Though Jackson Guitars is named after co-founder Grover Jackson, it's one of the other founders who helped make a name for the company. In the late '70s, Grover approached Wayne Charvel and inquired about buying Charvel's Guitar Repair shop located in Glendora, California. At first the business model was the same, hot-rodding existing guitars for the burgeoning heavy rocking scene in the greater LA area. But with the addition of Mike Eldred and Don Fox, they began making their own guitars while also selling parts to pickup giants Mighty Mite and DiMarzio.
They were able to get a few Charvel Stratocaster-inspired guitars into some big guitar retailers, but things really took off in 1980 when Grover was approached by a young, relatively unknown (at the time) guitarist from a popular Los Angeles rock band Quiet Riot (pre-MTV and major label days) named Randy Rhoads. WIth the help of Tim Wilson and Mike Shannon, the foursome created the Concorde, which was a radically reimagined take on the Flying V which Rhoads had been playing. It had an even more angular shape, with an offset V-Shape, and neck-through body construction. Jackson was so impressed with this guitar (which had started out as a sketch on a paper napkin), that he decided to finally place his last name on the headstock, thus the birth of the Jackson Guitar company.
Though Randy would sadly die a mere two years later, he had become an icon as a member of Ozzy Osbourne's The Blizzard of Ozz band and the 2nd version of their original collaboration, the Jackson Rhoads would become a legend much like the guitarist himself. And Jackson became a go-to stable for heavy metal guitarists everywhere. Their slim neck designs made it easy for shredders to fly up and down the frets for crazy solos, while the wild body shapes, pointed headstocks and shark fin inlays made them a must-have for those wanting to make a statement not only in tone, but in style, which we all know was a necessity in the heyday of MTV and the upsurge of metal's dominance in that era. Models like the Kelly, Double Roads Soloist, Dinky, Concert Bass, PC1 (based on a signature model for Def Leppard's popular guitarist Phil Collen), and the outlandish X-shaped Warrior were in high demand for people wanting to imitating their heavy metal heroes.
As traditional hair metal waned and the genre expanded into various mutations, including thrash skate metal, speed, metalcore, death metal, goth, industrial, grunge, nu metal, and more, Jackson and his staff kept up with the times and demands. Even though metal doesn't enjoy the radio success of the '80s and early '90s, Jackson is still entrenched in the different scenes, and still sought after by those who like to rock the hell out of the stage.
Besides their long-standing Rhandy Rhoads and Phil Collen models which still sell out of nostalgia and because their incredible tone, they've added Signature models for respected metal gods Adrian Smith of Iron Maiden (San Dimas), Scott Ian of Anthrax (T-1000), Mark Morton of Lamb of God (Dominion), Dave Ellefson of Megadeth (CBX), Phil Demmel of Machine Head (PDX 2), and many others. Their Custom Shop, the longest-operating custom shop in the U.S., which includes some of the original staff from the early Jackson-Charvel years is also instrumental in keeping the Jackson brand in high demand worldwide.
If you want style and substance, and love your music heavy, but not your guitar, Jackson's been working towards keeping musicians like you happy for three decades.