1980 to present. Jackson is a guitar manufacturer originally owned and operated by Grover Jackson, a partner of Wayne Charvel of Charvel Guitar Repair.
It started with the creation of the “Rhoads” V model guitar, originally designed and used by guitarist Randy Rhoads.
The Jackson name went on the Rhoads rather than the Charvel name because he felt the design was too shocking for Charvel’s regular customers.
Grover started the Jackson guitar company and Wayne Charvel sold his interest in the Charvel name to Grover Jackson on November 10, 1978. [Source: wikipedia]
Jackson tribute and resource pages
Dating Jackson Guitars
From ebay wiki [please note I have copied this text so its not lost – the original link has died. Info seems to add significantly to the Fender site info].
Any Jackson that says “Professional” on the headstock is an import.
There are no known/verified “Prototypes” that were made in the USA and have “Professional” on the head.
Jackson’s Serial Number Chart does not cover Imports.
Jackson serial numbers do not use 0’s as “blanks” – if there’s a 0, it’s part of the number.
Import neckthrough models are serialized in the following manner: Jnnnnnn ; The letter “J” followed by 6 numbers, with the first number indicating the year of manufacture. J000123 means it was made in 1990, J100123 means it was made in 1991, etc etc. I haven’t seen a recent neckthrough import, so they may be using 7 numbers by now. In any event, if the serial number is “J” followed by more than 5 numbers (including zeroes), it was not made in the USA.
Neckthrough model serial numbers are always stamped on the end of the fretboard after the last fret. Some bolt-on models that did not have a neckplate are also stamped at the end of the fretboard.
USA-made Jackson guitars and basses do not always say “Made In U.S.A.” on the head, but they never say “Professional”, “Performer”, or “Concept” on the head.
Jackson guitar catalog scans
1977-2006 audiozone.dk includes price lists and manuals – awesome reference site
Jackson Charvel Pricelists
see Jackson amps
Images Jackson Roswell Rhoads eBay: