Purchased from: Autry Music Center
Sound — 9
The Michael Kelly moto is "built on sound". I play in church so I like to use as many styles as I can. My personal favorites would be blues and metal (huge fan of satriani). For the styles I play this guitar fits the bill. The reason I loved my Ibanez so much was it do humbuckers for metal stuff and singlecoils for blues. This guitar does that too, however my Ibanez sells for $600 and sounds no where near this Michael Kelly for $500. The direct mounted pickups are setup to really get the sound of the wood. However they are not height adjustable, but that's fine with me and wouldn't set them up any different. The are set up very close to the string but don't breakup any or distort. It has the classic maple on mahogany setup that's used on many prs and les pauls. So, you get a good mix of highs lows and mids. However those 2 woods fight for the highs in the midrange and endup canceling each other out. That gives you the smooth sound lespauls and prs are known for. This thing has huge sustain never going back to bolton neck again (fingers are uncrossed). I used to put 10-52 gauge strings on my Ibanez to make it sound as big as possible. This guitar came with 9-42's and sound much bigger and still extremely clear. I Would describe this guitar as clear and warm.
Overall Impression — 10
I work at a music store that just became a dealer for these a month and a half ago. Everyone I have seen blows me away for its price. The "good for the money" competitors need to watch their back. This is a best for the money guitar in my opinion. If you could try this out next to the valor custom do it and see which one you prefer sound wise. The Valor Custom has a better sound versus a warmer sound.
Reliability & Durability — 9
The reliablity and durability? The hardware grover tuners. Everything else hardware wise feels good. I have a guitar to back it up but it's locked in a case when I play in church. Seems great, but time will tell. My Ibanez felt alittle bit more reliable, but maybe 'cause I had more Faith in it after five years.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
The feel of this guitar is taking me alittle getting used to. Seeing how this feels like a Prs and I have played Ibanez since I started I think 5 years ago. The action is equal to Ibanez so it's awesome. The neck alittle thicker, neck width is always personal peference (les pauls and strats world of difference but both extremely popular). The neck width took about to weeks to get used to but it still felt amazing to play because of the ebony fretboard. Ebony makes a world of difference when compared to rosewood! I couldn't believe it weighed less then my Ibanez. I am still shocked by how light it is each time I pick it up. Everything they send us we don't have to do anything but tune up and wipe down and it's ready for the showroom!
Features — 10
This guitar was built on features. It's a a spalted maple on mahogany the maple looks amazing best top I have ever seen on a guitar. Also an ebony fretboard. 22 medium frets. It's also set neck! The bridge tunomatic bridge with a string though body. Comes with rockfield swc's direct mounted for pickups (go for $50 dollars a piece). Those pickups are also coil tapped for Strat sounds too. One tone one (keeps life simple for me. I get lost with 2 of each). Comes with grover tuners and D'Addario strings. The body style is much like a PRS with the double cut.