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There are few guitar companies that are as synonymous with metal music as Jackson guitars. If you’re looking for a new ax to play this heavy style of music, consider taking a look at these instruments.
No matter your skill or budget level, this list will have something that is right for you. Let’s take a closer look at these guitars and everything that each one offers.
DK2XR – Best Overall
If you’re looking for a guitar that’s equipped with the necessary tools for metal, the DK2XR is right for you. The DK2XR is more than capable of handling even the most technique-intensive music you wish to play. This guitar also has a very aggressive aesthetic to match this heavy style of music.
The DK2XR features a double-cutaway style body made of Poplar. It is sure to be easy on your shoulder due to its minimal weight. This model comes in a black gloss finish.
A 25.5” scale Maple bolt-on neck is attached to the body with a contour designed for high playing speed. The fretboard is crafted from Laurel and features a compound radius of 12” to 16”. 24 jumbo-sized frets and Pearloid sharkfin inlays are also provided on the fretboard.
For pickups, the DK2XR has a pair of Jackson humbuckers. These pickups are wired hot and are designed for high output, making them quite suitable for metal. A 3-way switch and a master volume and tone knob allow you to dial in your ideal tone.
The DK2XR also has a Floyd Rose Double-Locking Tremolo system. This locks your strings at the nut and the bridge. Ultimately, the tremolo system will allow you to perform extreme dive bombs without the worry of tuning instability.
Overall, the Jackson DK2XR offers quite a bit of playability at a somewhat affordable price point. It might be a bit too much of a guitar for beginners but is perfectly suitable for a seasoned player. This has everything you need for stage performance.
Item Weight: 10.7 pounds
Package Dimensions: 42 x 14 x 4 inches
RR24 – Best Premium
Randy Rhoads is perhaps one of the best-known guitarists to ever strap a Jackson on their shoulders. His musical career helped to launch Jackson into the mainstream as a metal guitar. If you’re an acolyte of Randy Rhoads, be sure to check out the RR24.
The RR24 is modeled after Randy Rhoads’s famous modified Flying-V-styled guitar. This version features a Basswood body with a Maul Crackle gloss finish. The Maul Crackle gets its name from the red and black color scheme a la Darth Maul from Star Wars.
A 25.5” scale Maple neck is joined to the body via a neck-through connection. The fretboard is made of Ebony, featuring a 12” to 16” compound radius, 24 frets, and Pearloid sharkfin inlays. This neck and fretboard are built for speed, just the way Randy Rhoads would have preferred.
For pickups, the RR24 has a pair of Seymour Duncan humbuckers. In the neck position can be found a ’59 SH-1N, with a JB TB-4 in the bridge. These provide an aggressive tone with quite a bit of clarity no matter what range you are playing in.
The guitar also has a Floyd Rose 1000 Series locking tremolo for extreme tremolo performance. You’ll likely have no tremolo-related issues with this model.
Overall, the RR24 is an excellent choice if you love the signature look of the Randy Rhoads model. You’ll know it’s built for lightning speed riffs the second it touches your hands.
Item Weight: 14.9 pounds
Package Dimensions: 42 x 14 x 4 inches
JS22-7 – Best Budget
The heaviest styles of music often require guitars to have more than 6 strings. This is where 7-string guitars really shine. If you’re on a budget but looking for a playable 7-string, consider looking at the JS22-7.
The JS22-7 has a Poplar body with a double-cutaway style design. In keeping with the aesthetic of metal music, this guitar features a flat black color with a satin urethane finish.
You’ll find that the neck is quite playable and very suitable for low tunings. This model features a graphite-reinforced 1-piece Maple neck with a scale length of 26.5”.
The fretboard is made of Amaranth, featuring a 12” to 16” compound radius, and 24 frets. Tiny piranha tooth inlays are provided for fret indication, adding to the guitar’s technical aesthetic.
For pickups, the JS22-7 features a pair of Jackson-made 7-string humbuckers. These pickups are designed for high-output playing scenarios, making them perfect for heavy music. A 3-way switch along with a volume and tone knob is provided for extra tonal customization.
This Jackson model features a hardtail bridge with a string-through-body design. These features ultimately help in providing extra tuning stability for low tunings.
Overall, if you’re on a tight budget but still in need of a heavy-playing guitar, the JS22-7 is worth looking at. You’ll be hard-pressed to find another guitar at this price point that can provide the playability this guitar offers. Beginners will be able to really excel with this model.
Item Weight: 12.96 pounds
Package Dimensions: 44.02 x 15.98 x 5 inches
Looking for a 7-string Jackson that provides extreme accessibility in both the lower and higher ranges of the guitar? Take a look at the SLAT7. This offering from Jackson’s Soloist series is bound to suit even your most demanding techniques.
The SLAT7 features a Basswood arch top body with a metallic blue color and a gloss polyester finish. This guitar has a very sleek look with a deceiving simplicity that is sure to please anyone’s tastes.
Perhaps the most interesting feature of the SLAT7 is its neck and fretboard. This Jackson has a multi-scale fret design with slanted frets. Because of this, you’ll have the best playability whether you’re chugging on the low end or playing blistery fast leads.
To accommodate for this, the 1-piece Maple neck has a scale length of 25.5” to 27”. The Laurel fretboard has a 12” to 16” compound radius with 24 jumbo-sized frets.
For pickups, the SLAT7 has an EMG 808 Bass humbucker in the neck position. An EMG 808 Treble humbucker can be found at the bridge. These are designed for heavier music and give you a great palette of tones to work with.
Elsewhere on the SLAT7 can be found a hard-tail bridge with staggered string saddles. A plastic nut and sealed die-cast tuning machines help to provide stability when it’s needed most.
Overall, the Jackson SLAT7 is built for serious performance. Taking one look at this 7-string guitar will tell you that this instrument is not here to mess around. Seasoned players are sure to find this well worth its price.
Item Weight: 10.5 pounds
Package Dimensions: 42 x 14 x 4 inches
Are you a big fan of the Randy Rhoads guitar models but unable to afford the higher-end models? Jackson has you covered with their JS32T offering. This affordable guitar does not compromise on its playability or its tone.
As is customary, the JS32T features that signature Randy Rhoads modified Flying-V shape, with the body made of Poplar. This model comes with a satin finish and a variety of colors including:
- White with black bevels
The 25.5” scale neck is crafted using 1 piece of Maple, joining to the body in a bolt-on configuration. An Amaranth fretboard with a compound radius of 12” to 16” provides accessibility up and down the neck.
24 jumbo-sized frets allow for 2-octave playing abilities. Adding to the aesthetic of this guitar are Pearloid sharkfin inlays, which are a signature feature of Jackson guitars.
For pickups, the JS32T features a pair of Jackson-crafted high-output humbuckers. These pickups have a ceramic magnet and are built specifically for heavier styles of music. A 3-way switch in combination with a volume and tone knob allows you to dial in your ideal tones.
The JS32T features a string-through-body design, which adds quite a bit of stability to the guitar. Because of this, this guitar features a Tune-O-Matic bridge with adjustable saddles.
Overall, the JS32T is an excellent budget offering if you’re looking for a Randy Rhoads guitar of your own. The Flying-V shape in combination with the compound radius provides a highly accessible playing experience.
Item Weight: 13.75 pounds
Package Dimensions: 53 x 23.5 x 5.5 inches
Are Jackson Guitars Good For Metal?
Jackson guitars are known for their widespread use throughout various sub-genres of metal music. For nearly 5 decades, Jackson guitars have gained a reputation for being highly suitable for metal. They even have an aggressive look suitable for any heavy style of metal.
Still in disbelief? Here are some well-known guitarists that use Jackson guitars:
- Mick Thomson (Slipknot)
- Jeff Loomis (Arch Enemy)
- Misha Mansoor (Periphery)
- Scott Ian (Anthrax)
- Marty Friedman
- Christian Andreu (Gojira)
- Mark Morton (Lamb Of God)
Are Jackson Guitars Good For Shredding?
If you’re a shredder, you’re likely to find a Jackson guitar to feel quite comfortable. These guitars are built to accommodate the most technical and virtuosic players alike.
The fretboards are often crafted with a compound radius to provide a smooth playing experience up and down the neck. You’ll be able to play chords quite well but also be able to perform extreme bends without fretting out.
What To Look For In A Jackson Guitar For Metal?
If you’re in the market for a Jackson guitar designed for metal, you’ll likely find most of their offerings suitable. However, if you’re having trouble deciding, keeping these things in mind will help with your purchasing decision.
It goes without saying that heavy music requires a certain kind of guitar pickup. The right pickups should be able to provide a high output. Yet, these pickups should also provide a level of clarity and definition across the entire tonal palette.
Some guitarists prefer to put active pickups in their guitars for extra output when playing. You’ll need to weigh out whether this decision is right for you.
Jackson offers a large variety of different body styles when it comes to their guitars. Some of these may not suit your tastes.
They do offer more traditional-looking guitars, but they have quite a range of non-traditional styles as well. Jackson even has miniature-sized guitars built for children and those looking for an at-home companion.
Similarly, you’ll also need to decide whether you want a 6-string, 7-string, or 8-string guitar. Jackson offers all of these types within its guitar lineup.
Depending on what your own personal style of playing entails, you may desire to have certain features on a guitar. Some features you may want to consider include:
- Floyd Rose Tremolo or Hard Tail Bridge
- Regular Scale Neck or Multi-Scale Neck
Jackson offers all of these features across their entire guitar line. Be sure to research whether your ideal guitar has what you need.
Your budget is likely going to be one of the biggest determining factors in which guitar you’re able to purchase. While it may seem obvious, the guitars at the higher price range are built with a higher degree of quality. With that being said, beginners and intermediates will be able to find something highly playable in the lower price ranges.
History Of Jackson Guitars
Jackson got its start in the late 1970s with a focus on metal music. The company began with a group of guitar builders who saw a demand for high-speed guitars. Throughout the 1980s, the company saw many virtuosic guitarists endorse their guitars, prompting Jackson into the spotlight.
The company has undergone a series of different ownerships. Today, Jackson is owned by Fender, who purchased the company back in 2002. Jackson still has a consistent focus on providing guitars built for metal music.
Top Jackson Guitars For Metal, Final Thoughts
No matter what guitars you have your eyes on, be sure to take the time to try them out firsthand. This will give you a definitive idea of how each guitar plays and sounds.
If you’re looking to shred and chug with the heaviest musicians, a Jackson guitar will likely suit you well. Playing a Jackson is honoring and participating in a time-tested tradition of metal music.
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