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Rating and Reviews: Kramer SM-1 Guitar

Shred the night away with this Kramer. Features Coolr Rail pickups and a Floyd Rose.

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"A killer shred machine" submitted May 22, 2012

By Chris K in Paige, TX
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Musical Background: 30 + years my other guitar is a KH-602
Music Style: Shred!!
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Overall: I wasn't sure at the outset about Kramer quality, I did a little research and they are owned by Gibson (now), however these guitars are mass produced in Korea. After taking the SM-1 for a spin I lowered the action and dropped the middle pickup a touch. Other than that fit, overall craftmanship are excellent. I really do like the push-pull pot and the mini toggle. When you combine the 3 way switch you really have a unique guitar. All in all a 5.
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"Kramer SM-1 Electric Guitar" submitted June 12, 2012

By chris k in bastrop, TX
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Musical Background: off and on for 30 years
Music Style: modern shred.
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Overall: I wasn't totally sure about buying a Kramer, knowing they were owned by Gibson. I remember this brand from the 80's, and they seemed like good shred machines, but nothing prepared me for the guitar I received. The Kramer SM-1 is a shred monster! I ordered the EMG version, and have never looked backed. Even my other guitar (which has EMG's) doesn't sound as good as the Kramer. The 3 p/u configuration - H/S/S, the coil tap mini switch, and push-pull volume pot turn allow for a variety of sounds, not just shredding. If you can have only one guitar, try this axe, I have been won over by it.
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"Kramer SM-1 Black with EMGs" submitted January 27, 2014

By Alex W in Chicago, IL
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Musical Background: Professional for many years.
Music Style: Rock, Fusion, Blues, Metal, Jazz.
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Overall: This guitar is completely amazing. I have been playing seriously for 30+ years. I own all high end gear including 18 other guitars. I have owned 7 Kramers. This has quickly become my go to guitar for almost everything. The neck took some getting used to, it is not a typical 80's kramer shred neck, it is based on the gibson slim taper neck. Now I am in love with the way it plays. This is a COOL looking guitar, bad ass all the way around. The EMG's are killer. The sound is really well defined. The craftsmanship is flawless. I own Orange, Kitty Hawk, Laney, and Black Star Series One amps. It sounds kick ass through them all. Really sweet for cleans but mean as hell for metal or crunch. I am one of those people who takes forever to finally buy a guitar. I have to read everything about it, play it several times, etc. I never impulse buy. I was never able to find one of these in a store to play and read every review I could on it. I have never purchased a guitar I wasn't able to play first. I said hell with it and went for it and I cannot tell you how glad I am I did. I would buy this guitar 100 times if I had to, and will be getting the white one with the duncan pups eventually. If you have any question in your mind, which I had many, this guitar is better then my 2000$ jacksons, just as good as my 2500$ ESP's better then my ibanez, As good as my les paul custom, and blows my US made strats away. Go for it,this will not disappoint.
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"If you could only have one guitar..." submitted March 13, 2013

By Thien D in Alpharetta, GA
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Musical Background: I've been playing for a decade or more.
Music Style: I play mostly anything that I can make sound good on a guitar.
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Overall: Wow, this guitar is it. Korea has come a long way in producing quality guitars. I've owned another Korean guitar before (EC-1000), and I loved it, so I wasn't afraid of giving this one a go with its equipped hardware. ZZ made the whole process seamless, and when the guitar arrived, it was all I expected and more. To my surprise, it is built better than the high end, Korean LTDs. The only problem I had was that the action was too high. Once I lowered it, the guitar shreds. The neck is thicker than a Jackson but slimmer than a Les Paul with the shame shape. I've owned both, so an in-betweener is new and refreshing to me. I think this guitar may have found a forever home with me. Oh, I do have one more thing to say about it-- the inlays look like okras...I'm not sure if it's a bad thing or not.
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"Amazing Guitar" submitted September 26, 2012

By Jose A in mo valley, CA
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Musical Background: I have been playing 20 years
Music Style: Metal and thrash metal!
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Overall: The guitar arrived in a timely manner! This is my first time buying a Kramer. Going to put new strings and setup guitar action its a little high. sounds like going to have to change battery for pick ups. guitar looks great comparable to jackson x models or even USA models. its sleak and plays fast with nice tones. all in all a solid metal Machine!
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"The Stagemaster is back" submitted November 5, 2012

By Gray Ghost in Los Angeles, CA
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Music Style: Rock, Metal, Classical
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Overall: I'm glad to see the Stagemaster (that's what SM stands for) back in business. Haven't bought it yet, but played it, and first impressions are excellent. I hope people realize that Kramer's top-of-the-line guitar during its golden years in the 80s was never made in the USA. The original Stagemaster "Mach II Deluxe II" model (of which this SM-1 is a virtual direct copy of) was made in Asia, first Japan and then Korea, even in the "good ol' days". Just an FYI for "purists" that haven't got a clue. Everything about the new axe looks authentic to the original, including the "headstock inlays", ebony fingerboard, neck-through, angled headstock, Seymour Duncan pickups, and beveled body near the neck (the original had such bevels only on the lower cutaway, so the new model is even better). The Floyd seems solid, although it's the FRT 2000 (made in Korea) and not the German FRT 200, it still rocks and seems to stay in tune. Cannot wait to take it home for keeps. Get one. It's a piece of 80s rock history.
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"Killer guitar!!!" submitted June 15, 2012

By Gerry A in Chula Vista, CA
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Musical Background: semi-pro
Music Style: hard rock/metal, power pop alternative, pop country, R&B, Jazz-fusion
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Overall: I got the SM-1 white w/ Duncans---damn, this thing is impressive, to say the least---I've always wanted the USA Stagemaster, which I think is on a par to my old Jackson USA Soloist I used to own: *Tones are fantastic--love the 5-way switch, the coil tap and phase switch, it defintely has strat tones, next to the Duncan Alternative 8's scorching humbucking sound from the bridge *The original Floyd Rose is flawless--right out of the box, it stayed in-tune *Neck is slightly chunky, kinda remninds me of my Epi Elitist Les Paul 57 GT's profile, but not a problem *Had to adjust the action and pick-up a bit overall a great shred machine capable of playing virtually anything--from Hard Rock/Metal to pop Country to R&B to everything else in-between, this thing's a keeper!
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