KELP review by Kona

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  • Sound: 10
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 8
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 8
  • Features: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 9.2 Superb
  • Users' score: 6.8 (9 votes)
Kona: KELP

Purchased from: Wild Bill's Pawn

Sound — 10
I play mostly 70's rock and 80's metal, and this guitar will cover everything from modern rock to blues to all out headbangin' nu-metal. I am playing it mostly through a Peavey Standard 260 half stack with an Avatar 2-12" cab with Boss MT-2 Metal Zone and Morley Pro Series Wah pedal. The pickups are fairly quiet, nothing excessive. The pickups are kinda muddy when heavily distorted, but sound decent clean (Can get mad Three Doors Down sound when played clean). I did, however, changed out the stock pickups for a Bill Lawrence L-500 and a PRS Dragon. Overall it sounds very good for the money.

Overall Impression — 10
This guitar is great for classic rock and metal. I have been playing for about year and a half. Right now I also have a Fender Fat-Strat Standard and a Kona K1 Electric-Acoustic and this is by far my favorite to play out of the three. I absolutely love the fat neck. Its a little thicker than that of a real Les Paul, but thats just what I like. If this guitar were lost or stolen, I probably wouldn't buy another. I'd save up and get either an Epiphone Les Paul Elite or lower end Gibson Les Paul. This is a very good guitar for beginners and people on a budget. No frills, just pure rock.

Reliability & Durability — 8
I do not have a band, but this guitar is built like a tank! I would feel confident gigging with it without a backup. I have only had this guitar for about a month, but I do think the finish will wear in time (Again, this is a $230 guitar).

Action, Fit & Finish — 8
The guitar was set up perfectly right out of the box with the exception of the pickups. The action is low and the frets are smooth with the exception of a small spot on the 18th fret on the high e, but it doesn't really pose much of a problem. Its not the prettiest guitar up close, but it doesn't have any major flaws (Has some minor finish scratches, but what do you expect from a $230 guitar?).

Features — 10
2004 Kona KELP Les Paul Copy made in USA. All chrome hardware, 24.75" scale, set neck, 22 frets, Rosewood fretboard, 2 chrome covered humbuckers, 3 way Switch, 2 volume 500K pots, 2 tone 500K pots, Tune-O-Matic style bridge. Comes in solid black or red sunburst finish.

3 comments sorted by best / new / date

    How can you rate a 10 for the sound a guitar that made you replace its pickups??? 10 means faultless, perfect, heavenly! And, if you rated a 10 for sound while replacing its pickups, how much does it worth an 8 for action, fit and finish, or for reliability and durability? Should we understand that you've also replaced the whole wood and finish? ... How does it worth a Kona Kelp, actually? I bet not too much. It's just a cheap guitar, pretending to look like a Les Paul. Which is not a neck-through-body design, but a set-neck, eventually. If the Kona is a neck-through-body, then it is a very awkward design of a Les Paul, sharing nothing with the original Gibson axe.
    At Kona's web-page they show these but don't sell them. For the life of me I've only seen Kona guitars at discountmuscianswarehouse and this model isn't there. I'm curious because the chich from Valentine Failures (Nicole Starr)plays a custom one that Kona made for her. Anyway: I bought a new Kona KG1CEN acoustic/electric/chromatic tuner/cutaway at discountmuscianswarehouse for $199.99 no tax or shipping. My only complaint is that they did the fancy and unnecessary "binding" of the headstock of a more than slightly twisted neck up high in the first fret and 1/2 region. The administrator at claims the the nut is "compensated," but I say they merely cut the nut slot from shallow to very deep on the GBE side to get their butt halfway out of a sling on that particular unit, lol. That being said it's a dang good guitar, so good that I invested in the JLD anti belly system so as to freeze its top in time forever and ever-- this was necessary, because as with most cheap guitars its saddle can't be shaved anymore without taking it below minimum specs on how much saddle should be above the bridge. True I could shave the bridge wood, but fer-cryin'-out-loud on a 7 month old guitar that's only got 1/32 inch of natural factory belly in it!?! So we're talkin' the proverbial bad neck-set here, okay? The bridge is fine and not sitting up like Ringo on a drum riser and the slot goes through to 1/64" from the soundboard. And on the matter with the twisted neck; it means that you'll never get the lowest playable action possible on your EAD string without buzzing on the first fret with your small E string. This is because it's impossible to compensate sand the bottom of a nut, okay? When I get the money I'll for sure be employing a proper Tech to get me a good Tusq nut up there and custom file my string slots to razor close action that accounts for the twist in the neck. And yes its truss rod was set reasonably accurate for slight "relief" at the factory. It's not like some retard tightened it like crazy and caused that twist. I also doubt very seriously that it's a "Solid Top" and I'm sickened at such claims. "Solid" as compared to what... Bounty tissue? Come on! You're not EVEN going to get a book-matched "Solid Top" from Kona unless they buy some of Gibson's rejected A-stock(as opposed to AAA-stock) solid blanks and they charge you at least $600 and hold you under contract to gig at least 15 times a month with their banner on your shirt, mic stand, and on the wall behind the amps. And gigging at the Daycare Center for your gf and friends don't count. But I must admit that the guitar is otherwise solid. No way that could be "tone wood" purfing and bracing in there but it was well done. And all the bracing is generously scalloped thin planks with sharply crowned tops, as opposed to the shamefully big Lincoln Logs some guitars throw in against their tops. But I will say they used some sort of fast drying shiny and non tonal synthetic glue... but hey, speed is the key and it IS a $199.99 no tax or shipping guitar. The chromatic tuner included on the EQ unit is great. I can't speak to the EQ 'cause I don't have an acoustic amp, so of course it sounds like crap through my Orange Crush 15R amp ran through a Digitech's acoustic model amp. Btw its EQ is called a Prener-LC whatever that is, and I say they missed the boat by not including a Bypass switch that would just let you take the raw pizo without the EQ-- zeroing out all the settings except for volume is not the same. Anyway I say nail down one of these babies if you dare. Maybe your neck wont be twisted. But if it is like I said a good Tech can custom cut you a nut and slots to account for that anomaly. I'm just a dirt poor sucker is why I haven't been to a Tech yet. And to be honest I'm afraid I'd break an "attitude" Tech's jaw if he rolled his eyes about my guitar that's, "...not worth what my fee to fix it is man..." Kaboom! --Sonney
    I have a Gibson Les Paul and I paid around $5,000 for mine so a guitar tht is pretty much identical to it is a great buy for $230.