If you’re wondering whether Jackson guitars are any good or not, then you’ve come to the right post!
Jackson: Brand Overview
The story of Jackson Guitars goes back to 1980.
These were the crucial times for the development of both electric and acoustic guitars.
The approach to writing music and playing the instrument was changing.
The Jackson brand and its founder Grover Jackson followed this trend.
Grover started the business by owning a part of the Charvel shop.
When the company went bankrupt, Grover took all control and continued as the owner.
But the brand Jackson came in 1980 after Ozzy Osbourne’s guitar player Randy Rhoads decided to get a special new guitar.
Grover was one of the people who made Randy’s legendary Concorde guitar, the asymmetrical V-shaped model.
This is when Grover decided to use his last name for the company and market new virtuoso-friendly versatile guitars.
The decade spurred plenty of Jackson models, although they mostly focused on metal-oriented players.
During the 1990s, the company also began outsourcing cheaper models overseas.
In the 2000s, Fender bought Jackson from IMC, which is the company that acquired it from Grover Jackson.
Currently, high-end Jackson guitars are made in Fender’s facilities in California.
As for cheaper models, these are manufactured in China and Indonesia.
The company’s main focus is still on metal players.
They make many Super-Strat models, with a few other variations.
At the moment, the company offers these series:
However, they also classify their guitars according to body shapes.
There’s a total of 15 body shapes, although most are Super-Strat-like.
Some stand out, like Star, which is a Gus G. signature model.
Rob Caggiano’s signature model has a so-called Shadowcaster body shape.
It’s a double-cutaway guitar with significantly smoother edges.
Demmelition is Phil Demmel’s signature shape that pretty much imitates the Explorer.
The Kelly shape also draws inspiration from Gibson’s Explorer.
Then there’s also the Warrior, Jackson’s unique shape that’s unlike any other.
Of course, there are a few more nuanced versions of the Super-Strat.
And let’s not forget the Rhoads shape, the well-known asymmetrical V-type guitar.
These are just some general classifications of Jackson guitars.
You’ll find one shape in different series, bringing them all into different categories.
Are Jackson Guitars Good?
If you need the shortest possible answer, then I’d say yes.
Jackson guitars are good.
But just like with anything else guitar-gear-related, it never comes down to a simple “yes or no” question.
The first thing to bear in mind is what you’re looking for.
The second issue is about what you expect at a certain price level.
I can confidently say from my experience that they’re almost always worth the price.
Sure, some of the cheaper models may not be the best guitars out there.
But considering the price, some of them even outperform it.
The best thing about Jackson as a brand is that they offer almost all body shapes in different price categories.
These will come with different tonewood quality, hardware, electronics, and other features.
It’s great to have a cheaper alternative to one of these great body shapes, like the Warrior.
But to explain this in more detail, let’s look into cheaper and more expensive series and models.
The JS series is the most affordable line of Jackson Guitars.
Even though they are less expensive, these guitars still have some pretty great features.
In fact, some of them even come with unexpected traits.
Mostly, they have poplar bodies with maple necks and amaranth fretboards.
But some of these instruments have carved body tops and ergonomic cutouts.
Moreover, some will even come with compound-radius fingerboards, and some even have fretboard binding.
But you have most of the shapes, including the Warrior and the Star.
Next up is the X Series, which is one tier above JS.
And there’s also more variety in there, both in terms of shapes and other features.
The price varies from about $550 to $1,150.
You’ll even find some 8-string fanned-fret stuff in there.
These are, however, all manufactured overseas.
But if you ask me, both of these series have some incredible stuff to offer.
And I’m particularly referring to guitars that are between $300 and $800.
You’ll get some premium features, like compound-radius fingerboards, at a very reasonable price.
The Pro Series is where things get a little more serious.
And these are guitars that are manufactured in Mexico.
Just like Fender’s Player line, these bring pro, or almost pro, quality at a more reasonable price.
While some of the materials may be similar to X and JS models, there’s way more to these instruments.
The finishes are as good as it gets at this price level, which I really love about the series.
But aside from eye-candy aesthetics, you’ll find better hardware and electronics.
Now, I’d also like to add some of the X Series Soloist models in this category.
Quality and price-wise, they are closer to the Pro Series.
You’ll find Floyd Rose or Floyd Rose Special bridges, as well as some interesting pickup choices.
The Pro Series models go up to about $1,800 or more.
These guitars can have advanced features, like Evertune bridges, TUSQ nuts, and Fishman pickups.
They’re pretty great guitars, there’s no doubt about that.
But if you’re looking into mid-priced instruments, I’d go with the lower end of this category.
Unless you’re looking for some luxurious finish options, there’s no need to pay a Pro Series guitar that much.
Pro-Tier High-End Guitars
Then we get to MJ and USA series.
MJ guitars are manufactured in Japan and are fairly expensive.
The USA Series is, obviously, made in Fender’s California factory, with the most expensive models reaching $5,000 or more.
But just like with any pro-tier guitar, we’re looking at nuances.
I usually tend to go with more reasonably-priced stuff, so anything at around $2,000 to $3,000 makes more sense to me.
But that doesn’t mean that the most expensive ones aren’t worth it, especially if you love those stunning finish options.
As far as Artist models go, these cross over into other series and can be anywhere from $400 to over $5,000.
To Sum It Up
Jackson is often associated with metal music, even some more extreme subgenres.
While they’re usually popular among metal musicians, I’d say some models can be incredibly versatile.
In fact, even John Mayer occasionally uses a Soloist model with an HSS pickup combo.
As I already said, Jackson guitars are more than worth it.
If I were to find some flaws, I’d really have to be nitpicky.
The most important thing is the fact that you have so many price options.
And, above all, almost all of the models justify their price tags.
The overall quality control is at a pretty great level.
The cheapest models, however, could have some issues.
This includes getting a faulty grounding after a while, although I haven’t experienced that myself.
There’ll be something for everyone’s tastes and wallets, so I wouldn’t be anxious about purchasing a Jackson.
Are Jackson Guitars Good? Conclusion
I hope this article has helped you think through this guitar brand and whether it’s for you.
If you have more questions about them, please let me know in the comments!
And if you want to read more about guitar brands on this blog, check out the following posts: