“I wanted to create an instrument that had that beautiful old-school P-90 sound”: Knaggs unveils the Billy Morrison Keya-J-M, a Fralin-equipped high-end signature model for the Billy Idol guitarist

Knaggs Billy Morrison Keya-J-M
(Image credit: Jane Stuart Photography)

Billy Morrison, the long-serving Billy Idol guitarist and actor, has a new signature guitar from Knaggs – and as you would expect from the upscale Greensboro, MD, brand, it looks a quietly spectacular work of luthiery.

Inspired by Knaggs’ Keya J series model, which in turn has a whiff of the Gibson Les Paul Special double-cut about it, the Billy Morrison Keya J-M has a thicker body and packs not one but two P-90 pickups.

Everything is high-end on this guitar. The pickups are from Fralin, and they are hum-canceling. The frets are from EVO and are stainless steel. We’ve got Grover tuners and a nitro finish over a Custom Nico-Crème paint job, all complemented nicely with a single-ply black pickguard.

As per the mainline Keya-J models, all of which are available with a variety of custom options upon request, Morrison’s guitar has an Influence two-in-one bridge and string holder tailpiece. 

“When I started talking to Knaggs about a Billy Morrison signature guitar, I wanted to create an instrument that had that beautiful old-school P-90 sound, but played in my hands like a more traditional axe,” says Morrison. 

Knaggs Billy Morrison Keya-J-M

(Image credit: Knaggs)

Whether with Billy Idol, where he plays with another Knaggs signature artist in Steve Stevens, or with the Royal Machines, Morrison is playing off a second guitar player, and that figured highly in his thinking behind this model’s design.

“Aesthetically, I wanted it to be their Keya J shape, but asked for a thicker body and they knocked this thing out of the park,” he enthuses.

“Along with the bigger EVO frets and the noiseless Fralin P-90s, I have a beautiful looking and sounding signature guitar that cuts through in a band with two guitar players. Knaggs’ build quality and attention to detail is stunning and I’m honored to be a part of the Knaggs signature guitar family.”

Knaggs Billy Morrison Keya-J-M

(Image credit: Knaggs)

Knaggs hasn’t shared all the spec details just yet, but assuming it takes its lead from the other Keya J, then it will have a 24.75” scale length, a solid mahogany body (with some extra mahogany as per Morrison’s request), a glued-in mahogany neck and a rosewood fingerboard with a 12” radius – again, those dimensions are very Junior-esque.

The regular Keya J comes with dot inlays. Morrison has block inlays, as often seen on the the Knaggs Eric Steckel Kenai T/S. We would presume that custom options are available direct from Knaggs. That is the brand’s M.O. when it comes to these top-tier instruments. Other signature appointments can be found on the headstock. 

Price is TBC but the mainline Keya J starts from $3,830. For more details, head over to Knaggs Guitars.

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Jonathan Horsley

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to publications including Guitar World, MusicRadar and Total Guitar. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.