Grover Jackson: A Legendary Luthier
By Andrew Catania
Grover Jackson is a remarkably accomplished luthier who came into the limelight during the 1980’s. Jackson began building guitars in 1973. However, his real talent came to light when he started working towards repairing and making guitars at Wayne Charvel’s guitar repair shop in California.
The business was floundering away its potential, and Jackson obtained ownership in return to use his expertise and vision to help the business improve and witness a better turnover. Charvel soon realized that his little guitar store could perhaps earn a legacy under Jackson’s guidance but may go bankrupt if it carried on the way it was. This led Charvel to sell his remaining share to Grover Jackson in 1978.
With complete ownership of the store, Grover Jackson renamed the company to include his namesake, Jackson Guitars in 1980. This change in name occurred as a result of a collaboration in unique design between Grover Jackson, the famous guitarist Randy Rhoads, Tim Wilson and Mike Shannon. The team of 4 created a new design called Concorde – a new approach to the traditional flying V. The designs were spearheaded by Randy Rhoads as an individualized guitar and implemented by Jackson. Their combined skills and vision led to a unique approach of guitar design that was poles apart from Charvel’s Stratocaster-based models. This new approach of luthiery rightly inspired a new name for a new business model.
During the 1980’s, Jackson Guitars became a household name amongst die-hard heavy metal fans in the 1980’s. Grover Jackson spent the decade from 1980 to 1989 carefully studying beautiful designs and laying the foundation for a brand that would continue to build slender, elegant designs till date. After gaining popularity during the hard rock era, Grover Jackson sold the Charvel/Jackson brand to the International Music Company in 1989 and left the company in 1990.
Between 1993 and 1996, he created some “Grover Jackson” designs that gained popularity simply because of his name associated with the guitar. By this point, there was no doubt that Grover Jackson was the go-to man to build customized, unique and beautiful guitars. He also spent considerable time building a personalized guitar for Dimebag Darrell (one of the 100 Greatest Guitarists according to Rolling Stone).
Between 1996 to 2010, Grover Jackson used his expertise to help manage Rickenbacker’s factories and supervise guitar designs for the company. He also strategized with other manufacturing companies such as G&L Musical Instruments, Tacoma Guitars, and Sadowsky.
Although one would imagine that three decades of working hard would finally inspire a successful and brilliant innovator to take a step back and relax, the music industry couldn’t help but be ecstatic when we found out that Jackson would be returning to his roots – that of an entrepreneur.
In 2012, Jackson co-founded a new guitar brand with Jon Gold called GJ² Guitars, in Orange County, California. Jackson, along with his lifelong commitment to building guitars of the highest quality and Jon Gold with his years of strategic and business acumen gained as the Vice President of Fender is guaranteed to trail blaze their way to becoming legends. We can’t wait to see how their latest venture pans out and continue to remain in awe of Jackson’s incredible talent.
For more information on GJ2 Guitars, please go to https://gj2guitars.com/