JS30KE Kelly Review

manufacturer: Jackson date: 04/26/2011 category: Electric Guitars
Jackson: JS30KE Kelly
Jackson builds all of the models in this series with an alder body, a bolt-on maple neck with a rosewood fingerboard, Jackson humbuckers and chrome hardware including an adjustable string-thru-body bridge.
 Sound: 9.6
 Overall Impression: 9.7
 Reliability & Durability: 9.3
 Action, Fit & Finish: 8.8
 Features: 9
 Overall rating:
 Reviewer rating:
 Users rating:
reviews (9) pictures (1) 69 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 10
JS30KE Kelly Reviewed by: bensk8n, on december 20, 2004
9 of 14 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 250

Purchased from: Winter Sound

Features: 24 jumbo frets, ton volume knowbs, two CVR2 Jackson humbuckers, rosewood fretboard, 1 volume 1 tone knob, 3 way Switch, thin(ner) neck. It's a deep metallic blue with a relative Explorer cut-out Jackson style. Plays smooth and easy. The two humbuckers, Jackson CVR2's I'm pretty sure are actives, sound good. The way they're set in they hardly move like other pickups. It has a set bridge, bolt on neck. // 10

Sound: The bridge pickups has a sharp crunchy sound when distorted, but doesn't have as good a clean in the bridge. It's sharp but not a smooth sounding, but nothing bad. The bridge sounds a lot like the bridge yet with more bass in it. Distorted it has a bassier less distorted sound. The best way to get a good clean is using the middle, using both pickups together. Sounds very good especially for chords. // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: The set up is very well done. Pickups don't move, neck is very solid (bolt on though), set bridge - HardTail, 24 jumbo frets. Everything on it is setup just how I would like it. Since it is used I am surprised that I havent found anything on but a tiny little chip right next to the neck, obviously it was well taken care of, and/or gently/hardly used. // 10

Reliability & Durability: Since I've only a short time I cant really say how durable it is gig wise (I'll know soon), but it feels very solid, made for gigging. It feels kind of big, but then again I'm not too big my self. // 10

Overall Impression: Very nice sounding and looking. Plays smooth, neck feels a bit long but nothing major. The guitar I'd been looking for for a long time. I would recommend it to anyone. // 10

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overall: 8.4
JS30KE Kelly Reviewed by: unregistered, on may 20, 2005
3 of 5 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 292.292

Purchased from: Steve's Music

Features: 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. // 8

Sound: 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. // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: 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. // 6

Reliability & Durability: 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. // 8

Overall Impression: 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. // 10

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overall: 8.8
JS30KE Kelly Reviewed by: unregistered, on february 21, 2006
3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 328.719

Purchased from: L&M

Features: I had it ordered to I guess july 2005, it says on the head "made in Korea" so not much quality built I suppose. 24 frets with dot inlays (24 kidna hard to reach), scale is 25.5 with a damn good thin flat U neck, rosewood fretboad (my nail kinda gets caught in a graving in it), XJ, alder body solid top with a bolt on maple neck, finish is a sexy dark metallic red with sparkles lol, body is like an Explorer but damn sexy but kinda small, bridge is a Tune-O-Matic string thru, stinkin passive pickups with 1 tone, 1 vol., 3-way Switch controls, 2 Jackson CVR2's pretty decent but I'm puttin EMG 85b/60n in em soon, Jackson tuners. I use a normal gig bag but the part where the horn is the fabric is tearing. // 8

Sound: I play from clean melodic chords to thrash and from rock to metal-core, and this suits my clean, metal and metalcore sounds not really anything else. I play thru a Spider II 112 and there's days when it would sound so damn good then days where its not steppin up to my expectations, well it doesn't hum in my metal setting but the insane setting it does oh wel just put your palm on the bridge and its gone, my insane setting is bassy chunk sound and my metal setting is bright kinda like a COB AYDY sound which I like. // 9

Action, Fit & Finish: It's perfect for me I'm rhythm and the thin flat U is wonderful but I do perfer neck-thru's even tho I probably wont be soloing with this guitar not really a soloing guitar to my opinion, there's a slight slant in the bridge pickup but it's still good I'm using thick ernie ball stings in it and I was scared when one string wouldnt go thru the gauge but I popped it in there s alls good, all that I kno is that the jack nut is not tight and gotta tighten it now and then, the vol. knob is loose and crackles so I gotta get that fixed, dinged and chipped the shit out of the points but ya its my 1st love and will always have it from here on untill it breaks completely then ill get a USA kelly in the same color. // 8

Reliability & Durability: It's my only guitar so it's gonna be studio and live, I'm sure it will last for a long time after I get the knobs fixed. I'm gonna need strap locks and a leather strap since it dives 'cause of a long neck and small light body, well I play in different tunings from E stand. to C stand. so I'm gonna need like 3 or 4 more guitars (RR5, EX-400, F-500 and eclipse II VTB) but this guitar would be my main one when it gets new pickups along side my RR5 I'm getting right away. // 10

Overall Impression: I'm completely and utterly in love with my guitar who I called "delilah" and will always be in love with it. If it were stolen well I would get a pro series this time, if it broke then ill have to get a new one fast since its my only one for some time. Overall it's worth the money and well a $100+ to change the pickups. // 9

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overall: 10
JS30KE Kelly Reviewed by: Ratt, on november 21, 2005
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 220

Purchased from: Sam Ash

Sound: This guitar is a great metal guitar (as well as all other Jackson guitars). The bridge close coil pickup is fierce and puts out a great metal sound when played through my Zoom multi-effects pedal and a 30 watt Crate. Using both pickups at once is great for an acoustic tone, and the neck pickup is excellent for all your soloing needs. // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: Everything was set-up fine right out of the box. However I did some adjustments to the bridge just because of personal preference. // 10

Reliability & Durability: It will definatly withstand live play, and I have taken it on many "jam sessions" and it has been fine. The hardware seems reliable, as are the strap buttons. I wouldn't use it at a gig without a backup because I'm just a cautious person, but theres about a %99. 9 chance that I wont need the backup. // 10

Overall Impression: I play metal and rock, it's a great match up for both, but mainly metal. I have been playing for over 2 years, and I own lots of gear which include: BC Rich Mockingbird, Squier Strat, Fender acoustic/electric, and then a 15 and 30 watt Crate, and a 120 watt Behringer, also a Zoom pedal. If it were lost or stolen I wouldn't re-buy it, simply because I would buy a more expensive model of Kelly because I love Jackson. // 10

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overall: 9.6
JS30KE Kelly Reviewed by: unregistered, on march 13, 2006
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Features: This guitar is a 2005 model, not too sure where it was made to be honest. It's got 24 jumbo frets that are great to play. The neck has a nice feel to it, thin, flat, fast, great for shredding and soloing in general. My model is just in a black colour, but it looks so damn sexy! The body style is one of the things that attracted me to this guitar. I was looking for a metal guitar, not too expensive, and yet had some form of individuality to it, and then I found this. I didn't wanna be part of the crowd with there Strat body designs and there Ibanez guitars. The shape is like a Gibson Explorer thats been on a diet basicly. It has Jackson CVR2 humbucking pickups which I think are awsome at taking distortion, however in the future I will be upgrading to an 81 and an 85 pair of EMG's, and itt has one volume and one tone control with a 3 way pickup selector. // 10

Sound: My preferred music style is all genre's of metal. Ranging from the God like riffs of old Metallica (Black Album etc) to more thrash riffs like Pantera, death metal etc. I am currently running it through a 50 watt Axl U35R amplifier, and a death metal distortion pedal, which it sounds great with. There is barley any noise from this at all, even with the huge distortion from the pedal, it can only be heard when on very high volume levels, which doesn't worry me, 'cause that's still not a lot of noise. The stock Jackson pickups are noisy bitches! I am currently in a band with a friend who owns an Ibanez RG model, and a similer set-up, and he has trouble competing volume wise. Again, heavy distorted riffs sound great, and so do solo's higher up the fret board. // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: This guitar was great from the factory! I only had the action altered slightly and I was playing straight away. The only thing I'd say is that when playing, you tend to play above the neck pickup so you can palm mute effectivly. The large amount of picking the top strings has caused the pickup casing to become very mildy marked. However this does not effect the sound in the slightest and shouldn't be worried about. // 9

Reliability & Durability: This guitar would easily withstand live play, I know cause I've done it! The hardware is sturdy, and is all set firmly in place, the jack screw does loosen from time to time, but again, not to be worried about. I have and would use this guitar without a backup cause I believe in it that much. I've had this guitar for about a year now, and there's no sign of wear and tear at all. // 9

Overall Impression: This guitar matches well with the metal styles I play. I've been playing about 2 years now, and frankly, if this was stolen I'd get whatever money I could and get out and buy one again, then go slaughter the guy that took it, slowly and painfully, anyway I love the overall look of this beast, the sexy black with the sexy body is just sexy! I do wish that I did buy the model with the floyd rose style bridge, however this problem will be solved with the purchasing of an Ibanez (going against what I said earlier) later this year. Overall, awsome guitar. // 10

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overall: 9.4
JS30KE Kelly Reviewed by: unregistered, on march 31, 2006
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Purchased from: Steve's music, Toronto

Features: This guitar is basically prtty simple when it comes to features, but it still sounds great and looks awesome. It's got volume and tone knobs, and a 3-way pickup Switch. Like I said, pretty simple, but it does it's job. It also has 24 frets which is nice. // 9

Sound: My music style is either nice clean stuff or metal, but not much in between, but it sounds great for those styles. It hums a little when you're not playing, but once you start it stops the buzz. I'll give it a 9 for this cause I haven't really experemented with other kinds of music to say its amzing or sucks for those. // 9

Action, Fit & Finish: The guitar came set up nearly perfect, although I'd reccomend changing the strings on it cause the factory ones arent the greatest. It's a little weird to play at first because of the way it's shaped and where the strap ataches, but you get used to it. It's also really hard to play sitting down, but eventually you'll find a comfy way to hold it. The finish on it was very good. I haven't found any flaws in it, but with the black finish, fingerprints stand out on it really good, but what are you gonna do? // 9

Reliability & Durability: This guitar will definitaly last within the first hour I banged it off a wall and there wasnt even a chip. The strap hasn't fallen off at all, even though the buttons look fairly small. I would definately gig it without a backup. // 10

Overall Impression: Like I said, I play metal or clean stuff, and it's a perfect match. If it was stolen or lost, I'd probably sit in my basement and stare at the empty stand where it usually goes for a few weeks, then I'd go fing who stole it and steal it back, or definately buy a new one. Speaking of stands, it's weird to put on a stand, but as long as the bottom part of it can tilt to accomidate for the curve, and it's got some non slip rubber or something, then it's fine. Overall this is a great guitar, especally for the price. It'd be pretty nice if it came with a gig bag or something, because it doesn't fit into a normal one. One thing I wouldn't reccomend is the hard case for this, because if you've got that kind of money (about as much as the guitar costs), then you might as well buy the Kelly KE or whatever the better one is. It's great. I'd definately recomend this to begginers or anyone because of its price and great sound. // 10

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overall: 8.8
JS30KE Kelly Reviewed by: madsunday, on september 12, 2007
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 366

Purchased from: Peter Norris Music

Features: Made in India, the Kelly I purchased is a work of ART. It's 24 easy to reach frets are always something to boast about, and despite being the starter of the kelly range it's Ultra smooth, narrow and thin maple neck means fast playing is not a problem. It features on the front, a volume, tone and 3 way pickup selector. It has 2 Jackson special CVR humbucking pickups, a slot on bridge and it's all in chrome! (the pickups have a plastic 'black box' cover). The body is Indian Cedro, covered with a red plastic, which is then coated with whichever colour paint you choose (mine is black) and a gloss finish. It has the traditional strap holders but they are not locking ones, which can sometimes mean slipping! Especially on this neck heavy instrument. It has a panel on the rear which is easily removable to access the electrics. The jack socket is poorly placed, at exactly the point where the guitar rests if not in a stand. // 8

Sound: I play mainly old metal, early maiden, that sort of thing. I have not found a nicer sounding guitar for my purposes. The Kelly series is used by Slayer and System Of A Down so have a listen to some of there tones and you will get the general idea. Without the distortion pedal it sounds beautifully soft, with a nice full sound, but with a pedal on it sounds unbelievably huge. // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: The guitar arrived in perfect condition. I immediatly adjusted the bridge (which is just a case of turning 2 screws, really easy) to remove the buzz from the low strings and lower the side of the high strings to make tapping easier. It is so adjustable to suit whatever you want. // 9

Reliability & Durability: I have had the guitar for 2 years now and it has just developed a buzz on one of the tuning head, but this will not be hard to replace. Let me say this first, it is VERY durable. I have dropped it a number of times and it still plays like new. Although you will not want to damage the look of such a beautiful guitar. The problems I have had are: the neck heavy guitar leans awkwardly whenever you let go (and it wieghs a ton! No jumping round on stage with this unless you have a neck of steel). The straps slipping off the poorly shaped holders. An internal wire being wrapped around the volume knob inside the guitar, which in turn caused the wire to be ripped out. Some quick soldering solved this though. // 8

Overall Impression: Despite soem minor problems I love this guitar. I have recently bought a JT-XG2 and Switch between this and my Jackson. I know some people Who baught Jacksons higher up the price scale, and unless you need a floating trem, there's no need to spend the extra cash. This instrument will be one that you keep until you upgrade into the legendary guitars (the razorback etc). // 9

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overall: 9.2
JS30KE Kelly Reviewed by: Metalcore Jero, on november 18, 2010
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: A$ 500

Purchased from: Mall Music

Features: Not sure when this monster was conceived, but I know its of Indonesian crafting. 24 frets, amazingly thin neck, rosewood fretboard, Indian Cedro body (NOT ALDER), metallic red finished. The body style is reminiscent of a Gibson Explorer, but much more metal and way better looking IMO. Tune-o-matic bridge, passive Jackon CVR2 pickups, volume and tone control with a three way toggle Switch for pickup selection. Comes with Standard Jackson tuners and strap button. // 9

Sound: I play a lot of various kinds of metal ranging from Iron Maiden, Megadeth to Cannibal Corpse, The Red Shore etc and this is absolutely wonderful for it. I run this through a Peavey Vypyr when at home and a Peavey 6505+ for live situations. Its not a noisy guitar, but it packs a f--king punch. When distorted this thing is ablaze with all the power you need for high gain metal. Sadly, this isnt the case for cleans which leave a little to be desired. I don't use them alot though (on this guitar anyway) so I don't care too much. // 9

Action, Fit & Finish: When I bought it the action was perfect, and there wasn't a single flaw anywhere in the finish. Pickups needed to be raised only slightly for my liking, the bridge was set in place perfectly, no dead or buzzing frets whatsoever. I was pretty astounded by this, since its only an entry level guitar. // 9

Reliability & Durability: This guitar definetly withstands live situations, and better than some guitars I've had with a much bigger price tag.I've never had a problem on stage with it, spare a few string breakages, but that happens to everyone. I replaced the strap buttons instantly with Schaller strap locks because I didn't want to leave anything to chance with this beauty. I've gigged with it solidly for a long time now as both my main weapon and as a beackup and would trust it to go an entire set without a back up. The finish is still going strong too, with no signs of wear anywhere on the body (that may be because I baby all my guitars and polish them regularly after each use). // 9

Overall Impression: For all my metal needs, this is perfect. I'm notoriously fussy about all my guitars and this was no exception. It was the first guitar I ever bought and she's been with me now for four years, since I started playing. Since then, it's been modified with EMG 81 and 85 pickups, Schaller strap locks and Grover tuners and its still one of my favourite guitars out of the four I own ( I also own a Jackson DK2M, Jackson DKMG, and an Agile Interceptor Pro 727)if it were stolen, I'd probably cry for a week straight and then torture the bastard who took it, but I would definetly buy it again. There are only two things on this entire guitar I don't like, one being the neck dive issue and the other being the lowest cut away being too small and making sweeps and soloing a bit harder. Other than that, it was and still is everything I want in a guitar. With a few upgrades from the Standard this beginner series guitar can compete with guitars well above its price range. I would highly recommend not only this guitar, but Jackson Guitars as well for anyone looking for a metal oriented guitar. // 10

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overall: 9.4
JS30KE Kelly Reviewed by: HotWheelNeil, on april 26, 2011
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 200

Purchased from: Guitar Center

Features: My guitar was made in India, I'm not exactly sure when it was made, but I bought it in January 2010, it has a tune-o-matic bridge, a string through alder body, a bolt on maple neck with rosewood fretboard, 2 Jackson CRV2 humbuckers, 1 tone, 1 volume, and a 3 way toggle. It came with a $40 gigbag, which has held up pretty well for the year I've had this guitar. // 10

Sound: I play a ton of Metal and a lot of melodic licks and Solos, think Joe Satriani or Steve Vai with Metallica or Slayer! This guitar has great tones, I run it through a Peavy Vypyr 15 watt solid state modeling amp, and i can get anywhere from perfect thrash distortion, to soulful melodic soloing tones, to shimmering cleans, and great harmonics. There isn't much noise, and i have my pickups set pretty high. // 9

Action, Fit & Finish: This guitar wasn't set up too good at all at the factory, the neck was noticeably bent, and I had to ask the Guitar Center tech to fix it because of my lack of experience with guitars at the time. I also had to raise the pickups, since they were pretty low, and after doing so it sounded much better. Other people have complained of bad sodering and electronics on this guitar, but mine has none of those problems, everything was sodered well, and except for a slightly loose output jack, everything was good, especially the finish. // 9

Reliability & Durability: Forget live playing, this guitar could withstand getting hit by a truck. The hardware seems like it'd last for years to come, the strap buttons have never failed me, and although I don't play gigs, I would definitely play one without a backup. The finish is also amazing, after a year of abusive playing, being banged against a wall countless times, and being dropped several times, it's still in near perfect condition, with only one tiny bit of paint chipped off on a corner. // 10

Overall Impression: Overall, this is an amazing beginner guitar. I got it for $200, and it was worth every penny, although I hope to replace it when I have enough money, it's served me well, and is an amazing guitar! If it were lost or stolen, I would find the guy that took it, beat him senseless with it, and then proceed to solo next to his unconscious body! The only problem I've ever had with this guitar after it was set up, was that the neck is heavier than the body, and it dives towards the floor, but this is nothing that can't be fixed with a half defent strap. I give it a 9 here because it was a $200 guitar, but for its cost, it's amazing. // 9

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