I ditched out the Duncan pickups right away for EMG-81s. The stock pickups were OK, I just prefer EMG pickups and have them in all my guitars. This guitar is a little darker sounding than the others, could be from the lack of a tone pot in the electronics chain, or could be the mass and material of the guitar. Not sure which it is but it suits me fine. I use an ADA MP-1 preamp into a Marshall VS100H head and Marshall 1960A 4x12 for practice/small gigs and the preamp into a Rocktron Velocity 300 power amp pushing two Marshall 4x12s for the bigger places. Versatile and no hassles there. I play out metal, but practice and warm up with blues and classical stuff, too.
Reliability seems to be good, except the pickup switch gremlin I mentioned above. A little neck-heavy like mentioned in previous reviews, but I don't think I can do anything about that. The imitation Floyd Rose has GOT TO GO. It does not stay put for live playing, maybe a Tremsetter would take care of that "returning to zero" problem. It even let go of one of the saddles while playing, so intonation and tuning was immediatly lost. Back to square one there. Check everything and tighten the piss out of it so it don't happen again. The main reason I hate this bridge is the super sloppy whammy bar. The thing has so much sloppiness in it, I can move the bar up and down about a half inch before it does anything! Control? Yeah right. I'm a whammy bar yanking mofo, so I need total control of the bridge. Slop in the arm ain't gonna cut it, not for one second. I ended up machining out a brand new collar out of brass that is beefy enough to make tighter tolerances and take out most of the slop, without binding up. I understand that the REAL Floyds have a better way of fastening the arm to the bridge with no sloppiness, so there is another 150 bucks I can stick into the guitar. The fake Floyd is taking most of the points away, and it'll make an interesting paperweight soon enough.
Playing guitar since about 1986 and went through literally tons of different guitars, amps, cabs and the such. Jackson guitars have always been good to me before, but this one needed a little TLC to make it mine. A nice all around guitar though. If it was stolen, I'd have to leave the thief's body parts scattered about the continent, because there's nothing worse than a thief. Then I think I would replace it with the neck-thru USA version instead of upgrading the Made in India version. I fell completely in love with the looks of this guitar the moment I saw one, so yes I would have another Jackson Kelly.