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The Kramer Story

In the late 1970s, friends Dennis Berardi and Gary Kramer, inspired by the innovation of Travis Bean, embarked on a musical journey to create aluminum-necked guitars. Teaming up with Peter LaPlaca and investor Henry Vaccaro, they established a manufacturing plant in Neptune, New Jersey. However, Gary Kramer soon relocated to Los Angeles, and though his association with the company waned, Kramer guitars continued to evolve.

The early Kramer guitars, introduced in 1976, featured distinctive aluminum-reinforced “pitchfork” necks and ebonol fretboards. This innovative design combined the stability of metal with the warmth of wood inserts like walnut or maple. The guitars boasted top-quality hardware from Schaller and DiMarzio, paired with exotic wooden bodies.

By 1981, Kramer transitioned to wooden-necked guitars, leveraging cost efficiency and traditional appeal. This shift marked the beginning of Kramer’s offshore production, partnering with manufacturers in Eastern Asia for components like tuners and vintage fulcrum tremolos.

A chance encounter with Eddie Van Halen led to the adoption of Rockinger tremolos, propelling Kramer’s rise in the 1980s. With Eddie’s endorsement, Kramer became the first to offer Original Floyd Rose® tremolos, cementing its status as an industry leader.

Throughout the 1980s, Kramer guitars evolved stylistically, from the iconic “banana” to the “pointy” headstock designs. Despite financial challenges and transitions, Kramer maintained its commitment to quality, incorporating Seymour Duncan® pickups and achieving record sales in 1985.

By 1997, Gibson Guitar Corporation acquired Kramer, preserving its legacy of innovation. Today, Kramer continues to celebrate its heritage by reissuing classic models and offering limited edition guitars, honoring its place in guitar history as a pioneer of innovation and style.

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