NAMM 2024: “A lineup of instruments designed for the serious-minded, high-performance guitarist”: Jackson launches four Concept Series shred machines for the discerning metal player

Jackson Concept Series 2024
(Image credit: Jackson)

NAMM 2024:  Jackson has unveiled its first Concept Series release of the year – reworking for of its classic electric guitar designs for a run of limited edition speed machines that have a Custom Shop vibe without the Custom Shop price.

For the serious player looking for a serious metal guitar, the Concept Series Rhoads, Soloist, King Kelly and eight-string Dinky offer something familiar but different to the regular Jackson lineup. We could think of this range as a high-end remix of these classic Jackson archetypes, with off-menu specs, a top-tier build, and colour options that include black or black, with satin or gloss finishes.

The colour is just one of the running themes to this year’s Concept Series. You’ll find 12” to 16” compound radius fingerboards, big fat jumbo stainless steel frets, speedy neck profiles, and Luminlay side-dot markers. Neck heels have all but been sculpted out of existence. 

Graphite rods make those necks road-worthy, apocalypse ready. They each come in a a Jackson Foam Core guitar case. Upper-fret access is a given. And while all this might give the series a sense of continuity, a sense of purpose too, each of these guitars is radically different.

The Concept Series 2024 comprises a King Kelly, with super-aggressive contouring on its slightly off-set Explorer through the looking glass; a Rhoads RR24 FR H with a single-pickup and a trick up its sleeve; there’s a 27-fret Soloist; and rounding out the collection have a monster eight-string Dinky with a hard-tail Hipshot bridge. 

The King Kelly [pictured above] has a neck-through maple neck, alder body wings, an ebony fingerboard inlayed with pearloid sharkfins and seating 24 extra-jumbo frets. 

It is is equipped with a pair of Bare Knuckle Aftermath humbuckers, which are controlled by a three-way pickup selector and volume and tone pots. There is a Floyd Rose Series 1000 vibrato for your divebombing pleasure, and it arrives in Satin Black, priced £2,099 / $2,199. 

With its gold hardware and white pinstripes, the Rhoads RR24 FR H, is the most brightly feathered of the 2024 Concept Series, but it presents the asymmetric metal classic as a stripped down single-pickup shredder, with an active EMG 81 humbucker at the bridge controlled by a single volume control.

But there is more. Pull up on that gold knurled metal dial and you will activate an EMG Activator onboard boost, packing up to 20dB of onboard boost. Yes, it is the stuff dreams are made of.

Elsewhere, it’s the classic Rhoads; maple neck-through alder build, ebony fingerboard, pearloid sharkfin inlays, Floyd 1000 Series vibrato, a six-in-line headstock. The Concept Series Rhoads RR24 FR H is priced £1,909 / $1,999.

Now for the Superstrats. First up, it’s a hot-rodded take on Jackson’s venerable neck-through S-style, the Soloist. Everything looks in order here, Seymour Duncan Hot Rails at the neck, a Distortion TB-6 at the bridge position, and a Floyd 1000 Series because it would be rude not to. 

But look closer at that ebony fingerboard – and no, we don’t mean at the Day-glo 12th fret sharkfin, matching the pickup bobbins. Look at the frets. Count ‘em out. 

That’s right, this fretboard goes to 27, so you can get right up there and fret notes that only the canine companion in your life will here. Very cool. It, too, is priced £1,909 / $1,999.

Finally, for those gigs where you play riffs that are so heavy you should bend the knee and keep the back straight – y’know, just in case – there is an eight-string Dinky, which is anything but dinky.

It has the instantly recognisable arch-topped basswood body. The maple neck has been reinforced with a strip of wenge – there’s graphite too for good measure. And because these 8-string guitars demand a certain something from the pickups, Jackson has gone for a pair of Fishman Fluence Modern humbuckers here, with their multi-voiced performance just the sort of thing you need when operating in the progressive metal space, i.e. “brutal aggression and passive punch in the same guitar”. Nice. It’s priced at £1,959 / $1,899. 

The Concept Series should be available to pre-order at most retailers, shipping April 2024. For more details see Jackson.

Jonathan Horsley

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars and guitar culture since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitar World. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.