Jackson is one of the most important electric guitar manufacturers for heavy music.
You see their instruments in the hands of many famous metal guitarists.
But hard rock and heavy metal push guitars to their limits. As a result, quality metal guitars are expensive.
That’s what makes the Jackson J32 Dinky so impressive.
The company managed to design a great metal guitar, while keeping the cost incredibly low.
It feels great, sounds great and plays great. And it is very affordable. So affordable, we named it the best electric guitar under $300.
Let’s take a closer look and find out if the Jackson J32 is the right guitar for you.
Table of Contents
Jackson Dinky JS32 Review: Overview And Features
The J32 is a surprising combination of simplicity, great features, and a low price. It is a classic “Super Strat” kind of guitar with a few surprising traits that set it apart.
Mostly these are features you would not expect at this price range, like an arched top, 24 jumbo sized frets, a 2-way Fulcrum Tremolo bridge and a compound fretboard radius. It also has some cool design features to make it more ergonomic.
Overall, there is really nothing negative to say about this instrument, considering the low price. The one criticism we could make is that it lacks versatility. It is primarily designed for heavy music.
You could certainly play other genres with it, but if you’re not primarily a metal or hard rock guitarist, we recommend something else. Like Squier’s Bullet Strat, for example.
- Basswood body
- Arched body top design
- Maple neck with amaranth fretboard
- 24 jumbo frets
- Compound fretboard radius (12 to 16 inches)
- 2 stock Jackson humbucker pickups with a high output signal
- 2-way Fulcrum tremolo bridge
Design And Construction
The J32 Dinky body is made from poplar. But what’s unexpected at this price level is the arched top. You rarely see that on a budget instrument and it makes it look and feel more expensive.
Jackson took the classic double-cutaway super strat body shape to a new level with the J32. They added incredibly useful indents both on the front and the back of the body.
On the front side, these small indentations are right at the bottom of each cutaway. On the rear, the indentation is around the body and neck joint.
The primary purpose of these indentations is to make access to the higher frets easier. And it works. Playing the high frets is far more comfortable than on a guitar without these indentations. They also look cool, which is a nice bonus.
The neck is made of maple, with an amaranth fretboard. In another surprising twist, this guitar has 24 frets. It also has a compound fretboard radius from 12 to 16 inches.
The 24 frets, the indentations, the compound fretboard radius and the bridge which we’ll get in to below all make this guitar ideal for lead guitarists in hard rock and metal music.
The frets are also jumbo-sized frets and the guitar has a scale length of 25.5 inches. That makes it well-suited for lower tunings, which is always great on a metal guitar.
The natural oil shown in the photos above is just one color options. There are also versions in satin black (pictured below) purple, red, and other colors.
Pickups And Bridge
With all the surprising features, you know Jackson had to cut costs somewhere. That’s where the pickups come in.
They are your average Jackson stock pickups. Not that they are bad. They are actually quite good for the price, but you’ll eventually want to swap them out, as you get better with your guitar.
The pickups do have a higher output, which makes them well-suited for metal music.
The bridge is another surprising addition to a budget guitar like this. It has a 2-way Fulcrum Tremolo, which is great for any lead guitarist. Even with heavy use, the guitar stays in tune much longer than most would.
Advantages And Disadvantages
- Amazing deal with many premium features at a low cost
- Ergonomic twists to super strat shape make it easy to play
- Great for hard rock and metal music
- 24 frets gives more options
- Compound fretboard
- Great aesthetic qualities
- Pickups are average, but good for the price
- Not very versatile (primarily meant for heavy music)
Jackson JS32 Dinky Vs Other Jackson Dinky Models
Dinky is what Jackson calls their “Super Strat” line of guitars. The JS32 is among the cheapest of Jackson’s Dinky guitars. It is meant as an entry-level to an intermediate model, despite the unexpected features at its price level.
Other entry level models are the J11 and J22, which are similar, but more stripped down. The J11 is the cheapest. It has two humbuckers, a regular tremolo bridge, and far fewer ergonomic and design features. The J22 was featured in a comparison in our review of the Ibanez Gio GRX70.
Two more Dinky guitars are the DKAF7 7-string and DKAF8 8-string models. They have similar build qualities. The company’s budget-friendly extended range line of guitars also includes the JS32-7, which is a 7-string version of the J32.
If you want to get out of the budget range, check out the DKM2, DK2, DK3, HT6, and other guitars from Jackson’s Pro Series. As the name suggests, these are advanced guitars and far beyond entry level models like the J32.
Prices for these guitars can go way past the $1000 mark. Naturally, they come with far more exciting features, including more complex neck and fretboard constructions, and significantly improved pickups, like ones from Fishman.
But one thing always stays the same with Jackson’s Dinky guitars, no matter the model. They are primarily meant for heavier music.
This doesn’t mean you can’t use them for other genres. They have shown great performance qualities in other styles as well. But they’re made for metal.
Jackson JS32 Dinky Review: Conclusion And Rating
The Jacksons J32 Dinky is a great way to get started on metal guitars. It is certainly not a pro-level instrument, but it has several surprising features that you usually only find on more expensive guitars.
As a result, the J32 can do the job right, even for more experienced guitarists who have budget restrictions. You’ll probably want to upgrade the pickups as soon as possible.
They are the weakest feature, though you expect anything better for this price. They work just fine for beginners and even intermediate players.
But if you want to use this guitar for many years to come, you’ll want to see it as a great “platform” to build off of. And you’ll want to start by adding new pickups. That modification alone can bump it up into the tier of high-performing instruments.
The Jackson J32 is a great choice if you want a budget guitar and you play primarily metal or hard rock. That is true whether you’re a beginner or an experienced musician. That’s why we give it a Musicaroo rating of 4.3 out of 5.