Jackson Pro Series Monarkh SCP: What is it?
Jackson has thoroughly revolutionised the shape of electric guitars. Over the years, it has retooled the S-style, slimming down the neck, contouring, seeking out more high-output electric guitar pickup options to give metal’s show ponies a sound to match their style.
Then there are the more aggressive shapes, the King V, Kelly, and the über-metal Warrior, and off-the-wall designs, like the lesser-spotted Area 51-inspired Roswell Rhoads.
But even when its instruments are inspired by the ‘50s classics – as the Monarkh surely is by the Les Paul – there’s no shortage of blueprint iconoclasm guiding the design. Yes, the Monarkh SCP is faintly Les Paul-esque, in that it is a solid-body singlecut with a similar scale length, but the apple falls far from the tree; the cutaway is shallower and sharper, the headstock one of Jackson’s arrow-headed 3x3 AT-1 efforts, the top is poplar burl, not maple, and the pickup choice sees a Seymour Duncan JB SH-4 at the bridge and ’59 SH-1N at the neck.
Arguably, the JB/’59 is the most vintage thing about the Monarkh SCP; it’s a modern classic pickup combo, ideal for classic rock, hard rock, metal, and with enough dynamics for blues and jazz – particularly on that neck pickup.
With this in mind, the Monarkh SCP promises to be more than just another shred machine. The maple neck is whip-thin, glued to the body, with a satin-smooth feel that’s enhanced by a hand-rubbed oil finish.
The ebony fingerboard is altogether spec’d for speed, boasting a 12”-16” compound radius, its jumbo frets rewarding a light touch and supporting you in all your string-bending endeavours. Pearloid Ghostfin inlays add to the go-faster vibe.
A guitar such as this might appeal to acolytes of the Floyd Rose double-locking vibrato unit but Jackson favours a more no-nonsense approach to hardware, deploying a radius-compensated tune-o-matic style bridge and anchored tailpiece, and Jackson-branded sealed die-cast locking tuners. The idea is you can put a bit of welly behind your power chords without throwing the whole thing out of whack.
Courtesy of Dunlop dual-locking strap buttons, you can also throw this thing around without worrying about it hitting the floor. Just, y’know, be careful; that headstock could have someone’s eye out.
And that’s the last thing you’d want because the finish on this guitar – a sort of translucent purple burst that’s redolent of NASA’s deep space photography – is really something special, and makes an aesthetically adventurous alternative to the more demurely dressed Monarkh SC (Black finish, gold hardware).
Jackson Pro Series Monarkh SCP: Performance and verdict
There will be some players whose excitement for the Monarkh SCP is tempered by the pickup choice. Why not go for a set of active EMGs, or for the au courant Fishman Fluence Modern humbuckers, with multi-voicings to extend the guitar’s tonal range?
Well, the answer to that question can be found coming out of your guitar amplifier’s speaker. The Seymour Duncan JB/’59 bride-and-neck combination remains relevant and allows you to cover a lot of styles via a quick flick of the shoulder-mounted pickup selector switch. Unlike a Les Paul, which has independent volume and tone controls for each pickup, Jackson gives us a master tone control and independent volume controls, still more than enough to dial in a range of tones.
• ESP E-II Eclipse
Even if the EMGs alienate some, we can see this beautiful guitar looking the part in a classic rock, blues rock or even jazz setting. And since when was a wish list that includes an ultra-comfortable neck shape, excellent upper fret access and a super low action solely the preserve of the metal fraternity?
• Jackson X Series Marty Friedman MF-1 Signature
We love the understated design - it’s a neat twist on Jackson’s Monarkh range - but what’s really great about this X-Series is that it takes Jackson’s supreme playability and allies it to a hugely versatile tone, subtle when required but capable of harmonically rich rock and metal tones.
These Seymour Duncan pickups are nice and dynamic. At full bore, your signal leaning heavily on a distortion pedal, the JB has a harmonically rich and detailed tone profile, with enough character in the mid-range to give you a classic rock bark, a Friday Night Randy Rhoads-style guitar tone, or more intense metal tones should the mood take you. After all, this was Dave Mustaine’s lead pickup of choice throughout Megadeth’s early ‘90s heyday.
As the name suggests, the ’59 is a little more old-school, a more dynamic partner, capable of that vocal rock lead guitar neck pickup sound that was so en vogue back when Clapton was god. It cleans up nicely, too.
These sounds are all great, for all the aforementioned styles and more, but hardly revelatory, so perhaps those who seek enlightenment from the carefully sculpted Jackson lineup will find it in its neck feel and playability, which are typical for the brand and offer players an initially weird sensation of being better than they are.
The compound radius fingerboard is a come hither to fretboard gymnastics and comfortable platform for rhythm guitar alike. Indeed, the Monarkh is hard to put down and impossible to ignore if you are in the market for a versatile electric guitar with pro-quality specs for rock, metal and whatever else you can think of that’ll go with that eye-popping purple burl.
MusicRadar verdict: One of Jackson’s more conventional shapes, with a field-tested Seymour Duncan humbucker pairing, the Monarkh SCP nonetheless might confound your expectations of just how playable a solid-body singlecut can be. It’s versatile, too.
Jackson Pro Series Monarkh SCP: The web says
“Generally, Jackson’s burl finishes are just plain gorgeous and the Pro Series Monarkh SCP is no exception, which we have to say is all down to the colour choice. It’s more plum rather than an all-out in-your-face purple, and quite frankly we can’t keep our eyes off it. So if you’re looking for a sonically dependable rhythm machine that looks utterly stunning, this is it.”
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Jackson Pro Series Monarkh SCP: Hands-on demos
Cream City Music
Jackson Pro Series Monarkh SCP: Specifications
- BODY: Mahogany with arched poplar burl top
- NECK: Mahogany
- SCALE: 24.75”
- FINGERBOARD: Ebony
- FRETS: 22 (jumbo)
- PICKUPS: Seymour Duncan JB SH-4 (bridge), Seymour Duncan ‘59 SH-1N (neck)
- CONTROLS: Volume 1 (neck pickup), Volume 2 (bridge pickup), Tone
- HARDWARE: Jackson TOM-style adjustable with anchored tailpiece and sealed die-cast locking machineheads in black
- LEFT-HANDED: No
- FINISH: Transparent Purple Burst, satin
- CONTACT: Jackson (opens in new tab)