As Good As It Gets
I bought my first Charvel/Jackson back in '89 and still own several from the 80s era, including a Custom Shop Jackson Soloist that was my main stage guitar for 5 years (now comfortably retired). Needless to say, I knew what to expect, or at least thought I did.
This new SL2 is amazing. It plays at least as well as anything I own. It sounds better than any of my other Jacksons, perfect blend of Les Paul girth and Strat spank. Stays in perfect tune, too. The Duncan JB was never a favorite of mine, but works very well here.
The only negative thing I can say is that there's a slight finish flaw on the top of the fretboard at the 5th fret. It looks like a small run that wasn't sanded down completely. It's really small, though, and I never feel it or notice it at all unless I'm looking for it. Other than that, the finish is flawless. The top is highly figured, on par with my PRS Custom 24 Artist and better than 95% of the PRS 10-Tops I've seen. The color is really a deep sapphire blue, vaguely purple, and is dazzling under stage lights. The pictures don't come anywhere close to doing it justice.
Eleven years ago, I pretty much gave up locking tremolos... just wasn't the direction I was going at the time. Since then, I've collected a number of Gibsons (Custom Shop and production), Fenders (Custom Shop and production), and PRS guitars (among others). This Jackson is as well made as any of them and better than most, the closest being PRS (which has amazing quality - great guitars in their own right). It doesn't sound like any of them, doesn't really feel like any of them, either.
Also, I have to mention the setup Sweetwater did before shipping the guitar. I had told them I'd tweak it myself, so just go with pretty standard settings. Out of the box, the action was lower than some of my Gibsons, no rattles, no buzzes, and perfectly in tune. Actually, it was over a week before I made any changes at all. That's never been the case with *any* other guitar I've ever owned. Sweetwater has always been a pleasure to do business with, always professional, knowledgeable, courteous, and never pushy or rude. Thanks, again, Kurt and everyone else! Keep up the great work, guys!!