Known for their slender, elegant yet aggressive designs, high-quality construction and trademark flair, Jackson Guitars and their instruments have become a staple of musicians everywhere who love great guitars with a bit of attitude. In their 30+ years in the business, Jackson Guitars has created a large number of models that have become especially popular with the heavy metal and hard rock community. Today, we're taking a look at five of their classic body designs.
Easily one of Jackson’s most successful body types, the Dinky has been around for decades and remains their most popular guitar with over 15 variations in production today. The name Dinky comes from the fact that its Strat-inspired body is slightly smaller than Fender’s original. While Dinky models usually come in the traditional two humbucker configuration, some are available with either single coils, one humbucker in the bridge position, or both, depending on the series and specific model. If you’re a fan of the look and feel of the original Stratocaster but are want a guitar tailored more towards high gain tone, the Jackson Dinky is a natural fit. Other common features include a Floyd Rose tremolo, a bolt-on neck, 24 jumbo frets and a locking nut setup to help maintain stable tuning.
The true pioneer of the "Superstrat" guitar philosophy, the Jackson Soloist was created to take the look and feel of the Stratocaster and mix it with premium features not normally available on Fender's models including a neck-through design, a Floyd Rose double-locking tremolo bridge, various pickup combinations and premium woods. During the early days of Jackson, the Soloist was a built to order, allowing buyers to customize their guitar with various features including their choice of bridge, pickup configuration and more. Despite the many options available, all Soloist models came with a neck-through construction, a signature feature of the series to this day. Since it's release in the mid-80s, the Soloist has been a favorite among heavy metal lead guitarists.
The Jackson Kelly is a Gibson Explorer-styled guitar designed by and named after Heaven guitarist Bradford Kelly. Although it was originally designed in the early '80s, it remained fairly unknown until the early '90s when Megadeth guitarist Marty Friedman started using a signature model Kelly as one of his main instruments, giving the guitar a lot of exposure. The Kelly typically features the classic Jackson pointed headstock while the neck usually features a very thin profile. With the exception of the JS32, all Kelly variants feature a neck-through design. The Kelly is perfect for players that demand a high level of playability from their guitar.
The guitar line that would eventually become known Rhoads also has the honor giving birth the Jackson Guitar brand. In 1980, Randy Rhoads approached Charvel Guitars (which was owned by Grover Jackson by then) with an idea for a signature guitar heavily based on the traditional Flying V, resulting in the creation of the Concorde. In order to differentiate this new guitar model from Charvel and its typically Strat-inspired body types, Jackson decided to label them with his own name – and so, Jackson Guitars was born. After further redesigns – such as elongating one of the horns in order to resemble a shark fin – the Rhoads was finally created and remains a staple of heavy metal guitars. Common features include a one or two humbucker setup and a Floyd Rose tremolo or Tune-O-Matic bridge.
Another body type based on the legendary Flying V, the Jackson King V was originally designed for and named after Robbin Crosby of Ratt (his nickname being "King"). Although Crosby popularized the guitar throughout the 80s, it’s actually Megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine who is now most identified with the King V. While the King V might look a lot like the traditional Flying V, it is actually started as a Rhoads model with two long, symmetrical horns (at the time named the “Double Rhoads”), originally commissioned by Overkill guitarist Dave Linsk. The Jackson King V usually features a double humbucker setup, a Floyd Rose tremolo bridge, a basswood body and either a neck-through or bolt-on neck joint setup.
While these five models offer a great deal of variety, there's a lot more where that came from. You can check out our entire selection of Jackson Guitars right here! And if you have any questions regarding these or any other piece of gear, don't hesitate to chat with one of our PAL pros by using the Contact Us box below.
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