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Jackson Soloist SLAT8 Review – A Multi-Scale Masterpiece

4.8 out of 5 stars

No, you’re not drunk – the fretboard is all wonky. But when you start to play the SLAT8 you’ll see why Jackson opted for a multi-scale design. As part of the brand’s celebrated X Series, the SLAT8 is an awesome higher-end 8-string guitar, that puts the emphasis on performance and ergonomics. That’s not to say they’ve slacked on the looks or sound though… let’s check it out.

Jackson-SLAT8-Body

Body & Neck

Let’s address the main talking point first – the multi-scale neck. On top of the one-piece maple neck (which has been reinforced with graphite for solid stability), sits a bound dark rosewood fretboard, with 24 jumbo frets. These frets are fanned, meaning you get a scale length running from 26” on the treble side up to 28” on the bass. This leads to a more ergonomic playing experience, although it takes a little getting used to if you’ve not played one before.

Elsewhere, with neck-through body construction, the arched-top basswood body is cut to the familiar Jackson Soloist shape and finished in a seriously good-looking high-gloss black. It feels very well-built and fretwork is excellent, although from the box it felt in need of a good setup to optimize the action. But when tinkered with, this is one of the easiest-playing 8-strings we’ve seen.

Jackson-SLAT8-Headstock

Hardware

As we start pushing $1,000, you expect some good hardware, and the SLAT8 delivers in this area too. It’s fitted with two pickups, both EMG 909 passive humbuckers at the neck and bridge. Controls are kept simple, with just a single volume and tone control, while a three-way selector switch allows you to choose your pickup.

The bridge of the SLAT8 accommodates the multi-scale design by staggering individual saddles, while at the other end the nut is also angled for the same reason. This guitar is equipped with a set of sealed die-cast tuners which work well in holding tuning, although it’s a shame to see no case in the box – that would have been a good addition for this price.

Sound

The word that first springs to mind with the SLAT8 is balance. Everything just sounds balanced across the ranges, with a slightly compressed sound, as you may have expected from the EMGs. Played cleanly it offers a crisp, bright and modern tone, while distorted it really is heavy – the low-end is meaty but articulate, and the treble is clear and tight. Combined with the multi-scale design, it’s excellent for gigging shredders.

Conclusion

The multi-scale neck may not appeal to everyone, but if you can get to grips with the initial odd feeling, the Jackson’s SLAT8 really is a joy to play – helped by the slim neck, great fretwork, and tight, balanced tone. It’s not a cheap guitar, but feels very much worth the cost.

For more info about the Jackson Soloist SLAT8, click here.
For more 8 String Electric Guitar you might like, click here.


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