Jackson Guitars have never been one to shy away from the spotlight. They deal in heavy metal and everything that comes with it: the pulverising tone, pulsating riffs, even hotter leads and audacious looking weapons. All of which was founded upon a 1980 collaboration between Jackson and Randy Rhoads, from which the Flying V-inspired Concorde was born. From that very moment the ‘V’ body shape became synonymous with Jackson, and so too the typical pointed headstock, as well as a penchant for producing guitars that play unbelievably fast. Touching upon all of these traits is the X Series Scott Ian King V KVXT. A signature guitar made in the name of thrash metal legend and Anthrax founding member Scott Ian, the KVXT is an axe pulled straight from the heyday of 80s metal.
For all you V-shaped guitar lovers out there, this is going to be a doozy. The mahogany body is beautifully refined; the subtle curves of the V and the Ivory gloss polyester finish match menace with class. Glossy pearloid block inlays offset the earthy mahogany neck, while Jackson’s signature pointed six-in-line headstock is still a sight in itself. It’s tremendously light when in hand, and once you have adjusted your strap to adhere for the V-shaped body, it’s quite comfortable.
Essential to the build of this guitar is the neck-through-body construction – a hallmark of Jackson guitars since 1980. This ensures greater stability and sturdiness and, in turn, longevity. It further provides easier access to the upper frets for enhanced playability, and an added dose of sustain. As Jackson mention on their site, this is a construction technique often reserved to high-end models as a result of the extra labour and craftsmanship required to manufacture a neck-through. Which makes it a great inclusion for a guitar at this price range. Add to that the graphite support rods flanking the truss rod and you’ve got a hardened instrument primed for regular use.
The 24.75” scale, 22 jumbo frets and 12”-16” compound-radius fingerboard make this guitar a breeze to navigate. The fact that its compound-radius means that the fingerboard gradually flattens toward the heel, while remaining fuller, and more rounded at the nut. This is just common sense manufacturing, allowing players to get optimum traction for riffage at the nut, and more accessibility and accuracy shredding lead and performing bends as you move higher up the neck.
On board the KVXY are two Duncan-designed humbucking pickups – a fiery HB-103B humbucking bridge pickup and a booming HB-103N humbucking neck pickup – controlled by a tone knob, a pickup switch, and a volume knob. On the bridge pickup there’s a ton of heat, designed to flourish with immense OD saturation. It’s important, however, that there still remains texture and articulation, which is the case here. The liveliness and high-end emphasis will reward player’s technique, while the versatility of the tone knob can also land a more balanced response. The neck pickup is thunderous and crunching. When rolling back on the tone knob the sound is deep and guttural, perfect for breakdowns and palm-muted chugs. As expected the tonal layout of this axe is heavily entrenched in the use of OD and distortion.
As a cool-looking guitar with some high-end features, and at a modest price, this is a viable option for any metal or hard rock guitarist. It looks the part and plays to its intended audience.
Hits and Misses
Compound-radius fingerboard is perfectly tailored to the guitar’s purpose
Quality neck-through-body construction
Looks the part
The fresh polyester gloss finish on the neck is a little too sticky for my liking
Doesn’t come with a case