Patriot Decree review by Michael Kelly

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  • Sound: 8
  • Overall Impression: 7
  • Reliability & Durability: 4
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 4
  • Features: 7
  • Reviewer's score: 6 Neat
  • Users' score: 8.3 (23 votes)
Michael Kelly: Patriot Decree
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Price paid: $ 399

Purchased from: Zo Zo Music

Sound — 8
I play Classic Rock covers, a little Country, Blues and Funk so I think it will fit in just right. It is a sexy looking guitar and very unique. I play it through a Line 6 amp using just about any effect you can think of doing all types of music. The one I ordered came with really heavy strings on it and it sounded a little buzzy in places. I will replace the strings on the replacement guitar with light gauge DLR's once I get it back. It has 2 humbuckers on it with coil tapping so I assume it will be very versatile with the sounds it can create.

Overall Impression — 7
I play Classic Rock mostly, ZZ Tops, Loverboy, Sammy Hagar, Poison, AC/DC, NighRanger, Bob Seger, Grand Funk, etc., I think it's unique shape and style will fit in quite well. I have been playing guitar for 40 years. I have a Washburn electric, Fender Squire, Yamaha Electric Acoustic, J&G Italian made Acoustic guitar and a Stella-Harmony 4 string acoustic. I wish I would have asked them to plug it in first, dang it. I would replace it, but not sure with the same brand. I love the feel of it, not to heavy, but you can tell it's not a cheaply made guitar, it is very sleek and sexy too. My favorite feature is the ease of playing bar chords on the jumbo frets, I have carpal tunnel in my left wrist and usually have an issue playing bar chords for to long on my other guitars, but for some reason, this guitar doesn't cause as much stress on my wrist, and that is very cool. I did lots of looking at other review sites for about 5 different guitar brands in the same price range. $400 to $500 and this one had the best reviews of all of them, along with winning "best in show" at NAMM. I think it has everything I will need for what I do with it.

Reliability & Durability — 4
I am very concerned with playing this guitar for 4 hours on stage. Because I got a defective guitar to begin with, I am nervous for the future, but hopeful. I will take my even crappier Washburn with me for a backup. It looks like it is finished nicely and I'm hoping it will last for a long time.

Action, Fit & Finish — 4
I checked the intonation and it appears to be off a little, but again, I don't care for the strings that it came with, so once I put the strings that I am used to using on it and check it out, I can't really say. The pickups, and construction of the guitar seems to be adjusted correctly, but I am not an expert in this area and I didn't have the guitar long enough to have all that checked out by a professional, but I am told by the company that all of their guitars go through a quality control check before they are sent out. uh, ok.

Features — 7
Brand new Black Vapor Michael Kelly Patriot Decree. I order the guitar from Zo Zo Music online and got the guitar 2 days later, great shipping. I plugged my guitar chord into the guitar and nothing, completely dead. I wiggle the chord and it crackled into life, so I duct taped it to my guitar strap so I could at least play a song or two before I sent it back. Contacted Zo Zo Music, they contacted Hanser Music Group who drop-shipped it for Zo Zo and they sent a return shipping label to return the defective guitar. Long story short, 8 days later and I am still waiting for my new "working" Patriot Decree. The good news is, that if I get one that actually works, I think I will like it. I played it for a couple hours before getting sick of it cutting in and out and the action and feel of the guitar was amazing, along with the beautiful shape and finish, I think it will be an awesome addition to my collection, when and if I ever get one that works. I have talked to several people who sell Michael Kelly guitars in Michigan who have told me this is a rare occasion to get a defective guitar from Michael Kelly. Lucky me.

14 comments sorted by best / new / date

    larrytheguitar
    Michael Kelly guitars just win at life. Sad to say I have not yet bought one, but it's on the list, along with Hagstrom, Luna, and Godin (all great brands for the price).
    Arby911
    I own a Patriot Decree, and have never had a single problem with it. It plays exceptionally well and I have yet to let anyone play it that didn't feel it played and felt well above its price range. That being said, I do wish the pickups were just a bit hotter, but it's not enough of a problem that I would ever consider changing them.
    tobydick09
    this is the guitar i have been playing for the last 3 years. excellent sound quality and playability, but the frets are getting pretty wore down... thats probably just my fault though for playing with super heavy gauge strings... anyways, this is a fantastic guitar actually, and for the price you really can't beat it.
    golemjk
    I bought one of these last week. I bought the amber and it is beautiful. It plays incredibly well. The slight cut at the base of the neck really allows you to hit the 22nd fret without a lot of work. It has PAF pickups, so they have that nice vintage tone. The pups are also coil-split so you can get that nice single coil pup sound. I have a Gibson Les Paul Premium and this Michael Kelly plays just as nicely and sounds as good. I find myself playing the Kelly more because the versatility in this guitar is amazing.
    ginger ninja102
    i have a hagstrom f20T highly recommend it very nice guitar only disapoint ment i have is its 21 frets becomes a pain when most songs that i play need 22 frets but you comprosmise for its awesomness
    Chad11491
    Lol, it was just a loose jack. At worst just solder a tiny bit instead of waiting two weeks for another one
    L2112Lif
    MK's wiring is the worst part of the guitar. They sound and play EXCELLENTLY, but just be prepared to do DiY soldiering, or bring it to someone to patch up the insides.
    OffshoreClown
    I like the look and finish of this guitar, not sure about the defect though.. it puts me of a little "/ Still, sounds a great guitar though! (:
    rv_phoenix
    L2112Lif wrote: MK's wiring is the worst part of the guitar. They sound and play EXCELLENTLY, but just be prepared to do DiY soldiering, or bring it to someone to patch up the insides.
    Great guitar indeed, very good (somehow harsh) review. If the worst thing in this guitar is wiring, then it's not so bad. Replacing the whole wiring with hand made one takes a couple of hours, but the wood and the finish cannot be easily repaired. If they're good, then the guitar is OK too. Anyway, all MKs I've seen and played on worthed more than a 6. Maybe an 8.
    Slap-happy
    I feel that the reviewer should have waited until a working model came back and he/she had been playing it for a week or two in rehearsals, jams and on stage. Over the years I have defective stuff from Gobson, Marshall, Fender, Boss and EHX - but once it's been replaced I have never had any other issues that spring to mind.
    Hells.Mascot
    This guitars seems so sexy, and yet, I have never had the opportunity to have sexual congress with one.
    DimebagZappa
    Slap-happy wrote: I feel that the reviewer should have waited until a working model came back and he/she had been playing it for a week or two in rehearsals, jams and on stage. Over the years I have defective stuff from Gobson, Marshall, Fender, Boss and EHX - but once it's been replaced I have never had any other issues that spring to mind.
    Gotta watch out for those Gobson guitars....