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Who where some of the other clients wanting custom guitars back then?
I remember guys like Chris Holmes from W.A.S.P. coming in. Warren DeMartini from Ratt came in a bunch of times. Robbin Crosby [also from Ratt] would come in. Robbin had the King V, but he also had the Firebird[-style] stuff. We had Jake E. Lee and Jeff Beck, as well.
What came after the Rhoads model?
Back when metal was exploding, the Rhoads was so appealing. It started out with the Rhoads, then the Soloist, the Kelly, and then the King V. After that, the Warrior came along.
Why did the company change the name and logo from Charvel to Jackson?
Jackson didn’t want to call these guitars Charvel because they were nothing like a Charvel. Charvels are basically bolt-ons and are more similar to Fenders, so Jackson only made sense.
The headstock of Rhoads’ original Jackson Concorde V. Note the early version of the Jackson logo.
Left: Shannon uses gauged calipers to ensure every aspect of the Rhoads Tribute Relic is true to the original.
Right: Few get to see the other side of Rhoads’ original Concorde V. The legendary guitarist treasured
the guitar so much that he covered the back in layers of tape to protect the finish. Evidently, he was far
less worried about buckle rash on the trem-cavity plate.
The original Concorde V next to Shannon’s copious notes and a studded
leather strap that very well may outweight the guitar itself.
What distinguishes Jackson from other custom builders?
The guitar player will get what he wants instead of what the store will sell him. You have the choice of pickups, fretwire, binding, colors, and odd-shaped necks.
Tell me more about the “odd-shaped necks.”
The earliest Charvel necks were pretty thick and round. Later on, they just started getting thinner and thinner—in some necks, we’ve sanded through the back and hit the truss rod. The speed metal guys like them that way. But the neck shape is the player’s choice. We’ve done boat shapes, V shapes. Recently we’ve even made some guitars with off-center back shapes. Under the low-E string, the back is thicker than on the high-E side, which would be really thin to facilitate easier leads. We’ve done some strange ergonomic back shapes.
All of these things turn our guitars into really personal pieces. You can pick up 30 guitars, but guitar players always know when that certain guitar is right for them. We have a very good batting average of building guitars for people and, when they get them, they’re really happy.