Jackson has launched a pair of MJ Series Rhoads RR24MGs that have to be in the running when it comes to thinking about the high-performance metal guitar of 2023.
Yes, there is a sense that we have seen so many variations on the Rhoads over the years that the asymmetrical V-shaped electric guitar has lost the shock of the new but just because this instrument, with its aggressive, fighter jet angles are by now a modern classic doesn’t make them any less radical – nor less capable for creating radical sounds.
Available in Snow White with black pinstripes or Gloss Black with yellow pinstripes, these have everything you need for high-speed, high-gain playing scenarios, and there’s something about that body shape that makes them balance very nicely on a guitar strap.
Headline items here are the initials MJ, because the Japanese craft is typically jaw-dropping. You’ve got all the high-end appointments here. There is the neck-through build, with a three-piece maple neck sandwiched between two solid alder wings. The pickups are a venerable pairing of high-output active EMGs, with an 81 at the bridge and an 85 at the neck.
You’ll find the battery compartment for the pickups on the back of the guitar. Controlling these are gold knurled metal volume and tone knobs, matching the hardware.
Speaking of which, who says there are no surprises here? Instead of the more commonly found Floyd Rose vibrato we have a Gotoh GE1996T Series unit, with matching Goth tuners. Dunlop supplies the dual-locking strap buttons. You don’t want one of these to hit the floor.
The dimensions and feel are all consistent with what you’ll get from a Jackson in 2023. The compound radius 12” to 16” is geared towards shredder and riffer alike, more comfortable in lower registers for fretting chords, flattening out for ripping leads as you get up the fingerboard.
The fingerboards are ebony, inlaid with Pearloid Sharkfins, and players have got 24 jumbo frets to negotiate, Luminlay side-dot markers glowing in the dark to light the way up the ‘board. The binding on the headstock looks very cool, with Jackson once more favouring their six-in-line profile for this release.
If the floating vibrato is too to handle you do have options. In February this year, Jackson launched the MG Series Rhoads RRT, all in Snow White, zero pinestriping, with the Jackson logo emblazoned in a low-key but very cool silver on the headstock. That had passive pickups, with a Seymour Duncan JB at the bridge and a Jazz at the neck. Think Rust In Peace-era Megadeth tones.