Custom (LP Styling) Review
Mike Wolverton - September, 2004
Rating: 4 Bananas out of 5
must admit that generally, I’m not big fan of Les Pauls or Paul
“like” guitars. I think that mostly comes from me being
a huge S-style body fan via my Kramer addiction. However, when I noticed
Musicyo had released a Les Paul type of Kramer that was just absolutely
stunning looking on their website, I knew I needed to try one out to
determine if it lived up to its label on the headstock.
First, opening up the case, I was stunned at the quilt top. Mind
you, this is an overseas made guitar, so I wasn’t expecting
a quality quilt-top as seen on many American produced guitars such
as the Paul Reed Smith line, etc. The abalone inlay work was phenomenal
as well, I think I could have just left it in the case and stared
at it because of its beauty. The Kramer logo itself is inlayed
in the headstock, which is yet another selling point as to the
detail that has been put into this instrument. The tuners are black
Grovers, very nice tuners for such an affordable guitar. Additionally,
the control knobs are black metal dome knobs for quick adjustment
while playing. The back of the body is sculpted in more of a V pattern,
and sits quite comfortably when being played. Again, I can’t
say enough about this quilt top and abalone inlay that runs up the
body and neck edges, it is truly stunning work. I recently brought
the Custom to the Kramer Konvention in Nashville last month, and
everyone that walked by it was stunned at its beauty. They couldn’t
keep their hands off of it.
Sound and Playability
Again, I wasn’t expecting a whole lot out of this guitar because
of its price range and the fact that I’m not a huge Paul fan.
I was surprised by the rich, PHAT tone that the Custom delivers.
It has that driving Paul deep chunk that most are familiar with.
I tested the guitar on a Mesa Boogie Triple Rectifier with no effects,
and it could go from that nu-metal, heavy distorted tone, to classic,
lower gain richness. The Bridge pickup is very clean, low noise,
and had killer metal/rock tone. The neck pickup is very buttery
without being muddy for warm solos and runs. The instrument I received
was setup very nicely too; the action was set low and was very playable.
I’m not a huge fan of painted back necks, but that’s
not to say it still didn’t play good. The tummy cut and the
balance of the instrument when sitting down was nice, very much
like a Paul. However, when standing up, it did seem to be a little
awkward, but once again, I’m an S-type body fan. The Custom
has killer sustain too, and resonance. In fact, when not plugged
in, its one of the “loudest” electric guitars I’ve
Kramer Custom in Amber Stain
comparible instruments in its class
One thing I did notice right off the bat, this guitar is very similar
to the LTD EC-1000
Deluxe. Simply said though, the Kramer Custom is a much more affordable
counterpart – and lets be honest – Gibson invented the Les
Paul, so why shouldn’t the Gibson owned Kramer make a competing
model with the ESP. I haven’t tried an EC-1000 to compare the
two instruments, but seeing first hand the quality of the Kramer Custom,
you can’t go wrong if you decide to go the Kramer route over the
ESP or LTD models if you base your decision on price point alone. To
be fair, the LTD does offer a few more creature comforts than the Custom,
but the price of the LTD reflects that and then some.
made LTD EC-1000 Deluxe
Pros and Cons
These were the things I enjoyed most about the Custom
1. Overall Look – A truly beautiful guitar to look at, without
2. Sound – Driving metal sound with rich buttery tone at the neck
3. Price – Easily challenges any Epiphone or Gibson in this category.
I’d tell anyone looking for a Paul or Paul style guitar to check
this guitar out first over anything else.
4. Fit and Finish – The finish is extremely shiny, the buff job
on this guitar is incredible.
I would change or improve upon
1. Floyd Rose Tremolo – While I usually wouldn’t harp on
this too much, a Kramer needs a Floyd Rose, or at least an option for
2. Neck - Offer option to have an unfinished, satin, or oiled back on
the neck, similar to a Wolfgang.
3. More Colors – The Custom is currently only offered in Black
and Red quilt tops. I would offer more options such as a natural top,
4. More Hardware Colors – The addition of gold hardware would
really add some sizzle to this instrument.
5. Quality – The only issue quality wise I would improve upon
is the tuner placement. The
model I received had the tuner holes just a tad bit off center on one
side compared to the other. This did not affect playability but was
sort of a nit issue that needed to be noted.
closing, the Kramer Custom is a great value for the money that overall
will make all Les Paul fans very happy if they are looking for a viable
alternative to the ESP and a great guitar at the price point of $449.99
U.S. I personally give the thumbs up on this guitar to any Kramer head
wanting to get their Les Paul fix taken care of – with the added
bonus of the Kramer logo on the headstock of course.
The Kramer Custom
can be purchased at Musicyo.com when in stock.
16" radius fingerboard, 22
fret, Rosewood, abalone bound
back, Elliptical, Slim-Taper
design, 14 degree pitch angle, 3 tuners on a side, abalone bound
F/B Inlay: Abalone Kramer "Diamonds"
with Quilt Maple Top, abalone bound
Pickup: Kramer USA (98T)
Pickup: Kramer USA (90R)
Pickup Selector Neck Pickup Volume - Neck Pickup Tone - Bridge Pickup
Volume - Bridge Pickup Tone
with Stopbar -
Amber, Translucent Black, Translucent Red
Note: Paul Reed Smith, ESP, and LTD are all registered trademarks/patents/copyrights
of their respective owners. Any and all references to Paul Reed Smith,
ESP, and LTD are for comparison purposes only.
and Content © Copyright 2011 Infinite Sky Designs