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The Beginning…

As many know, Jackson Guitars was born out of Charvel Guitars when the Heavy Metal music genre was at its peak. Charvel was originally co-owned by Wayne Charvel and Grover Jackson with Charvel’s name on the guitars. In 1978 Jackson bought out Charvel and took control of the company with the Charvel name remaining on the guitars. The Jackson-built Charvel guitar debuted at the 1979 summer NAMM show in Atlanta and quickly became popular with the heavy metal stars of the period.

The Birth of Jackson Guitars…

In late 1980, Jackson was approached by a young guitar virtuoso named Randy Rhoads, formerly of Quiet Riot. At the time Rhoads had joined forces with Black Sabbath’s former vocalist, Ozzy Osbourne, and wanted a totally distinctive guitar designed for him. The result was a sleek, white, v-shaped guitar initially called the Concorde. The look was similar to the Gibson Flying-V but the lower wing of the guitar was about half the length of the upper wing. The typical Charvel guitar was much more conservative in appearance so, deciding that the new guitar was too radical for the regular Charvel customers, Jackson put aluminium die casting services his own name on the guitar and thus Jackson Guitars was born. Rhoads played the guitar for a time but wanted a model designed with features of his own specification. The Concorde was dropped in favor of the new model, which became known and revered as the Jackson Rhoads(sometimes called the Rhoads Half-V). The Rhoads was the first of the Jackson electric guitars.

The Legend Grows…

The Rhoads was a springboard for Jackson to stake its claim in the Heavy Metal industry as a leader in the manufacture of high quality, ultra high performance guitars that were innovatively and often radically designed. Due to their radically original designs, high production quality and excellent playability, Jackson electric guitars soon became highly popular during the mid and early 1980’s. This period saw the creation of the legendary and enduring Kelly, King V, Dinky, and Soloist models as well as the Concert bass. The later part of the decade saw the creation of the PC1 (designed for Def Leppard’s Phil Collen) and the ultra-cool Warrior line. Jacksons continue to be popular with signature models created bearing the names of many of the top Metal stars such as Mark Morton and John Campbell (Lamb of God), Adrian Smith (Iron Maiden) and Matt Tuck (Bullet For My Valentine) and many others.

Jackson Today…

To date, Jackson Guitars has changed hands a couple of times over the years. In 1985 Jackson Guitars was purchased by the Texas based International Music Corporation. IMC continued the high quality and performance standards that Jackson electric guitars had become famous for and in 1986 produced the highly popular King V model. The King V was originally designed for Robbin Crosby of Ratt and was highly praised by many top level Heavy Metal musicians, including Dave Mustaine of Megadeth.

In 2002, Fender acquired Jackson guitars. Jacksons suffered a decrease in popularity due to the fear that, as often happens when a company like Jackson is merged with a long standing brand like Fender, that a decrease in quality occurs as the parent company doesn’t want the brand in competition with their main lines. Fender had no such intention, however, and artists soon saw that Fender maintained the same high standards that the Jackson electric guitars were known for. Jackson Guitars are now as popular as ever and can be seen in the hands of top artists such as Zakk Wylde, Mark Morton and Phil Demmel.

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