Cort G280 Select vs Jackson USA Select Kelly KE2

Swap
Cort G280 Select
Playability
73
Sound
68
Build
65
Value
79
Score
69
Swap
Jackson USA Select Kelly KE2
VS
Playability
83
Sound
79
Build
77
Value
65
Score
80

Reasons to Get
Cort G280 Select vs Jackson USA Select Kelly KE2

Decorative Top
Flamed Maple vs None
Finished with beautiful natural wood patterns
Release Year
2021 vs 2020
From a more recent year
Type of Frets
Medium vs Jumbo
You'll feel the fretboard when pressing down the strings
Neck Profile
Ergo-V vs Speed
Great if you like to hang your thumb over the fretboard
Switch Positions
5 vs 3
More tone options
Pickups
HSS vs HH
High output with beautiful cleans and tone versatility
Locking Tuners
Yes vs None
Easier to change strings
Nut Width
1.654'' (42mm) vs 1.688'' (42.9mm)
Favors small hands, easier bar chords and other shapes
Bridge
Tremolo vs Floyd Rose
Simple vibratos without too much maintenance
Value Score
79 vs 65
Better price/quality relationship

Reasons to Get
Jackson USA Select Kelly KE2 vs Cort G280 Select

Country of Manufacturing
United States vs Indonesia
Built with higher quality standards
Frets Height
Taller vs Shorter
Easier to press down strings and bend them
Type of Frets
Jumbo vs Medium
You won't feel the fretboard when pressing down the strings
Neck Joint
Neck-Through vs Bolt-On
Stronger neck and easier access to upper frets
Neck Profile
Speed vs Ergo-V
Thin and flat neck for playing fast
Pickups Quality
Seymour Duncan vs Cort
Better pickups
Nut Material
Locking vs Plastic
Best tuning stability for intense tremolo usage
Pickups
HH vs HSS
High output without hum
Number of Frets
24 vs 22
Allows to reach higher notes
Nut Width
1.688'' (42.9mm) vs 1.654'' (42mm)
Less likely to mute strings by accident and more space for fingerstyle
Bridge
Floyd Rose vs Tremolo
Allows intense vibratos and techniques like Dive Bombs

Other Key Differences
Cort G280 Select vs Jackson USA Select Kelly KE2

Bridge Pickup
Cort Voiced Tone VTH-77 vs Seymour Duncan JB TB-4
Different Bridge Pickup
Neck Pickup
Cort Voiced Tone VTS-63 vs Seymour Duncan Jazz SH-2
Different Neck Pickup
Fretboard Wood
Rosewood vs Ebony
Different Fretboard Wood
Nut Material
Plastic vs Locking
Different Nut Material

Shared Features
Cort G280 Select vs Jackson USA Select Kelly KE2

Body Wood
Alder
Same Body Wood
Neck Wood
Maple
Same Neck Wood
Strings
6
Same tuning options
Body Type
Solid Body
Feedback free
Volume Knobs
1
Same volume control
Tone Knobs
1
Same tone control
Paint Finish
Poly
Resistant paint that ages well
Scale Length
25.5'' (647.7mm)
Same string tension and fret separation
Pickups Power
Passive
Cleaner sound and no battery needed
Compound Radius
12" to 15.75" vs 12" to 16"
Balanced playability for chords and single-notes

Common Strengths

  • Compound Radius Fretboard
  • Expensive Wood

Common Weaknesses

  • Pickup Alter Switch/Knob
  • Weight Relief
  • Stays in Tune (Evertune)
  • Stainless Steel Frets
  • Luminescent Sidedots
  • Strap Lock
  • 21:1 Tuner Ratio

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Cort G280 Select vs Jackson USA Select Kelly KE2: Which One is Better?

After going through our comparison algorithm, the results show that the Jackson USA Select Kelly KE2 is probably the better product overall with its final score of 80 compared to the Cort G280 Select's 69 score, which is a significant difference.

The Jackson USA Select Kelly KE2 wins when it comes to sound, playability, build quality. On the other hand, the Cort G280 Select has the upper hand when it comes to value for the money.

If you got small hands, you'll probably feel more comfortable playing the Jackson USA Select Kelly KE2.

Which Guitar is Better for Beginners?

If you're looking for your first guitar to learn how to play, the Cort G280 Select is the better choice.

The Cort G280 Select meets 6 out of our 8 criteria items for beginner friendliness, while the Jackson USA Select Kelly KE2 meets only 5. This takes into account the type of frets, scale length, nut width, bridge type, fretboard radius, and neck profile to determine the easiest combination for new players.

Nevertheless, when it comes to choosing a guitar, you should pick the one more compatible with your personal style. Still, below we'll try you to give you our results as objectively as it's possible to help you decide.

Cort G280 Select Overview

  • From Cort's 2021 G series
  • Made in Indonesia
  • 6 strings
  • 25.5"'' scale
  • 12" to 15.75" Fretboard Radius
  • Flamed Maple top
  • Alder body
  • Hard Maple neck
  • Rosewood fretboard
  • Bridge pickup: Cort Voiced Tone VTH-77 (Humbucker/Passive)
  • Middle pickup: Cort Voiced Tone VTS-63 (Single Coil/Passive)
  • Neck pickup: Cort Voiced Tone VTS-63 (Single Coil/Passive)
  • Cort CFA-III Tremolo bridge
  • 1 volume and 1 tone Dome knobs
  • 5-way Switch
  • Ergo-V Bolt-On neck
  • 22 Medium frets
  • Cort Staggered Locking tuners

Jackson USA Select Kelly KE2 Overview

  • From Jackson's 2020 USA Select series
  • Made in United States
  • 6 strings
  • 25.5"'' scale
  • 12" to 16" Fretboard Radius
  • Alder body
  • Quartersawn Maple neck
  • Ebony fretboard
  • Bridge pickup: Seymour Duncan JB TB-4 (Humbucker/Passive)
  • Neck pickup: Seymour Duncan Jazz SH-2 (Humbucker/Passive)
  • Floyd Rose Original Double-Locking Tremolo bridge
  • 1 volume and 1 tone Dome knobs
  • 3-way Switch
  • Speed Neck-Through neck
  • 24 Jumbo frets
  • Jackson Sealed Die-Cast tuners

Build Quality Comparison

When it comes to build quality, we like to take into account everything used to build the guitar. This includes materials, hardware and the quality control expected depending on the country where it was built. Let's see how the Cort G280 Select compares to the Jackson USA Select Kelly KE2.

Country of Origin Comparison

The manufacturing country can tell a lot about the build quality of an instrument. The Cort G280 Select was built in Indonesia while the Jackson USA Select Kelly KE2 was made in United States.

Indonesia is becoming the most popular country for guitar building because they can make good instruments for a low price. Some people think that they're 'the new China' when it comes to build quality. But the truth is that Indonesian guitars are more consistent, although Chinese quality has improved a lot in the last few years.

The United States is considered one of the best electric guitar manufacturers in the world. A guitar made in this country is supposed to have world-class quality control. Nowadays, guitars made in other countries can beat some of the ones made in the US, but most of the time, this country offers the best you can get. Of course, that comes at a price.

Winner: Jackson USA Select Kelly KE2

Woods Used in Both Guitars

Maple wood pattern used for guitar building
Maple
Alder wood pattern used for guitar building
Alder

Maple is one of the most popular necks for good reasons. It is a strong wood that is relatively cheap to make and looks beautiful. The highest quality maple is the hardest that comes from North America.

Alder is the most popular wood that Fender uses in most of their guitars nowadays. Even though they say it's because of its balanced tone with an emphasis in the upper midrange, it probably is because it isn't too expensive, and it's also pretty lightweight—more than Mahogany.

Woods Used in the Cort G280 Select

Rosewood wood pattern used for guitar building
Rosewood

Rosewood is an almost purple-looking wood that is used mainly for fretboards since it's heavy, rare, and expensive. It's sometimes used on acoustic guitar bodies to create stronger warm tones.

Woods Used in the Jackson USA Select Kelly KE2

Ebony wood pattern used for guitar building
Ebony

Ebony is a high-end wood, so it is not cheap. It's only used for fretboards because it's also very heavy. It does an excellent job as a durable material while looking elegant.

Winner: Tie.

Nut Material

If you want your guitar to stay in tune and sound good, you need a well cut nut. Nut quality can be inconsistent even when comparing two copies of the same guitar model. The best way to make sure you're nut will be well done is by getting a nut made by an expert company like TUSQ or Micarta.

The Cort G280 Select has a Plastic nut. This is a low-quality nut that you might want to consider upgrading soon. Bone and TUSQ nuts are the best for guitars with a fixed or simple tremolo bridge.

On the other hand, the Jackson USA Select Kelly KE2 comes with a Locking nut. Instead of a regular nut, this guitar has a locking system that will lock down the strings at the nut, preventing it from getting out of tune. It removes one of the disadvantages of tremolo bridges, tune stability.

Winner: Jackson USA Select Kelly KE2.

Fret Material

Most guitar fret wire is made of nickel silver. This material eventually wears down after a lot of use and most guitars end up needing a complete fret replacement. However, some expensive guitars come with stainless steel frets. This is what you should aim for if you can afford it.

Unfortunately, none of these guitars come with stainless steel frets.

Winner: Tie.

Bridge

The perfect bridge for you will depend on your playstyle because they all have advantages and disadvantages. However, some bridges are more expensive—like Floyd Roses and Evertunes—and thus add more value to a guitar.

The Cort G280 Select's brige is a Tremolo. Tremolo bridges give you more versatility than fixed bridges. They let you perform the intense vibrato effects that would be impossible with a fixed bridge. However, since the bridge floats and there's less contact with the body, the strings lose sustain slightly faster. They can also be a bit harder to restring and set up correctly than fixed bridges.

On the other hand, the Jackson USA Select Kelly KE2's is a Floyd Rose. This is a double-locking bridge system that allows you to perform techniques like dive bombs and pinch harmonics. The locking nut allows your guitar to stay in tune even after the most intense tremolo usage. The disadvantage is that it takes more work to change the strings and set up everything correctly.

Since we need to be objective, the most expensive type of bridge will be the winner of this section. In the end, this doesn't matter if you're not going to use the bridge for its original purpose, so choose the bridge that fits your playing style better.

Winner: Jackson USA Select Kelly KE2.

Tuners

The Cort G280 Select has the best tuners of the two because they are locking tuners. They'll help to keep your guitar in tune because they allow you to tune the guitar without wrapping the strings around the posts. This avoids variations in the tuning due to the strings changing position at the post after a bend. They come at the disadvantage of being slightly heavier than regular tuners. Also, it makes it a lot easier to restring.

Nevertheless, the Jackson USA Select Kelly KE2 has a locking nut, so it should have even better tune stability and doesn't need locking tuners.

Winner: Cort G280 Select.

Neck Joint

Contrary to popular belief, the difference in sustain and tone that some neck joints give to an electric guitar is simply unperceivable—if they're all well built. However, some of them do have advantages over the others.

The Cort G280 Select has a Bolt-On neck joint. This neck is joined to the body by 4 bolts that you can simply unscrew. This allows you to replace the neck or take it off for travel. It's the most common and cheapest way to build a guitar.

On the other hand, the Jackson USA Select Kelly KE2 comes with Neck-Through neck joint. This neck is a lot more resistant and lets builders give the neck joint a more comfortable shape for soloing at the upper frets. The disadvantage is that they're more expensive and that if you damage your neck, you can't simply replace it like with bolt-on necks.

Winner: Jackson USA Select Kelly KE2.

Here is the list of features that were considered when choosing the winner in the Features subcategory:

Strengths & Weaknesses
Cort G280 Select
  • Locking Tuners
  • Expensive Wood
  • Compound Radius Fretboard
  • Tremolo
  • Stainless Steel Frets
  • High-Quality-Standards Country
  • High-Quality Nut
  • Top Brand Pickups
  • Neck-Through Build
  • Push Knob or Extra Switch Option
  • Weight Relief
  • 21:1 Tuner Ratio
  • Strap Lock
  • Luminescent Inlay
Strengths & Weaknesses
Jackson USA Select Kelly KE2
  • Made in United States
  • Expensive Wood
  • Locking Nut
  • Top Brand Pickups
  • Neck-Through Build
  • Compound Radius Fretboard
  • Tremolo
  • Stainless Steel Frets
  • Locking Tuners
  • Push Knob or Extra Switch Option
  • Weight Relief
  • 21:1 Tuner Ratio
  • Retainer Bar
  • Strap Lock
  • Luminescent Inlay

Final Build Quality Scores

Cort G280 Select
Quality of materials 56
Features 75
Quality Control 65
Build Quality 65
Jackson USA Select Kelly KE2
Quality of materials 52
Features 80
Quality Control 100
Build Quality 77

Sound Quality Comparison

Determining which guitar sounds better objectively is a difficult task since not everybody will love the same pickups. However, we still can take a look at the instrument specifications to determine how versatile, how much sustain, and the tuning stability it might have. Let's see now how both these guitars compare to each other when it comes to sound quality.

Pickup Configuration

The Cort G280 Select has an HSS configuration while the Jackson USA Select Kelly KE2 has HH pickups.

HSS provides a great balance if you like to play with a lot of distortion, but also love to use clean tones. You'll get a lot of output at the bridge position, but you'll be able to play bright clean tones at the other positions.

On the other hand, Double Humbucker (HH) is the choice for people who want a fuller, more round sound with tons of mids and lows. Humbuckers also get rid of the hum noise that plague single-coil pickups. They can work out for almost any genre going from Djent to even Jazz.

Pickups Quality

The Jackson USA Select Kelly KE2 pickups from a more specialized brand than the Cort G280 Select. Its pickups should give you a fuller, richer sound, although it all depends on what type of music you're going to play. We recommend these pickups for Hard Rock and similar genres.

We found the same or similar pickups to the Jackson USA Select Kelly KE2's online:

Both guitars use Passive pickups. This is what's used for most music genres. They have a regular output and will serve you for both high-gain and clean tones. The alternative (Active pickups) offer a higher output that is mostly used for heavy music.

Winner: Jackson USA Select Kelly KE2.

Versatility Comparison

Some guitars offer you more ways to explore your creativity than others. Below you'll find how both guitars compare when it comes to versatility.

Switch Options

The Cort G280 Select gives you 5 switch options while the Jackson USA Select Kelly KE2 gives you 3. This means that the Cort G280 Select gives you more options to find the right pickup combination for the type of sound you want to achieve

None of them come with some kind of coil split or pickup mod option. This makes both lacking in terms of versatility.

Here's the diagram comparing all the pickup combinations you can get with both guitars:

Cort G280 Select pickups switch selector and push knobs diagram
Cort G280 Select's switch options
Jackson USA Select Kelly KE2 pickups switch and push knobs diagram
Jackson USA Select Kelly KE2's switch options

When evaluating versatility, we also take into consideration bridge and neck joint type, number of frets, switch options, amount of pickups and more.

Winner: Cort G280 Select.

Final Sound Quality Scores

Cort G280 Select
Pickups 60
Sustain 70
Versatility 71
Tuning Stability 70
Sound 68
Jackson USA Select Kelly KE2
Pickups 85
Sustain 80
Versatility 65
Tuning Stability 85
Sound 79

Playability Comparison

Let's now compare the playability of both guitars. Bear in mind that the guitar will feel different depending on your hand size and play style. That's why you should always test a guitar before buying it. But if you can't or want a second opinion on it, we can still take a look at each of the important measurements of the guitar for you. This way, we can predict how easy a guitar is to play, or how different it will feel compared to the other.

Remember that, even though the difference might seem small, every inch counts when we're comparing guitars. Any variation can completely change how comfortable a guitar feels in your hands.

Nut Width Comparison

Cort G280 Select Nut Width
Cort G280 Select Nut Width
Jackson USA Select Kelly KE2 Nut Width
Jackson USA Select Kelly KE2 Nut Width

The nut width will affect the separation between strings at the nut. In this comparison, the Cort G280 Select has the wider nut with 42mm (1.654'') vs 42.9mm (1.688''). This is a 0.9mm (0.034'') difference

This means that it will be more difficult to do bar chords on the Cort G280 Select, especially closer to the nut. However, it's also easier to play without muting strings accidently. This favors people with big hands.

Scale Length Comparison

Cort G280 Select and Jackson USA Select Kelly KE2's Scale Length
Both guitars have the same scale length

The scale length is one of the things that influences playability the most. This is the distance between the nut and the bridge and will affect everything from low action allowance, difficulty to perform bends, fret separation, and even tone.

In this case, both guitars have a scale length of 25.5".

This is the scale used in most Stratocasters. It's slightly longer than the typical 24.75'' size found in Les Pauls, and it's one of the main reasons why Stratocasters have such a bright sound in general. A longer scale also means that the strings will have higher tension. This will help you get lower action without suffering fret buzz, which will also be helpful when playing in lower tunings without having to increase your string gauge.

However, this also means that there will be more separation between frets, which can make it more difficult to play. Also, bending the strings will require more strengths due to the increased tension, but remember that a tremolo guitar will offset this difficulty.

Lastly, remember that you can also affect the tension of the strings by changing your string gauge. You can use a thicker gauge for more tension and a lighter one for less tension.

Neck Profile Comparison

Cort G280 Select Neck Profile
Cort G280 Select's neck profile
Jackson USA Select Kelly KE2 Neck Profile
Jackson USA Select Kelly KE2's neck profile

No single neck shape is better than others. However, most people tend to prefer a thinner necks because it doesn't get in their way when playing fast and most hand sizes can adapt to it pretty well. However, some people still prefer thicker necks for a better grip, especially if they have big hands.

In this case, both guitars have different neck shapes:

The Cort G280 Select has a V type of neck. This neck shape was more common during Fender's early years. Some people like it because they use their thumb over the edge of the fretboard to press the lower strings. It's rather thicker than most modern necks, so it's not usually used for playing fast solos.

The Jackson USA Select Kelly KE2, on the other hand, has a D neck. This is a thin and flat neck that is made for playing fast. If you prefer a neck that doesn't get in your way when soloing, this is the shape you should use. Guitarists that prefer to have a bit more grip won't like this type of neck.

Fretboard Radius Comparison

Cort G280 Select Fretboard Compound Radius
Cort G280 Select's Compound Fretboard Radius
Jackson USA Select Kelly KE2 Fretboard Compound Radius
Jackson USA Select Kelly KE2's Compound Fretboard Radius

Most electric guitar fretboards are not flat; they usually have a curve or arc across their width. A curved fretboard will make it easier to perform chords without muting strings, while a flatter one will make it easier to play single notes, which is good for bending and soloing in general. The best fretboards have a compound radius that varies across the fingerboard, but they're not common since they take a lot more work to build.

In this case, the Cort G280 Select is the only one with a compound radius. This is a huge win because it will give you the best of both worlds: a more curved radius in the first few frets for chords, and flatter as you come closer to the body for soloing.

Hand Size Comfortability

Everyone has a different hand size, and that's why it's recommended to try a guitar before buying, even if others tell you that it's comfortable to play. However, we can know whether a guitar favors small or large hands just by knowing its exact measurements.

And after taking into account the scale length, nut width, neck profile and fretboard radius, we can conclude that the Cort G280 Select favors large hands more than the Jackson USA Select Kelly KE2.

Cort G280 Select:
Big Hands
Balance
Small hands
Jackson USA Select Kelly KE2:
Big Hands
Balance
Small hands

Fret Size Comparison

Cort G280 Select Frets Size
Cort G280 Select's Frets Size
Jackson USA Select Kelly KE2 Frets Size
Jackson USA Select Kelly KE2's Frets Size

The Jackson USA Select Kelly KE2 has Jumbo frets, which should be taller than the Cort G280 Select's Medium frets.

Some people prefer taller frets because they result in more sustain since the strings get pressed cleanly without interference from the fretboard. However, if they're too tall—like Jumbo frets—, you might change the pitch of the strings accidentally if you press too hard because you won't be touching the fretboard with your fingers. This is also why some guitarists with a heavy grip prefer smaller frets. They like to feel the fingerboard to avoid pressing down too hard and getting out of pitch.

Final Playability Scores

Cort G280 Select
Bending & Vibrato Ease 60
Chord Playability 100
Solo Playability 60
Playability 73
Jackson USA Select Kelly KE2
Bending & Vibrato Ease 70
Chord Playability 80
Solo Playability 100
Playability 83

Cort G280 Select vs Jackson USA Select Kelly KE2 Specs Comparison

General Cort G280 Select Jackson USA Select Kelly KE2
Brand: Cort Jackson
Year: 2021 2020
Configuration: HSS HH
Strings: 6 6
Made in: Indonesia United States
Series: G USA Select
Colors: Black, Yellow White, Black
Left-Handed Version: No No
Body
Type: Solid Body Solid Body
Body Material: Alder Alder
Bridge: Cort CFA-III Tremolo Floyd Rose Original Double-Locking Tremolo
Neck
Neck Joint: Bolt-On Neck-Through
Tuners: Cort Staggered Locking Jackson Sealed Die-Cast
Fretboard: Rosewood Ebony
Neck Material: Hard Maple Quartersawn Maple
Decoration: White Dots Mother of Pearl Sharkfin
Scale Size: 25.5" 25.5"
Shape: Ergo-V Speed
Frets: 22 Medium 24 Jumbo
Fretboard Radius: 12" to 15.75" 12" to 16"
Nut: Plastic Locking
Nut Width: 42mm (1.654'') 42.9mm (1.688'')
Electronics
Switch: 5 Way 3 Way
Knobs: Dome Dome
Pickup Mods: None None
Volume Controls: 1 1
Tone Controls: 1 1
Bridge Pickup: Cort Voiced Tone VTH-77 (Humbucker / Passive) Seymour Duncan JB TB-4 (Humbucker / Passive)
Middle Pickup: Cort Voiced Tone VTS-63 (Single Coil / Passive)
Neck Pickup: Cort Voiced Tone VTS-63 (Single Coil / Passive) Seymour Duncan Jazz SH-2 (Humbucker / Passive)