The Jackson Rhoads electric guitar is one of the most iconic and recognizable guitars in existence. Combining drop-dead gorgeous looks, superb build quality, playability and ferocious sound, the Rhoads is absolutely one of the best rock and Heavy Metal guitars ever made. I personally own a Jackson Rhoads RR5, which is my favorite of my entire collection.
The Jackson Rhoads electric guitar was born when Randy Rhoads(formerly of Quiet Riot) and at the time playing with Ozzy Osbourne approached Grover Jackson of Charvel about building a unique and distinctive guitar for him. Randy provided Grover with some line drawings of his vision of what the body of the guitar would look like. The body was an asymmetric V-shape with the lower wing about half the length of the upper wing. Jackson, a fan of Gibson's Explorer(so am I - love 'em), came up with a headstock design based on that of the Explorer but somewhat narrower and more aggressive in appearance. The headstock design would come to be a trademark of the Jackson electric guitar family.
The original guitar, called the Concorde, was a heavy beast with the entire center block and wings made of maple. Jackson was in a bit of a quandary as to branding the guitar. The Charvel line of guitars was much more conservatively designed with most bearing a resemblance to the Fender Stratocaster. Jackson was concerned that the body style of the new guitar was too radical for the typical Charvel customer. Jackson and Rhoads agreed to putting Jackson's name on the new guitar instead of the Charvel name.
In addition to the guitar being heavy, it was also a big instrument and looked somewhat like a chopped up Gibson Flying-V. Rhoads decided that he wanted a more elegant, distinctive design. As a result he and Jackson again got together and spent hours coming up with a revamped design. The result was a much sleeker, more elegant design with an even shorter lower wing making the design much more distinctive. An added benefit of the design was that the body was more slender than the original, making it easier to reach the higher frets. The new guitar was not only the birth of the Jackson Rhoads electric guitar but also the birth of Jackson Guitars.
There are a number of versions of the Jackson Rhoads electric guitar, ranging from lower end models appropriate for beginning guitarists to high end
models designed for the professional guitarist as well as several Artist Signature models. Regardless of the model, the components and workmanship of the Jackson Rhoads electric guitar
are always of the highest quality.
Every Jackson Rhoads electric guitar shares the same body style, neck style and headstock. Woods, electrical components and tremolos differ from model to model as well as the method in which the neck is affixed to the body. The lower end models tend to have bolt on necks and Floyd Rose licensed tremolos(on the models which have tremolos, of course) while the higher end models tend to have a neck-thru-body design and original Floyd Rose tremolos. In addition, different Jackson Rhoads electric guitar models use different pickups. Regardless of the differences between models, all components and construction are of the very highest quality, as mentioned before.
The Jackson Rhoads electric guitar is a very sweet instrument. Its size and design make it extremely easy to reach the frets in the higher registers even if, like me, you have small hands. The fretboard has a compound radius meaning that it is slightly more curved at the nut and gets flatter as you approach the body of the guitar. This makes it easy to chord along the entire length of the neck.
Every Jackson Rhoads electric guitar has a shallow, classical guitar shaped neck and widely spaced, jumbo frets which makes it easy to play the instrument with speed and accuracy. And the sound? Well, let's just say that a Rhoads on its worst day sounds better than most guitars on their best day. In fact, this can be said of all Jacksons. In addition, if you're like me and you love to use artificial harmonics in your playing, the Jackon Rhoads electric guitar is one of the screamingest harmonics machines I've ever picked up.
To conclude, let me just say that if you're looking for a gorgeous, easy to play, high quality, hard hitting rock and roll beast, you won't go wrong with any version of the Jackson Rhoads electric guitar.
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