1982 USA Kramer Pacer


Fellow guitarnerds, I have a confession to make that will wipe away any remaining punk/garage rock cred that I ever had (if I had any, which I doubt)… that’s right… *takes breath* I love vintage super strats!!!

On my last trip to Western Australia, we played a gig in a small coastal town called Bunbury. The show went great, heaps of beer was guzzled and the next morning we packed the car and headed off towards Fremantle for our next show. On our way out of town I saw that there was a Cash Converters (pawn broker) so we all pulled over for a quick sticky beak, as we weren’t in any rush. The usual cheap crap guitars hung on the wall, most with strings so rusty that a tetanus shot would be a smart move to invest in, but a white Kramer strat with a maple neck caught my eye.

At first I thought it was just a late 80’s japanese Kramer that pop up sometimes at Cashies, as it was only $499. I strummed it and thought that for a cheap knockoff Kramer, the neck felt awesome. I love old maple necked Fenders, and this was really comfortable, not too thin and with a narrow nut width, plus it had massive jumbo frets. Also it was nice and worn in… plus the guitar itself was light, not a boat anchor like a lot of cheap guitars.

Then I noticed that the bridge. It was an early Floyd Rose Original… the solid steel one, not the cheap-ass cast alloy licenced knockoffs everyone else uses. I bead of sweat trickled down my forehead…


I flipped it over and saw the neckplate… ‘Kramer – B 7061 – Made in USA’… I remembered that the cheaper asian made Kramer’s had the cast ‘New Jersey USA’ plate which confused a lot of people (include, I’m guessing, the pawn broker who ran the store), but this simple stamped Fender looking neckplate looked like it was from the early american series… this could only mean…


HOLY FLAMING CRAP BALLS!!! This was a 1982 USA made Kramer!

I tried not to freak out in the shop… so I contained myself by dancing a little jig. This sometimes happens when I find a score like this in Cashies… I grabbed the guitar and showed my fellow band members. Dan didn’t look too impressed, as he hates metal and especially weird looking headstocks on guitars. I thought it looked awesome… not too pointy/hair metal looking, but more from the classic early 80’s Van Halen super strat era. Simple lines and stylish.


Geoff said I should try haggling with the guy, as the guitar needed a little work to get into playing shape. I haggled him down from $499 to $450… then after explaining that the selector knob was loose, some screws were rusted and that setup was all out of wack (the Floyd Rose springs were all crazy, probably from the wrong string gauge being used), I haggled him down again to $400.I’m guessing that the guitar had been in the shop for a while and the guy probably Googled ‘Kramer’ and thought it was just a cheap japanese one, so he was probably glad to get rid of it. Kids these days just want Les Paul’s, Jazzmasters & SG’s… not Floyd Rose equipped super strats. Fine with me, I’ll take ’em!

Plus I got two free DVD’s of my choice… Sin City & Super Troopers. SCORE!

The next problem was how was I going to get this thing home. I didn’t want to buy a guitar case for the flight home, as that would be a waste of money. Then I remembered how my brother got his Mosrite home from Japan. I cut the strings off and unbolted the neck from the body. Then I sliced a small piece of the foam out from the compartment in my bass hard case, and the neck fit into the area usually used for picks and leads. Then I stuffed my shirts and other clothes into my pedal bag and the body fit nicely into my carry-on luggage. Problem solved.

When I got home I bolted the neck back onto the body and there we go. I am super stoked with my super strat. It still needs a set-up, but $400 for a vintage 27 year old American made guitar is a bargain in anyone’s books.

*start rant here* Plus I think it’s more of a ‘punk’ statement to play one of these than to blend in with the millions of Tele’s, Strats, Jag’s, Jazzmasters, Les Pauls etc that everyone else is playing. Remember, the only reason Fender Jag’s and Jazzmaster’s are cool now is that back in the 80’s the were uncool, cheap and could be found in plentiful supply at the local hock shop, so alternative guitarists like Kurt Cobain, J. Mascis and Thurston Moore could buy them cheap. Really cheap. Then after their bands gained popularity, everyone started playing them and Fender reissued them to appease the masses.Now every second band you see has at least one 70’s Fender headstock in there… or a Gibson Les Paul/SG. Don’t get me wrong, I love Strats and Les Paul’s (I own both) but unfortunately so does everyone else.

Super strats are now uncool, cheap and can be found in plentiful supply at the local hock shop (sound familiar?)…The early ones like this example don’t scream “METAL!”, but are well made instruments that stay in tune and sound great. The later, cheaper Korean versions is where these guitars got a bad name, with cheap, tinny sounding humbuckers and awful Floyd Rose knockoffs.

So if you really want to stand out from the crowd, give one a try. They’re not just for metal heads. I think you will be surprised. *end rant*