Price paid: $ 550
Purchased from: Sam Ash
Features — 8
Jackson DKA8 Pro. This is an exceptional guitar! It has:
- Alder Body
- Maple Neck - Graphite reinforced
- 16" Radius Maple Fingerboard
- 24 frets
- 26.5" scale
- DiMarzio D Activator pickups (passive)
- 3-Way Switch and Kill Switch
- Hard Tail Thru-body Bridge
- Planet Waves locking tuners
- 1 vol + 1 tone control
- 4 a side headstock.
Sound — 8
I play my metal way down in Drop F... and this is perfect for it. The Dimarzio D-Activators are hot, really hot... Almost X2N territory. So I've lowered the bridge pickup a little bit. The pickups were a big selling point for me. And they don't disappoint. Clean tones are beautiful and clear, whilst the distortion tones are full and articulate. The overall tone is very bright - brighter than any guitar I've owned before. My Jackson DK27 Baritone sounds very dark in comparison. You can play anything on this guitar... But I'd advise having some strong hands, because it's quite a chunky neck. And holding down these fat strings can be quite tiring after a while. We've got some D'Addario strings on her... which go 10 to 74. I would never put anything smaller on that low F. I have read some comments about the 26.5 inch scale being too short for tuning down to F# or lower. But trust me... put a 74 on there and you will tune down to a low E with no drama whatsoever. All the strings feel quite tight. And there is no floppiness at all. I recommend the D'Addario XL-8 string sets for anyone tuning way low. I use them on my 6-string too. Be it Clean or Distorted sounds -this axe delivers.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
This guitar was set-up just fine. Action is low but not too low. For good tone... You don't want those strings vibrating all over the board. So the action is perfect for what's needed. The guitar is flawless. The frets are cut and finished nicely, the binding is perfect, the paint finish is 100%. And the one Black Sharkfin inlay on the 12th fret looks really cool. I'd never used a killswitch before... But even after just a few minutes I found myself using it to quite good effect. This is a quality instrument, no doubt about it.
Reliability & Durability — 10
Yes... this guitar will indeed handle live use. It will handle anything you throw at it. It's as solid as a brick wall. It's a new guitar for me... But I really can't see anything going wrong with it... especially if it's handled with care. Jackson have always made good quality instruments. And even the latest JS range are worth a look if you're on a tight budget. If you are considering the Ibanez RG8 then there is a big chance you'd end up changing the pickups. But these D-Activators are keepers. The Jackson would be the best choice IMO.
Overall Impression — 9
It's a Jackson... so it's awesome! If it's an 8-string you need then I'd recommend this. I've played on an Ibanez 8-string and a Carvin 8-string and this one just beats them. The Carvin was beautiful but the pickups were nowhere near as good as these DiMarzios. The maple neck and black inlay really set this guitar off. I'll always use Jackson guitars because nothing comes close IMO. And this guitar backs up my faith in them. I'm not a fan of their new headstocks. I much prefer the old pointy - all on one side style... But this one is swaying me a little. I think 4 a side is probably better for an 8-string anyway... Don't ask me why... I just do ;)
The only slight downside to this guitar for me... is... well... you really have to put some effort into playing it. You can't really relax too much because you have quite a big stretch over the fingerboard. And the big strings need a firm-ish press. If you're light-fingered... or a bit weak... maybe this axe will defeat you.
This is the total package in this price range. You get Jackson, Planet Waves and DiMarzio... Right off the shelf... the answer is right there. If I could afford it I would definitely replace it if it got stolen. As I mentioned before (at least I think I did) don't be deterred by the 26.5 scale if you want to be tuning to a low F or beyond... 26.5 is just fine for any tuning. The key is a good setup with the right gauge strings. The DKA-8 will handle any tuning you want. But change the strings to 74 first because the stock strings will be too light.