Jackson has officially launched the Pro Series Signature Brandon Ellis Kelly, with the guitarist for the The Black Dahlia Murder talking about his love of the Kelly shape and the guitars über-metal spec.
The Kelly is a Jackson classic, most famously used by Marty Friedman in Megadeth's Rust In Piece era, in recent years we have seen a few box office shredders put their name to the headstock, with Jeff Loomis and now Brandon Ellis.
With its Green Crackle on black finish, Ellis' Kelly is hard to miss, and it was one of the highlights of Jackson's epic 2021 lineup. It has a through-neck construction, with its graphite-reinforced maple neck flanked by lightweight poplar wings. The ebony fretboard is shaped into a very shreddable 12”-16” compound radius and is topped with 24 jumbo frets.
Ellis and Jackson have kept it simple with this signature model's pickups and switching, choosing a single Seymour Duncan Parallel Axes humbucker at the bridge position, and a single volume control.
“I’m really going for that heavy metal, rich overtone, searing harmonics thing and the bridge pickup is where I find my tone,” says Ellis. “I’d also be lying if I didn’t say it was paying homage to Eddie Van Halen. If Eddie didn’t need [a neck pickup], I don’t want it.”
There is many a cool touch here. We love the Reverse Pearloid Sharkfin inlays on the fretboard, matching the reverse headstock – and we especially love that the Jackson logo is rendered in matching green.
“I’m a diehard fan of the crackle finishes,” says Ellis, who has a skateboard in a matching crackle finish. “It’s just awesome. 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.“
The Brandon Ellis Kelly also ships with Dunlop dual-locking strap buttons so you can swing this around onstage (or in your bedroom) safe in the knowledge that it isn't going go flying.
Elsewhere, you've got Jackson-branded die-cast tuners, and the all-important Floyd Rose 1000 Series double-locking vibrato for hitting harmonic squeals and divebombing them right on down the left hand path.
As Ellis says, “It looks pure metal.“ It sounds it too, and is sure to be one of the best heavy metal guitars of 2021. The Jackson Pro Series Brandon Ellis Kelly is available now, priced £1399, $1199, €1269. See Jackson for more details.
And check some of the other high performance shred machines Jackson has lined up for 2021 here.