Kramer or Ibanez?

It’s been a confusing time really, for about a week now I’ve had this Ibanez GRG7221 (it’s a seven string and by the “G” before the “RG” it means it’s part of the GIO series and this is actually one of the cheapest around) and It’s absolutely fantastic, I’ve had no complaints – it’s a very responsive guitar!

One of the greatest bargains of 2013.
One of the greatest bargains of 2013.

Now I’ve got three Kramers and I’ll tell you more about each one:

  1. The Kramer Pacer Classic, it’s based on the 1983 Kramer Pacer Imperial. It has a sort of “Explorer” wiring, so if I turned down the neck volume and still had up the bridge volume I could use the pickup selector as a kill switch. Licenced Floyd Rose – Now I remember when I got this it was recessed slightly so you could do SOME pull-up techniques but I had it flush mounted (more EVH style, that’s all I use the guitar for!) but I remember I had to sort out the wiring a couple of times, the action was quite high from the factory, pickups (Epiphone, go figure) were weak! It now has two Ibanez (Coincidence!?) pickups, v7 & v8, humbuckers – action is nice and low. Overall it is an “okay” priced guitar £249.99, if you’re willing to put in the work to get it to a satisfactory level.

    pacer classic - left110st - right
    Pacer Classic – left
    110st – right
  2. The Kramer 110st, a fine relic from 1988 – part of the 100 series! Came with a Floyd Rose II (not schaller, the terrible cheapo Floyd, it’s been there since ’88) and an EMG 81. It now still has the FR-II and now with one of my all time favourite pickups the Bare Knuckle VH-II. It’s a lot better now but still the lead input is EXTREMELY dodgy. Need to get THAT repaired again! This guitar was made in Korea, and in the 80s that meant one thing… TERRIBLE. (Although it’s better than some would think!) Priced at £186.00 and from a very good eBay seller!
  3. Kramer SM-1, basically it’s the Kramer Stagemaster, a lovely set neck, EMG equipped and Floyd Rose Special, stays in Tune, but what was my problem with this? Screws. Like on my old Steinberger GT-PRO deluxe, the screws were so cheap and awful that they broke, usually I don’t mind but when it’s the Trem claw screws I’m gonna get annoyed. So I had to take THAT into PJ’s Guitar Centre and get THAT repaired and now it’s absolutely perfect so thank you PJ’s! Bought B stock from Thomann for £460 – usually it’s £649… bargain!

Now I love all 4 guitars, but the thing is that after the fact that a cheapo Ibanez has blown my mind, I want more! Oh YES. I am considering to defect to Ibanez due to that simple occurrence. Gibson own the Kramer brand (est the late 90s) and in my experience I have found that Gibson’s quality on their guitars has somewhat slipped, their Les Pauls are starting to have chambered bodies instead of a solid body. Gibson has been frantically making attempts to make some more variation on their standard models, but to no avail. Honestly, nothing has blown my mind. The last time I was impressed by Gibson was when they decided to make a Flying V Tremolo and an Explorer Tremolo.

I’ve never had a more painful experience than trying to set up the Kramer Pacer Classic or SM-1, in the end it has been worth it, they are great – as long as you put in the effort to make it work. UNLIKE my latest Ibanez – which came in perfect condition AND the action was already low! So I was extremely happy.

As soon as I can I will be making a M-Grind III (with Carvin).

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