Jackson Pro Series DKA8 Dinky

Eight-string striking a low blow

Shopping for an eight-string electric is a bit like buying a guard dog. You're looking for all the same qualities: plenty of bark, more than a little bite and, err, a firm bottom-end. The usual rule applies - always buy from a reputable breeder. And you don't get much more reputable than Jackson, whose stock-in- trade is tailor-making electric guitars for musical roughhousing. And the firm has pulled out all the stops when spec'ing the DKA8.

"You could unbolt the maple neck and skate on it, such is its width"

This is the Dinky series, but put all thoughts of small and subtle out of your head. You could unbolt the maple neck and skate on it, such is its width, but the neck is flat-sawn and left satin-smooth to make the DKA8's extended range eminently accessible, and crucially, make the guitar playable. Two DiMarzio D Activator humbuckers in the solid alder body provide the firepower.

The rest of the DKA8's fixtures and fittings are just as impressive: the HT-8 hardtail bridge has a pleasingly low profile, and Planet Waves locking tuners help steady the ship. It might not be a looker - the Metallic Black finish looks a bit like the linoleum found on the floors of provincial nightclubs, the killswitch like it was purloined from a 16-bit coin-op arcade machine - but the DKA8 saves the flash for its performance.

Joking aside about the bottom- end, the low F# on an eight-string guitar must be responsive to the pick and in turn articulated by the pickups. This is how Meshuggah can sound like the world is falling on your head - there's definition in their chug.

High gain and low tunings are what the DKA8 handles really well. The clean tones, incidentally, are perfectly usable, with a good range between the warm elasticity of the neck pickup and the sharp clarity of the bridge 'bucker.

Whether at industrial levels of saturated distortion or glassy cleans, the DiMarzio D Activator continues to impress. One of the obvious advantages that the D Activators have over ubiquitous active EMG sets is that they don't need a battery, and yet still their output is gutsy, disciplined, and harmonically bright. Dial in some gain and there are some outrageous pinch harmonics to be had.

With a master tone, master volume and three-way pickup selector, the DKA8's controls hold few surprises, but the addition of a kill switch - a bright red button at that - completes a guitar designed with the post-progressive metaller in mind, and takes the hot-rodded S-type concept to new extremes.

An eight-string guitar is a game-changer for your playing and sound. Do you need to occupy the bass player's frequencies and write riffs that'll have you known throughout the rehearsal studio circuit and beyond as some sort of chug laureate? Then you definitely need an eight-string, and you'll definitely want this monster.

MusicRadar Rating

5 / 5 stars
Pros

Handles high-gain and low-tunings with ease, while clean tones are still useable. No batteries for pickups!

Cons

Not the flashiest looks…

Verdict

A guitar designed with the post-progressive metaller in mind - it takes the hot-rodded S-type concept to new extremes.

Scale Length (mm)

673

Scale Length (Inches)

26.5

No. of Frets

24

Hardware

Planet Waves Auto-Trim locking tuners, Jackson HT8 bridge – black

Fingerboard Material

Maple

Neck Material

Maple, w/ graphite reinforcement

Left Handed Model Available

No

Pickup Type

1x DiMarzio D Activator D820 (bridge), 1x DiMarzio D Activator D819 (neck)

Guitar Body Material

Alder

Circuitry Type

1x volume, 1x tone, 3-way pickup selector, momentary kill switch

Available Finish

Metallic Black (pictured)

Review Policy
All MusicRadar's reviews are by independent product specialists, who are not aligned to any gear manufacturer or retailer. Our experts also write for renowned magazines such as Guitarist, Total Guitar, Computer Music, Future Music and Rhythm. All are part of Future PLC, the biggest publisher of music making magazines in the world.