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Old 01-14-2021, 05:22 PM
SpruceTop SpruceTop is offline
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Default Michael Kelly Semi-Hollowbody Electric Guitar?

Any love for Michael Kelly archtop electrics? I can buy a Made in China, used, like-new, double-pickup, maple archtop model with hardshell case for $599. I looked at it today and the guitar itself appears to be well-crafted with good neck angle. The kicker is that the previous owner likes taking cheaper guitars and swapping out the pickups and guts that came with the guitar for better-quality stuff. He figures he can buy three cheap but decent guitars and swap-out their guts for the good stuff for the price of one top-quality ax and not have to worry about damaging a good ax when playing out. The guitar was bought new in my favorite shop, the swap-out was done there, and it's selling it used. Here's the good stuff that's been put in this guitar:

Two Seymour Duncan Seth Lover pickups;
Switchcraft jacks and switches;
CTS pots

The owner of the shop bases the used price mainly on the original cost of the guitar, and that's why it's only $599 even with the goodies added. Being that I currently don't have an electric guitar to go with my Fender Blues Junior amp, and mostly being an acoustic player, I thought buying this modified Michael Kelly might be a decent, low-cost electric to mess around on. I'd appreciate reading your thoughts on Michael Kelly guitars and what's been done to this particular guitar. Thanks!
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Old 01-14-2021, 06:48 PM
Steve DeRosa Steve DeRosa is offline
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Default Michael Kelly Archtops?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SpruceTop View Post
...The owner of the shop bases the used price mainly on the original cost of the guitar, and that's why it's only $599 even with the goodies added...
PSA: Nobody's in this business to lose money...

If it's the model I'm thinking of it's a typical MIC entry-level full-hollowbody, very similar to the Epiphone Joe Pass (put a bag over the head and you couldn't tell them apart) and selling for about $350-450 used (depending on condition)...

While I personally like the MK's I've played (mostly solids, a few acoustic-electrics, and the Dragonfly acoustic bass our last band's bass player owned) IME they don't hold their value like their Ibanez or Epiphone competitors; in a nutshell, the store owner probably has about $250-275 (possibly even less) invested and, in spite of his assertions to the contrary, is in fact selling it on the basis of the upgraded components...

If it plays well/sounds good and it's worth it to you, you've got yourself a no-worries jazz/rockabilly/blues box that you can take to a biker bar without a second thought; if not, scope out a used Epiphone ES-175 Premium or Godin CW II, both of which are IME (I own the latter BTW) intrinsically far more guitar for the money...
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Old 01-15-2021, 08:02 AM
SpruceTop SpruceTop is offline
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Thanks, Steve! The Michael Kelly archtop seems to be a discontinued model and it's impressive-looking and pretty well fits your Joe Pass look-alike description. I've looked at the Godin 5th Avenue Kingpin CW II on store websites and at about $1000 new, this Made In Canada ax looks to be a good value. Maybe I'll go to my local Guitar Center and see if they have one in stock.
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Old 01-15-2021, 09:04 AM
Steve DeRosa Steve DeRosa is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SpruceTop View Post
...I've looked at the Godin 5th Avenue Kingpin CW II on store websites and at about $1000 new, this Made In Canada ax looks to be a good value. Maybe I'll go to my local Guitar Center and see if they have one in stock.
Very hard to find new in stores (or even used - players who own them tend to treat them as keepers) - by the same token, it's one of the few guitars that I wouldn't have any second thoughts about buying online, sight unseen/unheard. FYI I bought mine from Amazon (not exactly known for their delicate treatment of instruments) on a Christmas Day 2012 flash sale (paid just a tick over $600 against the $1K street price); not only did the guitar have no issues, but it's one of exactly three guitars I've bought in my lifetime (including from dealers like Elderly and Mandolin Brothers) that needed no setup whatsoever - a high testimonial to Godin's construction and QC standards...

In case you're not aware it currently comes in two versions - the original twin P-90 and a dual-humbucker - and speaking as a happy owner I'd strongly recommend the former: a combination of Gretsch-style airiness (thanks to the extremely lightweight woods used in their construction - mine weighs just over five pounds, about the same as a Seagull mini-jumbo) and P-90 drive, which can take you from supper-club jazz - Tony Bennett's guitarist may still be using his CW II on tour - to rock crunch, and everything in between...
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Old 01-15-2021, 03:59 PM
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BoneDigger BoneDigger is offline
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If you don't need the bridge pickup, there's a nice Godin Kingpin on sale at MusicGoRound.

https://www.musicgoround.com/product...xoCpPUQAvD_BwE
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Old 01-16-2021, 05:27 PM
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I've never played one but it's always a great idea to swap the guts out of the off brand cheaper guitars for the good stuff. I've done that with a lot of Epiphones including a Joe Pass which was a kick arse guitar with the right guts.
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Old 01-17-2021, 08:32 AM
SpruceTop SpruceTop is offline
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MY BAD! I should have put the word "Electric" in my "Michael Kelly Archtops?" Original Post or reworded the OP's title to "Michael Kelly Semi-Hollowbody Electric Guitar?" which I've now done. The moderator moved my OP from the "Electric Guitars" subforum to this "Archtops" subforum. With my now clarification, the thread should probably be moved back to the "Electric Guitars" subforum as the Michael Kelly Archtop Electric I am seeking information about is no more of a traditional acoustic archtop than is a Gibson ES-335 Semi-Hollowbody Electric Guitar. Thanks for any moderator assistance on this matter.
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Last edited by SpruceTop; 01-17-2021 at 08:38 AM.
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Old 01-17-2021, 12:32 PM
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It's probably not a bad guitar, especially with the upgrades. But, just realize that the Michael Kelly isn't as well known as some brands and your resale will likely not be great. If it were me, I'd look for a used Gretsch Electromatic or an Epiphone hollow body. But before doing either, I'd watch some videos and find a "sound" that you are looking for and focus on the guitars used in that type of music.
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Old 01-17-2021, 01:26 PM
SpruceTop SpruceTop is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BoneDigger View Post
It's probably not a bad guitar, especially with the upgrades. But, just realize that the Michael Kelly isn't as well known as some brands and your resale will likely not be great. If it were me, I'd look for a used Gretsch Electromatic or an Epiphone hollow body. But before doing either, I'd watch some videos and find a "sound" that you are looking for and focus on the guitars used in that type of music.
Thanks, BoneDigger, Good Advice! I'll browse around the semi-hollow-body electric offerings of the various brands.
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Old 01-17-2021, 08:27 PM
Steve DeRosa Steve DeRosa is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BoneDigger View Post
...If it were me, I'd look for a used Gretsch Electromatic...
As long as you stick with the Korean-made stuff - the current Chinese production doesn't measure up IME - you won't find a better semi than the 5600-Series E-Matics for anything near the price. BTW the full-hollow 5400-Series thinlines are still made in Korea as of this writing - genuine honest-to-Chet Filter'Trons, iconic Gretsch visuals (White Falcon, Viking, Country Gent, 6120, Country Club, Double Anniversary, 6075 "Nesmith" 12-string, etc.), and through-the-roof QC/playability, all for under (sometimes well under) $1K - and IMO you'd be remiss if you didn't give a couple of these a test-drive before making your final decision...
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Old 01-18-2021, 03:55 PM
SpruceTop SpruceTop is offline
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Thanks, Steve, I'll keep all that in mind!
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Old 01-22-2021, 04:46 PM
SpruceTop SpruceTop is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve DeRosa View Post
As long as you stick with the Korean-made stuff - the current Chinese production doesn't measure up IME - you won't find a better semi than the 5600-Series E-Matics for anything near the price. BTW the full-hollow 5400-Series thinlines are still made in Korea as of this writing - genuine honest-to-Chet Filter'Trons, iconic Gretsch visuals (White Falcon, Viking, Country Gent, 6120, Country Club, Double Anniversary, 6075 "Nesmith" 12-string, etc.), and through-the-roof QC/playability, all for under (sometimes well under) $1K - and IMO you'd be remiss if you didn't give a couple of these a test-drive before making your final decision...
Steve, I'm considering this Made In Korea Gretsch. What do you think about it as a decent electric guitar?

Gretsch G5422TG Electromatic Hollowbody Double-Cut with Bigsby - Walnut Stain $999.99 ( I may be able to get it for a bit less).

https://www.sweetwater.com/store/det...y-walnut-stain
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Old 01-22-2021, 05:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SpruceTop View Post
Steve, I'm considering this Made In Korea Gretsch. What do you think about it as a decent electric guitar?

Gretsch G5422TG Electromatic Hollowbody Double-Cut with Bigsby - Walnut Stain $999.99 ( I may be able to get it for a bit less).

https://www.sweetwater.com/store/det...y-walnut-stain
I'm not Steve, nor do I play Steve on TV, but I did own that model for a bit (in green). I thought it was a fabulous guitar! I moved on to Japan models but it was one that I occasionally regret getting rid of!
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Old 01-22-2021, 05:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BoneDigger View Post
I'm not Steve, nor do I play Steve on TV, but I did own that model for a bit (in green). I thought it was a fabulous guitar! I moved on to Japan models but it was one that I occasionally regret getting rid of!
Thanks, BoneDigger, That Helps In My Quest!
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Old 01-22-2021, 07:08 PM
Steve DeRosa Steve DeRosa is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SpruceTop View Post
Steve, I'm considering this Made In Korea Gretsch. What do you think about it as a decent electric guitar?

Gretsch G5422TG Electromatic Hollowbody Double-Cut with Bigsby - Walnut Stain $999.99 (I may be able to get it for a bit less).

https://www.sweetwater.com/store/det...y-walnut-stain
I've played a couple, and although I'm partial to the "baby Falcon" white version - I was seriously thinking of buying one and "Falconizing" it with aftermarket parts - it's a fully pro-quality instrument that just happens to sell at an intermediate/step-up price; FWIW I've seen a couple local Beatles tribute bands use it as their "George" guitar, and if you ever get the chance to run it through a Vox AC combo (I like the AC10 1x10" and AC30S1 1x12" with this guitar - YMMV) it'll bring tears to your eyes...

BTW, don't be afraid to ask for an additional discount - IME Sweetwater is very accommodating in this respect - use the difference toward a hardshell case (check out the Gator Journeyman - near dead-ringer for a $500 Gretsch "Western" factory case at 1/4 the price), and have a couple sets of flatwound 11's on hand (de rigeur on a hollow/semi-hollow Gretsch)...

Quote:
Originally Posted by BoneDigger View Post
I'm not Steve, nor do I play Steve on TV...
My father thanks you...
My mother thanks you...
My wife thanks you...
My daughter thanks you...

- and I thank you...
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