Check out Brandon Ellis’s awesome 27-fret Jackson Custom Shop Kelly

Brandon Ellis of The Black Dahlia Murder performs at UC Theatre on July 7, 2018 in Berkeley, California.
(Image credit: Miikka Skaffari/Getty Images)

Jackson is well-versed in the production of edgy custom-made guitars, having started out as a specialist custom shop during the rise of shred in the late ‘70s.

Nowadays, the Jackson Custom Shop continues their tradition of building high-end solidbody electric guitars for the discerning metalhead.

Current choices include a range of iconic body styles, namely Dinky, Soloist, Randy Rhoads, King V, Warrior and Kelly.

And in the latest episode of Jackson's YouTube series Thrashed, The Black Dahlia Murder and current Exodus touring guitarist Brandon Ellis shows off his new 27-fret Custom Shop Kelly in a Metallic Surf Green Crackle finish.

Brandon Ellis with custom-built 27-fret Jackson Kelly

(Image credit: Jackson/YouTube)

During the film, we get a close-up look at this unusual guitar built by Jackson Master Builder Joe Williams.

Cutting his teeth in a vintage guitar shop, Williams arrived at Jackson back in 2005 where he has contributed to numerous high-profile projects such as the Randy Rhoads Tribute Concorde Replica models.

I actually lose a bunch of frets by tuning down, so I gain them by having 27

Brandon Ellis

This guitar is notable for being the first Jackson Kelly made with 27 frets.

“I’ve always been really fascinated with guitars with more than 24 frets,” says Ellis.

While he admits a fret race could quite easily get out of hand, the guitarist explains that having 27 frets is of great practical use to him.

“A lot of people, myself included, down-tune our guitars,” he points out, referring to The Black Dahlia Murder’s lowdown and dirty C standard tuning.

“For me to play solos and get those nice high register guitar notes that I’m used to, they’re just on even higher frets than normal.

“I actually lose a bunch of frets by tuning down, so I gain them by having 27.”



Last year, Jackson launched their Pro Series Signature Brandon Ellis Kelly.

Featuring a poplar body and 25.5” scale length through-body maple neck with graphite reinforcement for enhanced sustain, this metal machine is loaded with a single Seymour Duncan Parallel Axis bridge humbucking pickup.

A Floyd Rose 1000 Series double-locking tremolo bridge system and Jackson sealed die-cast tuners provide super-stable playability.

A self-confessed diehard fan of crackle finishes, Ellis also owns a skateboard with the same paintjob.

“It’s just awesome,” he enthuses. “It was around in the 80s and then you couldn’t get it for decades.

“I used to collect these old guitars, but now it’s back in full force and I’m really psyched to be able to offer this.”

Visit Jackson for more info on the Pro Series Signature Brandon Ellis Kelly.

Rod Brakes

Rod Brakes is a music journalist with an expertise in guitars. Having spent many years at the coalface as a guitar dealer and tech, Rod's more recent work as a writer covering artists, industry pros and gear includes contributions for leading publications and websites such as Guitarist, Total Guitar, Guitar WorldGuitar Player and MusicRadar in addition to specialist music books, blogs and social media. He is also a lifelong musician.