Michael Kelly Acoustic Guitar Buyers Guide

Established in 1999, Michael Kelly Guitars was founded on the principles of sound, innovation and offering musicians more for their money. The first Michael Kelly instruments were actually mandolins and acoustic basses. The Michael Kelly team noticed a gap in the market for affordable high quality versions of these instruments so they designed and produced the Michael Kelly Dragonfly  Acoustic Electric Mandolin  and Dragonfly Acoustic Bass Guitars . The positive feedback Michael Kelly got from this first wave of instruments inspired them to bring that same value proposition into the world of Electric Guitars, Bass Guitars, and Acoustic Guitars. However, honoring the Michael Kelly ideal of producing unique instruments was a bit harder to come by in the world of acoustic guitars; various brands had experimented with different tonewoods, body shapes, neck profiles and other “defining”characteristics  Thankfully, the Michael Kelly design team had a few ideas up their sleeve…

Port Technology: The Offset Soundhole

When you look towards the middle of many of Michael Kelly’s acoustic guitars, you will notice something is missing: the centrally located soundhole that occupies the space between the end of the fret board and the bridge. Don’t be alarmed; the soundhole is indeed present, it just lives on the upper left of the guitar and sports a more ovular look than what you are used to seeing. While it’s a unique look for any acoustic, it serves an important purpose. The most important design principle for the Michael Kelly brand is “built on sound “ so they found by moving the soundhole away from the center, the area between the neck and the bridge became a potent soundboard. This newfound soundboard is further enhanced with a redesigned bracing pattern. These two features create better natural projection, exceptional balance across the frequency range and more resonance to your sound. Furthermore, putting the soundhole on the top left of the guitar gives you a more authentic reference of how your guitar sounds. A second soundhole, which resides on the side of the guitar, gives you further instant feedback. It’s like a personal monitor for your guitar.

Zero Pin End Bridge

Another unique feature of the Michael Kelly acoustics is the Zero Pin End-Bridge. One of the most tedious responsibilities when it comes to maintaining your guitar is changing your strings. Between threading it through the guitar and dealing with bridge pins, the string change and setup process on your average acoustic guitar is not very convenient. With the Zero Pin End-Bridge, this task is much easier. Simply slide the end of your string in the grooves of the bridge and you’re done! Your strings never slip out because the tension on the string keeps it in the bridge!

Discreet Electronics

Fishman is one of the most trusted names in acoustic guitar pickups and they help make Michael Kelly acoustics gig ready. Most acoustic-electric guitars feature a gaudy piece of plastic that is easily damaged and takes away from the instruments overall aesthetic. However,on  Michael Kelly acoustics, the pickup controls are pre-installed inside the soundhole of the guitar so they are hidden from your audience.  Furthermore, since the piezo pickup is mounted under the bridge , it’s able to capture added resonance of the soundboard creating a simply fantastic plugged in tone.

Now that we understand what makes the Michael Kelly’s line of Port acoustic guitars so special, let’s explore the available options:

Forte Port

The Forte Port is the perfect guitar for someone who doesn’t need a flashy look but still wants great tone. With a solid spruce top and a sapele back and sides, you’ll get a strong build and a nice, warm sound. All your notes will ring out which is perfect for recording or playing live in a loud bar. These guitars are especially great for fingerstyle players since each note will resonate and sustain to allow for dynamic playing. The extreme cutaway gives you enhanced comfort and easier access to the upper register.

  • Zero Pin Bridge
  • Mahogany Neck And Ovangkol Fingerboard
  • Solid Spruce Top
  • Sapele Back And Sides
  • Comfort C Neck
  • Discreet Fishman Sonitone Pickup
  • Extreme Cutaway Body Shape
  • Bonus Side Soundport

Forte Port Exotic

If your looking to make a bit more of a visual statement and add some depth to your sound, the Forte Port Exotic JE is the answer. It exchanges the spruce top on the standard Forte port for a more exotic Java Ebony. It also uses okoume back and sides in place of Sapele. The combination of the Java Ebony top , okoume body, and Port Technology deliver a more full bodied tone with excellent warmth at the critical lower mid frequencies. The back and sides use a bold satin black finish while the natural grain of the Jave Ebony is simply striking. Black binding and hardware solidifies the Forte Port Exotic JE’s elegant style and sound.

  • Zero Pin Bridge
  • Mahogany Neck And Ovangkol Fingerboard
  • Java Ebony & Mahogany Blend Top
  • Okoume Back And Sides
  • Comfort C Neck
  • Discreet Fishman Sonitone Pickup
  • Extreme Cutaway Body Shape
  • Bonus Side Soundport

Forte Port X

The Forte Port X series integrates a quilt maple top, back, and sides for a different look and sound than other members of the Port family. Combining the natural resonance of quilt maple with the Port Technology gives you enriched harmonics and dynamic overtones. The Forte Port X is perfect for the player who wants big dynamic tone in an incredibly attractive instrument. Go with the natural elegance of the Natural Quilt Maple top or choose the Partial Eclipse finish for a more eclectic statement.

  • Zero Pin Bridge
  • Mahogany Neck And Ovangkol Fingerboard
  • Quilted Maple Top, Back And Sides
  • Comfort C Neck
  • Discreet Fishman Sonitone Pickup
  • Extreme Cutaway Body Shape
  • Bonus Side Soundport

Triad Port

The Triad Port takes the Offset soundhole approach to another level by combining it with a three-piece exotic wood back. Made from a combination of flamed okume & ovangkol, the Triad back established a refined tone with lush highs and refined lows and mids. The solid sapele top results in a more full bodied sound than the laminate Sapele used on the standard Forte Port. With beautiful, top grade tone woods and a comfortable extreme cutaway, the Triad Port is the perfect guitar for the player who wants style without compromising tone.

  • Zero Pin Bridge
  • Mahogany Neck And Ovangkol Fingerboard
  • Solid Spruce Top
  • Triad 3-Piece Exotic Wood Back, Flamed Okoume & Ovangkol
  • Flamed Okoume Sides
  • Comfort C Neck
  • Discreet Fishman Sonitone Pickup
  • Extreme Cutaway Body Shape
  • Bonus Side Soundport

Triad 10E

Looking to get some chorus out of your Triad Port? After playing the Triad 10E you’ll first be amazed at its sound but perhaps wonder why it sounds like a 12 string but only has 10. Michael Kelly guitars found that having 10 instead of 12 helps with the clarity and articulation of your playing while still giving you a great tone! You still get the same 3-piece back as the Triad Port and a more traditional dreadnought body and soundhole placement to help the guitar project with its string setup.

  • Zero Pin Bridge
  • Mahogany Neck And Ovangkol Fingerboard
  • Solid Spruce Top
  • Triad 3-Piece Exotic Wood Back, Flamed Okume & Ovangkol
  • Flamed Okoume Sides
  • Comfort C Neck
  • Discreet Fishman Sonitone Pickup
  • Extreme Cutaway Body Shape
  • Bonus Side Soundport