Dennis Berardi - President of Kramer
Taken from an interview in 1985

It was really strange, the way I met Edward. I was on my way to the 1982 NAMM show in LA, and on the plane I met one of his equipment managers. So, to make a long story short, we got to talking about the different tremolo bars and things about guitar design, and he asked me if I wanted to meet Edward. I said "Are you kidding?" So he made a couple of phone calls, and that was it.

We went up to his house and Edward got his guitar out - it looked like something you'd throw in the garbage (Vintage Kramer note: this is the Frankenstrat).
But that was his famous guitar. So after he played for a while we talked. I told him about the kinds of things Kramer wanted to do, and he was very receptive; we talked for about three hours that day. Anyway, the result was that we established the relationship that we still have today: I can't even guess how important it's been to Kramer Guitars.

You asked about how involved Edward is in the design and construction of the guitars. Well, it may be hard to believe, but he'll actually come down to the factory and spend three, four hours on the line assembling or testing guitars, checking out different components to make sure they're up to the standards he wants maintained. He's no simple endorser -- you know, he's not doing it just to get his name on the instrument and get some freebies. He really cares about quality, how well the instruments sound and feel, how much they cost, whether they're affordable. He had a lot of input into the initial design, obviously, about the slant of the pickups, for instance, or the neck -- its flatter and wider than many models. But he's careful about the overall; he's constantly on my back (laughs). See, you've got to remember that he's not just a guitarist, he's also a very capable technician who knows his nuts and bolts -- he can rip down a guitar and put it back together in minutes. And he wants the best possible guitar that's affordable with his name on it.  

I guess the best way to look at it from my perspective is this: Les Paul designed a revolutionary guitar for Gibson that made musical history. The simplest way to put it is, what Les Paul was for Gibson, Edward Van Halen is for Kramer.

Dennis Berardi, as told to Gene Santoro
July 1985 Guitar World

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