The Kramer 1984 Reissue vs the Charvel EVH Reissue
By Mike Mojabi,

When I was asked to do a comparison review of the Kramer 1984 and the Charvel EVH Art Series, I had to think long and hard about it. Can a fair review even be done? Are the guitars even comparable?? Well, the answer to both these questions is YES.

Before anyone gets bent out of shape about this review, let me give you a little background. I have been collecting electric guitars for the past 25 years. Yes, I was a huge Kramer collector but, I also collected Charvel/Jackson guitars. I have at one point or another owned approximately 30 Charvel/Jackson made in USA guitars including 15 Strathead early 80’s model Charvels. I am a huge fan of the 80’s heavy metal guitars and I still own various Kramer, Charvel, Jackson, Ibanez, Peavey, Musicman, etc. guitar models. For the purpose of this review, I used my own Kramer 1984 guitar as well as my black/yellow and white/black Charvel EVH Art Series guitars that I purchased a couple of months ago.

Black and Yellow / Black and White Factory Charvels vs Factory White Kramer 1984 / aftermarket painted Kramer 1984

Let’s put one other matter aside right away. As far as the “collectible” factor is concerned, one can not compare these guitars. Just by virtue of the authorized EVH paint job, the EVH name being associated with the guitar, and the limited production, the Charvel EVH Art Series is by far a more collectible guitar. That’s why I have personally purchased the black/yellow and white/black model and am waiting for the next run of the red/white/black model to purchase one.

The first difference in these guitars (if you want to even consider it a difference) is that the Kramer 1984 body and neck is made overseas but assembled in the USA and the Charvel EVH body and neck is made in the USA. As far as I’m concerned, wood is wood and there are many high-end overseas made guitars that bring in top dollars (e.g. Ibanez Jem models). So the issue really is quality control. The 1984 body and neck are made with superior craftsmanship and I did not see any flaws with the guitar body or neck. The Charvel EVH also is made with superior craftsmanship and I did not see any flaws with the guitar body or neck. The paint job on both the Kramer and the Charvel EVH is fantastic with no material flaws or issues. The graphics on the Charvel EVH are true to the artist’s original guitars and, in my opinion, are flawless.

Kramer 1984
Charvel EVH
Assembled in USA
Made in USA
Machine Heads
Schaller M6
Schaller M6
Body Material
Solid Alder
Solid Basswood
Neck Material
Hard Maple
Hard Maple
Skunk Stripe
Neck Joint
Hard Maple
Hard Maple
Neck Finish
Original Floyd Rose - Schaller
Original Floyd Rose - Schaller
84T made by Gibson
EVH Humbucking made by Fender
Pickup Mounting
Direct to Body
Direct to Body
Volume Knob
Original P-Bass Type
Strat-type - Labeled Tone
Scale Length
Output Jack
Switchcraft #151
CGE 500K Log Pot
Original 5150 Shaped
Fender Shaped
Hard Case
Hard Case

Both the Kramer 1984 and the Charvel EVH series feature original Floyd Rose units made by Schaller and both feature threaded posts that are seated in the body via inserts.

Both the Kramer 1984 and the Charvel EVH series feature Schaller tuners but, I can only get so excited about tuners. The Floyd nut really makes them a non-issue once the nut is locked in place.

Both the Kramer 1984 and the Charvel EVH have pickups that are directly mounted to the body of the guitar ala EVH. The pickup in the Charvel is custom made by Fender and the pickup in the Kramer is custom made by Gibson (wow, can you imagine even saying that 10-15 years ago!!!! Gibson owning Kramer and Fender owning Charvel, man, times have changed!!!). As far as I am concerned, both pickups are exceptional and have lots of output. Overall, I prefer the tone of the Kramer 1984 pickup by a slight margin just because it has a little more edge to it than that of the Charvel EVH series.

As far as playability, both guitars weigh approximately the same and both are extremely well balanced guitars. Both guitars also have hard maple necks with a light oil finish on them. The neck on the Charvel EVH basically feels like a standard Fender Strat neck. If you’re looking to get that old Charvel vibe and feel, believe me, these necks don’t have it. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great neck and offers great playability, but these guitars are not duplicates of the late 70’s early 80’s Charvels. For my taste, the Charvel EVH neck is much more of a “C” shaped neck than the Kramer 1984 model. The Kramer neck feels more comfortable as it is not as rounded in the back and appears to have a flatter radius fingerboard.

The headstock design of the guitars really is a non-issue for me because of the fact that EVH has played on various headstock design guitars. Obviously, the Kramer 1984 is a copy of the 1984 and 5150 guitars played by EVH during the early to mid 80s so it features the headstock that was used on those particular guitars.

Charvel EVH Art Series Headstock
Kramer 1984 Headstock with Aftermarket Paint

In my opinion, the graphics are what really sets these guitars apart. The Charvel EVH Art Series obviously is licensed and commissioned by the artist to include his original guitar artwork. The finish is professionally done and, as I mentioned earlier, true to the artist’s original guitar graphics. Now is this graphic worth over $2,000 more than the Kramer 1984? Well, this gets back to the “collectible” issue again. If it’s stripes you want, all you need to do is get a couple of cans of spray paint for $10-$15 and stripe up your Kramer 1984 and you can have an almost exact replica of the 1984 and 5150 guitars.

So what this boils down to is pricing. The Kramer 1984 is just as good a guitar as the Charvel EVH Art series. In my opinion, as far as tone and playability are concerned, the Kramer 1984 even has a slight edge. They both have virtually identical hardware and features and are made of the same high quality woods. The Kramer 1984 retails for $699 including a hardshell case. The Charvel EVH Art Series retails for $3299 including a hardshell case but, I’ve seen most retailers selling them for around $2600.

As I said earlier, I personally own two of the Charvel EVH guitars and am planning on purchasing a third for the long-term “collectible” investment factor. Unless you are looking for pure “collectible” factor or for an investment, the Kramer 1984 is a much better deal than the Charvel EVH Art Series. With the Kramer 1984, you’re basically getting virtually the same features, materials, and quality for 25% of the cost of the Charvel EVH. Even if you already own a Charvel EVH, I would recommend picking up one of the Kramer 1984 guitars and checking it out. There’s not too many guitars out there that you can purchase for $699 that will give you what the Kramer 1984 will. It’s actually a guitar that you won’t be afraid to pull out of the case and play because you’re worried that it may effect the value of it!!!!

Mike Mojabi

You can buy a Kramer 1984 Reissue by Clicking Here and entering the Kramer Section on

You can purchase an EVH Charvel at Musicians Friend by clicking here and searching on EVH Charvel

For those of you who are new to collecting or admiring Kramers, Mike Mojabi was one of the first to really have the premiere Kramer collections, even going back to the 80's. Mike was buying and researching Kramers before the majority of the modern day collectors even owned a single Kramer in their arsenal. Mike, along with Terry Boling, were the first "Godfathers" of Kramer information and collecting. Additionally, Mike and Terry were the first to ever have Kramer sites in what we call "the dark ages" known as Vintage Kramer was inspired by Mike's work, and is a salute to his dedication to preserving the brand of Kramer. This review was written by Mike and we are very proud at Vintage Kramer to have Mike writing this for us. Thank you Mike!

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