Today I went on an adventure! I tried both of the guitars below, through a Victory V30 The Countess Mark II and a Vintage 30 loaded 2x12" speaker cabinet. The amp and cabinet themselves sound wonderful, and it's likely the pair that I will end up getting.
As for the guitars, well I tried the two pictured, and a JB/59 loaded Charvel San Dimas. The Purple "Phaze" Charvel was the one I wanted to try the most, it has a maple fretboard, something that was one of my first main considerations for any guitar I wanted. That was the reason that on the first trip I was so intent on trying some Telecasters, but the pickups and radius of the fretboard really didn't give me a solid feeling in the guitar. It didn't sound like something that I'd get along with.
So I picked up the two guitars below, the Charvel, and the Jackson Soloist. I wasn't too keen on the rosewood fretboard, because I already have two guitars with rosewood fretboards, and the idea of having a different wood on the fret board was appealing, as it imparts a slight tonal difference on the guitar. It's a minute sound difference, not one that I'm sure I can even clearly hear, but they always looked great to play.
The Jackson Soloist in "Northern Lights" that I played today was interesting. It had a pair of Seymour Duncan Distortions in it, which were a little gainier that I was comfortable with, and had so much mid-top end that at points, even on a somewhat low volume, it felt out of control. It played nicely, which I'll describe on the next guitar as it's a common feature of all three guitars I played. It had a three-way switch, which was good, my current main guitar has that, rather than a 5 way blade, but in this case, it had it's limits. My current guitar also has the option to coil split, making the humbuckers work as single coil pickups, effectively giving me 6 sounds from the guitar, which is very useful when I need to switch when working through a song. For example, I prefer using a clean neck single coil for doing some light sounding picking across a few notes, but to ring chords out, I'll switch to the fuller-sounding humbucker.
The Charvel Dinky, in "Purple Phaze" was great to play, it has a compound radius fretboard, meaning it's more curved at the headstock end of the guitar and flatter at the body of the guitar, this is common between both guitars, and it's a great feature. It essentially allows for more comfortable chord playing at the lower end, and more suitable access for lead work at the higher end, which is all around desirable. The pickups were a great combination, a SD Jazz in the neck and a Full Shred in the bridge. The diversity of what sounds it could pull out was great, and even just using the amp on it's standard settings and not modifying the sounds through pedals it was sounding fantastic. The pickups could be selected through a 5 way blade, which made use of each of the pickups in multiple ways, with positions 2 and 4 giving me single coil sounds, while 1 and 5 were full on humbucking and they sounded mighty.
I prefer how the electronics are arranged on the Charvel, the jack is on the back of the body of the guitar, rather than on the edge, as is traditional, and it's just a neat design feature that I liked. Overall I preferred the Charvel to the Jackson on this day, and probably spent an hour playing both of the guitars back and forth, to figure out what it was that I enjoyed more about one over the other. I know now, but I realised I'm not great at retaining a sound in my head and then trying to compare the guitars to one another sequentially.
It's been a fun day! Have an excellent weekend! You're all my favourites!