Jackson rolls out high-performance at a mid-range price point with new-for-2023 X Series Rhoads, Soloist and Concert Bass

Jackson X Series 2023 spring launch
(Image credit: Jackson)

Jackson has launched its first new models of 2023, with comprehensive updates to its X Series Soloist and Rhoads electric guitars, a Concert Bass with upgraded electronics and hardware – and for those looking for a metal-friendly high-end electric guitar, there’s a real doozy of an MIJ Rhoads, too.

No matter where you land on this collection, you’ll find an instrument built for speed. Let’s takes these new X Series models in order of pointiness, i.e. most-metal guitar first. That’ll be the RRX24, a guitar that takes the original asymmetric V shape of the original model and makes it that bit more aggressive by virtue of a reverse six-in-line headstock. 

This guitar is all sharp edges and angles, and for £819 / $899, it offers a sweet shreddable spec. As the name suggests, there is a 24-fret fingerboard with a compound 12”-16” radius. These compound radius ‘boards are shred-friendly and found across the Fender-owned high-performance brands (EVH, Charvel and Jackson). 

All of the new models announced today have one, with the X Series models using laurel for the ‘board, the MJ Series preferring ebony . As with the other RRX24 models, there are high-output Seymour Duncan Blackout humbuckers seated in a solid poplar body and maple through-neck build.

The necks are graphite reinforced, the pickups controlled by individual volume controls, master tone and a three-way pickup selector. A Floyd Rose Special is provided for your divebombing pleasure. 

Reversed sharkfin inlays accentuate that aggressive look. These new models have army and navy inspired finishes, Matte Army Drab and Battleship Gray, both with black bevels for contrast.

The X Series Soloist SL3X DX (£769 /$849) is now offered in Matte Army Drab and, wait for it, Lambo Orange, so your choices are camo-adjacent or hi-viz. 

Either way, these are faithful to the Soloist recipe, through-necks, jumbo frets, a super-versatile right thanks to its HSS pickup configuration. Lots of sustain, lots of different tones to be eked out of the Jackson-branded pickups. Again, there is a Floyd Rose Special. Black hardware completes the look.

Like the Jackson Soloist? You’re in for a treat. There’s more… The SLX DX Checkered Past has a chess board finish, which could be a nod to Garry Kasparov or Rick Nielsen, and a very cool standalone model either way.

It is equipped with a pair of active Jackson humbuckers, has a Floyd Rose Special, the through-neck, the speedy 24 jumbo fret ride, and a price tag of £869 / $899.

Rounding out the new X Series models is the Concert Bass, the four-string refreshed in Ice Blue Metallic with a maple fingerboard, and Matte Army Drab with laurel. This are sleak 34” scale bass guitars that follow the Soloist’s lead in their neck-through build. Here, maple necks are sandwiched between solid poplar. Jackson has upgraded the electronics and the hardware on these.

There is an active P/J pickup configuration, a Jackson Bass Bacher IV string-through hardtail bridge, and a neat vintage-shred aesthetic with the high-contrast parchment pickguard, particularly on the Ice Blue Metallic model. These are priced £729 / $749.

Lastly, but definitely not least, we have the MJ Series Rhoads RRT, a top-of-the-line, Japanese made take on the classic, finished in Snow White, and decked out with Gotoh hardware. There are MG-T locking tuners, a Graph Tech TUSQ XL nut. The fuss-free tune-o-matic style bridge offers a solid platform for riffing.

It has one of the all-time classic pickup pairings, and arguably the archetypical Rhoads pairing, with a Seymour Duncan JB at the bridge, a Jazz humbucker at the neck. Sweet.

This one is a basswood build, so that’s basswood wings round a maple through-neck. Again, graphite-reinforced as all these are, 12”-16” ebony fingerboard and fat jumbo frets for a state-of-the-art feel. It goes without saying that the neck here, as with the models above, is super svelte. 

These Jacksons tend to just get out of your way, and the fit and finish on these MIJ models justifies the extra expense. The MJ Series Rhoads RRT is priced £2,649 / $2,799. Yeah, not cheap, but it’s a lot of guitar, and you’ve got time to save up. It ships in May. The others are out this month.

For more details, head over to Jackson.

Jonathan Horsley

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars and guitar culture since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitar World. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.