Jackson X Series Phil Demmel PDX Demmelition King V and Mark Morton Dominion D2
Jackson Guitars, jacksonguitars.com
Phil Demmel PDX Demmelition King V, $799.99; Mark Morton Dominion D2 with transparent quilted top, $699.99 (prices include gig bag)
Originally published in Guitar World, July 2010
Jackson's X Series Phil Demmel PDX Demmelition King V and Mark Morton Dominion D2 are affordable options for fans of the original Dominion and Demmelition guitars.
It's nice to know Phil Demmel’s Demmelition and Mark Morton’s Dominion Artist Signature Series Jackson guitars are available to anyone who wants to play the instruments that these metal icons wield. Now Jackson is offering both models in its budget-conscious X Series as the Phil Demmel PDX Demmelition King V and Mark Morton Dominion D2. Their low prices aside, the stimulating performance aspects of these guitars may make them preferable to their high-end counterparts for certain types of players. Plus, each comes with a Jackson gig bag.
PHIL DEMMEL PDX DEMMELITION KING V
King V body shapes convey an aggressive attitude, but those jetfighter wings also create powerful sustain and a distinct low end. Alder keeps the long body from becoming a shoulder anchor, and beveled edges make the radical form easy on the arms and belly. Jackson’s own Floyd Rose–licensed Jackson double-locking bridge floats in a route that allows the bar to be dropped or pulled up. In place of the higher-priced Demmelition’s active EMGs, this incarnation features a passive set of EMG-HZ humbuckers.
Jackson gave the PDX Demmelition hard-hitting punch by bolting the maple neck to the body, instead of using the original King V’s neck-through-body configuration. The neck almost perfectly replicates the thin U-shaped profile, jumbo frets and shark fin inlays that made Charvel/Jackson Model 4 and 6 guitars some of the fastest and most beloved of the era. Sweeping feels second nature across this wide, compound radius board, and the huge frets facilitate two-handed tapping.
The PDX Demmelition features a combination of essential metal characteristics: chunky and thick low-mids, fierce bass notes, slightly scooped mids and controlled highs. The passive EMG-HZ pickups may be a cost-effective compromise, but their loud, raw output drove the front end of my Mesa Mk IIC+ hard and provided perhaps the most organic and hollow tones that I’ve heard from any EMG. There were no blurred notes from the PDX Demmelition, even in the lowest registers. Chords came through with defined authority, and the guitar’s innate ability to produce certain odd-order harmonics translated into an angry personality.
MARK MORTON DOMINION D2
Morton's Dominion D2 is relatively heavy and free of frills, but it’s also a true performance ax. Cost-reducing nato is used in place of mahogany for the body. This extremely strong wood has many of mahogany’s tonal qualities and is sometimes a little harder, resulting in a lot of attack, focus and volume from the body’s resonance. The model I tested also had an attractive quilted maple veneer and a transparent black finish. The body contour and neck heel relief are subtle, yet effective.
The maple neck is bolted to the body and features a fairly thick C-shaped profile. A compound radius fingerboard and idealized neck pocket angle contribute to the Dominion D2’s consistent action and surprising speed. The Duncan Designed HB-101 pickups deliver excellent tones reminiscent of Van Halen’s brown sound.
The Dominion D2’s surging string energy produces explosive harmonics, dynamics and sustain, especially in front of a high-gain amp. Blazing mids blooms are balanced by warm lows and clear highs. Like the mids, the highs are particularly responsive to attack and therefore capable of being razor sharp or round and smooth. A change in touch can turn stinging staccato lines into wailing sustain.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Jackson's X Series Phil Demmel PDX Demmelition King V and Mark Morton Dominion D2 are affordable options for fans of the original Dominion and Demmelition guitars. More importantly, they each capture old-school vibes in their own way, which are enjoyably different from their high-end brethren.
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