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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Since I'm on a Kahler thing at the moment, I decided to grab this, an '86 Jackson Soloist









1986 was a transition year for Jackson from the original San Dimas factory to their bigger Ontario, Calif., factory, where they were located until just a few years ago. Based on the serial number, it's very likely that this guitar was started at San Dimas and finished at Ontario.

As such, it's a weird mash-up of features. It has San Dimas pickup and control routs, and logo. However, the larger frets and large pickup ring are from the late '80s Ontario era.

It also has a couple of oddities I can't explain. The electronics appear to have been messed with at some point, and the pickup switches are the black "paddle" style found on Japanese Charvels from the era, not the smaller silver switches found on U.S. Jacksons. Also, the bridge pickup that came with it says "Model 4" on the back; I'm guessing it's a Jackson J-50BC, but I can't tell whether it's original or came from a Japanese Charvel. Since this guitar was built right around the time the Japanese Charvels were first introduced, I almost wonder whether someone at the factory just grabbed some parts for those when finishing this guitar.

The other oddity is the Kahler string lock. As you can see in one of the photos, it's mounted over the top of the truss rod cover. This is a royal pain, because it means you have to remove the string lock in order to adjust the truss rod. I've only ever seen this on very early Jacksons. By 1986, Jacksons and Charvels with Kahlers (or the similar string lock used with Jackson's licensed Floyd) used a special notched truss rod cover that fit around the string lock, which was firmly mounted to the body. Very strange to see this guitar's setup at such a late date. And the truss rod cover is very clearly the older thin design from the San Dimas era.

I'm having almost as much fun doing forensics on this guitar as playing it. :lol:

It also appears to have the Kahler Pro with the steel *** and rollers, as well as the heavy-duty spring package. I've already installed a Suhr Aldrich pickup, and we'll see how it goes. I may end up installing a different Kahler with the brass *** & rollers, as well as the lighter springs.
 

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Hates Richie Kotzen
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Happy to see you got that afterall Chris. That thing is beautiful.

Edit: How does the Aldrich sound in poplar for heavier stuff? I put mine in the AT as soon as it came and I'm not taking it out, but I've been considering the Aldrich for my poplar guitars too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks! The color was pretty much impossible to resist.

I love the Aldrich in this guitar so far, but it turns out the tone control isn't wired into the circuit at the moment. I've got to fix that before I can do a better evaluation. It's a bit trebly without the capacitor bleed-off.
 

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Hates Richie Kotzen
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Have you considered cantrelling it and putting a floyd nut on there? That would solve the truss rod problem.

Edit: Probably wouldn't work do to headstock angle though.
 

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Beautiful!
Love everything but the Kahler. (I've tried I just can't gel with them)
I'm on somewhat of a soloist kick myself right now.
I may be picking up a San Dimas soloist soon too
 

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So much fr00t! :wub:

That looks very cool. Nice score. :yesway:
 

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Dream Crusher
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That is an, erm, violent shade, sir.

Gotta love the quirky "features" too. Looks mint though, and I look forward to your thoughts on the Aldrich in it too.
 

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I am Groot
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As such, it's a weird mash-up of features. It has San Dimas pickup and control routs, and logo. However, the larger frets and large pickup ring are from the late '80s Ontario era.
It is actually identical to mine, except for the USA under the logo (mine is the standard Ontario after the logo), the messed up electronics (which have to be an owner swapping them), and that odd stringlock.

It also appears to have the Kahler Pro with the steel *** and rollers, as well as the heavy-duty spring package. I've already installed a Suhr Aldrich pickup, and we'll see how it goes. I may end up installing a different Kahler with the brass *** & rollers, as well as the lighter springs.
I have the same Kahler on mine, and honestly, I like it better that way. The steel gives it more attack than brass, which helps with the muddled midrange Kahlers generally impart.
 

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I am Groot
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BTW that purple :lol:
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Have you considered cantrelling it and putting a floyd nut on there? That would solve the truss rod problem.

Edit: Probably wouldn't work do to headstock angle though.
I'll probably just leave it the way it is. However, the easiest solution would be to get one of the proper "notched" truss rod covers and then screw the string lock all the way down to the headstock.

Beautiful!
Love everything but the Kahler. (I've tried I just can't gel with them)
I'm on somewhat of a soloist kick myself right now.
I may be picking up a San Dimas soloist soon too
I'm into the Kahlers right now. It's not entirely rational. :lol:

Purple!

Those outdoor photos make it look lighter than it really is. It's actually about a medium purple. I've never seen quite this exact shade on another guitar before, which is one thing that attracted me to it. I would like to own a pink Soloist one of these days, however. ;)

It is actually identical to mine, except for the USA under the logo (mine is the standard Ontario after the logo), the messed up electronics (which have to be an owner swapping them), and that odd stringlock.

I have the same Kahler on mine, and honestly, I like it better that way. The steel gives it more attack than brass, which helps with the muddled midrange Kahlers generally impart.
I think you're right about the electronics. The only way I can see those switches being stock is if the buyer insisted on completely black hardware. I don't recall many people being quite that picky about those things 25 years ago, though. The Internet seemed to make nitpickers of us all.

I like the steel Kahler now that I have the Aldrich properly wired up with the tone circuit. It takes a little of the edge off. I'm rather fond of the rounded tone the brass Kahler gives my LTD JH-600. If I were to get another Kahler'ed Soloist, I'd want a brass one. Not that I'd do anything like that. ;)

BTW, the Aldrich absolutely sings in this guitar. I heartily recommend it in any and all Soloists. But you really need to wire it with a tone control. It's a bit nasal without one.

Some of the San Dimas logos have "Made in USA" after the logo, too. Usually, it happened when there wasn't enough room for it underneath, and then they would just manually chop off the "Made in USA" from the decal and place it after. The real logo test is "™" on the SD guitars vs. "®" on the Ontarios. Mine has "™", however the decal usage was a bit inconsistent during the transition period.
 

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RG 7 player of doom
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Muthafucker.
Even though I don't play six strings anymore and try not to GAS for them, those 80s Soloists always give me fucking good. I've never even played an 80s Soloist, but I just imagine them being so ridiculously easy to play.
Congrats :)
 
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