From the earliest beginnings until the present day, Jackson Guitars is known for its slender, elegant designs, and feature aggressive motifs that are popular with hard rock and metal musicians.
Traditionally, Jackson (and many Charvel) guitars share the typical pointed headstock that first appeared on the Rhoads prototype in 1980. This likely arose from trade dress infringement issues as a result of Charvel’s use of Fender Stratocaster shaped headstocks until the early 1980s. Fender’s 2002 acquisition of both the Jackson and Charvel brands has enabled the Strat-style headstock to be reintroduced (under license).
Another Jackson trademark is the ‘shark fin’ inlays, which inspired other famous guitar companies such as Ibanez to follow suit with similar designs.
In 2004, Jackson released the DK2 guitar series featuring a Sustainiac® Driver/Pickup in the neck position of the guitar.
Jackson guitars currently in production:
- Dinky: A bolt-on superstrat
- Kelly: A sleeker version of Gibson’s popular Explorer, made famous by Marty Friedman of Megadeth, who had a signature model made for him, the KE1.
- King V: A symmetric ‘V’ shape with long pointy wings, Based on the Double Rhoads model originally designed for Robbin Crosby of Ratt, but popularized, through prolific use, by Dave Mustaine of Megadeth, who had a signature model, the KV1.
- Randy Rhoads: An asymmetric ‘V’ shaped body with pointy “wings”, designed for guitarist Randy Rhoads
- Soloist: A neck-through body superstrat with a body 7/8 the size of a stratocaster.
- Warrior: An aggressive body style consisting of four pointy ends that mimic the Jackson headstock shape.
- Phil Collen’s PC1 Signature Dinky: Dinky style with a Jackson Sustainer/Driver pickup in the neck position, DiMarzio HS2 Stacked Humbucking Pickup in the middle position, DiMarzio Super 3 Humbucking Pickup in the bridge position, Floyd Rose original locking tremolo and gold-plated hardware. It was followed by the short lived, Guitar Center only designated PC2, which only came in Amber, Natural, and Red Trans finishes, with “Custom Shop” on the headstock instead of Collen’s signature, and the mass marketed PC3, which had Collens’ signature on the headstock like the PC1. Both were a moderately priced version featuring Duncan Designed pickups and no sustainer. The PC2 was fitted with a Wilkinson floating bridge, where as the early PC3 came with a Wilkinson, then later fitted with a licensed, brushed finished Floyd Rose.
- Chris Broderick’s Signature Soloist: Based on the soloist but with a custom asymmetric arch-top design. It features stainless steel frets as well as custom DiMarzio pickups, a low-profile Floyd Rose tremolo, push-pull potentiometers, and a kill switch along with other unique features. Available in both 6 and 7 string varieties.
- Mark Morton’s Dominion: A signature guitar designed by Jackson and Lamb of God guitarist, Mark Morton
- Phil Demmel’s Demmelition V: A signature guitar based on the King V with cutouts on the bottom of both wings.
- Adrian Smith’s San Dimas: A signature guitar based on the 1980s Jackson custom shop models produced for Iron Maiden’s Adrian Smith.
- Scott Ian’s T-1000: A signature guitar for Scott Ian, based on his original Soloist but with a slightly bigger body.