12.02.2009

Review of Gary Kramer Guitars

Tony Pasko of The Rock House "Gear 411" section just got done reviewing Gary Kramer Guitars' "The ILLUSIONIST “S” DELUXE" and The CATHEDRAL “S” DELUXE. Here is what he has to say about these awesome guitars.

More of Tony's reviews can be found at GEAR 411

Gary Kramer Guitars




Greetings,
This month I want to shine some light on a guitar company that is truly going the extra mile by designing and building some extraordinary instruments: The Gary Kramer Guitar Company.
Yes, this is the same Gary Kramer that built those cool “Kramer” guitars back in the 80’s that Eddie Van Halen played. He was also one of the pioneers that brought us affordable super modified “Strat-styled” guitars, and now he’s back with a new line of instruments.
The GKG (Gary Kramer Guitars) as they call it, offer a wide spectrum of guitars from imports to top of the line custom shop guitars. GKG’s custom shop offers many wood options, graphics and colors, and if you have any questions about specs or options you won’t have to weed through a bunch of people that don’t know anything till you reach the one or two guys that are more tech savvy. Everyone I’ve come in contact with there is very knowledgeable and is focused on providing good customer service, YEAH!!!!



The first guitar I’m going to review is in their American made “Crusader Series” named: The ILLUSIONIST “S” DELUXE.
The guitar showed up in a beautiful vintage white color, and the top is slightly carved with their patented “Molded” pickguard, a very cool feature that looks like you have a pickguard on your guitar, but in turn allows the pick-ups to be directly mounted to the body. Don’t be fooled by the familiar strat-styled look of these guitars, they are anything but standard. Every curve on the Illusionist is streamlined to hug your body and allows you to have easier access to the upper frets; even the placement of the controls are placed where they are accessible but not in the way.
The neck is tapered but not narrow, and not small like an Ibanez neck. It’s pretty comfortable with the flatter radius and bigger frets? This guitar is meant to be played and played fast. You will not have to fight the guitar to get your shred-on…
The locking tremolo and tuners are Gotoh. I wasn’t familiar with the Gotoh tremolo and at first I thought it was an unusual choice, but it is a superb locking tremolo. I think I like it better than my Floyd, it’s a very smooth feeling tremolo with a bit of added sustain.
Speaking of sustain, the Illusionist came with Ivory Dimarzio pick-ups. The humbucker contained a bit of punch without being overly hot and the single coil provided vintage sparkle and bite. The custom electronics is a nice change of pace, providing you with a single volume control (with a rubber grip that is a smart addition), a 3-way toggle switch that give you: Hum/ Hum-Single/ Single, and another mini 3-way toggle switch. The mini toggle is wired to the humbucker and allows you to split the humbucker and set it in series and parallel modes. This is a very useful feature when in combination with the necks single-coil.



I plugged the Illusionist into my Fender Deluxe and was blown away by the great single-coil SRV tone I received in the neck position. The humbucker split was punchy and provided a wonderful funk tone very tele-ish, but the humbucker in parallel mode inspired me to plug into my vintage Marshall and pull off my best Jimmy Page riffs. The Illusionist is a modern style guitar with a bark as big as its bite.
Now on most guitars this would be where the review would end because there wouldn't’t be anything to talk about on the back of most guitars. But with the GKG the back of the Illusionist is just as pretty as the front. The laser cut chrome back-plate and iron cross neck plate are beautiful and gives you that custom chopper feel.



The attention to detail is very noticeable, and you will be amazed on how every seam and corner is fitted right and polished to perfection. GKG understands that it’s these little things that make a good guitar GREAT!!!!

The Illusionist “S” Deluxe retails for: $3699.00



The next guitar up is an Amber colored, bent flame maple top called: The CATHEDRAL “S” DELUXE.
This guitar shares many of the same custom specs as the Illusionist except for the “Molded” pickguard feature and the Seymour Duncan pick-ups. The addition of the Flame maple top is not only a beautiful addition, but a tonal one as well. Chords chime out more, and leads cut through really nice.
The Cathedral “S” Deluxe retails for: $3499.00
These are not off the shelf guitars, the attention to detail and the level of craftsmanship is as good as it gets. The custom shop offers a variety of custom finishes and the USA Crusader series is accompanied by a special designed form fit hard case and a GKG Certificate of Authenticity.    
For more information about these great instruments go to: www.garykramerguitar.com
Cheers,
Tony J. Pasko



CATHEDRAL “S” DELUXE specification:

Construction…………… Bolt on
Scale…………………… 25.5”
Frets……………………. 22 Jumbo
Fingerboard radius………10” (25.4 cm)
Neck…………………… Selected Hard Maple
Fingerboard……………. Indian Rosewood
Position markers……….. Dots
Headstock shape……….. Crusader
Body…………………… Mahogany
Body top……………….. Flame Maple bent top
Body shape…………….. Crusader
Bridge………………….. Double locking Gotoh
Tuners………………….. Gotoh with pearl buttons
Nut size………………….. R-3 (43mm)
Strap buttons……………..Dunlop locking
Controls…………………. 500K Volume, 3-way, mini on/on/on switch
Bridge pickup…………… Seymour Duncan Pearly Gates - Zebra
Neck pickup…………….. Seymour Duncan Alnico II Pro
Hardware…………………Chrome
Neck Finish………………Hand rubbed blend of oil and waxes
Body finish……………….High gloss polyester
Hard case………..………..Included

ILLUSIONIST “S” DELUXE specifications:
CONSTRUCTION
Bolt on
25.5” Scale

NECK
Selected Hard Maple
10” (25.4cm) Radius Indian Rosewood Fingerboard
Position Dots
22 Jumbo Frets
Crusader Headstock Shape
Hand Rubbed Finish - Blend of Oil and Waxes

BODY
Mahogany Body
Crusader Body Shape with “Illusionist” Pickguard
High Gloss Polyester Finish

HARDWARE/ELECTRONICS
Double Locking Gotoh Bridge
Gotoh Tuners with Pearl Buttons
R-3 (43mm) Nut
Dunlop Locking Strap Buttons
500K Volume Control, 3-way, mini on/on/on switch
Seymour Duncan Pearly Gates - Zebra
Seymour Duncan Alnico II Pro
Chrome Hardware

1 comment:

kevin.bebout said...

Um...Gary Kramer didn't have anything to do with the wooden neck era of Kramer in the 80's. he was gone from the company 6 years before Eddie made the brand famous.....just so ya facts are straight.