Jackson unveils Custom Shop Diablo IV Kelly – a high-end “nightmare machine” for gaming/metal fans with deep pockets

Jackson is a brand that has always specialised in making the metal guitar more brutal, especially when turning the Master Builders of its Custom Shop loose on its more aggressively shaped electric guitar designs, but it has outdone itself with the release of the limited edition Diablo IV Kelly.

This high-end electric guitar was built by Jackson’s principal master builder, Pasquale “Pat” Campolattano, and was designed in partnership with Blizzard Entertainment as a a tie-in for its Diablo IV videogame. Diablo IV is a role-playing game with a taste for the macabre that is reflected in this custom Kelly’s hand-painted “Lilithgram” Demon Blood Drip finish. 

The body has a hand-painted graphic by Dan Lawrence. Other necro design elements include the MOP “Rune” inlays on the ebony fingerboard. A red “IV” marks the 12th fret out, and we particularly like the matching buttons on the Gotoh Magnum locking tuners. Jackson used the same material for both. 

There are splashes of red throughout. There clamping screws for the Floyd Rose’s locking nut are red, so too the bridge posts. The red Jackson logo on the six-in-line headstock is very cool too.

But all this wouldn’t be worth much without the fundamentals being on point, and you can rest assured that this has been engineered and finessed into a high-performance shred machine. The Kelly has a solid mahogany body with a quartersawn neck-through maple neck. 

The heel has been sculpted into a custom contour to make upper-fret access a breeze. Those who find the Rune and IV inlays a little confusing can take comfort from the Luminlay side-dot markers, which glow in the dark – a helpful feature on dimly lit stages.

The Diablo IV Kelly has a Floyd Rose Original double-locking vibrato with FU Tone titanium saddle upgrades.

Its electric guitar pickup pairing is a classic for metal. Those weaned on the merciless chug of, say, James Hetfield’s …And Justice For All tone will appreciate the EMG 80/61 active humbuckers. Just add a high-gain guitar amp and kill some of those mids with extreme prejudice.

With a guitar like this, the devil is in the detail. Campolattano hand-tooled the body shape. The “Key to Hell” is laser-engraved on the control covers on the rear of the instrument. There is more Diablo IV engraving on the truss rod cover too. The frets are stainless steel.

The Diablo IV Kelly might not be for everyone with that finish. But then something has to sit at the opposite end of the aesthetic spectrum to the Squier Hello Kitty Stratocaster – and besides, Jackson is only making 10 of these, and they are available now via selected dealers. No price has been released yet, but head over to Jackson for more pics and information. They ship in a G&G Custom Diablo guitar case.

Jonathan Horsley

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars and guitar culture since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitar World. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.