Michael Kelly Guitars was founded in 1999 and is based in Florida, USA. Although originally starting out as a mandolin and acoustic bass brand the company has since expanded and now offers a wide range of beautiful guitars, basses and mandolins.
At the time of writing, Michael Kelly offers 8 different left handed guitars, or 9 if you include the extra finish options. The range of left handed Michael Kelly guitars really stands out as the company offers more than just the usual token lefties most other brands offer. All of these guitars are interesting and unique, with features that set them apart from the rest of the pack.
Left Handed Michael Kelly Guitars
Looking at these guitars, you’d be forgiven for assuming that they come with a pretty hefty pricetag. But fear not – for the most part, these guitars are super affordable, sitting at around the $500 mark – wow!
As I’ve already mentioned above, we currently have eight left handed Michael Kelly guitars to choose from. Let’s take a closer look at each model and see exactly what they’re all about!
The Michael Kelly 1953 is a stunning looking T-style guitar which is aimed at players looking for a more traditional style with some vintage vibe. It features an alder body with a flamboyant flamed maple top and a bolt-on maple neck with your choice of maple or rosewood fretboard. A traditionally voiced neck pickup is combined with a stacked single coil bridge pickup which can switch between a vintage single coil sound and a fatter humbucker style tone.
Shown above in ‘Blue Jean Wash’ finish.
The Enlightened 55 certainly isn’t just another run-of-the-mill, high production volume T-type clone! Stand out features include the humbucker, mini humbucker pickup configuration, something rarely seen on production left handed guitars.
Another key feature of the Enlightened series are that they are super-light – less than 6 pounds in fact! Michael Kelly has achieved this by utilising Red Cedar wood for the body, thinning out the body and adding ports to the rear end of the guitar.
Flamed maple binding, a fretboard with a 10.5? to 16? compound radius, and a highly figured quilted maple top. The included Rockfield pickups can be switched between single coil and humbucker style tones, for the ultimate in versatility. In fact, it offers 8 unique tonal options in total thanks to the company’s ‘Great 8’ mod.
Shown above in ‘Dark Tiger’s Eye’ finish.
Guitar Player Magazine recently chose the feature-packed Patriot Decree as their choice for the best guitar under $500. The traditional mahogany body is set off by a stunning figured maple top with 5-ply white and black binding. A mahogany set-neck is coupled with a 22 fret rosewood fingerboard and pearl bone inlays. The MK PAF pickups are specifically designed for this guitar, and the ability to coil-tap opens up a wide variety of tonal options.
Shown above in ‘Black Vapor’ finish. Also available in Caramel Burst.
Patriot Instinct Bold
If looks could kill! The Patriot Instinct takes premium quality features and combines them with a unique dark blue/black to natural color fade. A triple-bound mahogany body is finished with a quilted maple top and real abalone center stripe. The fully bound mahogany neck has a 22 fret rosewood fretboard and beautiful pearl/abalone ‘Instinct’ inlays. A specially voiced pair of zebra-colored Rockfield SWC humbuckers complete the look.
Shown above in ‘Partial Eclipse’ finish.
The Hybrid Special is a unique an interesting instrument, which is designed to allow players to enjoy both electric and acoustic tones in a single guitar. In addition to switching between the two worlds, the Hybrid Special also offers the option of blending both tones to create some really unique sounds.
The chambered mahogany body has a gorgeous spalted maple top and features 5-ply black and white binding. The mahogany neck has a bound 22-fret rosewood fingerboard with abalone block inlays.
Shown above in ‘Spalted Burst’ finish.
At first glance you may be tricked into believing that the Triad 10E is a 12-string acoustic – but look closer – it’s a 10-string! With this guitar only the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th strings are doubled up. The E and B strings are tuned to the same pitch, while the G and D are pitched an octave apart. This hopefully means that you get that trademark 12-string chime, but with improved playability. Very cool! Having 10 tuners also make the headstock less heavy, resulting in a more balanced guitar.
Other standout features include a solid spruce top, flamed okoume back/sides, flame maple binding and a Fishman Sonitone preamp system.
The beautiful Forte Port is an acoustic for the modern player thanks to its fresh new approach to top bracing and soundhole placement. Michael Kelly doesn’t give many secrets away on their website, but these new designs are claimed to give a noticeable improvement to sonic performance. Plus, losing picks inside your acoustic would be much less of a pain!
Other modern features include an aggressive cutaway for fabulous upper fret access, Fishman Sonitone electronics, and a Zero-Pin bridge which makes restringing much easier. The guitar itself is constructed of sapele back/sides, a solid spruce top, triple black binding, a mahogany neck and rosewood fingerboard.
Finally from Michael Kelly we have the Dragonfly 4, a fantastic left handed acoustic bass option for the oft forgotten southpaw bassists! Available in a stunning Smoke Burst finish, this bass exudes class with its quilt maple back/sides/top, and rosewood fingerboard with exquisite abalone and pearl dragonfly inlays.
Electronics are provided by Fishman’s excellent PreSys Plus system, coupled with a Sonicore under saddle transducer.
And that completes the range of left handed Michael Kelly guitars!
Michael Kelly Guitars Website
The Michael Kelly site features a separate section for left handed guitars, making it super easy to find the current lefty range. You can’t really ask for more that that!
For more information:
Michael Kelly Guitars