Jackson King V (KVXMG)
Jackson King V Specifications:
To make a King V model, Jackson takes the classic Gibson Flying V shape and sharpens it into a weapon. After that, they gut everything and reinstall the angriest sounding pickups money can buy. Finally, it's topped off with high quality, shredding-standard hardware. Of course there's some artistic liberties taken with that description, but it sums up the spirit of the King V series quite nicely.
Jackson's X-Series models guarantee three things:
Let's take a look and see exactly how they've gone about delivering on their promise with their ever-popular King V model.
Pro Series vs X-Series
Jackson's X-Series line is a more affordable alternative to their Pro Series instruments, so it only makes sense to compare them. A majority of reviewers have found there is little to no difference in playability. This is great since there's about a $330 price difference between the Pro KVMG and the KVXMG.
Looking at the two guitars, you might not notice much difference. Looking at the specifications on paper, you might not notice much of a difference either. The table below highlights all of the differences between the two models. Aside from manufacturing location, that's everything significant.
Floyd Rose Original vs. Floyd Rose Special Tremolo Systems
Fortunately, there's not much of anything there that should turn you off of the X-Series. Some people are very picky about their Floyd Roses, but you can bet that a lot of that is due to brand trust rather than playability. Licensed Floyd Rose tremolos tend to be made from cheaper materials, but the Specials are not licensed. That's a common misconception.
They are authentic Floyd Rose tremolo systems with the same exact materials and dimensions. The only difference is that the specials are manufactured in Korea while the Originals are from Germany. If you're the type to pay extra for reassurance, there's nothing wrong with springing for an Original model. But when it comes to actual issues between the two, there's not much reason to get up in arms about it.
EMG 81/85 Pickup Set
If you haven't heard of EMGs, all you need to know is that they're angry, high gain, and have sharp attack / note definition. They're essentially the standard pickup for the extreme metal genre. The 81 is EMG's best offering for the bridge, nobody argues that. But the neck position is a different story, with many people switching to the EMG 60. You can hear the difference between them in the Kirk Hammett signature series review.
Still, the most common setup you'll find in similar guitar models is an 81 at the bridge and an 85 at the neck. This is what the Jackson King V KVXMG carries, and it's not going to let you down if you play high gain music. But the Pro Series opts for an 89 at the neck instead. This is the same exact pickup as the 85, except with a coil-splitting option. Nothing more to it.
Check out the videos for a demonstration of what they're capable of!
The KVXMG's neck is perfect
Virtually every review of the Jackson KVXMG showers the neck's construction with praise. The King V model comes with a neck-thru design that provides excellent sustain, regardless of the series.
The neck and center of the body are made from maple, while remainder of the body is made from basswood. If you're one to put stock in the tonal characteristics of wood, you may attribute the KVXMG's tightness to this combination.
Maple is a very dense wood with bright tonal qualities. It's also said to have a tighter low end than most other body woods, but you can likely thank the EMG 81 for that. Basswood is a lighter wood, frequently described as balanced with strong midrange reverberation. All of this contributes to the KVXMG's tight attack and sharp note definition.
The KVXMG has one more noticeable difference from the Pro Series King V - the fretboard wood. Instead of ebony, the X-Series line uses rosewood. There's no tonal difference between the two, so it's not a big deal.
The awesome compound radius is much more interesting. This is a standard feature on virtually all Jackson instruments for a reason. The shift from 12" on the lower frets to 16" on the upper fretboard is gradual, so you'll never feel it. It allows for better chording and bending on the lower end of the fretboard and faster playability at the top. It's really a perfect formula for lead guitarists.
X-Series King V(ariations)
Jackson has made an X model for every guitar you'll find in their Pro Series. That means there's a bunch of affordable King V variations available to choose from. The KVXMG comes in three finishes (black, white, and bright green). You can check out all the other models by clicking the links below (they will open in a new window).
The Jackson King V is metal, through and through. It goes beyond appearances. The bridge, pickups, wood selection, and fretboard radius are all made to best suit the genre. It's a fast-playing guitar with a big, angry tone and a tight low end. It's also a very-well received guitar, raking in tons of 5-star reviews from satisfied guitarists. And just for clarity, this is the X-Series model we're talking about. The Jackson King V KVXMG really lets you have your cake and eat it too.
If the appearance isn't aggressive enough for you (somehow..), Jackson has you covered with their X-Series Rhoads model, the RRX24.