Jackson is a manufacturer of electric guitars and bass guitars that bears the name of its founder, Grover Jackson.
Jackson guitars are known for their high-quality craftsmanship and innovative designs. Jackson guitars are played by some of the biggest names in the metal scene, including Randy Rhoads, Zakk Wylde, and Phil Collen.
Let’s look at how Jackson made his guitars better. I’ll also cover some of the lesser-known facts about this iconic guitar brand. So, let’s dive in!
Discovering Jackson Guitars
Jackson Guitars offers a wide variety of models, each with its own unique features and benefits. Here are some of the main series of Jackson Guitars:
- X Series: These guitars are built with poplar bodies and maple fretboards, and they feature Floyd Rose hardware. They are designed for players who want a high-quality instrument at a more affordable price point.
- Pro Series: These guitars are built with higher-quality materials and construction, featuring advanced hardware and finishes. They offer excellent value for the money and are ideal for players who want a top-tier instrument without breaking the bank.
- Signature Series: These guitars are designed in collaboration with famous artists, such as the MJ Series with Mick Thomson of Slipknot and the Rhoads Series with Randy Rhoads. They offer unique designs and tones that match the artist’s style and are ideal for fans who want to bring a little bit of their favorite artist’s sound to their own playing.
Ownership of Jackson Guitars
In 2002, Fender Musical Instruments Corporation bought the Jackson brand, along with Charvel and the factory located in Corona, California. Fender’s ownership helped revive the brand and resulted in a focus on producing high-quality guitars for a wider range of budgets. The current owners of Jackson Guitars are Fender Musical Instruments Corporation.
Signature Series and Customizations
Jackson Guitars is known for producing guitars that are popular in the rock and metal genres, featuring bright colors and specific design hallmarks. The company has created signature series guitars for artists such as Phil Collen of Def Leppard, Adrian Smith of Iron Maiden, and Dave Ellefson of Megadeth. Jackson guitars are also highly customizable, with many options available for finishes, pickups, and other features.
International Production and Sales
While Jackson guitars were originally produced and sold mainly in the United States, the brand has since expanded to include production in Indonesia, Japan, and China. Jackson guitars are now sold in many countries around the world and are considered to be a popular choice for entry-level and mid-range guitars, albeit with a slightly higher price point than some of their cheaper alternatives.
In conclusion, Jackson Guitars has a rich history of producing excellent guitars, with a focus on customization and high-quality construction. The brand has had a few different owners over the years, but has continued to grow and expand internationally. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced player, Jackson guitars are definitely worth a try if you’re looking for a guitar that’s built to last and has a unique style all its own.
The History of Jackson Guitars
In 1986, Jackson Guitars merged with International Music Corporation (IMC), a Texas-based importer of musical instruments. IMC acquired the rights and permission to manufacture Jackson guitars, and manufacturing was moved to IMC’s original location in Fort Worth, Texas.
The Original Jackson Guitar Design
The original Jackson guitar design was slender and elegant, with an aggressive style that was harder and faster than typical guitars of the time. The headstock was roughly triangular, with the tip pointing upwards. This style was simply to avoid lawsuits from Fender, who had a target on their back for their Stratocaster-styled headstocks.
The Randy Rhoads Model
One of Jackson’s most famous guitar models is the Randy Rhoads model, named after the guitarist for Ozzy Osbourne. The Rhoads model had a number of unique features, including a reversed headstock with the tip pointing downwards, and a V-shaped body. This model became hot news among heavy metal guitarists and helped to establish Jackson Guitars as a major player in the guitar industry.
In conclusion, Jackson Guitars has a rich history in the world of heavy metal music, and their guitars have been played by some of the most famous guitarists in the world. The company’s early days were marked by innovation and a willingness to push the boundaries of guitar design, and this spirit continues to this day.
Where are Jackson Guitars Made?
Jackson guitars were started in the early 1980s by Grover Jackson, a well-known guitar builder and designer. The company was based in San Dimas, California, and produced a wide variety of guitars, primarily aimed at the rock and metal market. The iconic Jackson shapes, such as the Soloist, Rhoads, and V, were all produced in the San Dimas shop.
Changes in Ownership and Production
In 2002, the Jackson company was acquired by the Fender Musical Instruments Corporation, which also owns the Charvel brand. Production of Jackson guitars was moved to Fender’s factory in Corona, California, and later to Ensenada, Mexico. Recently, some production has been moved to Indonesia and China to create more budget-friendly models.
Current Production Locations
Currently, Jackson guitars are produced in a handful of locations around the world, including:
- Corona, California, USA
- Ensenada, Mexico
- Japan (for the high-end MJ series)
Quality and Features
Despite the changes in ownership and production locations, Jackson guitars are still highly revered for their quality and technical features. Some of the features that make Jackson guitars stand out include:
- Custom-built models
- Wide variety of shapes and styles
- Maple or rosewood necks
- Heavier bodies for a more rock-oriented sound
- Excellent output for experienced players
- Budget-friendly entry-level models
Value for Money
Jackson guitars are known for being a great value for the money, despite some of the cheaper models being produced in Indonesia and China. For example, the JS series is a popular entry-level line that offers great quality at a lower price point. However, for those willing to pay more, the high-end USA-built models are definitely worth the additional cost.
In conclusion, Jackson guitars are produced in a variety of locations around the world, but the company’s roots are in California. Despite changes in ownership and production, Jackson guitars are still highly revered for their quality, technical features, and excellent value for money.
The Design Hallmarks of Jackson Guitars
One of the most recognizable design hallmarks of Jackson guitars is their unique headstock. Inspired by the headstocks of brands like Ibanez and Charvel, the Jackson headstock features a pointed design that gives the guitar a sharp, aggressive look. This design has become so popular that many other companies have followed suit and created similar headstocks for their own models.
Jackson guitars are known for their high-quality materials and construction. The company uses only the best woods, hardware, and electronics to create guitars that are built to last. Some of the materials commonly used in Jackson guitars include:
- Floyd Rose tremolo systems
- Seymour Duncan pickups
Custom Shop Options
Jackson guitars are also known for their custom shop options. The company offers a wide range of customizations that allow players to create a guitar that is uniquely their own. Some of the customizations available include:
- Custom finishes
- Neck profiles
Jackson guitars are also famous for their signature models. The company has worked with some of the biggest names in rock and metal to create guitars that are tailored to their specific needs and playing styles. Some of the most popular signature models include:
- Randy Rhoads
- Phil Collen
- Adrian Smith
- Kelly and King V models
Finally, Jackson guitars are known for their aggressive aesthetics. From the sharp angles of the body to the pointed headstock, these guitars are designed to look as powerful as they sound. Some of the design features that contribute to this aesthetic include:
- Sharkfin inlays
- Pointed body shapes
- Bold color schemes
- Deluxe series models
- Demmelition series models
In conclusion, Jackson guitars are known for their distinctive design hallmarks that set them apart from other guitar companies. From their unique headstock to their high-quality materials and custom shop options, Jackson guitars are a popular choice for people who want a guitar that looks and sounds as powerful as they are.
What Makes Jackson Guitars a Great Choice for Players of All Levels?
Jackson guitars are designed with technical features that make them stand out from other brands. The company is known for its thin, wide necks that are comfortable to play, as well as its flatter fretboard designs that are ideal for players who prefer a little more space between the strings. Jackson guitars also feature humbuckers and other pickup types that are geared towards rock and other genres that require extreme distortion.
Jackson guitars are highly associated with rock and metal music, and the company offers a variety of unique designs that are perfect for players who want to stand out on stage. From the popular Soloist and Dinky series to the more affordable JS and X series, Jackson guitars come in a variety of shapes and finishes that are sure to turn heads.
Great for Beginners and Advanced Players Alike
Jackson guitars are a great choice for players of all levels. Beginners will appreciate the affordable price points and easy-to-play necks, while advanced players will love the technical features and tight, responsive feel of the instruments. Plus, with famous players like Phil Collen of Def Leppard and Misha Mansoor of Periphery using Jackson guitars, you know you’re in good company.
In conclusion, if you’re in the market for a high-quality guitar that offers great value, incredible technical features, and unique designs, it’s worth checking out what Jackson has to offer. Whether you’re a beginner or an advanced player, Jackson guitars are a great choice that will bring out the best in your playing.
Assessing the Quality of Jackson Guitars
When it comes to quality, Jackson guitars are undoubtedly built to the highest standards. The manufacturer has established a reputation for superior craftsmanship that has served them well for decades. The materials used in the construction of Jackson guitars are generally of a superior quality, featuring unique woods and veneers that are synonymous with the brand.
Some of the woods used in the construction of Jackson guitars include basswood, alder, and maple. These woods are known for their long, thin bodies that are designed with rock in mind. The guitars also feature rosewood fingerboards and locking tremolo bridges, which allow for great tuning stability and the ability to perform dive bombs and other extreme bends.
Jackson guitars are not necessarily known for being cheap, but the X Series offers a variety of entry-level models that are more affordable. These guitars are perfect for people who are just starting out and want to get a feel for the brand before investing in a higher-end model.
The entry-level models generally feature fixed bridges and simpler electronics with volume and tone pots. However, even these lower-priced models are assured of Jackson’s high-quality construction and materials.
Floyd Rose Series
One of the main features that sets Jackson guitars apart from other brands is their use of Floyd Rose locking tremolo bridges. These bridges allow for precise tuning and the ability to perform extreme bends without losing tune. The Floyd Rose series is highly recognized and played by famous and highly respected guitarists.
Dinky and Soloist Models
The Dinky and Soloist models are two of Jackson’s most famous and highly regarded guitars. These models are designed with rock in mind and feature a variety of woods and materials that make them stand out from other guitars.
The Dinky model is known for its thin body and unique shape, while the Soloist model features a more traditional design. Both models feature superior craftsmanship and materials, including mahogany bodies, maple necks, and rosewood fingerboards. They also come equipped with Grover tuners, which are known for their stability and ease of use.
Electronics and Output
Jackson guitars are known for their high output and great feel, making them perfect for rock and metal players. The electronics on these guitars are generally simple, with volume and tone pots and a three-way switch. However, the pickups on these guitars are designed to produce a little more output than other guitars, giving them a unique sound.
Are Jackson Guitars Suitable for Beginner Guitarists?
If you’re a new guitar player and want to start your musical journey with a Jackson guitar, you might wonder if it’s a good idea. Jackson guitars are known for their extreme shapes, geared towards rock and metal genres, and associated with high output and distortion. But are they suitable for beginners? Let’s find out.
The Main Differences Between Jackson Guitars and Other Brands
Jackson guitars are designed with the following features that set them apart from other brands:
- Thin and wide necks for fast playing
- Solid and comfortable bodies for extended playing sessions
- High-output humbuckers for extreme distortion
- Floyd Rose tremolo systems for dive-bombing and whammy effects
- Locking nut for tuning stability
- Variety of finishes and shapes
The Pros and Cons of Jackson Guitars for Beginners
- Jackson guitars offer excellent playability and comfort, thanks to their thin and wide necks and solid bodies. They are ideal for learning chords and scales and getting familiar with the fingerboard.
- Jackson guitars are highly popular among rock and metal fans, so if you want to play these genres, a Jackson guitar is a perfect starting point.
- Jackson guitars are affordable and offer a variety of entry-level models that are geared towards beginners. These models are cheaper than the higher-tier ones but still offer excellent quality and features.
- Jackson guitars come in a variety of shapes and finishes, so you can choose the one that suits your style and personality.
- Jackson guitars are known for their incredible quality, even in their cheaper models. You can be sure that you’re getting a solid and well-built guitar that will serve you for years to come.
- Jackson guitars are aimed at rock and metal genres, so if you want to play acoustic or other types of music, a Jackson guitar might not be the best choice.
- Jackson guitars are a little heavier than other brands, which might be uncomfortable for some beginners.
- Jackson guitars come with a Floyd Rose tremolo system, which means that tuning and restringing can be a little tricky for beginners.
- Jackson guitars have high-output humbuckers, which might not be suitable for certain genres or playing styles that require a more mellow tone.
- Jackson guitars have a locking nut, which means that changing tunings can be a hassle for beginners.
Artists Who Play Jackson Guitars
Here are some of the most famous musicians who have played Jackson guitars:
- Adrian Smith: The Iron Maiden guitarist has been playing Jackson guitars since the 1980s and has his own signature series.
- Mick Thomson: The Slipknot guitarist is known for playing Jackson guitars, particularly the Soloist and Rhoads models.
- Phil Collen: The Def Leppard guitarist has been playing Jackson guitars since the 1980s and has his own signature model.
- Christian Andreu: The Gojira guitarist is known for playing Jackson guitars, particularly the Soloist and Kelly models.
- Mark Morton: The Lamb of God guitarist has his own signature Jackson guitar, the Dominion.
- Chris Beattie: The Hatebreed bassist is known for playing Jackson basses, particularly the Concert and Concert V models.
- Dave Ellefson: The Megadeth bassist has been playing Jackson basses since the 1980s and has his own signature model.
- Misha Mansoor: The Periphery guitarist has his own signature Jackson guitar, the Juggernaut.
- Rob Caggiano: The Volbeat guitarist has been playing Jackson guitars since the 1990s and has his own signature model.
- Wes Borland: The Limp Bizkit guitarist has played Jackson guitars throughout his career, particularly the Rhoads and Soloist models.
- Andreas Kisser: The Sepultura guitarist has been playing Jackson guitars since the 1980s and has his own signature model.
- Derek Miller: The Sleigh Bells guitarist is known for playing Jackson guitars, particularly the Rhoads and Soloist models.
- Jordan Ziff: The Ratt guitarist is known for playing Jackson guitars, particularly the Soloist and Kelly models.
- Jake Kiley: The Strung Out guitarist is known for playing Jackson guitars, particularly the Soloist and Rhoads models.
- Jeff Loomis: The Arch Enemy guitarist has his own signature Jackson guitar, the Kelly.
Jackson Guitar Quality
Jackson guitars are known for their high quality and attention to detail, making them a highly favored brand among guitarists. While some models may be more budget-friendly than others, Jackson guitars are generally considered to be of excellent quality and suitable for players of all levels.
In conclusion, Jackson guitars have become a popular choice among guitarists of all genres, thanks to their unique design, versatility, and high quality. With a variety of series, types, and price points, there is a Jackson guitar for every player, whether they are just starting out or are a highly experienced musician.
So there you have it, the history of Jackson guitars. Jackson has been making some of the best guitars for over 35 years now, and it’s no wonder why!
Jackson guitars are made to be played hard, and they’re made to last. They’re made to be enjoyed by both beginners and professionals alike, and they’re made to be an instrument you can rely on for years to come. So don’t be afraid to pick up a Jackson guitar, you won’t regret it!
I'm Joost Nusselder, the founder of Neaera and a content marketer, dad, and love trying out new equipment with guitar at the heart of my passion, and together with my team, I've been creating in-depth blog articles since 2020 to help loyal readers with recording and guitar tips.
Check me out on Youtube where I try out all of this gear:Subscribe