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Tracii Guns has been a gunslinger from day one, from the unsigned days of Guns N Roses, to the hard rocking LA Guns, and more recently, the Brides of Destruction. His playing and attitude are anything but subtle, and his signature Kramer Gunstar model reflects a unique blend of 80’s style, with a modern edge that’s far from a throwback.
Right out of the custom shaped gig bag, the black metallic finish that covers the mahogany body really captures the eye, and the silver ghost flames add a cool hot rod touch. There’s plenty of sparkle in the finish, perfect for stage lighting. The chrome Floyd Rose 1000 trem and other metal hardware really adds in the high-performance aesthetic. To add in some practicality, the hex wrenches reside at the back of classic Kramer headstock, each secured with a small set screw, so you’ll never be at a loss for tools in a pinch.▼ Article continues below ▼
The business end of this guitar is the neck. Featuring a 3-piece maple set-neck design, with a super accessible neck joint for easy access on the upper frets. The fretboard is also maple, sporting 22 jumbo frets, with a shredder-approved 25.5 scale length. The slim C profile has a 12.6 radius that feels modern and smooth without feeling too flat.
As Kramer is under the Gibson family umbrella, the pickups are Epiphone Probuckers. A very unique feature is that each pickup has its own volume control, with push/pull pots enabling the pickups to be split into a single coil mode. The 3-way toggle resides at the lower front point, which might seem far away on paper, but feels close enough for quick pickup changes. We gotta admit, the Epi pickups have come a long way over the years, and the newest iteration of the Probuckers can compete with any other brand on the market. They may just represent the best value in humbuckers today. No small feat.
One very cool aspect; while this is a signature guitar, there’s no over the top branding. There’s just a simple “TG” on the truss rod cover. This is always a great bonus to a player that might like a guitar, but maybe doesn’t want to feel like they’re not standing in the shadow of someone else’s name or style.
Once we had our test guitar in our hands, it felt fantastic. The neck didn’t seem thin, and the maple board was silky smooth across the fretboard with no dead spots or issues. It’s the kind of neck that makes the player take chances, as it feels like there’s no restrictions. The body shape may take some getting used to, and while the star shape balances well, the upper rear point is really pronounced, and we had some close calls between it and the edge of our recording desk, so be spatially aware!
The Floyd Rose 1000 paired nicely, and there’s some things no other trem can handle, from simple shimmering flutters to more extreme dive bombs. Its floating configuration allows some pull up, but still felt stable with some heavy palm muting and wild bending.
We ran the test guitar into a variety of situations: a Strymon Iridium, a PRS Archon 50, as well as IK’s Amplitube 5. Each yielded great results. One thing that really stuck out was the smoothness of the neck pickup on its own; it had a fullness that didn’t get dark or foggy. There was an inherent sweetness that made this our choice tone for leads that maintained sustain nicely. The bridge pickup was no slouch either, there was plenty of cut and definition on its own for aggressive rhythm attack and leads that sang and didn’t get shrill or nasty in a mix.
The new Kramer offerings are not just a nostalgia trip for the older crowd. Modern players like unique shapes, and usable tones, and anyone who passes on this is going to be missing out. Out of the box all a player really needs is a cable, a strap, and preferably a high gain amp setup to start melting some faces.
High performance hot rod look and feel, excellent upper access neck joint.
$899 [buy now]