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More information on Jacksons and Charvels (Under Construction)

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-Common myths-

-Is it (presumably a Dinky) 7/8 size of a Stratocaster?: Soloists and Dinky’s have a smaller body (thinner waist, more horn cutaway) than a typical Fender Stratocaster is all you really need to know. The confusion comes from several places. Remember that game where a chain of people whisper some fact in each other's ears and by the time its over it's changed into a completely different statement? Some think a Dinky is smaller than a Soloist because if it's in the model name it must be true? No, they are the same. The Soloist had the smaller shape first actually. Be aware Jackson had 'strat or vintage style' guitars in the 80s with a larger strat body. Check the 1988 Catalog for example. Guitars with 22 frets as opposed to the typical 24 frets will have an altered body shape. In short, there isn't a single body size for all Soloists and Dinkies.

-(Concerning older 90s era Jacksons) Does the right lower horn cutout mean it’s a short scale Fusion?: Good catch, but no. A lot of Charvel and Jackson Fusions do have that feature, but it's not exclusive to those guitars.

-Are all of the Profession line guitars the prized USA killers?: Online and local sellers will use this as a selling point so it is important to know the difference. The 'Pro' Jacksons Professionals were the top of the line and only made for a shorter time. They may have a 'Pro' or blank truss rod cover. That can be changed or altered so its important to be more familiar with the specifications of the guitar to know what you are getting. (Such as using this database). For example a Rhoads may be a Pro or a STD or an EX. Later Professionals are still from the same factory but intentionally made with less premium parts. They are still amazing, enough to be fizzled out eventually anyway, but don't let sellers apply the legendary status to them unfairly.

-Jackson categories-

How to wrap your head about the naming schemes used over the years:

Jacksons for the USA market at least work on a name+suffix system. Eample: A Jackson Dinky DK1 means 'Jackson' 'Dinky=DK' '1=USA highest model'. The numbers usually ascend to represent a lower model. so DK2 is the lower import. Right away you will find trouble as you realize that the naming scheme can change, secondly you will find that there are tons of not so obvious suffixes attached to a lot of the more modern Jacksons. Let's break it down:

1 USA made almost always. This came around about 1996 to replace what were until then called the Soloist/Dinky/Rhoads/etc Custom, the top USA but not Custom shop guitar. In modern times, these are Custom Select, a where you can customize some aspects without it being a full custom model. But wait, there's more twists. For the King V and Kelly, this is also a signature model, so that their modern equivalents actually use the '2'. See below. Anti-examples: The Professional DX1. Kelly Bass KB1, a few others
2 Either USA or higher end import. In the late 90s, this could a more budget USA made Jackson with some lesser hardware like a licensed Floyd. Later this more often became the higher end import, such as the earlier DK2 MIJ or later DK2 made in Mexico. For the Kelly and King V, the KV2 and KE2 are actually in the place of the 1 series, they just don't call it that because the KV1 and KE1 are old signature models. There is however a MIJ Professional KV2. (tricky tricky!) Lastly, this can indicate pickups. The modern DK2 and DK3 are contemporaries, just indicating two humbuckers or two singles and a single hum.
3 Usually it means a mid ranged import, either MIJ or elsewhere. For DK3 (modern) this means three pickups.
4 Usually a mid to lower or just simply plainer looking import early on. Early on MIJ but no newer examples will be. Can also be a different that usual aesthetic. Ex. Soloist SLX4
5 Midrange import. Rarely used in 90s to be the plainer option. Later to now it means either a different aesthetic or neck-through.
6 Means six strings. Used as early as the early 00s Dinky DR6
7 Means seven strings! Used as early as the early 00s DR7, RR7, etc
24 Means twenty-four frets. A Rhoads variant. Note that other Jackson models can vary with number of frets but it's never reflected in the name.
S Comes with Sustainiac Ex. DK2S. Later means shattered glass finish. Ex. KEXS
L or LH Indicates left handed model, often with less color options unfortunately for southpaws
M Maple fretboard
FF Indicates the rather limited Fire inlays. You can see it on a few Dinky models, though Jackson Stars offered it much more liberally.
R Rarely used, meaning reverse headstock. Some new 2021 MIJ models use this again
AT or A Arched top body. Later you'll see the later added to the end of the model name. Example: DKA In some 2021 models this means Ash top
MG MG series from 00s onward. Early MIJ, with EMGs that were passive (early) or active later. This was above X Series and the same as Pro Series. Later however these are Indonesian imports with active EMGS. They are also now categorized under X or Pro Series instead of it's own series though the MG will remain in the model number as an indicator of EMGs.
MAH Mahogany body as an option. For some guitars the mahogany body becomes standard spec, making redundancies. (See for example: Pro Series SL2)
T TOM bridge option, but on rare occasion (usually older guitars) tremolo option. Confusing I know.
X X series, more budget to mid range imports. These can be made in India or Japan early only, depending on guitar, and later Indonesia and China. If the 'X' is a suffix however it may just mean a different aesthetic.
DX Not used a lot. Quite often means a different aesthetic. Can be synonymous with 'EX' (see entry)
Q or QH Quilt maple top
F or FR Floyd Rose in newer guitars. Rarely may mean flame top.
NT Neck-through. Used for new Concert Basses
FS Seymour Duncan or Duncan Design Firestorm control, that third knob. 00s only on a few guitars
HT or H Hardtail bridge. Rarely just a 'H'
10 10D A lower to mid import on just a few early X Series guitars.
JS # This is the budget line, at the outset sparse and plain models but now offering plenty of options in all the major Jackson body shapes. Country of origin vary between India, Indonesia, and China and rarely Japan. The numbers go up to increase in 'features'. Number scheme varies between 1, 11, 12, 20, 22, 30, 32, 30, 45 and more. What this means depends on the guitar.
IV Four string bass
V Five string bass
MS Multi-scale
EX Not the Professional EX (see below), rather means 'extreme' in newer guitars. Often features active pickups (but not EMG like MG Series) or may mean something else (SL27 EX Wildcard)
SD Rarely means Seymour Duncan.
FSR Fender Special Run. Used on JS32 Rhoads FSR. Seems to have different aesthetic.
JX Rarely in early 00s were in between JS and X Series. Ex: JX10, JX40, JX45. Later assuming the model was still made, Jackson would reassign it as plain JS Series. Ex again: JX10
MJ New for 2021, Made in Japan models
P Poplar burl top in newer models
E Ebony fretboard option on some modern Charvels
H, HH, or HSH Indicates pickup configuration on modern Charvels and Jacksons (aka 2H= two hum)
AX/S or Axis Or whatever its called. Possibly 1999? Two Dinkys, Kellys, and Rhoads, models that would become X Series models in 2000.
DM For a Musician's Friend exclusive Dinky, 'Dimarzios' stock.

Notable outliers

-Professional subcategories-

Meant to be affordable for any professional guitarist!

Pro The initial line of Professional guitars created of highest quality. Featuring MOP inlays and logos, ebony fretboards and high end electronics. Other specs vary. There was Soloist (reg and archtop plus special 91), Fusion, Kip Winger, Phil Collen, Warrior and Rhoads. Later Stealth, Ininity (has rosewood), Futura, Kelly and King V (Mustaine sig). There was never a Dinky or Concert Bass Pro oddly.
XL Usually the next step down but still with with aestetics like sharkfin inlays, binding, higher end electronics, and metallic finishes.
STD or Standard A plainer version of the XL with dots inlays and no binding but featured metallic finishes. The actual features like neck construction, bridge, and pickups would normally be the same as the XL. Also sometimes had finish matching headstocks.
EX The less expensive and plainer model with dot inalys and plainer finishes (expection being Stone finish). In the case of the Concert Bass XL and EX the only difference is just the fretboard inlays in the Futura the presence of a preamp.
LT A higher end early version of the XL it seems. Example: Dinky LT
AR Early archtop body, HSH. Example: Dinky AR
SS Early Fusion HSS with dots and single volume knob.
SX Early HSH Fusion with single volume knob.
Reverse RVS, RVH: Line of reverse headstock Dinky models, shortly becoming the DR later in the 90s.
SP Early plain model Dinky with dots and HSH pickups or Fusion with HS pickups and dots.
HH Two humbuckers.
V Five string concert bass
HX Means TOM string-thru body and humbuckers, three for the Stealth or two for the rare Dinky HX.
Plus A early version of the HH but also with fancy wood. Example: Fusion Plus

-Concept subcategories-

1994-95 MIJ budget models that became Performers later.

-Grover Jackson and Jackson Stars-

They have their own schemes it seems. Here's what I have so far: (Model).(Series)-(RRP)


Guitarinside.com Extensive information on most but not all Jackson models, US and import. There is some missing information however and I can't get in contact with the owner.

Audiozone.dk Jackson Professional page. The downfall of this site is part of my motivation to get this webpage together. Charvel page here. Here is great information. Tremolo page here.

ImportCharvel.com.Information on early import Charvels. Features plentiful images and information on Japanese domestic models. Be sure to click around. Though watermarked there are some great looking catalog scans here.

Jackson Charvel Wiki. Here I link the pickups page because it's some what interesting. Overall not a fan of this place because there's hardly any articles and they're hard to find at that. Scattered and unfocused overall but feel free to dig around.

Usacharvels.com. Exactly what it sounds like with cool pictures. You can click and get stories about the guitar, since we're talking custom shop stuff here. My only issues is that it is zombie. The forums are dead and lots of the external links are long gone. Enjoy while it lasts.

Jcfonline.com.This is the ONLY somewhat alive location dedicated to these guitars. Images are often broken due to file hosting issues. There's a wealth of info but buried deep. There are a mix of old timer contributors and hit and run 'ask a question in a topic and never return' members. That's not bad, but it does mean that threads will stagnate quickly.

-Additional Reference Material-

  1. Info on Jackson Dinky HX. A prototype of only 100. Sources from Jcfonline: (1) (2) (3) (4)
  2. Information on Roswell Rhoads from themusiczoo. Click here.
  3. Information on original 'King' Kelly on Jcfonline. Click here
  4. History of the Jackson Warrior by Vincent Roarden. Click here. Watch for a (harmless) popup!
  5. Some info on the Jackson JPB Basses on Talkbass. Click here


Jackson catalogs modern: here

Archived catalogs: here

Japanese market catalogs: here

Jackson Price lists: here

Charvel catalog mega page, including JPN only: here

Charvel Price lists:here

Charvel 1989 Catalog: (scans and price list)

Jackson 2000 Catalog: here (scans belong to me)

Some obscure Japanese catalogs including Grover Jackson/Charvel: here.

-Var. Accessories-

Note: These items and availability (especially with accessories) are subject to change and not always documented. The Japanese domestic market also had their own accessories. Also note regarding pickups, the catalogs can list one spec but guitars can have another. The pickups themselves were not always wound identically either.

Cases and bags:



Pickups and electronics


Bridges and related:

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