KE3 Kelly review by Jackson

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  • Sound: 9
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 9
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 9
  • Features: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 9 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.4 (202 votes)
Jackson: KE3 Kelly

Price paid: $ 520

Purchased from: Tom Lee Music Store

Sound — 9
I mostly play thrash metal and clean stuff, and it sounds fantastic on this guitar. I'm playing it through a Vox AD30VT. Metal is perfect on the JB pickup, and clean sounds nice and warm with that extra sparkle on the top with the Jazz pickup. Because of the pickups, you can play a LOT of varieties of music with this, but the shape doesn't suit most styles except metal. The guitar isnt very noisy at all compared to my Cort X-2.

Overall Impression — 9
I play metal and this is perfect for it. The looks, bridge and pickups are all good for metal. One thing though: The neck is unbalanced, similar to SG's, so when you stand up, the neck leans towards the ground, so you have to hold it up with your fretting hand. I really love the shape, the floyd rose, and the pickups, but if it were balanced, it would have been the perfect metal guitar.

Reliability & Durability — 9
This thing is pretty durable. I have some scratches on it, but they aren't very noticeable because of the finish (crimson swirl). This guitar seems like it wouldn't need a backup, but I haven't tried yet. The strap buttons are solid, and the hardware is good quality.

Action, Fit & Finish — 9
Everything was great on the guitar. It was either the store I bought it from or Jackson themselves. The action was low, but there was a bit of rattling, but not enough to distract me. The neck was at good level, and the Floyd Rose was already set up and was ready to play.

Features — 9
My guitar was made in 2006, Japan, so it's the new model, not the old KE3 with Invader pickups. It has 24XJ frets on a rosewood fretboard and a maple neck. The cool thing about the neck is that the contour of the neck changes as it goes up the fretboard so it's more comfortable playing chords on the bottom and solos on the higher end of the fretboard. The body is made of alder. The finish I got was Crimson Swirl, which simply looks outstanding. It's even better than flamed maple tops! The shape of the Kelly is awesome, much more evil looking than a Gibson Explorer. The bridge is a licensed Floyd Rose which is great. It stays in tune the whole time. The pickups are excellent stock pickups (Seymour Duncan JB/Jazz) and are extremely versatile. It only comes with one volume knob and a Les Paul style 3-way selector. It would have been better with a tone knob though. The tuners are Jackson die-cast tuners, which are perfectly fine with me.

6 comments sorted by best / new / date

    If you like Explorers and whammy bars, definately get this, its the only Explorer with a Floyd Rose in it, from what I know. And plus, I own it, I know that thing is loud as hell. Im not even considering EMG 60/81 set.
    im thinking of buying this guitar soon for $1029 australian. is this a good price?
    _ZarockeR_ wrote: i am thinkin about buyin this guitar but at my local music shop it is 700 bucks! Is that a good price or should i look around on the internet or sumthin?
    definately look on the internet, you can get it alot cheaper than that