The Kramer "American Showster" Series

In 1986, Kramer joined forces with Rick Excellente and Showster guitars out of New Jersey and collaborated on developing a new line of guitars for Kramer. Showster guitars was best known at the time for their "tailfin" shaped bodies reminescent of the 1957 Chevy tailfin shape. Other works were the motorcycle gas tank-shped guitar bodies.

It was while Excellente was working on the metal-loaded design that he realized the advantage of using metal as part of the guitar body's mass. The new Kramers were promoted in 1988 but, as Kramer was, promised the guitars before they could deliver. The realistic release wouldn't come until 1989. It was rumored that this new line was to help pull Kramer out of the financial hump it was in.

The idea for the metal piecing on the body (which was afixed to the inside or outside of the lower treble bout depending on the model) was to properly balance the response of the treble strings to the bass strings. The metal in the bodies would take several forms. By utilizing the metal inserts, the body didn't need as much mass for resonance and therefore could be thinned out substantially.

Made in Korea, there were basically three types of Showsters-the Metalist, Metalist XML and the Savant. Common features between the three were pointy headstocks, bolt-on maple necks with 22 fret rosewood fretboards, somewhat heavy scalloped double cutaway bodies, Floyd Rose, dot inlays and Duncan pickups. Input jacks were on the backside of the guitar.

50's Chevy Tail Fin Pre-Kramer

XML Model
with Body Wing

Metallist II
Savant 1 + 1
Savant II

The Metalist came in three forms- I, II and III. The differences were in the pickup configurations. All featured an internal metal plate with a chrome rim on the lower bout. The Metalist I had a single hum with volume and tone, the Metalist II had one hum and a neck single coil, volume, tone and a three way select. The Metalist III sported the HSS config with o0ne volume, two tones, five-way select and coil tap switch.

Next was the Metalist XML which was basically the same as the Metalist but with a black metal wing on the lower bout. This also came in three versions-XML I, XML II and XML III. Distinguishing features were again the pickup configuration which was the same as the Metalists.
Last was the Savant. Unlike the other Showsters, the Savant's metal load was completely internal and showed no trace on the outside of the body. There was the Savant I, Savant II, and Savant III. each the same pickup configuration as the other Showsters.

The Metalist I, Metalist XML I and Savant I all with the single humbucker layout did not last long before they were replaced with the 1+1(Metalist 1+1, Metalist XML 1+1 and Savant 1+1) which added a middle position humbucker and three-way select. (No neck pickup). This model later sproted coil taps also.

Mid 1989 saw the entire Metalist XML line dropped. Colors for the Showsters were black, white, candy red and candy blue. Prices were between $799.95 and $939.95 list depending on the model and cases were extra.

Note: Most of the Showster models will have the common black faced pointy droopy headstock with the Showster S/S logo. Also bear in mind that the total number of Showsters that made it out the door is unknown. Some speculate that certain MODELS never went out but It should be noted that, in all probability, not many Showsters did see the light of day before the demise of Kramer.

The Showster line continued even after the demise of Kramer under their own name. From time to time, you will see some non-Kramer Showsters tthat look identical to the Kramers (minus the Kramer logo) for sale (as seen in the ad to the right).

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