Kramer Baretta Infinity Sustainer
Mike Wolverton - May 1, 2004
Rating: 4 Bananas out of 5

After purchasing a used Baretta Infinity Sustainer, I really didn't know what to expect. I have tried out several other Yo-Kramers, and have been very impressed. Needless to say, after trying out the BIS (Baretta Infinity Sustainer), I was VERY impressed, not only with the sound, but with the quality and value of this fine instrument.

I first took a visual inspection of the guitar, and cleaned up the model I purchased. The neck and body were in very good condition, and seemed to blend rather well together in terms of symmetry. Its no coincidence that it worked out nicely, the BIS's body shape matched that of the Dinky soloist shaped vintage Barettas of the 80's. The only thing that did not match was the arm contour and lower scoop contour that was found on earlier Barettas. This is one of my criticisms, however, we will get to that later.

The neck was the same neck used on other Yo-Kramers, the same elliptical profile, and fretboard radius. It is very comfortable to play, and reminds me very much of a "pointy era" vintage Kramer. The frets were very nicely dressed, none were popping out of the fretboard - overall the neck construction was very comparable to an older vintage Kramer neck. It features a nice, satin finish on the back of the neck that's not too heavy, and not too light as to protect it from the elements. The nut width on the review model was 1 11/6th at the nut, so it is of a wide variety. The neck also features 24 frets, and the Floyd nut is mounted to the top of the neck, not through the back.

Yet another impressive feature is the Floyd II tremolo. Unlike older Floyd II's on vintage overseas Kramers, this particular trem holds up to the heaviest of abuse, and works nicely for tremolo vibrato. However, I was not impressed with the floating nature of the trem, it didn't seem to want to pull back when I wanted high note vibrato. This is due to a metal shim being underneath the front of the Floyd. I don't know what the purpose of that shim is, but it did limit the amount for sharp pull backs on the Floyd. I am sure though that the shim could be removed to allow for more movement.

Where the BIS really shines is through its controls and tone. Even before turning on the Sustainer circuit, I was instantly impressed with the harmonics and overall "natural" sustain the guitar had. It definitely had me in shock immediately after plugging it in. Once again, I'm really impressed with the Quad-Rails, going against what my fellow Kramer brethren have said about these particular pickups. I found the tone to be much chunkier and "in your face" than the Yo-made Striker 424, and I would attribute that to the extra thickness in body wood found on the BIS.

After playing around with the general tone of the quad rail, I flipped on the 18 volt Sustainer. WOW, what a nice feature for this guitar because in comparison to vintage Sustainers, the pickup held the note nicely, but unlike the old, does not over engage other strings that are not in use. Palm muting was an absolute necessity on older Sustainers, this one is much more quiet and "focused" on the string you wish to sustain. Additionally, I found the control layout for the Sustainer switches to be much more appealing than the old, located in a more functional place than on older Kramers. Additionally, the guitar was very quiet when palm muted, the active circuitry is very well shielded. There is also an intensity switch that controls how much the string is driven while in Sustain mode. My favorite mode, however, is harmonic mode because of the wild violin type sounds you can get out of the sustainer.

The actual Sustainer pickup differs from the old vintage Kramer Sustainer's quite a bit. Instead of being housed in a humbucker type of size, its made into single coil size. This is probably why it doesn't "over engage" the strings as mentioned in the prior paragraph (an assumption). One thing both share though, is the low battery indicator. The light pops on in red when the batteries are starting to get low. Don't worry though, you're gig won't be blown as all the circuitry keeps working if the battery goes out.

Overall, I'm very impressed with this instrument. My problems with the guitar are minor, in my opinion, although others may consider these points to be more negative. The paint on the Sustainer looked as if it had "shrank" and some of the filled areas under the paint could be seen (in terms of the surface texture, not seeing through the paint). Additionally, one small thing that could have been added to the guitar is a better battery replacement compartment, that utilizes pop-up battery holders. The player must take the cover off with a screwdriver, and then replace the batteries. Pop-up battery compartments are much easier to use in that they can be changed more quickly and easily. My last critique of the guitar is the body shape (as mentioned earlier in this review). The shape matched the old Baretta II dinky shape exactly, however, it was missing the arm contour and lower scoop contour for easier higher fret access. While the lower scoop contour is not all that important to me, the absence of the upper arm contour did make the instrument a little less comfortable to play. Add these two contours, and the body would be exact to old as well. This is just a suggestion for future Yo Kramers utilizing this body shape.

All and all, this guitar is a MUST by for anyone looking for a Sustainer circuit guitar. The Fernandez Sustainer system alone (without a guitar) retails at about $299. So with this guitar being at the $399 price point, you can't go wrong. Aside from the Sustaining circuits, this guitar is also a value add to anyone wanting a new Yo Kramer in their stable. If I closed my eyes while playing this guitar, I'd swear I was playing an old vintage Baretta II.

Way to go YO!!!

The Baretta Infinity Sustainer can be purchased at when in stock.


Neck 3-pc laminated, Hard Maple, 24 fret, rosewood fingerboard, pearl dots
Neck Profile Elliptical, Slim-Taper, 16" radius fingerboard
Headstock Yo style non-reverse, pointy, 14 degree pitch angle
Construction Bolt-Neck
Scale Length 25.5 Scale
Body Solid Alder
Pickups Bridge: QuadRail (B4S) Middle: DualRail (M2S) Neck: Infinity Sustainer Driver
Controls 18 volt active Sustainer circuitry, 5-Way Switch, Volume, Tone, Mode, Sustainer on/off, low batt light
Bridge and Nut Kramer "Floyd Rose" Locking Licensed tremolo
Machine Heads Gotoh SG
Nut Width 1.625"
Colors Black Metallic, Red Metallic, Metallic Blue
Operation Users Manual Included

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