From the VT vault: Jackson Surfcaster SC-1

Well, my previous post about my Tokai Super Edition VS-80 has rapidly become one of the most visited posts here

[which says something about my other content, I guess – though it is a VERY cool guitar]

so I thought I’d share another one of my lesser-used guitars, a blonde 1998 Jackson Surfcaster SC1.


I bought her new at the London Music Show  at Earl’s Court, at a show-special price of GBP699; a total impulse buy. I had read a review in Guitarist magazine so felt safe in the buy, but it was the looks that did it for me

[I’ve since come to realize I have a thing for off-set guitars]

just the right mix of modern and classic styling; a little Rickenbacker, a little Telecaster, a little Mustang. The woodgrain peeks through the finish, and the scratchplate is a really, really nice counterpoint.

The guitar is Japan-made, at the Fuji-gen plant, I believe, and really high quality throughout. They were only sold for a couple of years.

Ash body, Maple neck and board, bolt-on; it’s a BRIGHT guitar. And, of course, I’ve modded it!


The bridge humbucker, originally a licensed Seymour Duncan model, was never something I warmed to, I tried a Gibson Burstbucker 2 for a while, but ended up going with a TVJones TV Classic Plus humbucker – a nod to Gretsch – and it’s perfect in this guitar

[and look at that picture, tell me it isn’t just fabulous looking as well?!!]

The neck pickup is stock, a Kent Armstrong SLV-1, it has a really interesting tone, somewhere between a stock telecaster and a strat, but unique all the same. Blended with the TVJones, it sounds just right.

In keeping with the stripped back vibe, the stop tail-piece is wraparound, with fixed intonation

[though it can be angled with two grub screws]

and for a while I had a replacement bridge with adjustable saddles, but it was too bulky, and raised the strings slightly, which threw off the neck relief

[and led to neck shims, etc.]

so I went back to the stock bridge, a focused set-up and it’s intonated beautifully all up and down the neck.

And that neck – it’s VERY slim, almost flat radius, built for shredders for sure; it’s one of the reasons I don’t play the Surfcaster out live so much – it’s such a different profile from my regular guitars, and takes some adjusting.


The sharkfins are obviously Jackson through and through, but on the Surfcaster, they also give a nod towards Rickenbacker, so don’t seem as hair-metal; also helped by the absence of a pointy headstock

[the tuners are upgrades as well – left over from my Les Paul mods – just amping the vintage vibe]


For a while, I had a Roland GK3 guitar synth pickup fitted to the Surfcaster – aesthetically, totally WRONG, but I didn’t want to mount the unit on any of my other guitars – so there are a couple of re-filled mounting holes by the bridge.


This, along with some other wear and tear, means the resale value is shot

[and these are kind of collectible]

but then I’m not planning on selling it, so who cares?!!

It records really well, thanks to the combination of the lipstick and TVJones pickups – it’s actually on several tracks on Grope, though difficult to pick out in the mix

[there are a LOT of guitars on the record]

So that’s it, my Jackson Surfcaster SC1, a unique guitar that doesn’t get out very much – maybe I should make sure it does!


Vince Sig 131x89





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