If you’ve at all followed crunchy guitar playing for the past 25 years, you know players often delve into ranges beyond the traditional six-string. From Jackson’s Pro Series, the Jeff Loomis Soloist SL7 seven-string celebrates the post-shred achievements of Loomis, guitarist with Arch Enemy, Alkatrazz, and (formerly) the groundbreaking Nevermore.
If you’ve ever played an extended-range guitar, you know the top six strings are in standard tuning, while the seventh is a low B – something jazz players have explored for decades. Hard-rock and metal players either leave it at B or tune it down to A (or lower, for maximum chunking); depending on one’s choice of string gauge, there are even lower-range tunings to explore.
The Loomis SL7 has a basswood body with a sandblasted ash top with a satin-black finish. Its 26.5″-scale maple neck has 24 jumbo frets on an ebony ’board, deploying a 12″-to-16″ compound radius. To deal with the additional tension of a seventh string, the Loomis has graphite reinforcements within the neck and a heel-mount truss adjust wheel right next to the 24th fret. Also look for active Seymour Duncan Jeff Loomis Blackout humbuckers in the neck and bridge slots. For controls, there’s simply a three-way toggle and single Volume knob.
With a Floyd Rose 1500 Series locking-vibrato bridge, you might think tuning would be a challenge, but this Jackson is well-engineered to take all your stunt dives and rolls, and come out in tune every time. That says a lot about the thinking that went into the neck reinforcement, hardware, and overall construction. If you haven’t grabbed a seven before, you may be surprised at the wide, flat neck, but again, Jackson has provided a comfy neck carve, making the transition easy. Plugged in, the basswood body and lively active pickups provide for a blazing tone, full of attack, sustain, and precision. Feel free to deploy your fastest, heaviest licks and riffs.
It’s hard to find fault with anything on the Loomis, thanks to that superior build quality. However, if you’re looking for a traditional wood finish, this isn’t it. The sandblasted ash feels more like a hardened composite than actual wood, though it conveys a utilitarian vibe metalers will appreciate. Still, if you desire to go low as only a seven-string can, the Jackson Jeff Loomis SL7 is a serious contender.
This article originally appeared in VG’s August 2022 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.