The story of Jackson Guitars begins with an enormous leap of faith and a pointy guitar. Back in 1978, a young guitar repairman named Grover Jackson purchased a small shop called Charvel’s Guitar Repair. After hot-rodding Strat after Strat for hair-metal aficionados looking for something a bit more shred-worthy, Grover and his team decided to start making their own guitars. However, Jackson Guitars didn’t get started until an incandescent young talent named Randy Rhoads asked Grover to build him a V-shaped guitar that didn’t look like a Flying V.
After tweaking the guitar to Rhoads’s specifications and giving the twentysomething shredder a couple prototypes to test on the road, Grover arrived at his final design: an offset V that looked nothing like the more traditional Strat-style guitars Charvel was known for. This left the esteemed Mr. Jackson in quite a pickle: should he release such an audacious design and risk alienating his customers? You have to remember, releasing a pointy guitar was a much different preposition in 1980. Other than B.C. Rich, no one was really producing guitars with outrageous shapes, and the Flying V hadn’t quite become the venerated institution it is today. It was entirely possible that releasing such an instrument would cripple his business!
Rather than hem and haw, Grover decided to double down and release Rhoads’s signature model under the moniker “Jackson,” and the rest is heavy metal history. Mr. Jackson’s innovative, visually striking designs immediately caught on among the virtuosos of the metal scene because of their superior playability, hot-rodded electronics, immaculate build quality, and flashy looks.
Though Randy Rhoads never saw his signature model go on to achieve staggering success, a host of artists have followed in his giant footsteps by gigging night in and night out with their Jackson guitars. Some notable users include Dr. Know of hardcore punk legends Bad Brains, just about everyone who has ever played in Megadeth, Scott Ian of thrash OGs Anthrax, Adrian Smith and Dave Murray of the incomparable Iron Maiden, and Phil Collen of glam-metal masters Def Leppard. But it’s not just legends that love their Jacksons: young bucks like Cory Beaulieu of Trivium, Chris Andreu of Gojira, and Misha Mansoor of prog powerhouse Periphery all proudly melt faces with their Jackson axes.
Wildwood Guitars is proud to partner with our friends at Jackson to bring you these fantastic instruments. We believe that Jackson Guitars are some of the most imminently shred-tastic guitars on the planet, and that their current models reflect the same innovative spirit that prompted Grover Jackson to take his great leap of faith in 1980. Whether you’re into chugging metal, breakneck thrash, crusty punk, or one of the many sub-genres in between, we know they will inspire countless sick riffs and gnarly solos.