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Jackson RR1 Randy Rhoads electric guitar review

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Jackson RR1 Randy Rhoads is a legendary V-shaped electric guitar equipped with two humbuckers and original Floyd Rose tremolo. This particular guitar was made in U.S.A. and it's highly priced.

Tuning stability 10/10

No issues here. Really.

Acoustic sound 9/10

Decent acoustic tone with no apparent dead notes and fine sustain. Dark, full and serious tones with a clear character. Unfortunately there occur some differences in sustain between certain notes and that's certainly due to small body and floating bridge. This probably is the best that you can get with such a guitar construction.

Electric sound 8/10

Plugged in the RR1 makes quite an impression, apart from the hum and hiss - please read on.

The tone is hot, saturated and thick with scooped mids. Unfortunately it has so much low end that on some amplifiers it's impossible to control. Changing the pickups to more middle voiced ones made life easier and the tone more flexible.

ISSUE - excessive hum and hiss from guitar electronics. You have to be touching the strings to avoid hiss... I'm writing this being surprised and having previously played these pickups in numerous other guitars. There's a video about this issue on YouTube by dmometalguitar - look for "ESP vs. Jackson - Guitar Comparison - Part 2 of 3".

Replacing output cable that goes from the switch to the guitar's output jack with a better shielded one did help. That's probably because it's routed directly under the bridge pickup - it appears that the pickup's magnetic field affects the signal. I have even performed an experiment with the original cable. I switched to the neck pickup and took the bridge one out of the guitar and it made the problem go away. Shielding in RR1 is anyway surpising - pickup cavities are painted with a shielding conductive paint and they are connected to the ground in the electronics cavity. The electronics cavity, however, had no shielding of any kind.

Finish 9/10

High quality finish, definitely too high nut. With the nut lowered it's far easier to play this Jackson.

Neck 9.5/10

Fine neck, comfortable. Last frets are accessible, however not that much as in any Ibanez RG if you take all strings into consideration.

Table 1 Jackson RR1 neck dimensions

Dimension Value
Width at nut 43mm
Width at 24th fret 57mm
Thickness at 1st fret 20mm
Thickness at 12th fret 21.5mm
Fingerboard radius 12-16" compound

Features 8.5/10

It could have straplocks but instead there's a hard case that's the most ridiculous thing here because it's so HUGE that it's more of a furniture than a guitar case. It's also heavy and it's in the shape of a rectangle. These days they make these shaped like the guitars they're designed for. Besides that case there's also an extra feature - an allen wrench holder mounted on headstock back, which is a good thing.

Balance 8/10

Perfect balance on a strap, however it's difficult to hold this guitar between your legs while you're sitting. There's just less control than with a symmetrical King V because of the shorter body wing.

Weight 10/10

It feels just right, given the mahogany body and Floyd Rose bridge.

Price 4/10

Price - around 2200-2600 US dollars new. It seems overpriced, doesn't it? You can't complain about its quality as after years of usage everything is still in order, but it certainly isn't an instrument that will enable you to do things impossible to do with other guitars. Straight from factory it wasn't the easiest guitar to play there was and it needed some electronics repair. For some people however it's like a childhood dream I can understand why. There's an obvious link between its legendary shape, sharp looking mother of perl shark tooth inlays, the immortal Jackson logo and some of the greatest guitar heroes of all time. It's an instrument for enthusiasts and collectors for sure.

Advantages

pic Finish quality
pic Electric sound quality
pic Acoustic sound quality
pic Balance

Drawbacks

pic Price
pic Hum and hiss from electronics, poor shielding

Specification:

  • 24 large jumbo frets
  • 25.5" scale
  • Maple neck
  • Ebony fingerboard
  • Mahogany body
  • Original Floyd Rose bridge
  • Seymour Duncan SH-4 Jeff Beck and SH-2 Jazz pickups (HH)
  • 3-way switch
  • 1 volume pot
  • 1 tone pot
  • Finish - Black
  • Year of production - around 2004
  • Country of production - U.S.A.
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