Do Jacksons sound worse than ESPs?

Dr. Caligari

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I'm talking about the higher end production guitars here, like ESP standard series and USA or high end Japanese Jacksons.

I have some experience with ESP, having owned a couple of them. But I only have one Jackson. I don't think my Jackson is so great, and this thought occurred to me that maybe in general Jacksons don't sound as good as ESPs, for whatever reason.

I found this comparison on youtube between two guitars, and I think the Jackson sounds really bad compared to the ESP. It could be because of the trem vs fixed bridge, but I don't know. The Jackson sounds really woolly and lacking in definition compared to the ESP, and it sort of reminds me of my own Jackson.

What do you guys think? Can any generalizations be made about ESP vs Jackson tone?

 

Empryrean

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I think a big problem with this video is that they don't mention the electronics in the guitars which is like 95% of the tone imo. I say you should demo pickups until you find some you like and you'd be surprised how little everything else matters.

edit: also more on the topic of your question, comparing brands with a big generalized statement like that is pretty hard to do considering that ESP also make guitars with trems and jackson also makes hardtail guitars. It really boils down to preference and the major differences you'll be feeling as a player like neck shape, body contours (since they both make superstrats the only real difference i can think of it the contouring, iirc ESP has some REAL DEEP belly cuts in some of their guitars)
 

BrutalRob

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Change the Pickups and you will have a different sound. I would rather compare guitars regarding build quality and how they play, how the neck feels etc
 

Dr. Caligari

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I think the pickup is JB in both guitars. And I don't think the "wrong" pickup could make a guitar sound like that Jackson, there's something else going on. Likewise I don't think a good pickup can save a guitar if the guitar itself isn't good.

Also I don't think pots and strings would make that kind of difference that's heard in the video. There's got to be more to it, construction, bridge, pickup placement, other stuff etc...

Mainly I wanted to hear other opinions since my sample size of guitars is so small.
 

narad

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Even if there was a difference between those guitars that was present even when pots, pickups, bridge, pickup height, strings, are all controlled, they're still just two particular guitars. These differences might not even be present if you grabbed a different pair of guitars of the same models. Then let alone these differences say anything about the brand as a whole, when the construction of the different models vary drastically.

It's really not a valid question.
 

Dr. Caligari

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Even if there was a difference between those guitars that was present even when pots, pickups, bridge, pickup height, strings, are all controlled, they're still just two particular guitars. These differences might not even be present if you grabbed a different pair of guitars of the same models. Then let alone these differences say anything about the brand as a whole, when the construction of the different models vary drastically.

It's really not a valid question.

But exactly what you said is why I asked the question. To get a better understanding than what those two guitars give me.
 

Giest

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Like others have explained thoroughly, electronics make a big difference. Not only that but electronics configuration.

Tuning stability and intonation is a finer point that comes to mind as well. You can have the best guitar in the world, but if it's set up by an ape anything you play on it will sound like butt.
 

j3ps3

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Even with the exact same specs the guitars would sound different. I believe that pickups make most of the sound but wood still makes a great impact on the tone. Shitty plank will sound shitty even if it's *insert-your-choice-of-the-best-wood-for-a-guitar-here*. I tend to knock on the planks when picking up wood for the build I'm making. If the plank sounds dead when knocking on it, it'll sound dead as a guitar too.
 

Dr. Caligari

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Like others have explained thoroughly, electronics make a big difference. Not only that but electronics configuration.

Tuning stability and intonation is a finer point that comes to mind as well. You can have the best guitar in the world, but if it's set up by an ape anything you play on it will sound like butt.

Ok can you explain to me how electronics can make the difference heard in the video? I genuinely don't know that much about electronics but I'm happy to learn.
 

Giest

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Ok can you explain to me how electronics can make the difference heard in the video? I genuinely don't know that much about electronics but I'm happy to learn.

There's a lot to it and I'm not hugely up on it myself, but I'll take a stab at saying what I have found out. Others around here know a shit ton more than I do about it. Obviously pick ups are a huge part of it, but so is workmanship of the circuits in regard to connections and components. Sometimes there will be little good idea fairy ideas tucked in here and there as well like a treble bleed capacitor or simply different switch wiring that can set two guitars with the same pickups apart greatly. In my opinion minimally wired guitars with minimalist controls sound better, that's not an empirical fact in my mind, just an observation. I guess I've had guitars with a boatload of tonal controls and guitars with only a volume knob, the ones with the complicated electronics really had to be done with perfect workmanship and shielding to sound right.


It's hard to say any one brand of guitar sounds a certain way anymore based on the electronics differences between even models of the same brand. Back in the day when it was Gibson humbuckers or Strat single coils, sure. Nowadays not so much, and compared over a few Youtube videos totally forget about it. YT videos are good for comparison but terrible for accurate tonal representations in my experience. You might be able to tell which one sounds thicker or thinner in certain regards, but it's very difficult to say which one actually sounds better in real life. Don't take it too seriously is what I mean to say, I suppose.
 

trem licking

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100% pickups and resistors only difference in tones between guitars. That's it. Plenty of videos proving that on youtube. Worry about feel and quality you can tolerate, the tone can be ripped out and replaced if you don't like it
 

Dr. Caligari

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100% pickups and resistors only difference in tones between guitars. That's it. Plenty of videos proving that on youtube. Worry about feel and quality you can tolerate, the tone can be ripped out and replaced if you don't like it

No, I'm sure this isn't the case.
 

Viginez

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trem vs fixed
thats too big of a difference to be able to compare them
 

Manurack

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Well my dude, you're comparing two totally different guitars. Same body shape, to an extent.

The ESP is a Horizon arch top model with no Floyd Rose brah - no routing for said Floyd Rose. The Jackson is a flat stop model with the heavily routed body with 24 frets.

So naturally, regardless of pickups, pots, electronics yadda yadda fucking yadda - the ESP will sound thicker even just acoustically bro. The ESP has more wood since the top is a beveled edge guitar rather than the flat top Jackson.

TLDR: way more wood on ESP, way less wood on the Jackson.
 

Dr. Caligari

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trem vs fixed
thats too big of a difference to be able to compare them

Yeah honestly I think this might be the biggest difference. But I wonder if the ESP would still sound better if they had the same bridge. I've had trem ESPs that I was pretty happy with.

Some guitars just sound better than others. Not a brand vs brand thing, just some guitars have the mojo that some others don't.

Plus I wouldn't use a sample size of 1 vs 1 to generalize one brand being better than another.

Yeah I don't disagree but that's why I made the thread, to hear from others who maybe have played more guitars. I want Jacksons to be good but they always seem underwhelming and I wonder if there's something inherent about them that doesn't work for me or if it's just bad individual guitars/comparing trems to fixed bridges etc.
 


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