Michael Kelly cc53 8 String – Review

I am in love.

This Michael Kelly 8 string inspired by the 50s telecaster is absolute gold. It is such a unique looking guitar. Most 7 and 8 strings tend to be black with a polished sleek finish, and don’t get me wrong that does look great but to see such an original design for an 8 string is really refreshing. I mean look at it! Or check it out here on amazon!

These photos were courtesy of the very talented Lucas Procopio. Find more of his photo’s on Instagram here or follow @lucastheprocopio.

Michael Kelly Eight String

It is just a gorgeous piece of equipment. The flame effect body with the signature telecaster pickguard, beautiful. I’m just going to let you look at it some more before I get down to the nitty-gritty of why you need to buy this guitar.

MIchael Kelly 8 string


Michael Kelly 8-string

So many strings, such djent.

Here’s the run down for those who want a quick summary!

Michael Kelly 8 string

Overall 4
PriceCheck it out here on Amazon!


The playability of this guitar is good but not perfect. The neck is nice and thin making reaching around the strings easy as pie but the profile of the neck is not the most streamlined so jumping around the fretboard is a little harder. The body has a bit of weight to it as well so you can get a bit fatigued if you’re playing live for an extended period of time. I don’t mind having to work for my playing, but if you’re used to playing guitars that cost thousands this might feel a little sluggish. The square heel of the guitar might discourage some but I first learned on a guitar with a square heel so it doesn’t bother me all that much. Because of this I reckon it would make a perfect rhythm guitar in any band, with the capabilities of still pulling off sick solos. The problems are just small inconveniences, it feels great in the hand and can be played for hours.


The guitar feels a bit heavy to play but this leads to an extremely durable 8 string guitar. The Micheal Kelly CC53 is a machine, take it on tour, thrash around on stage with it and it will still stand strong. Despite being made from Korean factory parts this is a really well put together guitar, you pick it up to play and it feels like a $1000 guitar not a guitar of this price! It will stand strong along side you for better or worse. Very impressed!


As I said before I think this is a stunning 8 string guitar and I think the photos speak for themselves in that respect! The body is made of Alderwood, first made popular by fender in the late 50s so that shows the commitment to getting that telecaster style in an 8 string. When you look closely you can see that the flamed maple top is actually laminate rather than a piece of actual flamed maple. Despite that I still really like the mossy forest color scheme this guitar is sporting along with its pearl white fret guard. I think the laminate is a small price to pay for such an incredible piece of guitar!


Arguably the most important factor when buying a guitar is how it sounds. So let’s start with the neck scale. The scale of this Michael Kelly comes in at 27”, this combined with a 22 fret neck gives you great string tension, the ability to tune down and comfortable yet firm strings. The scale is hugely important in a guitar and I personally don’t like 8 string guitars to have less than 27” scale.

Now the pickups. The Michael Kelly 8 string comes fitted with direct mounted Rockfield Fatass pickups. I like the direct mount because it means you can easily swap out these pickups for an upgrade if you wanted, but honestly, I don’t think it’s necessary.Now asides from them having an amazing name, though that does help, I was hugely impressed by these pickups, the produce a big grungy sound. Add in some distortion and take the sound off the bridge pickups and you have yourself some sick tone to groove with. The Rockfield pickups provide you with great articulation and note definition, these easily handle the solo riffs as well as having that chunky rhythm. You can hear a sample of the Rockfield Fatass pickups on their website here


The value for money of this guitar is out of this world. I would have given it 6 out of 5 for value if I could. The Michael Kelly 8 string also featured in the best 8 string guitars on a budget list.


Now this is a tough question, with some work you can get that classic djent sound from the Michael Kelly 8 string but I prefer not to alter it heavily. I think it provides a really great sound in itself and would be a valuable asset to any band. Most of the big djent bands are always striving to push themselves creatively, changing and altering their sound so I think this guitar would be a great step to that process. Who wants to be like everyone else anyway? I want to stand on stage and blow people minds smashing out wicked djent groove on a telecaster inspired 8 string.


I am completely Infatuated with this guitar. Seriously, it blows my mind that more people aren’t playing these. For the djent enthusiasts, this guitar is a solid rhythm guitar for any band looking to bring a new sound to the mix. I cannot recommend this guitar enough based on its great sound, awesome reliability, and immense value.

If you haven’t already, check it out on amazon here!

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