- electric guitars
- acoustic guitars
- bass guitars
Kramer was founded in 1976. It is best known for electric solidbody guitars (played by Edward Van Halen). The Kramer company went bankrupt in 1990, was revived in 1995 and acquired by Gibson in 1996. The current Kramer line includes electrics, acoustics and gear, made overseas since 1998 and sold though MusicYo.
The history of Kramer Guitars began in the mid-1970s. When Kramer Guitars began, they were exclusively producing aluminum neck guitars. The aluminum neck production continued until the first wooden neck guitars developed by Kramer were put into production in 1981. In 1982, Kramer wanted to be more competitive in the emerging “heavy metal” market, and Kramer cemented an exclusive distribution deal with Floyd Rose. At that time, Kramer became the only brand to introduce the world to the new and revolutionary Floyd Rose Locking Tremolos. The great Floyd Rose equipped Kramer guitars were loaded with additional features like Schaller tuners and Seymour Duncan pickups, and made Kramer the clear favorite of the 80’s metal guitar players.
Kramer’s artist roster quickly rose to house the biggest, baddest, meanest, loudest, fastest, and best Guitar Stars in the world. The Kramer roster was obviously led by Eddie Van Halen, who took the Kramer and Floyd Rose combination to heights never even conceived by existing guitarists. The story goes like this - Eddie had been interested in finding a tremolo that stayed in tune, which would be more stable and versatile and than existing tremolos. When a meeting between Eddie Van Halen and Kramer execs took place, Eddie was quickly sold on the opportunity and he reportedly quipped that he would help make Kramer the “#1 guitar company in the world.”
Well, that did happen! Kramer became the world’s best selling guitar in the mid-80s, passing the historic and iconic Gibson and Fender brands. Coincidentally 2009 marks the 25th anniversary of the merger of an artist, a guitar and a tremolo to give birth to the most recognizable guitar in Rock-n-roll history; Eddie Van Halen’s 1984 striped Kramer (photo is for historic purposes only).
In addition to Van Halen, Kramer players included a who’s who of rock guitarists, including Ritchie Sambora, Mick Mars, Vivian Campbell, and many, many more! 11 Years ago, the Gibson Guitar Company bought the revered Kramer brand, which, by then, was completely defunct. Kramer had risen so quickly to guitar brand dominance only to have the same type of exciting ride which led the brand’s sad demise. The king of guitar brands slowly burnt out almost as quickly as it began. Being a leader in worldwide guitar manufacturing themselves, Gibson knew the brand was something special, and also that they could once again bring the brand back to being a leader in the industry.