Jackson guitars have always offered aggressive looks and sound coupled with high-quality workmanship. Their KE Pro series brings all the upscale Jackson elements to a very attractive price point. Based on the Kelly, the KE3 has a sharply chiseled Explorer-like body shape, with Jackson’s signature pointy headstock. The nearly -$1,400 difference between Marty Friedman’s favorite axe and the KE3 is really not so huge: the tremolo is a JT580LP Floyd Rose License, not original; the pickups are Seymour Duncan’s Jazz and JB and the neck is bolted on, all of which add up to a great deal.
The Jackson KE3 has an alder body and a maple neck of wide, oval proportions. The headstock is attached with a scarf joint behind the fist two frets, adding strength at the nut—an important detail when dealing with the extra routing necessary to accommodate a locking nut. The rosewood fretboard is fitted with 24 wide, near-jumbo frets, which are superbly crowned and polished. Jackson’s trademark “shark fin” inlays, done in a rich pearloid plastic, are inlaid to the neck with admirable neatness. Our review model arrived dressed in Black (Transparent Red, Blue and Black are also available as well as Cobalt Blue, Swirl and Skulls), all black hardware, including black tuners, and black locking nut and tremolo and a single black volume knob.
Plugged in, the KE3 really came to life. The Seymour Duncan Jazz SH2N and JB TB4 pickups, in neck and bridge position respectively, are bold and brawny, high-output humbuckers with a hard-assed bite that can be felt even through clean amp settings. But don’t peg them as one-trick ponies: each pickup alone offers some enticing colors, particularly with the volume rolled back a couple of notches, and the combinations of the two makes for a fine clean rhythm or lead tone.
But let’s face it, the axe was made to cut eardrums, and so most of my playing time was spent with the KE3 pumped through a Marshall JCM800 and a ProCo Rat distortion pedal. The resulting sound was capable of rearranging furniture and small pets in the house across the street. The bottom end on this guitar is something the U.N. should sanction. Muted rhythms take on a tribal percussiveness, and leads sound like they’re doubled with tap-dancing gorillas. The treble had to be rolled back a bit from my usual “everything on seven” setting, however, since a hint of microphonic squeal could be coaxed from the pickups with a tap of the pick. Still, the KE3 delivers some awesome muscularity along with radical good looks and solid craftsmanship.
For those who wish to single eyebrows and swill Jaegermeister on a Budweiser budget, Jackson’s KE3 Pro is your weapon of choice.
Jackson KE3 Guitar In Action!
Although its body is reminiscent of a chubby Fender Jaguar; the Fernandes Native Elite is a decidedly modern guitar with a little hi-tech voodoo-namely Fernandes’ proprietary Sustainer technology, which offers virtually limitless sustain and rich, controlled freedback. Based on the company’s highly popular alder-bodied Native Standard, the Fernandes Native Elite features a basswood body with a faux flame top in a black burst finish and a 25-1/2” scale maple bolt-on neck. The comfortably full, rosewood-capped neck is smoothly fretted and sports the locking nut portion of the Gotoh made, Floyd-licensed trem system. The generous pearloid pickguard houses the electronics, which include two humbuckers governed by a three-way switch, master tone and volume controls and the Sustainer system. Read more
Even if you’ve got all of the other required accouterments, you’ll be hard-pressed to make it big with that psychotically low, funky, hard-music grind that’s all the rage these days if you’re not packing a seven string. In the past, chugging on the low E string used to be enough to make you a contender. But now, with bands like Limp Bizkit mining sinister new veins of metal and settings a new standard for heaviness, you’re likely to be written off as a lightweight if you can’t summon up that deep, spongy rumble. Until recently Ibanez has been the only mass manufacturer of seven-string solidbodies, but the Schecter Diamond and Hellraiser Series offers a new, affordable contender for players who want to hit below the belt. Read more
If you’ve seen advertisements for Vaccaro’s guitars on the internet or magazines, you may have noted their slightly confrontational slogan: “They’re not for everybody.” This statement, it seems, is absolutely true. The reactions I’ve seen when whipping one of these unorthodox instruments out of my gig bag have ranged from shock (“Where di you get that?”) to covetous (“Awesome! Where can I get one?”).
Brought to you buy the people who created Kramer’s distinctive aluminum and wood-necked guitars in the late Seventies and early Eighties, Vaccaro’s guitars feature daringly designed popular bodies, bold finishes and unique aluminum, maple and ebonol composite necks. The Groove Jet evokes the unholy alliance of a Gibson SG and a satanic dung beetle, and features two Seymour Duncan Custom ’59 humbuckers, a three-way switch pickup selector located on the top horn of the guitar, two volume controls and a master tone control. Our review model was flawlessly finished in a stunning see-through emerald green. The X-Ray, whose sleek, orange sparkle body has a space-age Rickenbacker vibe, boasts two Rio Grande Muy Grande pickups: a humbucker in the bridge and a single coil in the neck position. Both pickups are topped off with the same mother-of-toilet-seat plastic as the pickguard, adding to the instrument’s undeniable ie ne sais quoi. The X-Ray’s control layout is simple yet versatile: a three-way pickup selector, coil-tap switch for the humbucker and single volume and tone controls. The hardware on both guitars (Sperzel locking tuning machines, super-sleek Tune-O-Matic-style bridges and top-notch components) is bullet-proof. The phenolic “I can’t believe it’s not ebony!” fingerboard are smooth and natural feeling, and the well-finished frets provide a sleek, effortless playing surface. Read more
Guitars arouse my crazy obsession, therefore, I am obliged to compile 5 top selling electric and electric/acoustic guitars for our readers. Guitar companies manufacture a wide variety and styles of guitars and sometimes produce junk that’s barely worth firewood, and other times produce the ultimate guitar that we can all appreciate. However, finding that perfect guitar is not always easy, but it’s fun searching for it. If you are one of those players that is searching for a guitar that provides that sensuous feel that fills your pulse with vibrations of rhythm and melody; yet easy on the wallet, then read on. Read more
Carvin is thrilled to introduce their latest model, the ST300. This new model offers the features and choices of Carvin’s contemporary Custom Shop guitars with the timeless body shape that they offered back in the early 1990s. The body is more circular than the legendary DC series and has a waist and forearm cutaway for playing comfort, as found on the Contour 66. The Carvin ST300 model reflects Read more
Buy guitar gear new vs. buying guitar gear used — If you are reading this, you are more than likely a gearhead. By ‘gearhead,’ I mean someone who spends more than a little time thinking about, learning about, and chasing down the musical equipment and accessories that capture your attention and becomes part of your sound, for better or worse. Read more
We noticed that not much information was presented on the interweb about Washburn’s Idol series guitars. That’s a shame because these guitars are an absolute craft of beauty and extremely underrated. There has never been a better time to choose your Idol with the recently released (October 2008) models available.
Washburn’s “Wi” Idol series are passionately hand-built at the Washburn’s Chicago facility by some of America’s finest luthiers, the USA Idol Series consists of five amazingly crafted Custom Shop Guitars. Read more
Before the Internet brought us the ability to window-shop on a global basis from the comfort of our homes, most people would have only had an occasional opportunity to see (much less play) an acrylic-body electric guitar. You’d find them once in a great while hanging on a pawn shop wall, or you’d see one being played onstage at a show, and that was about it. Read more
Oh man oh man oh man. Isn’t this a fun one? Today we are going to be examining the top 5 most underrated guitars of all time. That’s right, no longer are you going to have to hear the utterly outrageous claim your drinking buddy constantly makes that his Mayones Regius 6 Mosiac is the best guitar ever gifted upon mankind. You should hear it through his Orange half stack, the tone is so dark it could only have been crafted in the fires of Mt. Doom. Read more