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  • SLX Soloist sounds dull

    I wanted to try Soloist and I went for used SLX entry level. Good start to get basic idea what this type of guitar has to offer. Floyd Rose Special keeps tuning, action can be very low, intonation ok, lightweight as I wanted it to be. Overall: guitar is really nice and everything is ok. I feel impressed and would like to use this as my primary guitar.

    But the sound is not ok. New strings sound dead as if they are old. Charvel San Dimas has richer tone with same strings, more harmonics, as it should be when strings are new. This shows acoustically and also plugged-in on both guitars.

    I suspect that root cause maybe in tremolo. Comparing to my Charvel San Dimas, flutter dies quicker on Soloist. Springs maybe creating dull tone on Soloist?

    Also, it is visible that Soloist had tremolo without strings pulled back onto cavity bottom by springs. Cover on bottom has marks that show this. Some damage happened to tremolo and it causes this dull sound?

    Or... is it just neck-through so all neck through guitars have less harmonics in tone, comparing to bolt-on guitars?

  • #2
    Anyways theres a few reason why the tone isn't great yet:

    1. Tremolo block is SUPER SHITTY, its like so thin (I think it's thinner than default not sure but looks thin anyways) that it's almost non existent and lighter than default weight

    2. Pickups are Duncan Design, not original Duncan's

    3. Yea the springs could easily be changed to some nice noiseless Floyd springs.

    Also a good setup will effect tone a lot, as it did with my guitar.
    Last edited by DanzoStrife; 07-10-2019, 04:35 PM.

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    • #3
      You can also check the nut and saddles. If the string isn't sitting properly at the contact points, it may not resonate properly...

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Metal Spawn View Post
        You can also check the nut and saddles. If the string isn't sitting properly at the contact points, it may not resonate properly...
        YEP, that's part of the whole setup process. it would be advisable to let the luthier do the work .

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        • #5
          Thank you for your insights. One thing is for sure - I will be taking it to luthier. Before that, I might try putting Floyd Rose from Charvel just to see if sound improves.

          I don't see how nut would be affecting tone. Once you lock it, strings are tight inside. However, the fact that I don't see something doesn't mean it's not there
          Hmmm... It just might be there because after buying I noticed one of the neck screws needed tightening. Before tightening, nut was sometimes producing "click" sounds when using tremolo.

          Tremolo block might be shitty, yes. I'll see if that is really affecting sound and replace it with something better. Schaller might be good choice over here in Europe (around $200). For some reason, original German Floyd Rose is around $200 in US, and about $350 in Europe.

          Pickups. I've installed cheap Chinese ceramic 15k bridge and 7.5k neck into that Soloist. Curiously enough, it sounds almost identical to Duncan Designed. Less output on neck as expected, but unexpected was that color of the sound is almost identical. So I just might open my wallet and reach for original Seymour Duncan JB and 59, as in my San Dimas.

          Before investing more, I need more clarity into what I am doing. I am trying to make Jackson SLX Soloist sound like Charvel San Dimas. Maybe that's not possible at all. There are mixed opinions about tonewood, guitar weight, pickups... a lot of interesting videos on youtube that prove each side of those coins... so I'll first talk to luthier before further modding this very interesting guitar

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          • #6
            Here's an update. Chinese pickups are not almost identical to Duncan Designed and there is a noticable difference. It was a case of general fatigue and ear fatigue as well. But also a case of not listening properly. In both cases my ear was accustomed to San Dimas sound. When faced with two new sounds that were not close to San Dimas, subconsciously it was declared as "two almost the same sounds that I don't like". When I put it in DAW and switch tracks in middle of the chord, clear difference can be heard in both bridge and neck pickups.

            That is one step closer to a decision to buy better pickups....

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            • #7
              Originally posted by branchi View Post
              Here's an update. Chinese pickups are not almost identical to Duncan Designed and there is a noticable difference. It was a case of general fatigue and ear fatigue as well. But also a case of not listening properly. In both cases my ear was accustomed to San Dimas sound. When faced with two new sounds that were not close to San Dimas, subconsciously it was declared as "two almost the same sounds that I don't like". When I put it in DAW and switch tracks in middle of the chord, clear difference can be heard in both bridge and neck pickups.

              That is one step closer to a decision to buy better pickups....
              Pickups will make a bigger difference than basically anything else you can do. Buy them now!

              The tremelo block is a much more subtle difference, new Floyd arm and/or springs totally irrelevant.
              '95 Charvel San Dimas USA Model I Koa - BKP
              '91 Charvel 650 Custom - EMG 85/SLV/SLV+SPC
              '92 Jackson Soloist Pro MIJ
              '91 Charvel 475 Exotic Cherry Sunburst - Duncan PATB set
              '90 Charvel 475 XL
              '10 Charvel San Dimas MIJ Style 1 2H - JB/'59
              Mesa Boogie Quad Preamp/Stereo Simul-Class 2:90
              Mesa Boogie MkIII+ Simul-Class & MkIVb with Mark Series stack
              Marshall JVM410H

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              • #8
                Owning both neckthru and bolt on Charvel and Jackson guitars over the years mostly (now considered) vintage, I've noticed without exception that the bolt on guitars are always much "snappier" in their tone regardless of the pickups.
                I love the feel and playability of the neckthrus but if what I'm looking for tonewise is a brighter, sharper attack, I always reach for the bolt ons.
                IMO
                Neckthru = warmth, comfort and feel
                Bolt on = aggressiveness, attack and attitude
                I live on the edge of danger facing life and death every single day.....then I leave her at home and go disarm bombs.

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                • #9
                  I found some time and tried using tremolo springs from Charvel - I could not tell any difference in Jackson. Then I used Floyd Rose 1000 from Charvel on Jackson - with that I could tell some difference. However, the difference was not that great.

                  Both versions of Floyd Rose have same block. BTW Chinese Floyd Rose Special on Jackson weighs 325 grams. Korean Floyd Rose 1000 on Charvel weighs 387 grams.

                  Everything points out to the fact bombtek is saying: difference is primary on bolt on vs neckthru. It is not so much about wood (or weight) of the guitar. It also is not so much about the pickups. It all makes some difference, but not as much as neck joint. Darrell Brown made good videos on wood and pickups. I couldn't find any satisfactory video showing neck joint differences... so I'll hear it for myself.

                  And to continue this game, I found used Seymour Duncan JB and it's in the mail travelling to me I cannot find a used 59 neck... but I might take used Jazz since it seems close to 59. After seeing Darrell's videos I don't expect much... but let's see. I'll be posting my findings here.

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