Vex NV review by Michael Kelly

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  • Sound: 8
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 9
  • Features: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 9.2 Superb
  • Users' score: 8 (14 votes)
Michael Kelly: Vex NV

Price paid: $ 630

Purchased from: Hays Music

Sound — 8
The pots and Switch have a very smooth action and are totally silent. The wiring was neat and tidy. I wasn't a fan of the Rockfields so I swapped them out with a Gibson 490R in the neck and a Gibson Angus Young signature pickup in the bridge. Stock, it sounded pretty good. Still better than any of the other guitars I own. But the Rockfields were just too bassy. I hate to say muddy because they still had good note seperation and clarity and they worked very well with high-gain distortion. They just weren't for me. Stock, I give it an 8, but after the pickup swap I give it a 10. It's a perfect hard rock guitar. It can also do nice cleans and great bluesy tones. The Angus Young pickup isn't so great for metal, but metal isn't my style anymore anyway. I guess it's also worth mentioning that I did the Fender Greasebucket mod to the tone pot to alleviate the boomy bass that tone pots get at the 1 position. I recommend that to anyone.

Overall Impression — 10
This is the first guitar that I ever spent this kind of money on, and is only the 2nd guitar I ever bought new. It was well worth it. If it was lost or stolen, I'd certainly try to replace it. I play mainly blues to hard rock and that Angus Young pickup is a perfect match for those styles. If I were still a metal-head I'd have probably left the Rockfield Mafias in there since they worked so well with high-gain distortion. I really love the aesthetics of the guitar. It's very classy with its abalone binding and inlays, and trans red stain over carved quilted maple. It just doesn't get much better than that.

Reliability & Durability — 10
I have no doubt that this guitar is road-worthy. The overall build quality is fantastic. The hardware is solid and known to last (Grover and Tonepros) and the finish is durable. I wouldn't gig without a backup, though, no matter the guitar. You never know what could happen.

Action, Fit & Finish — 9
I bought this guitar off the display stand, so I don't know if anyone did a setup right out of the box, but it was perfect when I got it. The action is nice and low and there's no fret buzz whatsoever. The fret edges are also nice and smooth. The Switch is the typical Les Paul style skeleton switch, and those are very poorly designed. That Switch won't last as long as a Tele-style Switch would. That's just a fact of life. The high-E side of the 24th fret is just barely sticking up so if I bend the high-E string just right sometimes it gets caught under the fret. The only other issues are purely aesthetic; when they were shaping the nut, they left behind some sandpaper marks. On the parts of binding where the neck and body meet, some stain found its way onto the ends of the binding and they never scraped it off. The headstock also doesn't really fit the look of the guitar. It looks sort of stubby.

Features — 9
I bought this in '10 but it might have been made in '08 or '09 (I emailed the company a couple of days ago but never got a reply). It was made in Korea. It has 24 frets on an ebony fretboard. The body is mahogany with a carved quilted maple top and 5-ply/abalone binding. The 3-piece set-neck is also mahogany, with a headstock veneer and fretboard and headstock binding to match the body. The fretboard features abalone inlays and the 12th fret inlay has pearl mixed in. The whole thing is transparent blood red with glossy polyurethane lacquer. Body style is a typical Strat shape with a Tonepros locking TOM bridge and string-thru ferrules. It features 2 Rockfield Mafia humbuckers with Standard 1 volume/1 tone and 3-way toggle switch. It has Grover tuners and a real bone nut as well. All the hardware is black.

7 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Seems really cool, despite being an OUTRAGEOUS rip on the Schecter C-1 Hellraiser. Still, I like the cut of the lower horn, as it looks like it has excellent upper-fret access, and I'm not a big fan of the EMG's in the Schecter. Too bad that Michael Kelly is a bit hard to find; only heard good stuff about them.
    good guitar, looks sexy as hell! i think its ment to be less 'metal' than the hellraiser, so thats good i guess? if its not your thing?
    Dream Floyd
    The^Unforgiven OUTRAGEOUS rip on the Schecter C-1 Hellraiser.
    I thought the same thing.
    Dream Floyd
    Actually I just looked their site, and it's basically all just slightly cheaper Schecter copies.
    Invader Jim
    Here's the link to the MK page for them. The Vex and Hex guitars are indeed hard to find. The MK website doesn't directly link them, at least not that I could find. I only found the page through google. If you can find one of these, grab it. The quality/price ratio is great. They are sure to become sought-after collectibles. As for being Schecter copies, people are saying they are built in the same factory to higher spec and a cheaper price. There's a mini-site called but it is password protected.
    Michael Kelly discontunued the Hex and Vex series, and now they only make Les Paul style electrics. They were nice guitars for the price, porbably didn't sell well enough.