Kramer Classic Series

In the mid 80s, things weren't going too well for Fender. The name, tarnished by CBS, was finally being sold to an investor group led by Bill Schultz. After the buyout from CBS the investors found themselves victim of a contract clause that listed the foreign factories as part of the purchase but not the US Fullerton facilities. This led Fender to be solely supported by their foreign sales until the new factories could be tooled and up and running.

As the story goes, in 1986-1987, Kramer, always being the market conscious company, jumped on the Strat/Tele bandwagon with the Classic series. Perhaps established a bit too late to gain much of the Strat market, (Fender began producing USA guitars again in late 1985, but very few) the Classic series were based on the designs of the original Fender Stratocaster and Telecaster. The models were the Classic I, II and III. All models had the "classic" or "beak" headstock as earlier Kramers had. These are the models which the name of the "classic" shaped headstock actually got it's moniker. Before the Classic series came out, that headstock was simply referred to as the "beak" or the "modified Strat" headstock. Headstocks are maple-faced with the block Kramer logo and model designation in black. Also, this is the domestic Classic series we are talking about here, not to be confused with the Focus Classics which bore resemblance. See the Focus page for information regarding the Focus "Classic" series.

Classic I
Classic II
Classic III

The Classic I was the traditional Strat shape with 3 single coil Seymour Duncan Alnico II pickups and a fourth single coil hidden underneath the pickguard purely for hum cancellation. It also sported chrome hardware, a graphite nut, 25 1/2 " scale neck with maple or rosewood fretboard, a vintage style trem and in some cases, a set of Paul Reed Smith locking cam tuners. Controls were 1 volume and 2 tones with a 5 way selector switch.

The Classic II was a Telecaster copy. There's not a ton of info on these but the ones that have appeared have sported a non-pickguarded body with Seymour Duncan equipped HSS configuration with a Floyd Rose bridge, three on/off toggles , a single volume control and a coil tap switch. Sharp eyes will notice this is the same electronics as the Custom I Pacer and the SC-3 Telecaster flame top guitars. Maple and rosewood boards have both been spotted.

.The Classic III is another Telecaster. An even more curious model as not very many have shown up. The ones that have been witnessed have been the un-pickguarded Tele body with binding on the front and back, Tele-style bridge pickup and neck pickup in regular single coil forms, 3 or 4 way switch with volume knob and tone knob and Floyd Rose trem. Note: many of Classic IIs and others fall in the mysterious early "F"-prefixed serial number realm. Many of the early "F" have appeared on Ebay as parts mutts so they have to looked at carefully for authenticity. There is little to no info in catalogs or Kramer lit on Classic IIs or IIIs so every piece should be taken with a careful eye.
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