Megadeth’s Chris Broderick Discusses His New Jackson 6- and 7-String Signature Guitars

Chris Broderick onstage with a Jackson Custom Shop signature prototype that’s simultaneously futuristic and elegant looking, thanks to its subtly carved, flamed-maple top with a semi-transparent finish that complements the black binding and white, body-mounted humbuckers.

How did you decide to take your signature guitar ideas to the guys at Jackson?

I talked to a number of other companies and Jackson was really willing to step up to the plate and build me the guitar that I envisioned. It was the idea that there was no compromise in not only what they would build for me, but also what they would offer to the public.

What do you mean?

Stainless-steel frets are a big issue for a lot of builders. With Jackson, it was no problem. And Jackson really stepped it up on the 7-string guitar—they were able to get with Floyd Rose and build the first ever 7-string, low-profile version of the Floyd Rose tremolo. That, to me, is phenomenal!

What other features did you want?

I really like a 12" fretboard radius all the way across. They were able to do that when other companies just wanted me to pick out a model they already had and slap my name on it. I also love the asymmetrical offset body. I’ve always been a fan of that, which is why I designed it that way. It also serves a very ergonomic function: It takes the balance of the guitar and makes it so that you can angle the neck up. The neck doesn’t want to drop down like on other guitars. That was a huge plus for me.

We looked at everything from the lower horn cutaway and the upper horn cutaway, and those relief cuts that are on each side. Then the placement of the Volume and Tone controls, the jack for plugging in the guitar cable, and how ergonomically that fits in. Also, how the guitar sits against you, and what angle it juts out at. We looked at a lot of things in terms of its playability.

Are your new guitars pretty light or do you like them fairly substantial?

My guitars are fairly heavy, but that’s mainly because I like dense wood. It’s a fairly typical combination of mahogany and a plain maple top. The quality of the wood that Jackson has is unbelievable. I would love to play a guitar that’s half a pound if you could make it, but I have a feeling it wouldn’t sound that good, tonally. The weight of the guitar is based more on the quality of the tone than how comfortable it is to wear.

What was it like working with Mike Shannon?

He was absolutely horrible! [Laughs.] No, he’s awesome. He’s so meticulous about getting things right and making sure they’re exact. The detail work that he does with everything is so precise. I’ve never seen work of that quality before. When he takes on a project, he makes it personal.