Back in the day (we're talking the nineties) my guitar teacher used to have a red Jackson guitar. It looked uber modern and had the pointy headstock and all. The heel was so smooth because of the neck-through construction. I don't know wether my teacher had a USA or an import Jackson. But I remember that guitar very clearly, especially since I've been collecting some information on the Jackson Professional Series.
The Jackson Professional Series started as a way to offer Jackson production models. Up until 1989, all Jackson guitars were Custom Shop guitars that were built in the USA. So in 1990 the Charvel / Jackson company introduced the "USA series" and the Japanese "Professional Series" which had a forerunner in the Charvel Professional Series. The Japanese luthiers were taught by their US counterparts on how to make the Jackson Profesional Series and were so good at their job that the Japanese Professional Series guitars were known as being just as good as the Jackson USA series. This was especially true for the guitars that were labelled as "Pro" (not to be confused by the series' name "Professional"). Rumors were that these guitars were cutting into the sales of the USA series due to their popularity. The "Pro" guitars usually had neck-through construction, bound ebony fingerboards, quartersawn maple necks, sharkfin pearl inlays and a German made Schaller Floyd Rose tremolo (Jackson JT-590) than the guitars with other labels (EX, Std, XL, LT) that were also part of the Professional series.
All of the guitars in the Jackson Professional series were made in Japan at the Chushing Gakki factory between 1990 and 1995. In this article the focus will be on the guitars in the Jackson Professional Series with the Pro label. These guitars have the word "Pro" on the truss rod covers except for first batch of guitars from 1990 and 1991. The "Pro" and "XL" models all have a pearl Jackson logo on the headstock.
The Jackson Soloist Pro can be seen as the successor to the Charvel 650XL because they feature feature the same pickups and also the Jackson JE-1200 Active circuitry. This guitar was featured in the catalogs from 1990 -1995.
The Jackson Fusion Pro featured a shorter scale length of 24 3/4" , an optional exotic flame maple front and back and the Jackson JE-1500 para-mid EQ tone circuits which is a mid tone sweep that's almost like having a wah built into your guitar. This guitar was featured in the catalogs from 1990 -1992.
The Jackson Soloist Archtop Trem Pro features a 3/4"carved flame maple top and a set-neck construction. It also has the 24 3/4"inch scale and a mahogany body instead of poplar on the other neck-through guitars in the Professional Series. It has scooped upper and lower horns and the pearl sharkfin inlays are reversed. This guitar can be seen as the successor of the Charvel 750XL but with a slimmer body. This guitar was featured in the catalogs from 1990 -1992.
The Jackson Soloist Archtop Pro is the same guitar as the Jackson Soloist Archtop Trem Pro but without the Jackson JT-590 tremolo. This guitar features a string-through-body hardtail tunomatic bridge.
The Jackson Phil Collen Pro is a signature guitar for Phil Collen from Def Leppard designed by Grover Jackson. It has a unique design with a slanted single coil in the neck position and a humbucker for the bridge position. The bound ebony fingerboard was also cut off diagonally parallel to the slanted single coil. This guitar was featured in the catalogs from 1990 -1992.
The Jackson Randy Rhoads Pro is designed by the late guitar virtuoso Randy Rhoads in collaboration with Jackson. It has a unique offset "V" body, bevelled edges and cutaway for extra easy high register access. The Randy Rhoads Pro also features the Jackson JE-1200 midboost preamp which elevates the midrange for massive lead tones. This guitar has 22 frets and was featured in the catalogs from 1990 -1995.
The Jackson Warrior Pro has a unique highly contoured body with deep bevels on all edges. The pickups are single-coil sideze rail style humbuckers, one at the neck and two paired at the bridge. What makes it even more unique is that those pickups are slanted in reverse. The fretboard is also cut diagonally at the higher frets parallel to these pickups. It also features the Jackson JE-1500 parametric midrange sweep. This guitar was featured in the catalogs from 1990 -1992.
The Jackson Infinity Pro is a bit different than the other guitars in this series. It features a mahogany body with a set-neck construction and a carved maple top. This guitar was described as a modern classic and was featured in the catalogs from 1992 -1993.
The Jackson Stealth Pro was only featured in the 1992 catalog. It featured an ultra sleek basswood or ash body the size of a Dinky body with an optional figured top. The neck was a fast playing 17mm 22 bolt-on neck with an ebony fingerboard with 22 frets and offset dot inlays.
The Jackson King V Pro is a recreation of the Jackson Custom Shop guitar that was used by Dave Mustaine and was released in 1993 as a signature model. The "V" shaped body features a fixed non tremolo bridge with fine tuners (Kahler 3300) in black or gold. The neck pickup was a Bill Lawrence L-500XL. This guitar was featured in the catalogs from 1993 -1995.
The Jackson Kelly Pro was featured in the 1994/1995 Jackson catalog. It features a large, unique body design and a fast playing 17mm maple neck. Marty Friedman of Megadeth is one who uses the Kelly.
I will write more about the other guitars of the Jackson Professional Series with other labels on another occasion.