Michael Kelly Patriot Custom Guitar

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Patriot Custom is one of those instruments that captures the imagination even before you pick it up and plug it in.

Beautifully finished, with a 5 ply white/black binding, this highly individual guitar comes with a shallow ‘C’ set mahogany neck and a deep carved flame maple cap on a select mahogany body. The flame maple is spectacularly repeated on the crown headstock with a cut Michael Kelly insignia and Grover cased tuners, while a graptech 42mm nut heads a highly polished ebony fretboard with abalone block inlays and 22 medium jumbo frets. The adjustable ‘hardtail’ sits behind a fully adjustable TonePros locking bridge and there are two Rockfield SWC ‘coil tapped’ pickups mounted directly into the body, a recessed three way toggle switch and similarly sunken dual position tone and volume controls.

Slung over the shoulder, it’s immediately apparent that the Patriot is not a lightweight instrument and is in many ways very similar in overall weight and balance to a Les Paul. The 1 3/4 inch deep body with the 1/2 inch carve to the top makes for a full, rich tone, which together with the tightly set neck (like the Les Paul) offers the potential for massive sustain. The shallow C profile neck is superfast and the marble like ebony board plays like a dream – the D’Addario 10s on the 24 3/4 inch scale giving a near perfect string weight to string tension ratio.

Plugged into the house Peavey Studio 12 the specially designed Rockfield SWC coil tapped humbucker pickups were a revelation. Built using over-wound USA Alnico 5 magnets and USA wire, they not only provide a classic full humbucker tone, but by lifting the push-pull pots on the tone and volume controls, you get that edgy single coil vintage PAF sound that opens up a completely different sound palette.

With an RRP just shy of £500, we reckon that this American designed, Korean built guitar not only offers outstanding value for money, but also raises the bar in the sound and playability stakes in the sub-£500 market.

For more go to www.rosetti.co.uk

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