JS30KE Kelly review by Jackson

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  • Sound: 10
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 8
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 6
  • Features: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 8.4 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.2 (141 votes)
Jackson: JS30KE Kelly

Price paid: $ 292.292

Purchased from: Steve's Music

Sound — 10
My music style is generally blues and metal. Perhaps it isn't a common mix, but I enjoy it nonetheless. It sounds great for both of those, even without FX. I run it either through a silly little Brand X X-15R amp, or my preferred amp: Fender Hot Rod Deluxe. On a tube amp, I was surprised to hear the tone of this guitar. It's very soulful. My Pedalboard: Ernie Ball Volume Pedal, Dunlop GCB-95 Crybaby, Boss CE-5 Chorus ensemble, Boss BF-2 Flanger, Line 6 DL4 Delay Modeler. On top, is a Fender 3-function footswitch. My favourite sound to make with this guitar is the Coin sound from super mario. Sounds best with a kick of Drive.

Overall Impression — 10
It's a bi--hin' guitar all across the board. I play blues and metal generally. This sounds fine for it. Although I've only been playing for about 2 years, I know a top notch guitar when I see one. This isn't top notch. Got it? I'm not one of those spoiled little piss ants that think their Squier Strat or Epiphone SG is the best guitar ever made. My perfect guitar would be a Fender American Telecaster. I wish I had the coin for that sucker, lemme tell ya. Best guitar I've ever played. Although, this Jackson does the trick for now and looks hella-sweet. I also have a Takamine G530S Acoustic guitar with a Dean Markley Pro-Mag Plus single coil pickup. Massive feedback. I use a Planet Waves 15' Cord. I wish I'd raised the action. I love the feeling of the smooth maple neck. I don't like the buzzing or crappy soldering. Favourite feature: I like how the volume knob is very close to the strings so that you can operate it with your pinky to make volume swells, but I've got a pedal for that anyways. I wish it had EMG or Duncan pickups. That'd be insane. Also, a tube of extra touch-up paint in case you chip it.

Reliability & Durability — 8
Yes it will. Jacksons are typically well built, but I doubt it'll do too well if I chuck it at the ground or something of that likeness. Hardware feels solid, as do the strap buttons. I do depend on it, but I may bring a backup just in case. First time it fell, a centimeter long chunk of paint fell off the body. Barely noticeable, besides, a guitar that hasn't been chipped, hasn't been loved.

Action, Fit & Finish — 6
Action's low, but it buzzes on the higher strings (G, B, E) from frets 1-3, generally. It is great for two-hand tapping and blues. The pickups are well adjusted, although a little lopsided. not really noticeable. The bridge worked fine. The volume knob is very crackly, probably the fault of poor soldering. Also, the pickup Switch cuts out a little bit, but no biggie. Jiggle it a bit and it's back to normal.

Features — 8
I'm not sure what year it was made, but I know that it was "crafted in India." It has a 24-fret maple neck, with a rosewood fretboard and dot inlays. I believe it is a solid-top, made of mahogany (or some sorta strong dark wood). The finish is an acrylic dark metallic blue with a hint of sparkle to it. However, this shows fingerprints really obviously. The Kelly body style is pretty much a Gibson Explorer, except cooler! it's got more aggressive lines, and a surprisingly comfortable figure. The bridge is a string-thru body style, but I'd rather a tremolo arm of some sort. The electronics are active I believe. There are 3 simple controls. 1 volume, 1 tone, and a 3-way pickup selector. A set of EMG-esque Jackson CVR-2 humbuckers gives it a very heavy Drive tone, but the clean isn't too defined when the selector is in the bridge position. Configuration is H/H. Simple as that. It uses grover tuners that need not be waxed as they are covered. I had to custom order a gig-bag from Jackson because the guitar wouldn't fit in any other case. I love it, though.

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