Get access to a range of different tones with the Michael Kelly 1963, a visually striking, solidly built electric guitar with tonally versatile electronics.
Submitted November 28, 2021 by John B. in WANTAGH, NY
"A poor man's boutique guitar - with some work..."
I ordered this guitar because it had all the features I wanted, even though I had my doubts about (Indonesia) quality control.When I got the guitar I was surprised how good it looked and also how heavy it was- this is not some basswood peashooter that weighs nothing. I would say it weighs anywhere from seven and a half to 8 lbs. The body wood they use is some Asian version of Ash and it is heavy and 1-3/4" thick! Looking at the front the first thing you'll think is that it's some kind of photo veneer, but it is not it is the real wood grain. The neck is very nice not too thin but not fat either somewhere in the middle and no dead frets. Frets look like medium jumbo- which I like. Has locking tuners that seem of very good quality. Neck is also tinted like the body very nice job. So you're saying 'what's the catch?' well there is a catch and it's the electronics. The pickups are all cheap ceramic ones and while they could get you through a gig I'm sure, if you're used to good pickups you're not going to like them. I ripped them all out and put an alNico V humbucker and alNico V single coils from GFS that I just happened to have laying around. Sounded much better still a little harsh, so I removed the little chicklet capacitor and put a 0.47 paper and oil capacitor like a bumblebee but I think it's Russian (very good quality) and that really helped smooth things out. The tremolo seems a very good quality and it works excellent. I did have a small issue with the intonation because the tremble bridge although set perfectly centered and square to the nut was 3/16" short. What this means is that the edge of the tremolo is supposed to be 25-1/4" inches from the nut but the actual length was 25-1/16". I decided to keep the guitar and try to intonate it as is, and I could- but just barely on the low E which is the one that goes furthest from the nut. The neck needed a small half a turn on the truss rod and it was perfect. With the new pickups it now sounds very good. This is a really good modding platform guitar. The closest thing to this is when Fender was making the (Mexican) Ash strats a few years ago which were very nice but also have garbage electronics.So if you know your way around a guitar, and around a soldering iron then by all means buy this and go to town on it. If you're looking for a $1,500 American strat for $429.00 you're going to be very disappointed. But for the money you get a really decent body and neck with some nice hardware just put in the good electronics and you're all set and make sure you check that you can intonate it before you do any work. Good luck.
Sounds good with new pickups in it.
It has locking tuners and a good tremolo just make sure you can intonate this guitar before you do anything to it.
Ease of Use
Plays nice now after new pickups and a complete setup and intonation.
It's made pretty well for an import guitar it's going to need some work.
For the price it's a good deal but only if you know how to work on a guitar or are willing to pay someone else to do it.
I bought another Michael Kelly guitar a few years ago and it was pretty good also changed the pickups in that one too.
The Wow Factor
I think this guitar looks really nice and it plays nice too- now.
Experienced- playing a cover band
Classic rock reggae dead Dylan stones.
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Submitted December 10, 2020 by Ron C in Jacksonville, FL
"Nice budget guitar"
Verified Customer zZounds has verified that this reviewer made a purchase from us.
I bought the blemished trans red, and I have to say that even the very small scuffs (you really have to look very closely to see them) it's a beautiful guitar! Plays nice, especially in reference to the humbucker, very nice!
I play what I feel
Classic rock and metal.
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