Guitar Review : Jaden Rose Series 2

Neal Beedie June 21, 2011 12

Jaden Rose Guitars is a relatively new UK based company which is very quickly making a name for itself within the guitar playing community.  Jaden very kindly sent me one of his excellent left handed Series2 models to play with and review this week.

The UK-made Series2 represents a stripped down version of Jaden’s Original Series design, where most of the bling has been removed in order to offer drastic reductions in price.  The result is a much more refined looking guitar which still offers the supreme playability of its bigger, more expensive brother.

I was sent the 6-string hardtail model from the range, but also on offer are a 6-string Floyd Rose and a 7-string hardtail version.  Various different finishes and options are available, check out Jaden’s website for more information.

Body

The two-piece centre-joined body is made of grade-A premium African Sapele, which is a lower cost alternative to the increasingly endangered mahogany species more commonly used in guitars.  Thanks to the fine grain of the Sapele and Jaden’s superb oil/wax finish this guitar has a smooth as satin feel to it.  Apart from the arm-cut and rear tummy-cut the body is perfectly flat.

Jaden Rose Series 2 - Lightly Distressed Black Left Handed Lefty

One of the first things you’ll notice about the body of this guitar is its similarity to the incredibly popular RG design from Ibanez.  However, whilst the Ibanez has sharp edges around the curves of the body, Jaden has applied a small curved radius on the top and bottom which makes this guitar slightly more comfortable to play when sitting down.  In comparison the Series2 body is also slightly thinner but still has a decent amount of weight behind it.

Finish

Lefties rejoice!  A heavy rocking guitar that doesn’t come in a choice of either a glossy black finish, or a glossy black finish!  This guitar is in the jaw-droppingly gorgeous distressed black wax finish which allows the stylish sapele grain to show through.  It is also nice to see that Jaden has opted for consistency by matching the finish on the headstock as well.

I love the refined, elegant aesthetic that this guitar exudes.  Next to my other guitars it makes them look like some cheap Friday night totty with too much make-up and fake-tan on.  The Series2 is definitely less about bling and more about organic beauty and subtlety.

If this finish isn’t your bag you also have a choice of Cherry Red, Midnight Blue, Sea Blue, Golden Yellow, Lemon Yellow or Jade Green.  Each finish is available as a standard solid colour, or Jaden can also finish the guitar in varying levels of distress.  The model I was sent features a lightly distressed black finish which gives a nice worn-in look without going over the top.

Neck

The guitar features a bolt on neck which is securely fastened to the body’s rounded heel.  As you would expect of a guitar designed to smoke, access to the upper frets is completely unhampered due to the excellent cutaways. As standard the left handed model comes with a rather ‘metal’ looking reverse headstock, but it is also possible to upgrade to a normal headstock.

The neck is made from Canadian Rock Maple and features an Indian Rosewood fretboard with New Zealand Paua dot-inlays.  The back of the neck is unfinished which results in silky smooth playability across the range of the fretboard.

The neck profile is similar to an Ibanez Wizard style but with slightly more meat to grab on to.  It’s still a flat D-shaped profile but definitely a lot softer, slightly more rounded than the Ibanez.  Personally I’ve always felt that the Ibanez necks were a little too thin for comfort, so adding this little bit of extra ‘chunk’ seems to have made all the difference for me.

Hardware

Although upgrades to either DiMarzio or BareKnuckle pickups are available, this particular model features humbuckers designed by Jaden and manufactured in Korea.  They are controlled by the 3-way toggle and single volume and tone pots.

I think the best word to describe the bridge humbucker would be ’raw’.  It’s a very trebly, dirty sounding pickup which will eat you alive if you don’t have your string muting technique down to a fine art.  It doesn’t have quite as much ‘oomph’ as other modern high gain pickups, making it perfect for a more classic rock or 80’s metal vibe.  Flick over to the neck position and you are instantly rewarded with extra bass response and a much smoother tone.  There is quite a noticeable difference between the two pickups, which results in a good variety of different tones.

Make no mistake, this is a shred guitar and is definitely at its best when exposed to large amounts of gain.  However, at a pinch you should still be able to eek some perfectly useable clean tones out of this beast.  Despite being laser targeted at shred-monkeys, I found that the trebly nature of the pickups lends itself well to playing some amazing clean funk tones. I even managed to coax some great twangy country style tones from it.  This guitar is certainly more versatile than the quotes on the website would have you believe!

The single tone and volume knobs are located further away from your picking hand than you would normally find on most other guitars.  They are still within easy reach but are very much designed to be set and then left alone.

On the flip side, the 3-way pickup selector is located much closer to the picking hand than you would normally find.  If you have a wild picking technique you are definitely going to become irritated when you keep accidentally flicking the switch whilst playing.  If you wield this guitar you are expected to have a very refined picking technique with little unnecessary movement.  If this is you, you will come to love the switch location as it makes for very easy and efficient switching whilst playing.  If this is not you, you will very quickly learn to straighten out your picking!

The Skinny

This is a stripped down guitar with the playability of instruments far in excess of its price point.  I think that especially for us southpaws, where the choices for affordable shred-style guitars in colours other than gloss black are thin on the ground, this is truly a shining light in a market otherwise largely devoid of excitement.

Great price, gorgeous looks and sublime playability.  This is definitely one of the better guitars I have ever played, especially in this price range!  If you’re after a European, mid-ranged shred-beast of a guitar you would be foolish to overlook one of these.

Prices start at £899 for the 6-string hardtail version.

For more information:
Jaden Rose Guitars Website

12 Comments »

  1. JD Peyton June 21, 2011 at 2:49 pm - Reply

    Mein gott that is one SEXY (but manly!) looking axe, wow wow wow! Must consult with the bean counters.. (aka the missus) Do you know where I could test one of these out?

    • Neal June 21, 2011 at 10:44 pm - Reply

      Besides going to Jaden’s workshop you mean? I believe Andertons stock them, although they don’t have any lefty models listed on the website.

  2. Jon June 21, 2011 at 7:25 pm - Reply

    Totally agree, this is a wonderful looking guitar. Glad to hear that it plays as good as it looks. Another one to add to my list of want. Jon

  3. Chuck June 21, 2011 at 10:04 pm - Reply

    It’s another Black guitar ! Lefty’s need a little color on there guitars please.

    • Neal June 21, 2011 at 10:43 pm - Reply

      Here’s the part of the article you didn’t read ;)

      “If this finish isn’t your bag you also have a choice of Cherry Red, Midnight Blue, Sea Blue, Golden Yellow, Lemon Yellow or Jade Green. “

  4. Akshay June 22, 2011 at 2:07 pm - Reply

    Yes great guitar, but other than that, you’re a fantastic photographer LeftyFretz :P That background in the first photo out there is looks really looks good beside the guitar’s finish! Cheers! :)

    • Neal June 22, 2011 at 4:19 pm - Reply

      Thanks buddy, I appreciate that – looks better when you see the full sized image though :) I figured an old, weather-beaten backdrop would work well with the guitar’s organic looks. It’s less photoGRAPH and more photoSHOP (FAR more!). If I can get myself a decent mic I’d like to eventually do a proper detailed photoshop series for the new YouTube channel.

  5. Steve666 June 24, 2011 at 12:07 pm - Reply

    Hey man excellent review and that photo is KILLER! I went to the jaden rose website and there’s no way i’d buy one based on viewing the photos there. He should totally hire you to do some proper images of the guitars, they look pretty plain on the official website.

    Anyway, this sounds like a great guitar for sure. I had been thinking about one of the ibanez RGs but there for some reason more expensive and you get to choose colours here which is great. Time to put my thinking cap on lol. Thanks again man great site

    • Neal June 24, 2011 at 5:06 pm - Reply

      Haha, I wish! That would be a wicked job eh? :) Photographing guitars by day and writing about them by night, dream job right there.

      Jaden told me that the finish on these guitars is particularly tricky to photograph, and I believe him! Plenty of time was spent in Photoshop trying to tweak the images to give an accurate representation of the colour (amongst other things!).

      Needless to say, these are awesome guitars and look waaaay better in the flesh.

  6. Kieran June 26, 2011 at 10:59 am - Reply

    That is a FINE looking guitar dude, great review also! Do you think this would be a good choice for an upgrade from my RG370? Really love that worn look.

    • Neal June 26, 2011 at 3:52 pm - Reply

      This would be a mahoosive upgrade over your Ibanez yeah. If you wanted to stick with Ibanez the only option as a lefty is the RG1570ZL really – but it costs more than the Series2 and only comes in black – bit of a no brainer really :)

  7. Tazi June 27, 2011 at 4:28 pm - Reply

    Gah, wrong side of the pond otherwise I’d seriously consider one of these. How come all the really cool metal guitars are made in Europe? :( This finish is just crazy nice!

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