Kramer Guitars

Kramer Guitars on Ebay
Kramer Van Halen guitar Kramer Guitars is an American manufacturer of electric guitars and basses. Kramer produced aluminum-necked electric guitars and basses in the 1970s and wooden-necked guitars catering to hard rock musicians in the 1980's; Kramer is currently a division of Gibson Guitar Corporation. Kramer was one of the most popular guitar brands of the 1980's and the best-selling brand of 1985 and 1986. At the height of its popularity, Kramer was considered a prestige instrument and was endorsed by many famous musicians of the day, including Eddie Van Halen, Richie Sambora, Mick Mars, Jennifer Batten, Tom Morello, and Vivian Campbell.

A chance encounter between Dennis Berardi and Eddie Van Halen's managers on an airplane flight set the foundation for Kramer's meteoric rise in the 1980s. Eddie was interested in a tremolo that stayed in tune, which the Rockinger system offered. A meeting between Eddie Van Halen and Kramer execs took place, and Eddie was sold. At the meeting, he reportedly quipped that he would help make Kramer the "#1 guitar company in the world."

By 1983 the Rockinger tremolo (sometimes dubbed "The Eddie Van Halen tremolo") had been widely replaced by the Floyd Rose system. In addition, Kramer once again offered Schaller tuners on their guitars, tapping Schaller to produce Floyd Rose tremolos as well. Kramer was the only guitar company offering Original Floyd Rose tremolos stock on their production guitars, a competitive advantage of Kramer over other guitar manufacturers of the period.

In late 1983 Kramer switched from the beak headstock design to the Gibson Explorer-like banana headstock design. This distinctive look also helped rank Kramer highly with guitar enthusiasts. One notable Kramer guitar was the Baretta model, which was a single-humbucker instrument similar to guitars Eddie Van Halen used on stage. The Kramer Baretta was the flagship of the Kramer line and helped popularize the single-pickup 1980's guitar design.

Kramer continued its success into the late 1980's, with the majority of hard rock and glam metal artists from Motley Crue's Mick Mars to Whitesnake's Vivian Campbell being major endorsees.

The original Kramer company effectively came to an end in 1990, mostly due to financial problems. The company had been spending huge amounts on advertising and endorsements, and then lost a lawsuit with Floyd D. Rose over royalties.

The Kramer brand was sold out of bankruptcy to Gibson. Gibson's Epiphone division has produced guitars and basses under the Kramer brand since the late 1990's, mostly factory-direct through the now-defunct wwebsite. Encouraged by the resurgence of interest in the Kramer brand, Epiphone has been reissuing classic Kramer models, including the 1984 Model (an homage to Eddie Van Halen's famous 5150 guitar used from 1984-1991), the Jersey Star (an homage to the Richie Sambora signature 1980's Kramer), and most recently, the 1985 Baretta Reissue (a standard slant-pickup Baretta). These high-end instruments are assembled in the USA from American components. In January of 2009, Gibson shut down the website, instead promising that Kramers would be available through dealers and in music stores by the end of 2009.


1984 Reissue
110-720 Series
250-G Special
350-G Standard
450-G Deluxe
650-G Artist
Baretta '85 Reissue
Baretta II (Soloist)
Classic Series
DMZ Custom Series
Duke Custom / Standard
Duke Special
Eliot Easton Pro I
Eliot Easton Pro II
Focus series
Gene Simmons Axe
Gorky Park
Jersey Star
Liberty '86 Series
Metalist Series
Night Rider
Pacer Series
Paul Dean
Richie Sambora
Ripley Series
Savant Series
Stagemaster Deluxe
Stagemaster Series
Striker Series
Vanguard Series
Vanguard (Reissue)
XL Series
ZX Aero Star Series

Bass Guitars

250-B Special Bass
350-B Standard Bass
450-B Deluxe Bass
650-B Artist Bass
710-720 Series Bass (import)
Deluxe 8 Bass
DMB 2000 Bass
DMZ 4000 Bass
DMZ 4001 Bass
DMZ 5000 Bass
DMZ 6000B Bass
Duke Custom or Standard Bass
Duke Special Bass
Ferrington KFB-1/KFB-2 Acoustic Bass
Focus 7000 Bass
Focus 8000 Bass
Focus K-77 Bass
Focus K-88 Bass
Forum Series Bass
Gene Simmons Axe Bass
Pacer Bass
Pioneer Bass
Ripley 4-String Bass
Ripley 5-String Bass
Stagemaster Custom Bass
Stagemaster Deluxe Bass
Striker 700 Bass
Vanguard Bass
XKB-10 Bass
XKB-20 Bass
XL Series Bass
ZK Aero Star Series Bass