Review: Jackson Kelly JS32T Electric Guitar

Jackson Guitars was created by Grover Jackson, who was a business partner of Wayne Charvel of Charvel Guitar Repair. Wayne Charvel sold the Charvel name to Jackson in 1978. Fender Musical Instrument Corporation purchased Jackson/Charvel in 2002 and currently produces Jackson Guitars in their Corona factory.

Off The Rack

Off the rack this guitar looks like a metal guitarists instrument of doom. The Jackson Kelly has sharp edges and a very heavy body structure. The Jackson Kelly was made famous by ex-Megadeth guitarist and virtuoso Marty Friedman. The Jackson Kelly feels every bit as aggressive as it looks. Two main points I noticed right off the bat about the JS32T guitar was that it has fairly low action and a very bright tone. Being a metal head myself I thought why not give it a run!

Specs

The Jackson JS32T has a solid alder body with a bolt on 25-1/2” scale maple neck. The Jackson neck comes with a graphite nut which lends smooth string sway keeping it in tune much better. The JS32T comes standard with 24 jumbo frets and an adjustable LT390 bridge. The Jackson Kelly comes with 2 Jackson CVR2 humbucking pickups and chrome hardware. The JS32T utilizes a master/tone knob and a 3-way selector switch which gives you the ability to reach crunching sound possibilities.

The Low Down

The Jackson Kelly JS32T is a nice metal/rock guitar for those looking for an aggressive look and aggressive sound. The Jackson Kelly comes in a variety of models for you to choose from. Whether you want upgraded pickups or a floating bridge, the Jackson Kelly can cover all of your needs. The JS32T model is the Jackson Kelly beginner model only having the basics as far as features go. This is a good thing in as far as those new to guitar don’t need to be messing with locking tremolos and all the responsibility that comes with upgraded models. All in all, the tone of the JS32T is what you would expect. It gives a loud, bright tone that is perfect for rock, metal and punk styles of music. The string action is well set up and the neck is very comfortable. Newer to intermediate players will have an easy time learning on this guitar.

Pros: Bright loud tone, low price tag, multiple colors, stays in tune very well, easy string changing, multiple models, aggressive look. MSRP-$299.00

Cons: Volume pot doesn’t have a smooth scale range.

Till next week, thanks for reading and keep on shredding!

Nick Arrietta is a staff writer at SMG. Nick is a professional Music teacher from California and has been playing the Guitar for 24 years. Along with teaching music he is a touring guitarist, studio musician and songwriter. Email: nick@sharemyguitar.com

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  • Nick this is a budding metal shredders battle axe! Not a bad price for what you get huh!

  • Anne van Dam

    does this guitar weigh heavy or light? and can you let your hand rest on the body while playing?

  • yes this guitar is heavy. not les paul heavy but more so then your average guitar. You can rest your hand on it but there is not much room to do so. Hope this helps. cheers Nick

  • Anne van Dam

    I actually want to buy one. I play elektric guitar for about half a year now. Do you think it will be a good replacement for my The Animal Stratocaster?
    (sorry for my bad english, i’m frm holland you see)

  • Nick

    No worries mate. Glad to have you on the site. Its really not about a good replacement. Its about what is comfortable for you. In my opinion there is no such thing as a bad guitar. Everything can be tweaked and set up so that it plays beautifully. My advice is play as many guitars as you can to see how each one is unique. For example I like Fender Guitars but I personally cant play them. Fender guitars do not feel comfortable in my hands. Don’t buy any guitar just because it looks cool, buy it because it belongs in your hands. You can always swap out pickups to change tone but it has to feel right in your hands first. Hope this helps. Cheers Nick

  • Hey hows goin on i m a little bit up from intermediate level i think i am a good guitarist and i want to have an explorer guitar but i like kelly design more than explorer but i like deep sound and heavy like zakk wylde and i have to put my guitar up (like slash) while playing solos on high frets so do u think its a good guitar for me sound and comfort wise or i should go for greg bennett avion please its really important

  • How’s it going Sohail, It depends! If you are more of a lead player then I would recommend a different body style. The kelly and the explorer are great for rhythm and moderate leads but I find that strat style guitars have more range of motion for me to hit all of the higher frets. It really comes down to what feels right in your hands. Play them all and find something that works for you. Also if your guitar is hanging to low on your body then soloing is always going to be a challenge. Holding it higher up on your body might not look as cool but will make soloing 100% easier. Hope this helps. Cheers.

  • the guitar is around 7-8 pounds

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