Jackson Master Builder Pablo Santana’s workbench features the signatures of various employees
over the years. On it are routing templates for control
cavities of different Jackson models.
What was the reasoning behind the
second guitar having a D-profile neck?
Did Randy request it and then change
his mind about it?
On the second one, we didn’t have
the specs so we made it kind of like a
standard Jackson style—which is a little
thinner. At the time, we didn’t know he
preferred the Les Paul-style shape. We
were trying to get the body shape correct,
and the neck wasn’t a big question
at the time.
Were the rock maple and the poplar
wings on the second Concorde one of
Again that’s another really tough question
for me. That’s how we started making
neck-through-body guitars as a standard
model. I think it was due to weight
and cost of materials at the time.
What can you tell us about what was
actually on that first sketch napkin?
It was more about the flying-V shape
that he had wanted, along with some
bow-tie inlay sketches.
1. An old CNC tool carousel still in use at the
Jackson Custom Shop.
2. The body-route template for the original
Randy Rhoads guitar.
3. Body-shaping templates for a Kelly (left) and
4. Mike Shannon (left) and tune tester Joe Williams
worker inspect an RR 24 Rhoads with a
welded-steel-themed custom paint job.
Was he particular about qualities
he wanted in the pickups, controls,
woods, hardware, or other ergonomic
I’m sure he was, but I didn’t really get to
know him as well as other people. I know
he was really particular. He had an accident
with the white one where he made
a little chip on the wing. He brought
it back into repair and he was nearly in
tears—he felt super bad. We did a repair
on it and he felt better.
What is known about the pickups used
in the first two Concordes—were they
pretty much vintage PAFs?
I believe they were Duncans but I forget
How do those guitars compare with the
current Rhoads model?
The main differences are the front control
plate and the string plate. We don’t typically
use the Tune-o-matic[-style] bridge
anymore. That was a bridge made by a local
guy here in Orange County. The
front control pocket today is a little
bit smaller than what is on the original
Rhoads, and our shark-fin inlays
are larger. On Randy’s original model,
he had binding over the frets—the frets
are installed and filed flush to the edge of
the fretboard. Then the binding is put on
and all filed out between the frets. Today,
we have notched frets—we put the inlays
and binding on, and then press the frets to
where they overlap the top of the binding.
In special-order cases, the customer can still
buy the binding over the frets.
Did you ever meet Randy?
Just briefly as he went through our mill
doing a walkthrough with Grover. Most
of the times he came in, it was after
hours. Being a rock star, he probably
didn’t get up until four in the afternoon.
He seemed like a real nice, quiet kid. He
was older than me at the time, but we
were all kids. Grover described him as a
really nice, reasonable kid.
Sean Silas (left) and Joe Williams
at their final-assemply
stations. Photo by Oscar
A pin router with a custom
Soloist in progress. Photo by
One of the latest prototypes for
Megadeth guitarist Chris Broderick
along with one of the body-shape
drawings its based on. It’s routed
for a 3-way toggle in the forwardmost
Volume knob, a Tone knob, and
a coil-tap switch. Photo by
A USA SL2H Soloist
with a mahogany body
and neck-through design
topped with green-stained
quilted maple. Hardware
includes Duncan JB TB-4
(bridge) and JB (neck)
toggle, and Volume and