From the early ’80s on, heavy metal history would be written with Jackson guitars, staking their claim as a wilder, high-performance alternative to their more traditional Charvel® cousins. Jackson’s talented, often demented henchmen quickly created their own renaissance in metal guitar design with a slew of highly original models, and the popularity of Jackson guitars exploded in the early and mid 1980s.
Legendary and enduring Jackson models including the Kelly™, King V™, Double Rhoads, Soloist™, bolt-on neck Dinky™, and Concert™ Bass all appeared during this fertile period, joined later in the decade by the equally successful PC1 (based on Jackson’s signature model for Def Leppard guitarist Phil Collen) and Jackson’s most outlandish body design, the devilishly X-shaped Warrior™.
Metal music continued a vigorous and highly diverse evolution on both sides of the Atlantic during the ’80s and ’90s, and Jackson melded seamlessly with each and every sonic mutation—thrash metal, speed metal, death metal, the NWOBHM, goth, industrial, nu metal, skate metal, grunge, metalcore, rap metal and countless others.
Recent years have seen Jackson continuing to flourish, with all of the company’s most famous models—custom and production series alike—enjoying great success. Jackson signature instruments have also come into their own, with magnificent models bearing top metal names such as Chris Broderick (Megadeth), Corey Beaulieu (Trivium), David Ellefson (Megadeth), Phil Collen (Def Leppard), Mark Morton, Phil Demmel (Machine Head), Chris Beattie (Hatebreed), Adrian Smith (Iron Maiden) and others. Further, the Jackson Custom Shop remains the longest-operating true custom shop in the United States, with many members of its original staff still there and still doing what they do best—providing axe-wielding metallurgists worldwide with world-class high-performance instruments that have no equal.
And so, in keeping with its breathtaking three-decade heritage of excellence, the Jackson legend continues to thrive and grow—without fear or compromise.