KE3 Kelly Review

manufacturer: Jackson date: 04/07/2014 category: Electric Guitars
Jackson: KE3 Kelly
It's fitted with hot Duncan Design humbuckers. For whammy bar players, it's got a double locking JT580LP tremolo bridge. Other features include chrome hardware and a 3-way pickup selector switch.
 Sound: 9.4
 Overall Impression: 9.3
 Reliability & Durability: 9.3
 Action, Fit & Finish: 8.5
 Features: 8.9
 Overall rating:
 Reviewer rating:
 Users rating:
reviews (15) pictures (4) 77 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 10
KE3 Kelly Reviewed by: unregistered, on august 04, 2004
11 of 13 people found this review helpful

Purchased from: Rikaxxe

Features: I've had my KE3 Kelly a good few months now and it is a great guitar. I was originally going to get a Jackson DK2 Dinky, but a lil advise from a friend to take a look at the Kelly. I picked up the guitar and ended up getting it that day. It has 24 jumbo frets with the Jackson sharkfin inlays(an yes the do look sexy). The body is made from alder wood, the neck is made from maple and the fret board is rosewood. It has two Duncan design humbucker pick-ups whick are very good for stock pick-ups. It has one volume knob and no tone knobs (I never use them so its perfect for me). It has a 3way pick up selector placed below the volume knob. The strap hooks are perfectly placed so your strap will hardly ever fall off if ever (unlike a Strat shape where they tend to fall off all the time.) The trem is a Jackson floyyd rose double locking system and if set up wont ever go out of tune, it also has a locking nut which prevents the strings from fraying and breaking(it may take a little long to change tunings, but is well worth is as it doesnt go out of tune). // 10

Sound: The sound is exceptional. I play it through a Line6 Spider amp (which I also recomend) and it is perfect. I am a metaller but this guitar suits me perfectly but will also be able to play other styles very well aswell. // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: Perfect. Set up very well, although I am still going to take up the shops offer to check it over just incase. // 10

Reliability & Durability: This guitar as are all Jackson are made for playing live. You can beat the sh--t and it would be fine. You could through it at a wall and it would still be in tune. I would play this guitar live with out a back up know problem. The only miner problem I had (which was my retarded fault) is a was using the box to transport it until I got a case the box was breakin at the bottom it fell out when I was trying to get it into the car and messed up the lead input slighly (still worked fine but was harded to put into the guitar) one quick trip to the shop had it repaired in about 2mins without having to be replaced. // 10

Overall Impression: Excellent guitar and would recomend it especialy to metal heads. It has improved my playing (I can now nail those iron maiden solo even better.) If it was lost I would find it again(cause it really isn't going to get lost now is it). Now if it was stolen I would hunt the S.O.B down and toucher the person responable for the tromatic experience they gave to my baby. I'll leave you with the word of a friend. "This guitar is amazing it's like it plays its self." // 10

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overall: 9.6
KE3 Kelly Reviewed by: signbasher123, on november 26, 2007
3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Purchased from: ebay

Features: Well, first off this guitar is freakin sweet. It's got 24 frets, rosewood fingerboard, and it's made of alder (my favorite wood). The finish is a really cool swirl that could be described as "someone dumped paint in a toilet and flushed it". It's got a liscened floyd which is pretty darn good at staying in tune. the pickups are very good for just about any style. It's got Jackson tuners which are very good. Mine came with a softshell case but I bought a hardshell that is huge. // 10

Sound: This guitar sounds great I've had it for over a year and it still sounds as good as the day I got it. I run it through my Line 6 spider 3 head and cab (highly reccomend). It has a very full sound that's perfct for metal or gentle chords (and yes I serenade my girlfriend with it). // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: The action on this baby came nice and low but not so low the notes don't ring. Everything was in tip-top shape and still is. Everything is snug and secure I never worry about this rhing falling off the strap! No flaws or anything of that nature. But when I turn the volume all the way up it kinda crackles but not for more than two seconds. // 9

Reliability & Durability: This guitar is a tank! It can stand up to mike tyson if it had to. But all jokes aside this guitar (like all Jacksons) is meant to be abused adn played hard. Everything on it is very strong. However, ever since the first time I changed the strings if it gets knoked the tuning goes off, probably my fault but still. I take a backup along not because this guitar will fail me but because I'm a very paranoid person. // 9

Overall Impression: This guitar is with me for the long haul. I definatly will be bying another one before long. My band plays a lot of realy energetic metal/punkish/screamo stuff so as you can imagine I'm doing a lot of jumping around and throwing this thing all over the place and it never lets me down, it smy baby and I'm sure it will last many more years. // 10

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overall: 6.8
KE3 Kelly Reviewed by: dthmtlhd, on august 18, 2004
2 of 7 people found this review helpful

Purchased from: Major & Minor Music

Features: Made in Japan rescently, I got this 24 jumbo fret Jackson KE3 Kelly for 500 bucks. It has a fairly slim neck, but has a great design for a comfortable grip. The neck is bolt-on maple. The body is alder with flame maple veneer. The body is basicly a more sinister looking Gibson Explorer. Iy is Jackson floyd rose equipped. The pickups are passives. There is a 3 way selector and a volume knob. It is a dual humbucker with both humbuckers by Jackson. It is of course locking tuners. The bastards at the store jipped me and all they gave me was a box to carry it in. // 6

Sound: As a death metal/metal player this guitar does the trick and then some. It has a great feel to it and even though it came with some bugs they are all taken care of. It also has a crazy body shape. I'm using this guitar on a Peavey practise amp 15 watt dealey. I am using a metal zone pedal on it. I would have more different effects to use on this guitar but I got rid of all my pedals whan I baught an Emg for my last guitar and pedals f--ked with teh sound. The input has some problems with keeping the chord steady, and the volume knob crackles when you turn it. It's kind od noisy but not enough to mind. It has a great od/distortion tone to it, especially on the bridge setting. Clean it is too twangy. This guitar can make alot of cool sounds. I still want to replace the pickups though with Emg's. // 8

Action, Fit & Finish: Well, when I got the guitar, the damn thing had chips in the finish, because of the big body shape. The Jackson floyd rose was kind of piecey, because about a week after getting it the key at the back used to lock the string in the bridge was strepped very badly on the low e string. The floyd rose was also set up so taht you could only tune the guitar to Eb, not that that was a big problem because that is the basis tuning I use. The problem was that the springs were set so taht when you take pressure off of the bar, it will go back to one of 3 positions: in tune, slightly low, or slightly hight. That wouldn't even be a huge problem, unless your playing somthing like the end part of kerry king's solo in "Seasons In The Abyss" where the bar has to return to the exact note or it sounds like shit. The pickups were well adjusted. That basicly sums up the problems. // 4

Reliability & Durability: I could play this thing live with no thinkable problems, but first I need to sort out some of those stupid problems with it. The hardware is half cheap stuff, half good stuff, but if I get the one lock at the back replaced it aught to hold up perfect. The strap buttons were sturdy as possible without cracking the finish or wood. I belive I could for sure depend on it. Without a backup, though, might not happen, just because you can't trust strings. The finish seems strong enough to withstand basicly any playing, but it will tend to bump into doors and stuff so watch out. // 8

Overall Impression: Basicly, if the music store would have fixed teh dumb problems that are under warranty anyways, this guitar would be great for any style I feel liek playing. I was a little disapointed that it had dot inlays rather than the shark fins, but who cares about somthing taht stupid. This guitar kicks ass and it suits me. I have been playing for over 3 years. I have this guitar, a Peavey 15 watt, a Metal Zone pedal, and a Peavey Raptor Exp with emg 81 in the bridge. That's basicly it. I wished I would have asked some guys top stop smoking crack and look at the guitar's condirion before u sell it. If it got lost I would buy somthing else cuz I baught it on sale at a moving sale for like 100 off. I would probably look into a crazy ESP if this thing went missing. I just love the way you feel when you play it. I hate the beating teh music store put on this thing. It was supposed to be brand new dammit. My favourite feature is the body shape. its surprisingly comfortable to play in most positions, unless you hunch over it and the end digs into your ribcage. I was either going to buy this or an Epiphone white Les Paul taht looked an awful lot liek randy rhodes'. I chose this one cuz it was a bit cheaper and it couldn't hold me back from anything. I could use the bar and I had 24 frets. The Epiphone did however have a way more comfortable feel to it. Still this guitar's all I need, and alot of what I always wanted in a guitar so I'm happy. I wish it had a Jcm800 included in the package. // 8

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overall: 8.8
KE3 Kelly Reviewed by: Richard Pizzey, on may 21, 2008
2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 759.45

Purchased from:

Features: Well this guitar was made in Japan, because Japan rocks and it's called "Nick" because Nick rocks! My color is "eerie dess swirl" on the alder body which I just love, but it looks sweet in black too. It has 24 Jumbo Frets on a maple bolt on neck and rosewood fingerboard, which is awesome and the shape is just crazy too, although it limits what cases can be used to carry it but that's not too important. It has two duncan design hum-buckers which I believe are HB102N and HB103B, and a JT580 LP double locking tremolo, shame it isn't an original Floyd Rose but it works and keeps it in tune really well. It also looks great. On the down side there is only one control fro the volume but I tend to use my amp (Line 6 spider II 30W) to get the right tone. It can take a while to change tunings but when you've done it it stays in for ages. // 8

Sound: I love the guitar, I like playing (or at least attempting to play) metal, it gets a lot of use but seems to cope really well, and stays in tune for ages. I personally use a Line 6 Spider II 30W amp, the sound is awesome, it has quite a clean tone, I finally got rid of the buzz that constantly seemed to come from my Epiphone LP Standard, which I loved but is now only occasionally used because it's sound is nowhere near as good as the KE3's. The sustain is awesome, yet again more than can be said for the Epiphone and it's easy to play producing great sounds. The tremolo won't go out of tune, I spend half my time playing and half my time dive bombing and generally whammying about having fun on it. // 9

Action, Fit & Finish: Almost perfect, I haven't found a real fault with it yet, the guitar arrived out of tune as expected and took about 20 minutes to tune, then 20 minutes to retune when I finally worked out my tuner wasn't working. Everything was fine, for me the action was just about the right height, it could have been a tad lower but I; m not too bothered because it is so easy to use and the action is nice enough as it is. It is rather difficult to use sitting down but not to a really annoying extent, I prefer using my friend's RR3 when sitting which he'll be pleased about but I stand a lot and it's really nice to use. // 8

Reliability & Durability: I love playing this guitar, it is pretty tough and would be difficult to break, unless you out it on the floor and jumped on the neck, but that would just ruin a perfectly good neck. I was slightly worried that the spine coming out the top of the body would be fragile and maybe get in my way but it's fine and makes a great carry handle. The strap buttons are great, they're too big for my pathetic strap locks but I can always get new one, I haven't used any strap locks in 4 months and don't need to to be honest because the buttons are so large but I am cautious. I haven't played it Live but it seems like it could cope and would be dependable. The finish is a really high quality in my opinion and it looks great from any angle. // 10

Overall Impression: As I said I like playing metal and rock on it and it really is a great match. I have been playing 2 years now, I had an Epiphone and played a couple of times a week, I got this and now play a couple of times a day because it is so nice to use. I love the way it looks, I love the way it plays and I love it in general. If it were stolen I would have to buy another one, probably steal the money for it and spend my time playing it while trying to think of 100 suitable ways to cause pain to the person Who stole my Jackson "Nick". I was slightly worried that it may have chrome hardware as opposed to black hardware but it does in-fact have black hardware which I prefer but I suppose if you were considering buying one it would be best to check. Before buying mine I had tried the basic Kelly, not sure what it's called but it didn't have a tremolo and I tried a Jackson RR3, this guitar is a compromise between the two, it has the nice shape of the Kelly but the Floyd Rose and performance of the RR3. // 9

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overall: 9.8
KE3 Kelly Reviewed by: mikey_1990, on may 28, 2008
2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 731.982

Purchased from: MB Music

Features: By far the best guitar I've had so far and to top it all off it looks amazing, he body is made from alder wood, the neck is made from maple and the fret board is rosewood. it has 24 jumbo frests with MOTO shark fin inlays, and the neck is real thin. It has two Seymour Duncan humbucking pick-ups, I believe they are a Seymour Duncan JB TB4 at the bridge and a Seymour Duncan Jazz SH2N at the neck, Which is really good considering all the other reviews come with duncan designed pick ups, it has 1 volume knob, no tone knob and a 3 way Switch, it has a Floyd Rose licensed Jackson double locking trem system and it hasn't gone out of tune yet not so much were I've had to sit there and re-tune all the strings. // 10

Sound: The Sound is amazing, nice rugged sound from the bridge and the jazz pick ups give it a nice warm peppy tone great for solo's, I play through a Marshall MG15DFX and the tone is amazing. // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: Set up perfectly, the pickups were adjusted to what I was going to adjust them to anyway, the bridge came set up properly not like the one on my Ibanez I had to do that myself, all the hardware seems perfect no problems there. // 10

Reliability & Durability: this guitar would be able to play several gigs Live no problem I would use it without a back up No Doubt, the only thing with these guitars are they're top heavy and for this I bought a strap lock it made me feel abit uneasy stood up. the hardware is great, the finish looks like it will last and even if it didn't it's a killer shape Who cares! // 9

Overall Impression: I play metal, rock, hard rock, to thrash metal, and it's great the pick ups give me loads of mids and I can get some great mellow sounds through the jazz pick ups, I've been playing about 3-4 years and for my other guitar check my profile, if I lost it or it got robbed I would save and get a custom made on e because it's my dream guitar, if not I would try a different make like a Dean because there really good, this guitar is perfect just neck heavy that's the only thing I don't like about it, I tried a few other makes they were a Dean, Hamer, Godin, ESP LTD, and a few different Ibanez models, but this is top in my eyes. // 10

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overall: 9.4
KE3 Kelly Reviewed by: fireball85, on september 05, 2008
2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Price paid: £ 425

Purchased from: Peter Cooks Guitar World

Features: I believe my model is a 2006 model, as prior to this they were producing them with chrome hardware as opposed to the black hardware. It has a very fast 24 jumbo fret rosewood fretboard, quite a thin and flat profile. Alder body in eerie dess finish (looks incredible, check out my profile if you want to see it), and I believe the trans finish models have a flame maple top. It comes fitted with a Licensed Floyd Road which often rings alarm bells for people but I honestly have not had any problem with it in the 2 years I've had the guitar, except when I foolishly tried to tune it to drop C without actually knowing how, my fault. Pickup configuration is 2 Seymour Duncan Humbuckers, a JB TB4 in the bridge and a Jazz SH2N in the neck. // 9

Sound: I have found these pickups to give a high enough output for anything I play (Normally stuff like Trivium, Bullet for My valentine etc) but the cleans this guitar gives off are brilliant. I actually used this guitar at a christmas performance of 'Silent Night' (it was an orchestrated version, and my guitar managed to cut through the 12 other instruments whilst not intruding on them and still maintaining amazing tone). I've played this guitar in a variety of different setups, though the one I normally use it with is a Fender 15R amp, Korg AX3000G, DigiTech DF7 Distortion Factory and Morley Tremonti Wah. It manages to sound awesome through this combination despite the amp. Sometimes you do get a little bit of buzz but I think this might not be something to do with the guitar itself, rather the location I use it in. If I use it near my laptop for recording and the laptop is charging this is normally when you get the buzz, I think it may be something to do with fields induced by the laptops power supply. I think that the Kelly, though primarily aimed at metalheads, can fit into most genres with ease. // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: The action of this guitar was perfect when I got it, not sure whether they set it up in the shop or not though. I have it set up in Standard but the fine tuner for the 6th string is set up so that if I twist it out a bit it can go into drop D. I have been told that this can cause the trem to fall out of tune by some people but I have been doing this under the recommendation of a Guitar Tech on Denmark St in London and in 2 years it has not caused me problems. The finish is excellent, I had the option of this or the solid colour finishes for about 45 less, but the Eerie Dess is so eye catching it is worth the extra cost. The only flaw I have found so far, which no body can actually work out is that after a couple of months the neck pickup surround cracked and had to be replaced. I initially though that it was due to me hitting it when I played, but the Tech said that isnt likely as I would have to be hitting it constantly and pretty hard. // 8

Reliability & Durability: Everything on this guitar has been reliable and solid for the 2 years I have had it. I feel I could depend on it at gigs. I wouldn't say I'd use it without a backup as such, but that's because I use about 3 different tunings and a 7 string in my band so I effectively will have a backup there if I need it, but I doubt I would. // 10

Overall Impression: I mainly play metal and this guitar is perfect for it, though it can fit into most genres pretty easily. I originally was going to get either the DK2M in the same finish or the Ibanez RG1571 Prestige 7 string but settled on the Kelly mainly because of the body shape and cost. The DK2M was roughly the same cost and had the exact same spec i think, but it was proving very difficult to get hold of, and I fell in love with the Kelly shape when i tried it out. If you have played a DK2M, you have essentially played the same guitar as the Kelly, but with a different body shape. If you cant find a KE3 in the shops, try out the DK2M and then order one online! You will not be disappointed. // 10

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overall: 9.2
KE3 Kelly Reviewed by: unregistered, on june 01, 2007
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 779

Purchased from: S.B.Music (Mumbai,India)

Features: My Jackson Kelly KE3 PRO is made in Japan, 2007 model. The neck is rock maple/basswood, and it has 24 Jumbo frets. The body is alder. The finish of my guitar is a crimson swirl graphics finish, unique to Jackson co. The body shape is based on a Gibson Explorer style, but more edgy and bevelled. It comes with a licenced floyd rose tremolo system. The pickups are Seymour Duncan Jazz SH2N(neck) and JB4(bridge). It's simple H-H circuitry includes only one volume knob. // 9

Sound: I play mostly metal, and this guitar suits my style perfectly. Although, I found that the neck pickup is not too good, it doesnt't have a good response and doesnt't catch harmonics. The bridge pickup is brilliant, I could make the guitar scream out some nasty pinch harmonics. It is almose noiseless, and even with some earthing problem in my house this guitar doesnt't give me earthing noise(buzzing). With distortion on and the bridge pickup, I was pretty satisfied though I might replace them with emg's. The clean sound with both pickups split coiled(selector middle position) was also good. I'm playing this guitar on a PODxt Live and Marshall MG50DFX. The sustain of the pickups is very good, though the neck pickup is a moderate output one. The bridge pickup as I said, has lots of sustain and hot output. // 9

Action, Fit & Finish: It's proper Jackson quality. No flaws at all. It came perfectly adjusted, but I might lower the action a bit. It looks perfectly Brand New, though I haven't opened up the back panel yet, will do it when I install new pickups. The pickup selector is not noisy at all, I have experienced horrors with the one on my Ibanez GRX70. It does seem a little bit flimsy, but I guess that doesn't matter much. It does it's job well. // 9

Reliability & Durability: I plan to use this on stage, and I think it was made to play live. The hardware is pretty robust and looks like it can last me a long time. The strap buttons are a bit awkward because I'm used to playing on a Strat-shape, and these are a bit uncomfortable at first. I would use a backup definitely with this guitar, only because it has a floyd rose bridge and if a string breaks I'd need a second guitar. The finish is very cool, artistic and psychedelic at the same time. It looks like it has been hand painted. Look at it in dim yellow lights and you'll know what I mean. // 10

Overall Impression: My first impression of the guitar was that it's a bit smallish, the body could have been made a bit larger. But nevertheless, the shape is totally evil-looking. It kinda looks like a scythe. I've been playing for over 2 years now, and this guitar seems like a perfect match for what I play. The cut of the guitar is not deep enough to give an easy reach to the 24th fret, but I'm getting used to it. If your fingers are small think twice before buying this. I love the crimson swirl finish on my axe, it looks sexy. That and the shape is my favourite feature. Of course the tone of the guitar is killer too, but it'll be even more awesome with a EMG zakk wylde set. What I don't like is that the body should have been about 5% larger, and access to frets beyond 22 should have been a bit easier. The floyd rose bridge is awesome, the guitar will never go out of tune that way. I had compared this with ESP 250 series guitars, but I chose this one simply because it has alder body wood and the finish and shape of the guitar is unique and appealing to everyone.If it's lost or stolen, I'd hunt down the person Who stole it, but I'd probably buy something else to replace it. // 9

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overall: 9.6
KE3 Kelly Reviewed by: sbzk, on february 15, 2011
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 750

Purchased from: Furtados Music ( Delhi India )

Features: I have a Jackson KE3 which was made in Japan. It has 24 jumbo frets and it has a bolt on maple neck with a rosewood fretboard which is really smooth. The fretboard has signature Jackson Moto Shark fin inlays which ROCK. It has an Alder with Flame Maple Veneer on Transparent Colours. I got mine in a complete black finish, and I must say it looks really sweet, although it's a finger print magnet, and I have to clean it on a daily basis to make it look neat. I'm pretty sure models like the 'Eerie Deerie Swiss Swirl' don't have that problem. It's not a problem with the guitar, it's a problem with everything that is in black. The body style is an Explorer, but it is slightly smaller in size compared to your regular Explorer ( Like the Dinky is to the Strat ). It has a Floyd Rose Licensed Jackson Low Profile JT580 LP double-locking 2-Point Tremolo which is essentially a licensed version of the Floyd Rose Pro. The electronics are more or less simple with just one pickup-selector and one volume control. In my opinion, there should have been a tone knob provided, but it's not too much of an issue. The pickups provided are a 'Seymour Duncan Jazz SH2N Humbucker' in the neck position and a 'Seymour Duncan JB TB4 Humbucker' in the Bridge position. Both of them sound absolutely fantastic, though there is some problem sensing harmonics and squeals in the neck pickup. But the absolutely STUNNING neck pickup makes up for it. I don't think there'll be any need for a pickup change throughout the time of it's use. They come with Sealed Die Cast Jackson tuners, which do the job well. There was a Gig-Bag given, but no accessories provided whatsoever. But that's really okay, because the absolutely overall amazing guitar makes up for this. I did buy a hardcase later on though, which cost me some Rs3000 more. // 9

Sound: Well, to be right at the point, it perfectly suits my music style. I play stuff like Iron Maiden, BFMV, A7x, GnR and some harder and softer stuff too. It fills in effortlessly, and I tried it out with some other styles too, and turns out this is one of the most versatile guitars ever made. The only con in this is the body shape, it'll feel out of place if you're playing some soft genre, lets say blues with this. But if you can get over that, it's a cracker. I use my guitar with a Peavey Vypyr 75 and a Line 6 Uber Metal Distortion Pedal, and I must say, it sounds perfect, and I can get any patch I want through them. And the sustain is brilliant. Since it's a dual humbucker, noise cancellation is very good, and there aren't too many settings to play with in the guitar. It sounds better than expected in clean, and since this guitar was made for metal, I think you already would have an idea about how it sounds in distortion. The guitar has a great amount of variety like I just mentioned above, and that just adds a plus point to my purchase. // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: The guitar was really good when it came to set up. There was a small fiddle in the floyd rose, but it was fixed within 2 minutes. The action was exactly suited to my needs, so I didn't have to alter it at all. Pickups were adjusted exactly parallel to the Strings thanks to the pickup mounting ring provided. There was no problem whatsoever with the top or the bridge, except for the small little fiddle. There was some kind of problem with the input jack, and it was pretty lose, but when I took it to the shop, it turns out that the screw had either fallen off or not been put, so that was fixed in a matter of 5 minutes. There were no other problems whatsoever, and the ones I just mentioned shouldn't add as a bad point for an otherwise very well set up guitar. // 9

Reliability & Durability: This guitar is made to play. Since it is a metal guitar, it will bear any kind of hardcore abuse while playing live, which includes crazy dive bombing, headbanging, anything. The hardware is very good, and it will certainly last you for a long while, so you can rest assured and rock with it live. The strap buttons are solid and are placed perfectly, unlike Strat and Les Paul shapes. But as a protective measure, iv'e put on strap locks which cost me a little bit more, so I can be completely safe from the fear of damaging my guitar. Okay, now I'll be very honest, I'd NEVER go on stage without a backup for this, simple reason, it's a Floyd Rose Guitar. It's way too risky to go without one. My backup is a Jackson WRMG Warrior guitar, and I go with a backup for that too. But iv'e never had to use that backup when I went live which is a very good thing. With the kind of build it has, it'll last you a lifetime. // 10

Overall Impression: I play metal. Plain simple metal. And I couldn't find a better guitar to go along with this. I Switch between this and my WRMG and I'm really happy with both. Iv'e been playing for about 3 years noww, and I own a Jackson WRMG Warrior, a Dean ML XM and an Aria STG-STV. And I can clearly say that Kelly is my first choice. Hahahaha, only I wish it was in another colour, preferably the Swiss Swirl, but then it's okay. If It were stolen or lost, I'd buy it again, but after sometime, because I love my WRMG too and it deserves some attention. Hehehe. I love EVERYTHING about this guitar,, especially the fact that it is way more comfortable than an RR or Warrior while sitting and playing. I only hate the fact that the Jazz Pickup has terrible harmonic sensing. That's it. I compared it to almost every guitar in this range, and this was clearly my first choice. No other guitar offered me such brilliant performance in such a nice shape. Ibanez S520ex, Ibanez Jem Jr, the LTD Alexi-200J and the LTD F-350 were the other options I looked at. And this was CLEARLY the best. For the price, I could ask for nothing more at all, good looks, incredible performance, high durability. I'm really pleased with this purchase and look to use it for a long time before getting a new axe. This guitar, Is AWESOME. PERIOD. // 10

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overall: 8.6
KE3 Kelly Reviewed by: indiecult99, on january 05, 2006
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 440

Purchased from: Creter Music

Features: This guitar is a brand new 2005 model. I believe it was made in Japan, it is a solid top and you will feel it when you put it around your neck. I'm not sure what the body is, but the neck is maple. It has a floyd rose bridge, 3-way selector, double locking system at the neck and bridge. 22 frets. // 9

Sound: I bought this guitar originally for metal and it works very well. I play it through a Marshall mosfet lead 100 head, crate 4-12 cab, boss megadistortion, and it gets a real good metal sound. Pretty easy to make pinch harmonics if you know where to do it. The biggest downside to the entire setup is the hot pickups, if you don't play the strings and you're running a high gain distortion setup, it will have a very high pitched feedback which gets really annoying very quickly. // 9

Action, Fit & Finish: I had my guitar guy set this up. Very good. Action is incredible. The pickups are stock as far as I know. Originally the pickup selector was being a little messy. It crackled but after some more tweaking, it sounds fine. // 9

Reliability & Durability: I've yet to play live. I would imagine it would do pretty well. I would bring a backup just incase the pick ups go to hell. The strap buttons are solid but I would put straplocks on it because of the angle the strap makes the guitar be held. it falls off easily. The finish has no flaws in it. It will last a while. // 8

Overall Impression: I play metal, hardcore, metalcore/punk. it matches the genre perfectly. I own an Aria LP, for other bands I play through a boss super phaser, Korg AX100G, sometimes the jim Dunlop Jimi Hendrix Wah. I've been playing for about 2-3 years now. I compared this to some other Ibanezes it was a close call, but I don't really know what sold me on this. the thing I hate about this guitar is the hot pickups. I might even take it back because of it. // 8

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overall: 9
KE3 Kelly Reviewed by: steel337, on january 12, 2007
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Price paid: $ 520

Purchased from: Tom Lee Music Store

Features: 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. // 9

Sound: 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. // 9

Action, Fit & Finish: 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. // 9

Reliability & Durability: 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. // 9

Overall Impression: 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. // 9

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overall: 9.4
KE3 Kelly Reviewed by: ProneSolution, on december 21, 2007
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Purchased from: River City Music

Features: I bought the 2006 model of this guitar around December 2006. With 24 jumbo frets, you are given the freedom of two entire octaves on any string, which is one of my favorite features of the guitar. The body is made of alder, and the neck of rock maple. A variety of finishes are available, mostly being transparent colors. The body shape is Explorer-esque, but more curved and pointed. The bridge is Floyd Rose, another nice touch. The only controls on the guitar are master volume and a 3-way pickup switch. The included TB4 and Jazz pickups (in the bridge and neck respctively) are great, but can be easily swapped for stronger pickups if nessacary. The tuners are locking, with an included hex wrench opening on 3 locks holding two strings each. // 9

Sound: My style is mostly comprised of metal and rock, but rarely I will play blues and funk. The KE3 works great for metal and hard rock, but for a bluesy or funky sound, you're going to want something else. I play it through a solid state Line 6 Spider II, with a EHX Metal Muff (which is a great complement to the KE3). The guitar puts out very little noise, and has a nice, full sound with or without distortion. The included Jazz pickup will put out decent cleans, and if you're only using it for an intro or a bridge once in a while, you'll be fine. If you need cleans for entire songs, you might put in a different neck pickup. // 9

Action, Fit & Finish: The guitar comes set up well from the factory, with low action and .009 strings. I took the guitar in and had it set up for top heavy strings, because I play in a lot of dropped tunings. The pickups were set up great when I first played the KE3, and everything worked fine. No flaws or blemishes, no complaints. // 10

Reliability & Durability: Everything about this guitar feels really solid and can probably withstand a lot of abuse. Everything is mounted really well, and the 'skulls' finish I got was amazing. I would use this guitar for a gig, but probably bring another, just because the KE3 doesn't perform great for funk and blues. // 10

Overall Impression: This guitar is great. If you play metal and are in search of a low priced guitar to suit your style, this is perfect for you. The 24 jumbo frets are great for soloing. The cleans are a little lacking, but that's my only complaint. I would buy this guitar again, no question. // 9

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overall: 9
KE3 Kelly Reviewed by: a7xplayer, on october 09, 2008
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Price paid: C$ 720

Purchased from: Long and McQuade

Features: This beautiful guitar has an alder body (with flame maple veneer on trans finishes), bolt-on maple neck, compound radius rosewood fingerboard, Seymour Duncan humbucking pickups, Jackson low-profile double-locking tremolo and black hardware. Has 24 jumbo frets, eerie dess swirl finish. It has 1 volume knob and a 3-way pickup selector. // 9

Sound: This guitar is basically meant for metal and rock. I noticed that it plays some great blues too. The clean sound better. The pickups aren't that great and I might get some better ones for it. I play lots of metal and bands like Avenged Sevenfold and Metallica. Sounds great with some distortion. I haven't noticed any buzzes with the pickups or anything and if I did it would probably be coming from my amp. It has a very sharp sound. I play it through a Line 6 spider 3 amp which I don't recommend. Doing dive bombs and whammy sounds with this guitar is incredible. The sound for it is perfect. // 9

Action, Fit & Finish: The guitar was pretty well set up form the factory but is till got it set up from a professional to fix some personal bugs I had with it such as action and placement of the pickups. The pickups are apparantely very low from the strings but I didn't notice too much but I still highered them as they werent picking up the sound perfectly. The volume knob feels a little bit loose but it was fine once I bought the guitar but I guess it wore out over time. The guitar is rather neck heavy and is kind've hard to play standing up but it isnt too bad. // 8

Reliability & Durability: This guitar will withstand Live playing. I have had no problems with it in the middle of playing. I wouldn't play it at a gig without a backup because it is better to safe then sorry and because it is rather easy to break a string because of the Floyd Rose. // 9

Overall Impression: I play metal so the guitar is perfect for that. If I had it stolen or lost I would definitely go buy the same guitar. I love the Floyd Rose. I can't play guitar without using it at some point. The one thing I want on this guitar is another volume knob so I could use the pickup selector as a killswitch because I am trying to learn how to play Buckethead so it would be a useful feature. I tried out a ton of guitars from Ibanez to Schecter and the reason I chose this one is because of the playability and the design of the guitar. Overall a great guitar // 10

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overall: 9.4
KE3 Kelly Reviewed by: ben&harry, on february 20, 2009
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Price paid: £ 395

Purchased from: Rikaxxe

Features: Made in Japan, 24 jumbo frets, Alder body, Maple neck, Floyd Rose Licensed Jackson Low Profile JT580 LP double-locking 2-Point Tremolo, bridge pickup: Seymour Duncan JB4, neck pickup: Seymour Duncan SH2N. // 10

Sound: I play Metal/Metalcore/Thrash/Rock. I have a Marshall AVT50 (the old one) and Boss Metal Zone MT-2. This guitar was clearly designed primarily with metal in mind but I think it's actually quite versatile; You can get a very warm clean sound on the neck pickup and with a lot of distortion on it sounds great, the JB4 really comes into it's own. // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: The action is great, really low but not too low, it's really easy to shred on it. The pickups were abit too high because when I bent the Floyd Rose up a lot the strings touched it but that was easily sorted out with a screw driver. I wasn't sure where to put this but one small problem is that access above the 22nd fret isn't great, not terrible, but not great. // 9

Reliability & Durability: I think this guitar would definitely withstand Live playing, it's pretty solid. The volume knob and Floyd Rose seem like they would last a long time. The strap buttons are very good; they are the Jackson 17mm ones; Obviously the whole point of the wider strap buttons is so that your strap doesn't fall off but ironically this means you can't use strap locks so they could actually make your strap more likely to fall off. I would still take a backup to a gig just in case but this thing is reliable. The finish seems ok, I got a chip on the corner (sorted out very easily with black nail varnish) but I guess that happens on guitars with corners. // 9

Overall Impression: The guitar matches my style of music well. If it were stolen I would buy it again because it's hard to find a guitar in it's price range that has 24 frets, a cool shape, a Floyd Rose and good pickups. I love the all things I mentioned in the previous sentence, I don't really hate anything about it there are just a couple of tiny (previously mentioned) problems. If there were 9.5s then that's what I'd give. // 9

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overall: 8.6
KE3 Kelly Reviewed by: jaffawoman, on april 17, 2009
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Price paid: £ 449

Purchased from: Reverb

Features: I've had my KE3 for 6 or 7 months now, and I'm still in love. She was made in Japan, and has an Alder body, flamed maple top & neck, rosewood fretboard with 24 frets. The guitar came stock with a Seymour Duncan JB/Jazz set, I don't know why people always claim the KE3 comes with Duncan Designed humbuckers. The bridge is a Jackson Liscenced Floyd Rose, which is actually better quality than I would have expected. The tuners themselves, made by Jackson, seem to hold tuning very well, but they feel a little awkward when turned. This isn't a problem, though, since the locking nut holds tuning perfectly. I went out originally looking at ESP and Schecter guitars, and after playing a few Schecters (nowhere sells ESP in my city), I was advised to look at Jackson. I tried the Dinky and the King V, before I came to choose between the Rhoads and Kelly models. The Kelly has better upper-fret access, a slightly thinner neck, and a body which seems more bash-proof. There was only one thing that was putting me off getting a Kelly, and that was the lack of a tone control on the Pro Series model, but the pros outweighed the con(s). // 8

Sound: The Jazz/JB set is amazingly versatile, and suit's my style (Blues-rock, Progressive, Progressive Metal, Thrash and Neo-classical metal) almost perfectly. However, I replaced the neck pickup (jazz) with a Seymour Duncan P-Rails, and had coil split/reverse phase added the the JB. This can get some crazy yet beautiful tones, and has only made her more versatile. The JB/Jazz set, however, can cope with just about any style of music. The two are fairly mid-output, so plenty of tone is made up by the body woods, unlike the P-Rails, which has a very high output. I'm currently using the guitar with a Vox Valvetronix and a Boss GT10, but I'm saving for a Bugera 333, or something similar. However, even with this setup, the versatility of the guitar comes through brilliantly, and in humbucking mode, the JB has virtually no hum, even at very high-gain settings. // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: From the factory, the guitar was set up fairly well, but I'm a tweaker, and I set it up roughly how I like everything as soon as I got home. I can't really complain about the set-up, though, because I have fairly specific and picky tastes. I can say, however, that from factory, the guitar was perfectly intonated. I'm yet to find anything that was wrong from the factory. However, upon opening the control cavity, I found that the wiring is very messy. The connections are all made very well, yet the wiring is all over the place, and could have been tied together neatly. I tell a lie, ever after a couple of weeks after getting her home, I've had a slight problem with the pickup selector Switch. Sometimes, when I flick to the bridge position, the signal almost cuts completely, leaving me with a very faint and weak sound, and the problem often persists for a few minutes at a time. It seems to be a bad Switch, in the middle position, both pickups come through very strong, and the problem doesn't always occur. I've gigged a few times with her now, and I've always been lucky that the toggle Switch has corrected itself quickly in Live situations. Other than this, the only other issue is that the volume pot has begun to malfunction recently, it has a scratching sound, very faint, but the guitar doesn't seem the clean up as well with my fuzz anymore, either. // 8

Reliability & Durability: The guitar has withstood my playing for 7 months now, without any disagreement, and other than the component issues, the guitar is very reliable. The hardware, I believe, will last a lot longer before I upgrade to Schaller. I replaced the strap buttons with Dunlop Straplocks, but that's because I've had bad experience with straps coming loose in the past. // 8

Overall Impression: I've been playing for near 4 years now, and beside my effects, this is by far the highest quality piece of equipment I own. Before settling on this, I tried out 3 Schecters, and 3 Jacksons, and I found the Jacksons, especially this one, to feel much nicer. The Schecters felt a little sterile to me, but this I'm sure was just my taste. Again, the only one thing the guitar is lacking is a tone control, but with my switching system now, I don't have much need for a tone control any more. The only negative thing I can say is that the electrical components - toggle Switch & volume pot - could have been higher quality. Although the guitar is clearly aimed at heavy metal and shred players, it is very capable of playing any genre. I love the tremolo, but I plan on upgrading everything in the future. I would die if it were stolen, or broken - I can't play properly on anything else! I don't plan on replacing her any time soon, and I know that she'll treat me well for as long as I treat her well. // 9

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overall: 9.2
KE3 Kelly Reviewed by: adam.long.37454, on april 07, 2014
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Features: I obtained a used KE3 about a year ago from a friend that had hard times. I always wanted a Kelly because of it's beautiful appearance which something along the lines of an Angry Gibson Explorer. It is Japanese which in many cases lowers it's value yet is still very well built. It has a nice heavy Alder body, Bolt-on Maple neck, Shark fin inlays on a rosewood fretboard H-H pickup configuration and a Licensed Floyed Rose. It has 1 volume knob, 1 tone knob and a 3 way switch for controls. It's lay out is very simple and for many people this set up is more than enough. // 9

Sound: The factory Jackson humbuckers have a surprisingly good tone (that wasn't too bright or too deep) to them and a slightly hotter than I would have expected. I would compare them to a lower end DiMarzio or even a middle of the road Seymour Duncan pick up. they are passive which I do like, they won't compress your sound and no battery worries like with EMG's. It has massive amounts of sustain even at lower gain levels and a beautiful resonance to it that you would only expect out of a much pricier guitar. The volume knob made some static noise when I first got it but after some Electronics cleaner spray in to it, it stopped. // 9

Action, Fit & Finish: When I first got the guitar the action was Ok, but could have been better (one of the reasons I love Bolt on necks). I pitched the neck about 2 degrees and then adjusted the trust rod to get everything straight and perfect, adjusted the trem in and got it perfect as I could. Now the action plays like butter. It's very low but still has a lot of body with no fret buzz. Everyone who plays that guitar now loves it's feel. No complaints on the finish, it still looks almost new even after taking a few good bumps on stage. The knobs could have been better built, after all it's years of being played, the knobs feel a bit loose, but they still work with out noise. The only major draw back on this guitar is that the strap locks are in a funny spot on the guitar feel neck heavy while holding it. if I take my hands off of the neck it falls almost vertical. otherwise the guitar is very comfortable to play. // 8

Reliability & Durability: I refer to this guitar as my old faithful, it always is ready to be played at the most demanding of shows. I know that no matter what, as long as I change the string every 6 months or so, it will perform perfectly even with all the abuse I put it through. I don't have to worry about being too gentle with it, or the finish chipping or peeling off. the strings always stay in tune and never run into unexpected problems. It is my main work horse these days. I keep a back up guitar on hand (because you never know) but at this point haven't needed it for a show. // 10

Overall Impression: I play hard rock on most occasions and this has a great look and sound for it. The thing I find interesting is even with its aggressive looks, it's not too aggressive and could be used with a nice feel and look for most other genres as well. the sound is well rounded to be used for most anything as well. This is an excelant guitar for the price for any intermediate to veteran players. a little luthering made be needed to get them perfect especially when they are used, but thats really any guitar that is not $2000 or more. It's a great value, but as with any guitar, It may not be for you. always get what plays and sounds good for you, not what someone told you is for you. // 10

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