While you may not think of Jackson guitars the same as you would about Fender, Epiphone, Gibson, or Ibanez, it’s actually a very decent guitar brand. In fact, famous guitarists who’ve played or are currently playing Jackson guitars include Dave Mustaine, Ozzy Osbourne, Randy Rhoads, Vinnie Vincent, Kirk Hammet, Phil Collen, Corey Beaulieu, and Mark Morten just to name a few.
Although, it’s true, these guitarists played/play models like the King V and Soloist. Many famous guitarists even have a signature Jackson guitars. So we know that Jackson guitars are generally of good quality. But how does the Jackson Dinky guitar range hold up? What’s different about these guitars? We’re going to explore all of that.
Jackson Guitars- A Very Brief History
Jackson Guitars was formed when Wayne Charvel sold his shares in Charvel Guitar Repair to his business partner, Grover Jackson in 1978. Since 2002, Fender owns Jackson Guitars. As we’ve established, Jackson guitars have been used and continue to be used by numerous famous guitarists. These guitars are built to rock.
The Jackson Dinky Guitar Range- Construction
You may have guessed by the word “dinky” in the name, that these guitars aren’t exactly standard sized. While they are still full scale guitars (around 24.75 to 25.5 inches), they have smaller bodies (⅞ body size). This makes them more comfortable to play since they’re lighter, and this is why they’re also a little cheaper.
While the Dinky range may not be considered premium, although as you’ll see, there are higher priced Dinky guitars, their budget range isn’t rubbish either. You’ll find they’re made of decent quality wood, have decent quality hardware, and beautiful finishes. Naturally, the models with the more premium branded hardware and electronics, and more creative/unique finishes cost more. Let’s get into what these guitars are made of.
When it comes to electric guitars, particularly solid bodies, the tonewood isn’t the main factor. But, the type of tonewood still has a small effect on the sound. The Dinky range is made from various tonewoods.
For the body, you can choose from the following:
The fretboard tonewoods include:
The Jackson Dinky range has a variety of different necks. Many are bolt on necks with graphite reinforcement. There are some models that also have scarf joints in addition to the bolts and graphite reinforcement. The scarf joint allows the headstock to angle backward, increasing the tension, and eliminates the need for string retainer bars or string trees. Some of the necks are one solid neck, while others are 3-piece or 5-piece necks.
Many of the Dinky guitars have a compound radius of 12” to 16”. This means that the upper portion of the fretboard is flatter and the lower section is rounder. This is thought to make chords easy to play on the upper frets and playing riffs easier on the lower frets. Some of the guitars have a straight radius (around 15.75”), as in the fretboard has the same radius at all sections. In terms of flatness, the higher the number, the flatter the fretboard. A radius of 20” is almost completely flat, whereas 12” is gently curved.
The lower price models typically have Jackson tailpieces or bridges, but here are some of the other brands they use on their higher priced models:
- Floyd Rose
- Hip Shot
The same goes for the tuning machines. Most are Jackson sealed die-cast tuning machines, but there are also Gotoh sealed die-cast and locking tuners. The full scale models all have 24 frets, usually jumbo.
You can choose from different combinations: two humbucker pickups or those with two single coil pickups and one humbucker. Some pickups are Jackson pickups, but the following brands of pickups are on these guitars too:
- Seymour Duncan
Most models have passive pickups, but some have active pickups, meaning they need batteries.
- 6 strings
- 7 strings
- 8 strings
These are stock strings, and as with most guitars, you’ll likely prefer to change them to something better. That said, you may just like the stock strings and decide to keep them.
Jackson caters to both right-handed and left-handed guitarists.
Jackson guitars come with a limited lifetime warranty.
The Jackson Dinky Guitar Range- A Look at the Models
Here are the models on offer and a look at what each has to offer. As with most guitars, even higher priced ones, a little setup goes a long way. By this I mean adjusting the action (via the truss rod), correcting the intonation, changing strings, and if necessary, filing the frets.
The JS Series
The JS series is the budget line within the Jackson Dinky range. There are certain models that have more premium fittings, but most have the Jackson stock electronics and hardware.
Jackson Dinky Arch Top JS22
These guitars have two high-output ceramic humbuckers, a 3-way pickup selector, tone and volume controls. The bridge is a 2-point fulcrum tremolo bridge. The body is poplar, the neck maple, and the compound fretboard is amaranth. The neck has the scarf joint, so the headstock is angled backward. 7-string models are available too.
You can choose between metallic blue, natural oil, satin black, or snow white. The sharkfin pearloid inlays give these guitars a more unique look. Overall, people feel this is a great beginner guitar or a guitar to use for modifying. Many agree that it’s also a good guitar in general, especially for metal, with the tremolo and frets being the main things that need adjustment or improvement.
Get the Dinky Arch Top J22 at Sweetwater.
Jackson Dinky Arch Top JS32 DKA-M
As with the JS22, the JS32 DKA-M has the same ceramic humbuckers, 3-way pickup selector, tone and volume controls. The body and neck are the same type of wood too. Where it differs is the fretboard material, which is maple, and the bridge, which is a Jackson branded Floyd Rose double locking tremolo bridge. The JS32 is also available as a 7-string and 8-string version. Choose from snow white or gloss black.
Get the Dinky Arch Top JS32 DKA-M at Sweetwater.
If you want the same specs with a quilted maple finish (transparent purple burst, transparent blue, transparent black, dark burst), you can get the JS32Q at Sweetwater.
Jackson Dinky Arch Top JS24 DKA-M
If you’d prefer the slightly darker, richer tone mahogany might provide, the JS24 DKAM is a decent option. The body is mahogany, and the neck and fretboard are caramelized maple. It has the same electronics and hardware as the JS22. Choose between black stain or red stain done in a satin finish. Most people feel this guitar is built well and feels good to play but could do with upgrades, in particular, getting locking tuning machines.
Get the JS24 DKA-M at Sweetwater.
Jackson Dinky JS12
Another Dinky in the JS series, the J12 is made of the same tonewoods as the previous two and has the same Jackson stock hardware and electronics as the JS22. Where it differs is the fretboard radius which has a straight radius of 12”. Choose from gloss black, metallic blue, metallic red, or snow white.
Get the Dinky JS12 at Sweetwater.
Another similar model is the JS11 which you can get from Sweetwater.
Jackson Dinky Minion JS1X
The minion JS1X is for smaller guitarists or for those who want a travel guitar. It has a scale length of 22.5”. It’s made of the same tonewoods as the rest of the series and for the most part it has the same electronics and hardware as the J12, J11, and J22. The fretboard radius is 12”. Unlike the rest of the series, it has a hardtail bridge, so no whammy bar. Choose from gloss black, metallic blue burst, or neon green.
While most people are reasonably happy with these guitars, there are some who find the tone quality lacking and feel the guitars need a little too much adjusting and upgrading for their taste. Overall, if you want a guitar for a young player who might not stick with it, give the JSX a go.
Get the Minion JS1X at Sweetwater.
If you’d prefer a maple fretboard to the amaranth fretboard, check out the Minion JS1X-M at Sweetwater.
The X Series
These guitars are a step up from the JS series. They are still affordable, although not quite in the budget range. Here and there you’ll find a branded bit of hardware or electronics as opposed to the Jackson stock offerings.
Jackson X Series Dinky DK3XR M HSS
These guitars are some of Jackson’s newer offerings at the time of writing. It’s for those who love versatility. You get two Jackson single coil pickups and a Jackson humbucker with a 5-way pickup selector. Great for a variety of genres. The bridge is a Jackson Floyd Rose double-locking tremolo bridge. The body is nyatoh, the bolt-on neck is maple and with a compound radius maple fretboard. With black sharkfin inlays, this guitar has that Jackson look paired with a glam rock theme. Choose between frostbyte blue or deep purple metallic.
Get the DK3XR M HSS at Sweetwater.
Jackson X Series Dinky DK3XR HSS
This is the older version of the above guitar. In this guitar, you’ll find the same hardware and electronics. Where it differs is the tonewood and colors. The body is poplar, the bolt on neck with scarf joint is maple, and the compound radius fretboard is laurel. The sharkfin inlays on these guitars are white.
The range of colors include cobalt blue (with pink pickups), neon green (pink pickups), caution yellow (pink pickups), gloss black (white pickups), neon pink (lighter pink pickups). Most people love the sound and build quality and feel the guitar is great for rock, metal, and blues.
Get the DK3XR HSS at Sweetwater.
Jackson X Series Dinky DK2XR
The DK2XR HT features a Jackson Hardtail bridge. The DK2XR features a Floyd Rose bridge. You get two high output Jackson humbuckers, a 3-way pickup selector, and the usual tone and volume control knobs. The body is poplar, the bolt on neck with scarf joint is maple, and the compound radius fretboard is laurel. Most people feel like this guitar is great for shredding, sounds great, and is built well. It comes in gloss black or snow white.
Jackson X Series Dinky Arch Top DKAF MS
The X series doesn’t have this particular guitar in a 6-string version. But for lovers of 7 or 8-string guitars, here you go. On the Jackson site, the DKAF7 MS is listed as having a poplar body, on other sites, it’s listed as having a mahogany body, just like DKAF8 MS. The neck on both are maple and the compound radius fretboards are laurel. These guitars are both multiscale (25.5”-27” and 26”-28” respectively).
You get two Jackson Uncovered humbuckers and a 3-way pickup selector. The bridge consists of staggered individual saddles. These guitars come in gloss black or stained mahogany. Most people feel these guitars sound great, clear with a decent bite, and that the quality is good. Some recommend upgrading the tuners to locking tuners.
The Pro Series
These guitars are a step up from the X series. They feature more premium hardware and electronics paired with the Dinky body.
Jackson Pro Series Dinky DK Modern EverTune
The DK Modern EverTune has a few nifty features. Jackson states that once you tune the guitar, it won’t go out of tune. While I still recommend you do a quick check whether your strings are in tune, the Gotoh locking tuning machines will do a good job barring more extreme temperature changes.
You get a pair of Fishman Fluence PRF-COC humbucker pickups (active, so you need batteries), a 5-way pickup selector, the usual tone and volume controls. The bride is the EverTune F6. Luminlay side dots glow in the dark, perfect for dark stages.
The body is basswood, the 3-piece neck is maple and wenge. The compound radius fretboard is ebony. The 6-string is available in graphite gray. The 7-string is available in primer gray. Most people feel these guitars are built well, stay perfectly in tune, and sound great.
Jackson Pro Series Dinky DK Modern Ash HT6
With this unique looking guitar, you get a pair of Fishman Fluence PRF-COC humbucker pickups (active), Gotoh locking tuning machines, and a Hipshot fixed bridge. The 5-way pickup switch, tone and volume controls allow you to tweak your tone and turn it up. As you may have guessed, the body is ash, beautifully shown off in a baked white finish. The 3-piece neck is maple and wenge, and the fretboard is ebony with a compound radius.
Most people feel this guitar sounds really good, is lighter than some other guitars in this price range, and more comfortable to play higher frets.
Get the DK Modern Ash HT6 at Sweetwater.
Jackson Pro Series Dinky DK Modern HT6 MS
The DK Modern HT6 MS is constructed from basswood, has a maple and wenge 3-piece neck with an ebony fretboard. You get two Fishman Fluence Modern PRF-MH7 pickups (active), a 3-way pickup selector, and the usual tone and volume controls. The bridge is a Hipshot 6 fixed bridge. You also get Luminlay side dots.
This guitar is available in snow white. The HT7 MS is the seven string version and is available in Eureka mist. Most people feel like these guitars are solidly built and sound pretty good. They enjoy that they’re lighter, too.
Jackson Pro Series Dinky DK2 Ash
Another guitar made from ash, the green glow finish makes for a striking guitar. The neck is maple and graphite enforced with a compound radius ebony fretboard. It boasts two neon Seymour Duncan 59 SH-1 and JB TB-4 humbuckers that provide a classic rock sound while being versatile. You also get a 5-way pickup selector, tone and volume control.
While the tuning machines are Jackson stock tuners, this guitar has a Floyd Rose locking nut, and Floyd Rose double-locking recessed tremolo bridge to keep the guitar in tune. Most people love the way the guitar looks and sounds.
Get the DK2 Ash at Sweetwater.
The Pro Plus Series
The Pro Plus Series features the latest Jackson Dinky guitars at the time of writing. They cost around the same amount as the Pro Series for some models, but others are priced higher. Just like the Pro Series, they have more premium electronics and hardware.
Jackson Pro Plus Dinky Modern DK HT6 MS
This is a multiscale guitar (25.5”-26.5”), which depending on your preferences, you may find more comfortable to play. It’ll also help with the intonation. You get two Fishman Fluence Modern humbucker pickups (active), a 3-way pickup selector, a Hipshot fixed bridge, and Gotoh locking tuners. Play in low light conditions with no worries thanks to the Luminlay side dots. The body is basswood, the 3-piece neck is maple and wenge. The compound radius fretboard is ebony.
Get the MDK HT6 MS at Sweetwater which is available in gloss black.
The 7-string version is available in satin orange crush at Sweetwater.
Jackson Pro Plus Dinky DK Modern MDK7 HT
For lovers of 7-string guitars, the DK Modern MDK7 HT offers two Bare Knuckle Brute Force humbuckers. Make the aggressive modern tone your own using the 5-way pickup selector. Stay in tune thanks to the Jackson locking tuners and fixed bridge. The body is basswood, the 3-piece neck is maple and walnut, and the fretboard is ebony with a straight radius of 15.75”. It also features the Luminlay side dots. All in all, it makes for a wicked looking and sounding guitar. It comes in satin black or red with black bevels.
Get the DK Modern MDK7 HT at Sweetwater.
Jackson Pro Plus Dinky DK Modern MDK7P
If you love a burl finish, but want the exact same specs as the above-mentioned guitar, here you go. The MDK7P has a poplar burl and the eye-catching chlorine burst coloring is quite something.
Get the DK Modern MDK7P at Sweetwater.
Jackson Pro Series Dinky DK Modern Evertune
If you want something with sparkle, the DK Modern Evertune gives you this guitar, currently only available in silver sparkle (6-string) or gold sparkle (7-string). You get two Fishman Fluence Open Core humbuckers (active), a 5-way pickup selector, and the usual tone and volume controls. The Gotoh locking tuners and EverTune F6 bridge keep this guitar in tune. The body is basswood, the 3-piece neck is maple and wenge and features Luminlay side dots. The compound radius fretboard is ebony.
Jackson Pro Plus Series Dinky DKAQ
This guitar is made to shred. The 5-piece maple and walnut neck features a shredders heel and a compound radius ebony fretboard. The body is okoume. The DKAQ stays in tune thanks to the Floyd Rose 1000 series locking tuners and Floyd Rose 1000 series double-locking tremolo bridge. Electronics-wise, you get Duncan Seymour humbuckers (JB-TB-4 and 59 SH-1N). Choose from firestorm, transparent purple burst, or ghost burst, all with the quilted effect.
Get the DKAQ at Sweetwater.
Jackson Pro Plus Series DKA
The DKA is like the DKAQ, just with different color options. All the hardware and electronics are the same, as well as the tonewood and overall design. Choose from indigo blue, metallic black, or oxblood.
Get the DKA at Sweetwater.
The MJ Series
The MJ series will set you back more than the Pro series. These guitars are fitted with premium electronics and hardware, and this is reflected in the price.
Jackson MJ Series Dinky DKR
This full scale guitar comes with DiMarzio Super Distortion DP100 and DiMarzio PAF DP151 humbuckers. You get a 5-way pickup switch, a Gotoh double locking tremolo bridge, Gotoh sealed die-cast tuners, and Luminlay glow-in-the-dark side dots for when you play on a dark stage.
The body is alder, the 5-piece neck is walnut and maple, and the compound radius fretboard is ebony. The neck has a shredder heel for comfortable playing lower down the neck. Choose from the ice blue metallic guitar with white inlays and pickups, or the satin black guitar with striking yellow inlays and pickups. Most people love this guitar, both for its looks and quality tone and build.
Get the MJ Series DKR at Guitar Center.
Another option if you want a look similar to the JS22 or JS23, but without the arch top, is the MJ series DKR constructed from basswood, or the mahogany version. These guitars have Seymour Duncan humbucker pickups (JB-TB-4 and Jazz SH-2N). Other than that, they’re the same as the alder version. They’re available in snow white or gloss black.
Pick up the MJ Series DKR-MAH at Sweetwater
Jackson MJ Series Dinky DKRP
This MJ series guitar is essentially the same as the DKR, but with a poplar burl finish. This guitar is only available in transparent blue burst.
Get the MJ Series DKRP at Sweetwater.
Overall, you can’t go wrong with a Jackson Dinky if you want a smaller bodied guitar. The range is extensive, catering to all types of budgets. There is also quite a bit of variety in terms of the way they look, something for everyone. The reverse headstock looks good, and whether you want to go more exciting and stand out from the crowd with a neon guitar or pink pickups, perhaps sharkfin inlays, or keep it toned down, there is an option for you.
The build quality is pretty good overall. The cheaper Jackson Dinky’s may have a bit more spotty quality control than the higher priced models, but even so, the build quality is decent in most cases. Setting up your guitar will go a long way to improving the feel and sound. And the very affordable guitars are great for upgrading if you choose to do so. Otherwise, go for one of the higher priced models instead.
When it comes to the sound, these guitars deliver. This is generally true of even the stock Jackson pickups. They’re great for rock and metal, but choose an HSS model if you’d like to play more mellow genres too.
I say, go for it!