Jackson Pro Plus Series Dinky DKA – the perfect shred guitar?
With the Pro series already proving a success for Jackson, does the new Pro Plus series have that extra jolt to make it worth the investment?
Jackson Pro Plus Series Dinky DKA. Image: Adam Gasson
Last year, Jackson announced a significant enhancement of the brand’s Pro Plus series, introducing 10 new models into a range designed to sit between the Indonesian-made regular Pro series and the top-of-the-line American series. Of these 10 new models, eight utilise the company’s legendary Dinky body shape, of which two feature an archtop design, okoume body and a five-piece neck seen here. The other six Dinkys are basswood with three-piece necks.
The arch body construction is a little unusual to be seen on a Jackson but provides my picking arm with a notably comfortable resting position, which is kind of essential if using the guitar in the technique-laden way it was intended. The contouring that an archtop naturally provides, in addition to the recessed control knobs and black hardware, oozes sleekness, and dare I say it, a touch of elegance; especially with a not-often seen but classy Oxblood finish. Within this context the white plastic binding is a little out of place, but travel further up the neck and the matching headstock restores said elegance.
Is the Jackson Pro Plus Series Dinky DKA easy to play
The neck is as slim as you would expect from a purpose-built shred machine, but similar to the new American Virtuoso series in that it possesses a healthy set of shoulders which will offset any of the fatigue that can sometimes be the curse of skinny neck carves.
Large stainless-steel frets sit atop a smooth ebony board with an uber-modern 12-16” compound radius, providing the slickest of platforms for the nimble-fingered shred-meister, and the sculpted heel and lower horn rear cutaway ensures that fingers have an access-all-areas pass
The tremolo is a Floyd Rose 1000 series: the Korean-made version of the original Floyd Rose. Many would argue this is the best and most reliable incarnation (just ask Joe Satriani, who still uses it on his stage guitars). I’m able to give the Floyd’s reliability an extreme go-over as the recess cutaway to the rear of the trem allows me to pull the arm up to some dizzying heights. Nothing I try knocks it out of tune.
What does the Jackson Pro Plus Series Dinky DKA sound like
This Dinky comes armed with what has become almost a stock appointment on rock guitars – the pairing of Seymour Duncan’s JB and ’59 humbuckers. Both are direct-mounted, which aside from being aesthetically more pleasing should provide more resonance and sustain than those mounted in pickup rings.
Plugged into an overdriven Victory Sheriff, the JB provides its trademark mid-rich growl and further drives the amp to unleash a rich rock overdrive, that’s capable of rock and metal and anything in between. The beauty of this famous pickup pairing is in their versatility: medium-high output they may be, but rather than turn down the amp gain, all it takes is the rolling off of the volume a little to transport you into a medium-gain blues territory, and a little further still to get wonderfully rich yet slightly-dirty cleans.
Is the the Jackson Pro Plus Series Dinky DKA worth it?
Jackson, along with Ibanez and Charvel, remains the first port of call for the shred guitarist, and no army of headstock-less shred beasts seems likely to knock these brands from their perch atop the technical metal mountain.
Some people might look at the pricetag and wonder quite why a Chinese-made guitar commands such a high price, but ultimately you just have to look at the specs. The Pro Plus series offers numerous shred-friendly appointments, such as stainless-steel frets and a lower horn cutaway. It all comes together to mean that if you do have a little bit more money to spend, this step up from the Pro series may well prove worth it.