Price paid: £ 260
Purchased from: eBay
Features — 9
This is a review of the older MIJ DK2M, made around the years between 2006-2010. It was built in the same plant (Chushin Gakki) that built the Professional Series guitars of the '90s, that remain much loved by Jackson collectors. The DK2M became one of Jackson's most popular and well-received guitars at the time. This guitar has lots of interesting features and things of note.
- Alder Dinky-style Body w/ somewhat recessed bolt-on construction, belly & arm cuts, and a slightly scooped out lower horn to improve upper fret access. Snow White finish.
- Quartersawn Maple neck & fretboard (the neck doesn't have a skunk stripe, so the fretboard is a separate piece) and a scarf joint headstock. Fretboard has a 12-16" compound radius.
- 24 Jumbo frets
- Jackson-branded tuners (most likely Jin Ho, the same manufacturer who makes Wilkinson tuners)
- Jackson Licensed Floyd Rose w/ locking nut (low profile style)
- Seymour Duncan pickups (JB/Jazz)
- 3-way switch
- Volume & tone controls (Alpha pots)
Something of controversy regarding the MIJ Pro Series is that (according to my research), Fender was making very little profit off each guitar sold compared to other manufacturers as they were selling them so cheaply. When the recession hit in 2008/09, the value of the Yen tanked and Fender realised they were making a loss on each guitar sold. Hence why the entire series was discontinued in 2010. Chushin-Gakki, the plant responsible for making some of the most fondly remembered Jackson/Charvel guitars for the last 20 years had finally stopped producing them to the dismay of many.
But fortunately, because this guitar was so popular among the metal community, many examples can be easily found on eBay. So it's not all bad news. I've done several mods to this guitar since I bought it. New Schaller Floyd Rose, brass big block, trem stopper, coil splitting, allen wrench holder, straplocks etc. I'll cover that more later.
Sound — 9
Primarily I've been a metal player for 9 years. I play are thrash, death, progressive and glam, so the range of metal styles I like to play are quite broad. I used a modded Peavey 6505+ w/ an Ibanez TS9. And a Roland Cube 60 for my clean channel. Both amps are connected to my guitar via an A/B box.
This guitar sounds wonderful and the specs reflect that. Very versatile guitar thanks to its pickup set. The JB cuts through in a mix without sounding too bright/harsh, a problem that some guitars with the JB have. But such a problem is not to be found whatsoever in this particular guitar. It's very hot, but well balanced in combination of the guitar's construction. No idea why, but it is what it is. Decent cleans, yet very punchy, aggressive, in your face high gain tones that you'd expect from a Jackson. Not all that much surprise here. But the thing that wows me the most is how well it works in conjunction with the Jazz.
The Jazz is one of my favorite neck pickups by Duncan. Its low output and alnico 2 magnet makes it very articulate and clean-sounding. This is in my opinion what a good neck pickup absolutely needs to have. Its naturally bright tone offsets its position in the neck to prevent it from sounding muddy and bogging down in a mix, a problem that's extremely common with neck pickups. Its cleans are jangly and PAF-like. Playing both the JB and the Jazz at once produces a tight, yet articulate and sweet clean tone with plenty of midrange. It's wonderful and the nicest surprise this guitar has tonally in my opinion.
In summary, very versatile yet uncompromising. Delicate when you want it to be and savage when you don't. The only thing I'd change is substituting the 3-way switch for a 5-way. Though, the 3-way does make it easier to get to a certain position faster as there are fewer places for the switch to get lost in. With the range of tones it can already produce, I don't see it as a significant handicap. I've modded the guitar to run a 5-way, but find myself rarely using position 2 and 4.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
Having bought the guitar used, the condition the guitar is in is not at all representative of what it was like new, so I cannot comment on that. However, in my extended experience with the MIJ Pro Series having played 20 different examples (having played the DK2, DK2M, DK2S, DKMG, KE3, RR3, RR5, RR24, RR24M, Demmelition KV, SL3, even the MIJ SLAT7) I can say that these guitars are very consistently well made. I failed to find anything wrong with any of them for the time that I played them. So I'm pretty firmly convinced that this was likely the case with my DK2M when it came out of the factory as well.
HOWEVER! The Jackson Licensed Floyd was pretty screwed up when I bought it. The previous owner had evidently adjusted the action under string tension at some point and the knife edges were dulled. I replaced the Floyd with a German-made Schaller w/ a brass big block and now the guitar stays in tune flawlessly and has excellent flutter. The locking nut has remained stock as it works perfectly fine.
Another thing that was discovered when the guitar arrived at my door was the 5th fret had partially lifted on the treble side and bent upwards. The culprit was later discovered to be the truss rod adjustment spanner rattling around inside the case at it was being transported and at some point, the box had fallen flat on its front, crushing the spanner and leaving an impression of itself on the fretwire. The fret needed to be repaired. After that was done, I can achieve extremely low action with very little fret buzz. It's great.
The neck has a very thin D-shaped profile that fits somewhere in thickness between an Ibanez Wizard and an ESP thin U, which suits me down to the ground. Jackson heavily market their 12-16" compound radius fretboards and it does indeed make a noticeable difference to the feel and playability of the guitar. It isn't a game-changing difference, but it is a feel I do prefer to a fretboard that's flat or curved all along its length.
The only complaint I have is the upper fret access. The slight recess this guitar has just isn't as comfortable as what they have on the newer Dinky's or the AANJ you'd find on an equivalent Ibanez. It's better than a lot of guitars that have a typical 4-bolt neck heel, but it still isn't as good as it could've been with some further redesigning. This holds the guitar back from a near-perfect score for me. Other things of note is that the neck sits nice and tight inside its pocket, the finishing of the binding is free of complaints, the fret ends are buttery smooth and everything lines up the way they're supposed to.
Reliability & Durability — 8
Most of the stories with the reliability of the hardware has already been mentioned in the previous paragraph. Everything else on the guitar has been rock solid. Finish is flawless and very durable, neck is straight and nicely grained, wiring is clean, nice chunky-feeling switch, jack has never caused any problems, knobs do everything they're supposed to, tuners feel smooth and precise. I'd use this guitar in a live situation with no second thoughts. Though string breakage is always a risk with Floyds, so having a backup is always advisable.
Overall Impression — 8
I think overall this guitar is an unbeatable value on the used market and something I could not recommend enough to shredders, and is an ideal superstrat for modding. The feel of the neck and the versatility of its pickup set are the main selling points to me. And with the new Schaller FR that I've put in it, this guitar kicks so much ass and was totally worth the expense.
If I were to ask more from this instrument, perhaps shave the neck heel a little more, and come with an OFR stock. Even if it makes the guitar cost more, I'd be more than happy to pay for them. Thankfully Jackson has responded to these requests with the newer models, albeit at the cost of them not being MIJ anymore which is a real shame. But with that said, they're still nice guitars. Again, in my opinion, getting this guitar on the used market is a no-brainer. They're too damn good.