I'm looking for an explorer/destroyer style guitar with a locking tremolo, I play mainly hard rock and metal and would like a guitar that's a bit more bad-ass than the original explorer. I think I have narrowed it down to a Jackson Kelly with a floyd rose or the LTD EX-401FR/DX. Price range <1000$

Also how do the older Kelly ke3 guitars compare?
Made in Japan Jacksons are great quality for the price. Find a used one in good condition and save $$
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I personally am a big fan of the Jackson Kelly, to me they just look killer, also I would probably recommend an older Japan KE3 over a newer X series model and they can be had fairly cheap on the used marked, I picked up a KE3 for $300 CDN about 7 years ago. The only thing about Kelly's (and maybe the same for the LTD but I don't have experience to say) is that they can be neck heavy. A very simply solution is to move the strap button to one of the neck screws (on a bolt on neck) and the problem is solved.
Any chance you can play both?

I have a KE3 and have never played an EX but do have 2 Eclipses.

So comparing the KE3 to the Eclipses the major differences (besides the body shape obviously) are all about the neck.

Jackson is compound radius, thinner, and jumbo frets.
LTD/ESP is 305mm radius, thicker than the Jackson but not fat, and extra jumbo frets (Eclipse and EX have the same neck profile).

In short they will feel different to play.

I prefer the feel of Jackson but have 2 of each brand.
Ibanez RG1570 Prestige
Jackson Kelly KE3 - MIJ (Distortion/Jazz)
Jackson DKMGT Dinky (EMG 81/85)
ESP E-II Eclipse Custom (JB/'59)
ESP LTD EC-1001FR (EMG 81/60)
Fender MIM Strat

Mesa/Boogie Dual Rectifier Roadster 212
Laney IronHeart IRT-Studio
Peavey Vypyr 30
Peavey ReValver Amp Sims
TOOOO many T.C. Electronic Pedals. . .
+1 MIJ Jacksons

Used ones (at least in the U.S.) are not hard to find and more than affordable but honestly used U.S.A. Jacksons can typically be found for $900 to $1000
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Last edited by Evilnine at Nov 1, 2016,
ke3s are nice, but ideally could use a trem swap

ke5s had a better trem and neck-thru construction
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I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

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