Kramer utilized Schaller pickups in the early years of the Pacer and used them on models such as the Baretta, Vanguard, Condor, and Voyager. Kramer then switched to Seymour Duncan sometime in 1985. This page focuses on the American (6 string, not basses) Model pickups used, and in which guitars they were used as standard.

American Series Pickups used from 1981-1990


Schaller pickups are black in color, with the bobbins being black as well. The top of the pickup is textured lightly, and generally over time, the bobbins rust. These pickups have a very hot, bright sound with a nice touch of bottom end. In my experience, these pickups very closely resemble a Seymour Duncan Custom, and have a very "brown" sound. There are some variations on the Schallers. Schallers that came stock on the Pacer's, Vanguards, Condors, and Voyagers all had the standard flat head screw and flat bobbins. This was the case on the original Baretta Schaller pickup as well, with the exception that it had chrome bobbins, was zebra colored, and was not textured.. The bobbins on the other variation are actually allen head, and these were found on Pacer's with pickguards (Pacer Deluxe as referenced in the 1983 catalog. The pictures below show the differences in the pickups.

Common Schaller Humbucker
Standard screw head bobbins
Schaller Humbucker
Pickguard version with allen head screws
Schaller Humbucker
Found on early, wood neck Kramers
Schaller Reverse Zebra
Standard Equipment on Kramer Barettas

Although the single coils of the Schaller years are not pictured, they were used on Kramer guitars equipped with single-coils during and prior to 1985. Notice on these pickups how they have three mounting holes per side.

Seymour Duncan

Sometime in 1985, Kramer switched to Seymour Duncan on certain models, and later all models were standardized. The only variations in the Duncan's were the model used, and the zebra color on the Baretta vs. the other models. In most cases, the JB was used as the primary bridge humbucker on all models, but there are exceptions. I've included a link and a description of each Duncan pickup used in this section from the Seymour Duncan website. Please see the catalog section on the company page to find out which pickups were used in each guitar model. Please note as well, the Seymour Duncan silkscreen logo did not appear on any Kramer model in the 80's. Most, if not all of these models can still be purchased new, and are listed below in order of their commonality.

Seymour Duncan JB- (SH-4/TB-4) - A completely balanced coil configuration produces great harmonics and a high output with just the right blend of sustain and distortion. You get the best of both worlds: from sweet warm tones to raw rock 'n' roll. Click here to listen.
Seymour Duncan Jazz (SH2) - This pickup is for players who need an accurate, clear tone for fast jazz runs. The brighter sound has slightly less output and is a good match with most pickups. Commonly seen in neck positions. I believe this pickup was referred to as the J.N. in Kramer literature (correct me if I'm wrong). Click here to listen.
Seymour Duncan APS - 1 (Vintage Staggered Single Coils) - APS-1 Alnico II magnets are the musical magnets. Their softer magnetic field provides a warmer, sweeter tone and eliminates the brittle, glassy sound associated with newer instruments. The result is a freer, more natural string vibration for greater sustain. Click here to listen.
Seymour Duncan Full Shred (SH-10/TB-10) - This pickup was built for some of rock 'n' roll's hottest guitarists who wanted a pickup with a blazing expressive sound. Double rows of Allen head screw pole pieces help fine tune the high end. The tone is fat and chunky, yet perfectly defined for speed riffs. Click here to listen.
Seymour Duncan Hot Rails (SHR-1) - One of the highest output pickups SD makes. It's a humbucker that fits into a normal single coil slot, so you get the noise canceling effect without cutting a large hole in your guitar. The two thin blades with powerful coil windings give you the incredible sustain and a fat, full sound that's needed for playing heavier rock music. Click here to listen.
Seymour Duncan Trembucker - Correct pole piece alignment increases string-to-string balance for a smooth, modern sound from guitars with Floyd Rose™ and similar locking tremolo bridges. Click here to listen.
Seymour Duncan Hot Lead (SSL-3 Single Coil) - Pickup is now referred to as "hot" on the SD site, I'm assuming this is the same pickup as used in the Elliott Easton Pro II. This is the next step up: Hotter than the vintage models with more sustain, fullness and output. The raised flat pole pieces are taller Alnico V magnets for a stronger and deeper magnetic field. Extra coil windings give you extra power. Click here to listen.


The Bartolini pickup was used in the Kramer Ripley model, which had the ability of panning each string in stereo. From the 1985 Catalog: The pickup assembly houses six separate high-output humbucking pickups. The lead wire from each pickup connects directly to its own electronic tuning network and low-noise operational amplifier.

Floyd Rose Sustainer Pickup

This pickup was used on Kramer Sustainer models and was found in the neck position. By using a battery, notes on the fretboard can be sustained in a variety of different ways, in these modes (taken from the Kramer Sustainer flyer):|

Rare Sustainer Pickup

Show here as well, a rare Sustainer pickup with the Floyd Rose name imprinted. Thanks go out to Mitchel at www.meanstreetguitars.com for the picture!

Click here for the Kramer Sustainer User's Manual - Requires Adobe Acrobat

Descriptions of Sustaining Modes

Fundamental Mode
- Primary fundamentals of the note or notes being played will be sustained.

Harmonic Mode - Relative to the position on the neck, the Sustainer will sustain the second, third, fourth, and sixth harmonics and can actually "transform" a basic note into harmonics. This effect can also be triggered manually by the players technique.

Other features of the Floyd Rose Sustainer include a Sustain Intensity Control which varies the sustain amplitude and a low battery indicator.

VK Note - You can now purchase a new and improved sustaining pickup from Fernandez Guitars.

EMG Active Pickups

EMG pickups were utilized in the Spector Series. Even though a Humbucker is only pictured here, single coil EMG were also used in Spector Series guitars.

Other Aluminum Neck Pickups

Here's a few shots of pickups used in some Aluminum neck models. Check out the Kramer logo.

Pickup Rings

Here's a shot of a pickup ring used on some Aluminum neck models. These covers were made out of actual wood, from walnut. These have a tendency to crack or break because they are real wood, but this is an extremely nice touch of craftsmanshihp from the old Kramer days.
Two styles of pickup mounting rings were used, with the biggest difference being the ring used on the Schaller humbuckers. These consisted of three holes per side of the ring since Schallers used two screws for height adjustment. Additionally, all humbucking pickup rings had a trapezoidal shape on the edge, they were not "flat" (see picture).

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