THIS MORE AFFORDABLE VERSION OF THE JACKSON PRO SERIES MARK MORTON Signature Dominion comes in a hip looking trans black finish over a quilted maple veneer top (as tested), or in a standard black finish for $50 less. The guitar feels much the same as the original version that we previously tested, and features a contoured top and rock-solid hardware. Cost cutting measures involved giving the D2 a bolt-on neck instead of a through-body mahogany neck, a solid rather than a chambered body, and Duncan Design HB-101 pickups instead of Seymour Duncan ’59s, and without locking tuners and shark-eye inlays. The D2 also does not have the two mini-toggle coil-split switches that are fitted to its upscale sibling. This adds up to about a $900 difference between the two models, making the D2 a very attractive option for players who can’t spend a lot, but still want some the mojo of the Lamb of God guitarist’s signature axe.
And what you get with the D2 is a well-made guitar with a fast-playing neck, great feeling polished frets, and a low-action setup. There was no excess string buzz, and the intonation was solid and musical sounding. Even the precisely cut synthetic nut with its smooth edges is something you often don’t see on guitars in this price range. The D2 delivers a wide variety of sounds thanks to having dual sets of Volume and Tone controls—a configuration that provides a lot of pickup blending possibilities. The pickups have good output and are reasonably well balanced, so getting chunky rock tones and satisfying clean sounds from the D2 though all of our test amps was not a problem. I’m sure you could enhance the sounds with better pickups, but the Duncan Design units are happening for what this guitar is intended for. The D2’s Les Paul-meets -Telecaster Thinline Deluxe vibe also makes it a good choice for styles other than metal—something that’s facilitated by having Tone controls that are voiced to yield useable, non-muddy-sounding textures when they’re turned down. The treble response also doesn’t vanish when you back off on the Volume controls, which is nice if you’re the type who likes to ride your guitar’s volume knobs to go between rhythm and lead.
All in all, the Mark Morton Signature Dominion D2 delivers a lot of performance for a low price, and should be a serious consideration for rock and metal players who favor humbuckers and high value.
Jackson Guitars (480) 596-9690; jacksonguitars.com
MODEL Mark Morton Signature D2 Dominion
PRICE $499 street
NECK Maple, bolt-on
FRETBOARD Rosewood, 12"- 16" compound radius
FRETS 22 jumbo
PICKUPS Duncan Design HB-101N (neck), and HB-101B w/Trembucker spacing (bridge)
CONTROLS Dual Volume and Tone, 3-way selector
BRIDGE Tune-o-matic with stop-tail piece
TUNERS Jackson die-cast
FACTORY STRINGS .009-.042
WEIGHT 9 lbs
KUDOS Plays well. Kickass rock guitar. Great price.