What is it?
No matter the price, we have a certain set of expectations when it comes to electric guitars bearing the hallowed Jackson name on the headstock. Firstly, and this is non-negotiable, the instrument has to be high-performance, built for speed, with a neck profile that stays of the player’s way.
There also has to be some power in the pickup department. Designs and specs come and go but when we play a powerchord on that bridge humbucker, there’s got to be some muscle behind it. In high-gain settings, taking the paint off the wall is preferable. Jackson retain the capacity to meet all of these expectations. Of course they do. That’s their bread and butter. But more often than not they exceed them, and the JS24 DKAM DX is case in point.
The proportions of this arched-top mahogany-bodied Dinky are familiar enough to anyone who has had the good fortune to play one since it was introduced in 1986. The Dinky’s S-style body shape is about 7/8ths the size of the Jackson Soloist, and but the caramelised maple neck and fretboard is something new at this price, a reassuring sign that much of the intellectual energy spent spec’ing up the Pro Series can be detected in a budget model.
Caramelised maple is often referred to as baked maple or roasted maple and the point being is that it is heat treated until it is more stable. Maple already is a reliably stable tonewood, hence its presence on so many of our guitars’ necks, and baking it takes a belt-and-braces approach to stability. It also looks pretty good, a light toffee shade, contrasting nicely with the black Sharkfin inlays that count out the significant staging points on the 24-fret fingerboard.
This go-faster neck is bolted-onto a mahogany body that arches gently up from the outer rim of the body to the bridge and pickups. The Dinky’s dimensions make it easy on the back, while its all-over matte satin finish makes it an eminently tactile instrument.
It is a little unusual seeing a two-point Fulcrum vibrato unit on a Jackson. Typically, the choice is between hardtail or a double-locking Floyd Rose. But this nonetheless is a sound choice when you consider the price and the demographic Jackson are targeting here. There is nothing worse as a young player than spending valuable practice time trying to set up and balance the Floyd Rose unit after a string change or to use an alternate tuning.
Furthermore, this is a nice sturdy vibrato and many of the techniques learned on this can be later workshopped on a Floyd. That’s when it gets serious. Elsewhere, we have a classic dual-humbucker configuration, with high-output ceramic humbuckers occupying neck and bridge positions, a three-way blade selector switch, and volume and tone controls. Finish options comprise Blue Stain and our Red Stain review model.
Performance and verdict
When spec'ing up high-performance electrics like this, ergonomics are everything. The contouring of this Dinky's arched-top body, the deep belly cut and deep cutaways allied to the proportions make this a very comfortable proposition whether playing seated or standing.
The neck? Well, it's a satin-smooth speedster. Players more accustomed to old-school profiles will find this shallowest of C profiles an easy mark. It's not quite as emaciated as, say, a Super Wizard Ibanez profile – there's a little more meat there. But it's a profile that requires discipline on the part of the player not to overplay.
Yamaha Pacifica 112V
The Pacifica 112V remains not only the perfect start-up guitar for the serious student, but also a solid, reliable choice whatever your age or ability.
PRS SE Standard 24
A little pricier but the SE Standard 24 is so playable, so versatile, and is ridiculously good value for money.
The Fulcrum vibrato has a decent action. No substitute for a Floyd Rose if that is what you are looking for, but just because you can't divebomb a natural harmonic until the strings stick to the pickup magnets doesn't mean your whammy bar game is expressionless. This stable, fuss-free vibrato is ideal for younger, inexperienced players.
And those natural harmonics are easily teased out of the humbuckers. Sure, if we were to adopt this Dinky on a long-term basis we could see ourselves installing a couple of aftermarket pickups – a Bare Knuckle Holydiver, Seymour Duncan JB or DiMarzio Super Distortion would make very interesting choices for a bridge pickup. But we had a lot of fun with the stock pickups.
Dialling in a high-gain tone, the bridge humbucker hard plenty of bark to it, and enough treble for squealing leads, while the neck pickup rounded out that frequency response nicely. But as the gain was rolled back they cleaned up quite nicely. At this price, the tone was more than good enough, inspiring even. That's another aspect of the Jackson brand – its high-end models remain dream machines for many a hard rock and metal player but at all prices there's something aspirational about them. It's the aspiration to become a better player, and this is exactly the sort of instrument to help you along the way.
MusicRadar verdict: It's impossible not to warm to this Dinky's charms. The body shape is compact and comfortable. The neck is super-quick. For shredders on a budget, this makes an excellent choice, one that would be a sound candidate for modding.
The web says
“High-output ceramic pickups can be a little shrill, but when mounted in the JS24’s mahogany body, these Jackson-branded humbuckers reveal some character, enough muscle and teeth when played through a high-gain amplifier to cover most metal styles. The neck pickup rolls off the high-end sting, offering a smoother voicing for legato arpeggios, while teasing pinched harmonics out of the bridge pickup is child’s play.“
Total Guitar (opens in new tab)
- ORIGIN: China
- TYPE: 24-fret electric guitar
- BODY: Mahogany
- NECK: Caramelised maple (bolt-on)
- SCALE LENGTH: 648mm (25.5”)
- FRETBOARD: Caramelised maple, 10”-12” radius
- FRETS: 24, jumbo
- NUT: 42.86mm, black plastic
- PICKUPS: 2x Jackson High-Output Ceramic humbuckers
- CONTROLS: 1 x volume and 1 x tone, 3-way blade selector switch
- HARDWARE: 2-Point Fulcrum Tremolo, Jackson Sealed Die-Cast tuners,
- FINISH: Red Stain [as reviewed], Black Stain
- CONTACT: Jackson (opens in new tab)