Price paid: $ 422
Features: The Michael Kelly Patriot Premium is one of the finest guitars I have ever owned. It's such a surprise how affordable it is compared to giant brands like Gibson and Epiphone. It's a solid-body, Les Paul-style guitar that shouts quality all over. It's made with a mahogany body, maple top and ebony fretboard. It has a set-neck construction, string-through design, and it features Tone-Pros Bridge and Grover tuners. Add in the full-abalone binding and a gorgeous quilted-maple top(mine is the satin-black style) with the matching headstock and you'll be sure you look good as you sound. It's a no BS, no nonsense electric guitar with no over the top features that attracted me to this guitar in the first place.
Michael Kelly has been known to use EMG pickups with their guitars but lately they've been putting Rockfield ones. The Patriot Premium comes with two Rockfield SWCs as the bridge and neck pickups, wired with a threeway selector switch. The controls are pretty simple: two volume knobs, and one master tone. // 10
Sound: I play hard rock, alternative, progressive, nu-metal and some modern-blues plus I play regularly at our church and this guitar just delivers in everything. I generally use it with an Orange Rocker 30W combo and a Zoom G2.1Nu effects and it sounds great, no scratch that, f--kIN' AWESOME. The Rockfield SWC neck pup is actually great for soloing on medium gain settings as well as for clean settings when you want to play rhythm. The bridge pickup is for high-gain, in-your-face scorching leads and licks and it can decently chug although I don't play a lot of metal.
Overall it has a ton of variety when it comes to tone despite the simple controls. It can be bright at times and with just a little of adjustments you can find that rich, bassy tone or that warm feel-good chorusy thingy. Sorry, I suck at describing tones but rest assured, this guitar delivers. // 10
Action, Fit & Finish: The guitar's action is where I'm kinda off. At the 12th fret, there's a lot of buzz to the point that it gets kinda muted. I couldn't make the adjustment myself because the guitar didn't come with the tone pros adjusting screw thing and had the store set it up for me. Little did I know that the store ALSO didn't have that so they used a flat screwdriver, f--king ruining the bridge screw. It still plays but the screw head is kinda distorted, it's like 'S' shaped rather than flat. So my tip would be to make sure you or you insist the store people use the tone-pros screw thing.
I didn't have any issues with the pick-ups or the wiring or for that matter, anything else. It's just the action that was off. The guitar is exquisite; it contours on the right places with flawless finish and it doesn't get in the way of playing. The neck feels like it was custom-made to fit my hand making it a very easy and enjoyable instrument to play. It's a guitar for beginners and pros alike. // 8
Reliability & Durability: By the feel of this guitar, it can withstand the harshness of the road and live playing, I tell you. It's so solid, and built with a nuclear holocaust in mind, I mean, you just have to feel it to know. The hardware, the pickups, the knobs, the tuners are pretty beefy and will outlast you. I don't gig a lot but I bring it to every single one and I'm confident with it enough as to not bring a back-up. // 10
Overall Impression: I play hard rock and I play at the church and guess what, this guitar delivers. I have a cheap practice amp at home and even then it sounds good. I've been playing for 6 years now and I must say, the only guitar I have played that feels high-end and just has high quality written all over it is a Gibson LP Prophecy and THAT guitar is what I consider the final frontier and even then, I can safely compare the Patriot Premium with it.
If it were stolen, I'd friggin' superman punch whoever did and buy another one in a heartbeat, but this time I'd buy the red version.
Overall, if you want a guitar that will follow you to the ends of the world, and still rock then you better have an LP Prophecy. If you're like me who can't dish out 5 grand for a guitar, then the Patriot Premium is just for you. // 10