After waiting for close to a year to get my hands on one of these is showed up today. My Jackson JS3VQM in Trans Black. It's my first fiver and while it's taking some getting used to, I am diggin' on it.
The appearance is surprisingly good! They guys at my local music store were all rather overwhelmed at how nice it looks given it's price. Yes it's a veneer, not a true cap, but it's well under a grand too. The fit and finish is somewhat better than I expected for $400, it doesn't feel like an entry level fiver. The only downside (So far anyway) is that the tuners don't seem terribly precise, but that's an easy upgrade. The tone is pretty much as has been reported elsewhere. It's got a good range of adjustment via the preamp, but if you are looking for more "Classic" tones, either plan on a pup swap straight out of the gate or look elsewhere. It is a very modern, forward sounding, even (Dare I say?) aggressive tone. Yes, it will do metal just fine. Straight ahead rock, prog, possibly even modern country and maybe proggish jazzy stuff would be well within it's purview; although anything jazz will be a bit of a stretch.
Out of the box it needed a serious neck tweak, a hair over a half turn loosening the truss rod, the neck was dead straight and buzzed something fierce. While I like a nearly straight neck on my 4's and don't mind a little buzz here and there, this thing sounded like I'd kicked a hornet nest, especially on the B and E strings. String tension on the B is pretty good once the neck was adjusted, it's no floppier than I expected, possibly even a bit better. There's no fret overhang or any of that sort of weirdness. The pots feel like mini's usually do.
The one thing I WILL
be doing as soon as I post this is heading over to bassstringsonline and grabbing a set of GHS Contact Core Stainless. I can tell there's a ton of tone in this that these horrible strings, whatever they are, are masking. They have a nice feel, but there is no sparkle or zing to them. Sort of like a set of XL's Nickels that are long past needing to be changed.
All in all I am stupid happy with this purchase and my LMS was great. They are a Fender dealer, but opted not to carry Jackson. When I asked if they could order this one up, they spent about an hour on the phone making it happen and for that I am very grateful. Suck it Guitar Center!
OK, enough blah blah blah from me, on to the bass pr0n!
Unfortunately the low lighting in here and my point and shoot make this look more purple than it really is, although there is a faint hint of a purple hue in real life.
The grain on the back is rather nice I think. At least they had the good grace to pick a sort of interesting piece of basswoood to put a trans stain on.
The matching veneer on the headstock is a nice touch. Yes, I know the truss rod cover is off, it's late and I just finished my touchup/setup. They did clearcoat after they bored out the headstock, which I think is kinda cool.
Nice three-piece neck, a nice upgrade from the softball bats I've been playing.
So there it is in all it's pointy glory. While I doubt I'll ever have a collection to rival amimbari, I can certainly see myself picking up another Jackson or two. Now, I'm off put the truss rod cover back on, order some strings and get back to working on Tornado Of Souls.