed over 30 years ago. Sadly, Randy died before he could see his efforts released commercially, but he did a damn good job; the RR24XT could have been born on a drawing board yesterday.
Part of the Jackson X Series line-up, our RR24XT employs a neck-thru construction to boost sustain. In other words, the guitar's maple neck runs from the tip of its headstock to the V-shaped brushed aluminium tailpiece, which has six holes to accommodate the thru-body stringing.
The humbucking pickups and TonePros Tune-O-Matic-style bridge are mounted to this maple core, while the outline of the dramatic body is completed with a pair of basswood wings.
The '24' bit in the name tags this guitar as a two-octave job, realised in the form of two dozen well-dressed jumbo frets. The shallow-yet-wide neck is topped off with this guitar's greatest feature: a compound radius fingerboard ranging from 12 to 16 inches.
This rosewood 'board flattens out the closer it gets to the body, and the reward is a great feel for both rhythm and lead playing. It makes for comfy chording over the first octave and a low, buzz-free action for fast playing above the 12th fret.
The RR24XT comes loaded with a pair of Duncan Designed HB102 humbuckers, each wired to its own dedicated tone control, a master volume and the three-way selector switch.
The HB102B bridge humbucker is an affordable take on Seymour Duncan's classic SH-4 JB model. You'll know the JB best as the 'Jeff Beck' model, although those initials really stand for Jazz Blues.
The JB is almost always paired with a SH-2N Jazz Model in the neck position, so it figures that Jackson has spec'd the Duncan Designed HB102N - the budget version of the SH-2N Jazz Model - for the Rhoads RR24XT.
All this talk of jazz might have metal fans running to the hills. Well, fear not - the SH-4 JB and SH-2N Jazz Model have become a classic combination for metal, and their Duncan Designed equivalents don't disappoint.
The bridge pickup offers plenty of grunt without compromising note definition, even on the heaviest gain settings, while the neck unit is great for creamy upper fret noodling. Unlike some overpowering metal machines out there, the Rhoads proves itself through our amp's clean channel too.
Tonally, this is a versatile guitar. OK, it's unlikely that a blues player or jazz aficionado will go for its extreme looks, but the RR24XR could easily cover their tonal requirements.
Talking of aesthetics, you either love the way the RR24XT looks or you don't. If you do, then its impressive sustain, effortless playability and versatile tonal range should seal the deal: it's tough to beat for a mere £500.