Let's start this story. I left my pride and joy Jackson DKMGT - the best sounding guitar for me that I've ever played - with a friend at a gig. My mum's fiancee took it amongst himself to bring it home from the gig and managed to drop it and reverse over the headstock in the process - don't ask me why.

It damaged the body, one knob, snapped the headstock and wrecked 5 of the 6 tuners. The one thing about the DKMGT I was never too keen on was how normal it looked, however I've got an Ibanez Xiphos which is the other end of the scale - looks very extreme but sounds very tame.

So, I was thinking of cool looking guitars that aren't renowned as signature guitars for rhythm guitar players/vocalists that I can drop the DKMGTs pickups into and make a sort of hybrid. We all know that Alexi Laiho and Bullet use Jackson Vs and RR models, Mustaine uses a dean V, Hetfield uses ESP Explorers, but I can't think of a single guitarist aside from Marty Friedman whose signature guitar is a Kelly. Even less, a guitarist who uses a Kelly as a rhythm guitar.

So I think I'd build up a guitar to be my ultimate guitar based on the Kelly.

Desired Specs:

Jackson Kelly in black with all black hardware (trem, straplocks, etc...)
EMG 81 & 85 active pickups
Tone control delete
3-way pickup selector
Low profile locking trem

I'm unsure on details, i-e straplocks, tuners, neck detailing and headstock design, 18V mod etc.. etc..
Here we go. Got the guitar yesterday.

Poured myself a cider with blackcurrent and kiwi... or something. Takes the nasty taste out of Sainsburys best attempt at making shitebow.

Fixed the action (nice and low, no fret buzz at this low on a 2nd hand guitar!) and raised the PUps. Sounds very tasty now considering they are Duncan Designed Detonators

And pulled some black hardware off the DKMGT and stuck them on the Kelly. Looking better IMO.

And end of phase 1

I think the next thing on the agenda is the bridge, however I need some advice on whether to go for the Designed by floydrose one or genuine "original" flose. Generally I'm impressed with the one that comes with the guitar, so I wouldn't complain about the same one in black. Miles better than the Edge III crap that's on my Ibanez.
Last edited by dragyth at Jun 30, 2011,
Looks great man. I'm still trying to work out how you drop and then unknowingly reverse over a guitar... Either way this is shaping up nicely. Are they detonators? I thought kelly's had SD Invaders in them... I'd be tempted to put the SD pups from the kelly into the xiphos repacing the stock ibanez pups if the kelly's going to have the EMGs.

Edit: crap it is a detonator, they look too similar..
Last edited by matt154 at Jun 30, 2011,
Yea they are detonators, however I'm still considering whacking them in the Xiphos. The Xiphos has DiMarzios and, although they're great, they are not rock pickups whatever you do with them. Not enough level and too smooth.

My mother's fiancee was moving the car and left the guitar resting up against the back of the car. He was distracted by a pint glass on the car or something. Doesn't matter. Prefer the Kelly and looking forward to this.
Quote by Waylanderau
Jackson owner 5!
That's one sexy guitar bro, HNGD!
I think you're going to be stoaked with how it turns out once you finish modding, Jacksons make great platforms on which to built your ultimate weapon.

Even better that I snapped it up for £170, and it's a Japanese built KE3. I'm stoked with how it is now, but when I get a hardcase, open it up to find my personally customised Kelly with EMGs, I'm going to be so pleased.

I want to mod the neck up a bit to get it looking like this. White lines and clear "Jackson" logo on the headstock. Not fussed about the inlays
are those invaders that you have/had in your kelly?
if so, i'd be interested in taking them off of your hands for some cash.

EDIT: looks like they are the duncan designed version, if you want to get rid of them, i'd be willing to toss some numbers your way.
Last edited by larson8er at Jun 30, 2011,
Hmm Im already switching them for my mate's stock RG350 pickups + 25 notes. If you can beat that... then sure
just realized that you aren't in the US, so shipping would probably kill.
i'll have to pass, thanks for considering it though!

great looking guitar!
Great looking guitar, I've always liked kellys. Probably cause I've always like Marty Friedman.

Can I get a photo of the busted headstock? for completeness
Was lacking a decent sig. Still is.
If you're replacing the bridge just get a Schaller Floyd, they made most of the Japanese Jackson trems (JT590, 580 and 500) and they currently make OFR 1000s but the Schaller ones are $70-$100 less for the exact same trem.
I play Lacrosse, you should too
Quote by reeses
heed this man's suggestion, for he is wise.

Aww shucks...

Quote by Tom 1.0
Oh and wait for the Schecter fan boys, if you listen real hard you can already hear them coming.
Will upload pix of the knacked DKMGT later - haven't got any.
So, last night I decided to open a bottle of wine or two and fiddle with the guitars. About an hour or so later I had strings, pickups, pots, wires everywhere and then this happened...

And then...

I really did wince when I put the strings back on, however both pickups are working and working well with the stock wiring inside the Kelly. Have got a couple problems. One was the plastics around the pickups needed to be changed as they were angled wrong (angled for the Kelly) - so I switched them

Never took any pictures after this as I was a bit too drunk/interested in playing the guitar.

However I did the whole swap without a soldering iron, I twisted wires together (removing them carefully from the DKMGT) and putting old electrical tape from it on the wires and shrink wrap over the others.

Only one issue before I solder it back together, there is a humming noise in the background. It's not very loud, I think the easiest way to describe it would be a "whooshing" sound that doesn't change frequency. I think possibly the DKMGTs require more insulation or shielding than stock pickups - any ideas??
Active pickups don't really require insulation, the problem is the jack. Active pickups have a grounded jack instead of grounding to the bridge. If you're going to put in the EMGs, you need to use all the wiring from the original guitar as actives use different pots as well. When you have them installed they're dead quiet, so if you keep hearing the whoosh, you're doing something wrong.
I play Lacrosse, you should too
Quote by reeses
heed this man's suggestion, for he is wise.

Aww shucks...

Quote by Tom 1.0
Oh and wait for the Schecter fan boys, if you listen real hard you can already hear them coming.