Randy Rhoads and his original Jackson Concorde V at a dress rehearsal for the
Blizzard of Ozz tour at Zoetrope Studio in late 1981.
Left: Mike Shannon and Chip Ellis measuring the Concorde V at Delores Rhoads’ Musonia School of Music in North Hollywood in 2009. Right: A young Shannon with Rhoads’ second Concorde V in November 1981.
Although things really started to happen for Grover Jackson after he bought Charvel’s Guitar Repair from Wayne Charvel in 1978—not long after Edward Van Halen had spearheaded a new era in hard rock with his “Frankenstein” guitar built from a Charvel neck and body—the rise of the Jackson brand can be traced back to a disposable napkin.
In 1980, a young guitarist named Randy Rhoads contacted Jackson with the hopes of having a guitar built for him based on the sketches he’d made on a thin, flimsy square of paper snagged from some long-forgotten dining table. The instrument’s name and shape were unique in that they derived from his preferred mode of travel to and from Europe—the Concorde supersonic airliner. Soon thereafter, Jackson and Rhoads went to work creating one of the most distinctive guitars in history. With its offset V shape, streamlined body, and neck-through construction, Rhoads’ Concorde turned a lot of heads— and the guitars based on that design continue to do so today. The Concorde became the first official Jackson model, the beginning of a respected and iconic brand that has lasted for more than 25 years now.
Master Builder Mike Shannon was there at the beginning. He worked alongside Jackson, building and designing some of the most acclaimed instruments to bear the Charvel and Jackson name. In fact, after Rhoads toured with the first custom V for a while, Shannon built the second Concorde for him.
The whole Charvel/Jackson gang in 1983. Mike Shannon is second from the right
in the front row, and Grover Jackson is fourth from the right in the back row.
Jackson’s Mike Eldred testing at the Charvel/Jackson shop in San Dimas in 1982.
A Kahler-equipped Kelly formerly used by Sammy Hagar.