An aggressive, responsive, and well-crafted machine from the godfather of shred guitar design.
From Eddie Van Halen’s striped, hot-rod “Frankenstein” to Randy Rhoads’, pinstriped V, Grover Jackson’s guitar-building magic helped bring the age of shred alive. For a while, it seemed like virtually every shredder who came on the scene after Van Halen and Rhoads sported a Charvel or Jackson. In 1985, Jackson sold Charvel/Jackson to International Music Corp., and eventually Fender bought the companies. Since then, Jackson has mostly kept a low profile, working behind the scenes with different manufacturers. But in 2011 he jumped back into the fray in a big way, joining forces with industry vet Jon Gold to form GJ2. The Shredder reviewed here is one of the most dialed-in products of the duo’s shared vision.
Looks That Thrill
Jackson’s creations helped fuel the over-the-top decadence of ’80s glam metal and the Shredder embodies that aesthetic with stirring recollections of Mötley Crüe and Poison videos. Even the case is an article of glam gluttony. With its blue-and-white vinyl exterior and pale blue velour interior, this is—hands down—the coolest case I’ve ever come across.
Though the visual inspirations for the Shredder are undeniably ’80s, the guitar is understated in some respects. Our review guitar sports a plain-top basswood body, bolt-on maple neck with bound rosewood fretboard, and chrome hardware. The latter includes a Floyd Rose locking tremolo (recessed to allow an upward pull of about a major third) and Hipshot staggered locking tuners.
Glam, Bam, Thank You Grover
Grover Jackson pioneered compound fretboard design, and you’re reminded why they were such an essential part of his instruments when you play the Shredder. For starters, the 10"–14" radius gives you an ultra-low action without any setup compromises. You can play single-note lines faster and bend to your heart’s content without fretting out. Big chords are also easier to hold for longer periods of time without your hand cramping. F barre chords are as comfortable to hold as 12th-fret three-notes-per-string scale patterns are to blaze through. The fast neck also benefits from a Plek fret milling, which makes the guitar feel ready for the stage right out of the box.
Gettin’ Hot in Here
The Shredder’s core voice is very authoritative, bright, and lively. I gave the Shredder a spin using a Pro Co RAT pedal into a Mesa/Boogie Tremoverb combo’s clean channel, as well as through the Tremoverb’s high-gain channel. It’s immediately apparent that the Shredder wants to be heard loud and clear. Even with a massive amount of gain and the RAT’s tone control almost all the way off, the Shredder has a commanding voice with great definition. Notes are spiked with clarity, and at times the axe seems incapable of getting muddy. It’s not great at producing round, reedy tone, and the aggressive response can make the guitar feel unforgiving in a way that makes you really pay attention to your technique and articulation. Doing so, though, means you have the power to shine in any sonic environment, no matter how loud. The percussive pick attack from 16th-note scale sequences sounds as explosive as rapidly detonating fireworks.
For clean arpeggios, the Shredder is equally detailed and present. (I couldn’t help but think of the intro to Ozzy Osbourne’s “Killer of Giants.”) The Shredder also delivered great note detail across my five- and six–note chord voicings.
GJ2’s proprietary Habanero humbuckers, which are made and wound in-house at the factory, are key to the guitar’s mojo. The 5-way pickup selector switch offers a variety of tonal options. Positions 2 and 4 give you the outer and inner coils of each pickup, respectively, and conjure a single coil-type sound—minus the hum—for a more focused tone. The tones aren’t quite as thin as a true single-coil, but I was able to get more pop out of my picked notes and even a little twang when I picked right over the bridge. Volume differences between these sounds and those from individual humbuckers are subtler and more organic than some guitars that offer these switching options, and in a live, loud situation you can make great use of these nuances.
One curiosity is that the Shredder lacks a tone control. Jackson, after consulting with various players who deemed it unnecessary, opted for a more direct signal path. Personally, I would have really liked a tone control here. I found the Shredder to be a bit bright at times, and I had to walk over to the amp to adjust the treble mid-song at various points. Just turning down the guitar’s volume knob slightly helped tame the highs, but in general, as long as all you EQ the amp and effects conservatively, it shouldn’t be a crucial issue.
Grover Jackson’s innovations helped shape the sound of an entire genre. And while the shred craze has gone through many deaths and rebirths, a killer guitar never goes out of style for the devoted. Tonally, the Shredder might not be the most versatile instrument around, but its playability will let you shine across a surprising range of styles. If you’re looking for a no-nonsense solidbody rock guitar that is well crafted and built to slay when you need it to, the Shredder is idling and ready.
Watch the Review Demo:
Kick off the holiday season by shopping for the guitar player in your life at Guitar Center! Now through December 24th 2022, save on exclusive instruments, accessories, apparel, and more with hundreds of items at their lowest prices of the year.
We’ve compiled this year’s best deals in the 2022 Holiday Gift Guide presented by Guitar Center.
Sporting custom artwork etched onto the covers, the Railhammer Billy Corgan Z-One Humcutters are designed to offer a fat midrange and a smooth top end.
Billy Corgan was looking for something for heavier Smashing Pumpkins songs, so Joe Naylor designed the Railhammer Billy Corgan Z-One pickup. Sporting custom artwork etched onto the covers, the Railhammer Billy Corgan Z-One Humcutters have a fat midrange and a smooth top end. This pickup combines the drive and sustain of a humbucker with the percussive attack and string clarity of a P90. Get beefy P90 tone plus amp-pummeling output with the Railhammer Billy Corgan Z-One.
Patented Railhammer Pickups take passive guitar pickups to a new level with rails under the wound strings lead to tighter lows, and poles under the plain strings offer fatter heights. With increased clarity, the passive pickup’s tone is never sterile.
Railhammer Billy Corgan Signature Z-One Pickup Demo
For more information, please visit railhammer.com.
Designed for utmost comfort and performance, the Vertigo Ultra Bass is Mono’s answer to those who seek the ultimate gigging experience.
Complete with a range of game-changing design features, such as the patent-pending attachable FREERIDE Wheel System, premium water-resistant and reflective materials, shockproof shell structure and improved ergonomic features, the Vertigo Ultra Bass takes gear protection to the next level.
The Vertigo Ultra Bass features:
- Patent-pending FREERIDE Wheel System that allows for wheels to be attached on the case in no time, giving you the option to travel with it seamlessly
- Upgraded materials, including a water-resistant 1680D Ballistic Nylon outer shell, plush inner lining and new reflective trim for maximum backstage and night visibility
- Enhanced protection with a shockproof shell structure and heavy-duty water-resistant YKK zippers for protection from the elements
- Improved ergonomics and functionality including added back support and load-lifting detachable shoulder straps with side release buckles
- Flexible storage options with added space for touring essentials
The Generation Collection of acoustic guitars features the exclusive Gibson Player Port designed to offer a unique and immersive sonic experience.
The G-Bird, the newest addition to the Generation Collection--represents the glorious legacy of the Gibson Hummingbird colliding with modern sonic enhancement through the Gibson Player Port to add a new dimension to the G-Bird sound. The Gibson Player Port allows players to hear more of themselves as the audience hears it. With a tone that is crisp and resonant, all of the Gibson Generation Collection acoustics are designed to be comfortable to hold and play for long periods of time. All Generation Collection guitars feature the Gibson Player Port, slim, lightweight bodies, a flatter fingerboard radius, Walnut back and sides, Sitka spruce tops, and a stunning Natural finish. Additionally, the new G-Bird, and the G-200 and G-Writer are equipped with LR Baggs™ Element Bronze pickup systems which amplify deep bass and crystal-clear highs.
The G-Bird represents the glorious legacy of the Gibson Hummingbird with modern sonic enhancement through the Gibson Player Port adding a new dimension to the G-Bird’s sound. The G-Bird features a stunning solid Sitka spruce top and solid walnut back and sides for the ultimate in crisp, resonant tone. This square-shoulder dreadnought delivers all the rich low end and well-balanced mids and highs the original Hummingbird is famous for. The TUSQ nut and saddle, along with chrome Grover Mini Rotomatic tuners, deliver solid tuning stability so you can spend more time playing instead of tuning. The utile neck, with its easy-playing Advanced Response neck profile, is so comfortable you won’t want to put it down. The G-Bird also comes equipped with an LR Baggs Element Bronze pickup system, so it will always sound as good to your audience as it does to you. The G-Bird also comes equipped with an LR Baggs™ Element Bronze pickup system, so it will always sound as good to your audience as it does to you. The G-Bird is available in Natural finish. A gig bag is included.
Modeled after Gibson’s pioneering small-body parlor acoustic guitars from the 1930’s, the G-00 is a top choice for blues and fingerstyle guitar performances. Despite its more compact size, the G-00 achieves a full, balanced sound. The G-00 fills any room with rich tones-which players can hear like never before, with the exclusive Gibson Player Port. Like all models in the Gibson Generation Collection, the G-00 is handcrafted in Bozeman, Montana, by the same highly--skilled craftspeople who make all Gibson acoustic guitars. The G-00 features a beautiful solid Sitka spruce top and solid Walnut back and sides for tone that sounds crisp and resonant. The slightly thinner G-00 parlor-sized body is exceptionally comfortable to hold and play. The TUSQ nut and saddle along with the Grover Mini Rotomatic tuners, deliver solid tuning stability so you can spend more time playing instead of tuning, and the utile neck with its easy-playing neck profile is so comfortable you won’t want to put it down. The G-00 is available in Natural finish. A gig bag is included.
The G-45, a round-shouldered jumbo, adds the Gibson Player Port to its famous “Workhorse” J-45 style body, which is Gibson’s best-selling acoustic guitar of all time. On the G-45, players can now hear more clearly than ever how this beloved guitar responds to every style and technique of playing. Powerful one moment and soft the next, the G-45 delivers all sounds with incredible dynamic range in an elegant, medium body size. The G-45 is part of the Gibson Generation Collection and like all models in this collection, it is handcrafted in Bozeman, MT, by the same highly skilled craftspeople who make all Gibson acoustics. It features a solid Sitka spruce top and solid Walnut back and sides for tone that sounds crisp and resonant. The G-45 features a slightly thinner round shoulder body is exceptionally comfortable to hold and play. The TUSQ nut and saddle, along with the Grover Mini Rotomatic tuners deliver solid tuning stability, so you can spend more time playing instead of tuning, and the utile neck with its easy-playing neck profile is so comfortable you won’t want to put it down. The G-45 is available in Natural finish. A gig bag is included.
Gibson’s impressive range of square-shouldered guitars have become an expressive standard for rock, pop, folk, and country artists. The G-Writer is known for its wide range of sounds, from gutsy and loud, to soft and sweet; they are superb for all styles and shine, whether strumming chords or fingering intricate solos. The G-Writer comes ready for the stage or studio with an LR Baggs Element Bronze pickup system and the ear-opening Gibson Player Port. The G-Writer is part of the Gibson Generation Collection and like all models in this collection, it is handcrafted in Bozeman, MT, by the same highly skilled craftspeople who make all Gibson acoustics. It features a solid Sitka spruce top and solid Walnut back and sides for tone that sounds crisp and resonant. The G-Writer features a slightly thinner cutaway body, is more comfortable to play and provides effortless access to the upper frets. The TUSQ nut and saddle, along with the Grover Mini Rotomatic tuners deliver solid tuning stability, so you can spend more time playing instead of tuning, and the utile neck with its easy-playing neck profile is so comfortable you won’t want to put it down. The G-Writer is available in Natural finish. A gig bag is also included.
Gibson built its first “Super Jumbo” SJ-200 as a custom order for country and western singer and film star Ray Whitley, who desired a big, loud, and deep flat-top over which to croon. The SJ-200 quickly became a staple of cowboy singers and horseback troubadours, and then country music, 60’s folk stars, and onto every acoustic guitar genre that has followed. Ray would be proud to hear the booming sound from the Gibson Player Port on the new G-200, which comes ready for the stage or studio with a LR Baggs Element Bronze pickup system. Like all models in the Gibson Generation Collection, the G-200 is handcrafted in Bozeman, MT, by the same highly--skilled craftspeople who make all Gibson acoustics. The G-200 features a beautiful solid Sitka spruce top and solid Walnut back and sides for tone that sounds crisp and resonant. The slightly thinner G-200 cutaway jumbo body is exceptionally comfortable to hold and provides excellent access to the upper frets. The TUSQ nut and saddle, along with the Grover Mini Rotomatic tuners, deliver solid tuning stability so you can spend more time playing instead of tuning, and the utile neck with its easy-playing neck profile is so comfortable you won’t want to put it down. The G-200 is available in Natural finish. A gig bag is also included.
G-Bird | Generation Collection
For more information, please visit gibson.com.