What’s New In Music Stores: Jackson, Fender, Schecter

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Issue 11

This Issue, I play some twin humbucker guitars from Fender, Jackson, Squier, Orcoast and Schecter. I love my job!

I’ve been hankering for a twin humbucker guitar lately, something with the Les Paul sound, to complement my single coil Strat. Some guys play only one guitar or use one tone but I like to be a little more versatile than that. In my quest for the perfect one for me, I tried a little of everything as long as it had twin humbuckers. Anyway, all of the guitars sounded great through a little Bugera Vintage 22, good sustain and crunch, howling overdrive tones and crystal clear and bright cleans.

Orcoast Music Les Paul Standard (new- sale $299)

orcoast-music-les-paulI reviewed these back in Issue 4 and stated that I thought they were the best copies I’ve seen. Nothing has happened to change that opinion. The one I like the best, and I didn’t play it then, is a flamed top vintage Cherry stain with chrome hardware. I’ve shown an Epiphone LP to Illustrate the color. The Orcoast also has a black headstock and black knobs, but that’s the color. It has a slightly thicker neck than I like but I can play it just fine after a couple of minutes. Overall feel is great. This would make a great guitar to modify with new pickups, nut, Bigsby tailpiece, etc… You can get in cheap and have a ball.

Jackson Randy Rhodes Pro (New, $850)

jackson-randy-rhoades-proThis is quite a comfortable guitar, despite the odd shape. The 3-piece built-up neck features an Ebony fingerboard and a 12-16″ radius compound curve with jumbo frets. This neck is fast, boys and girls. Really nice action and, with an Alder body with through the body string anchors (ala Tele), the sustain is wonderfully rich. I didn’t like the jumbo frets too much and I can just see myself at open mic with a shredder guitar! EMG pickups for outstanding tone. Very nice.

Fender Squier Telecaster Custom (New, $299)

fender-sduier-telecaster-customHere’s a Tele shaped, twin humbucker solid body with a Tele neck. Each pickup has volume and tone controls, and the 3-position selector is up top like the LP. The body is made from Agathis, which is an Asian cousin to mahogany. It is inexpensive and works well but is rather bland as a tonewood, without the rich and multi-colored sound of mahogany. This Tele weighs less than the alder body Tele does which makes it pretty comfortable to play for long periods on a strap.

I didn’t notice any real problem with the sustain or tone of this guitar. It had crisp, clear highs, and good lows, a nice quacky punch when crunchy and screamed in full shred mode. The maple neck sports medium-jumbo frets, which are quite a bit different than the jumbos on the Jackson. I liked this guitar quite a bit, although it does not have a conventional Tele sound.

Squier Jagmaster (New, $299)

squier-jagmasterThis is a really nice playing and sounding guitar. It’s very warm with that Strat-style neck and rosewood fingerboard. Believe it or not, the larger headstock does minutely affect the tone and sustain of the guitar but I doubt anyone could hear it with the naked ear. In keeping with the Squier name, the tremolo is a vintage style, six-screw pivot with newer style saddles. One tone and one volume pot in the traditional position with the 3-way selector in the lower front bout of the alder body. Seymour Duncan designed humbuckers grace this guitar and provide a very well rounded tone package. A really nice guitar for 300 clams.

Schecter Blackjack (Used, $650)

schecter-blackjackThis is a truly nice guitar with great attention to detail in the fit and finish department. A tight grained Rosewood fingerboard with 24 jumbo frets adorns this 3-piece maple set neck. Seymour Duncan pickups furnish the sound power through a master tone control and a volume for each pickup. A TonePros bridge with string-through-body anchoring handles the lower end of the strings while Schecter locking tuners handle the top. The one I tested was an older one without the active pickup system and the scull fret marker. I think it had medium, or medium jumbo frets, and a ‘dot’ neck also.
The neck feel was really nice, reminding me of my old Black Beauty LP. Schecter bills this guitar as a “shredders guitar.” It doesn’t have the look if you ask me, but it sure is fast, with tone for days and great sustain. This would be a fine addition to any collection.

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Doug Knight

Our “Man on the Street” reporter, with his “What’s New in Music Stores?” series, resides in Coos Bay, OR. You can find him on Friday nights at The Small Events Center at OrCoast Music in Coos Bay.

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