Kramer Custom Les Paul Review Jun 4, 2013 22:26:39 GMT -5
Post by Erik Rupp on Jun 4, 2013 22:26:39 GMT -5
It's amazing to think that this guitar retailed for only $450 in 2004.
It looks, feels, and sounds like a much more expensive guitar. In fact, looks wise it seems like an ESP LTD EC-1000/Gibson Les Paul hybrid. It's got the bling of the LTD EC-1000 (beautiful top, lots of abalone in the binding and headstock, etc), but the thicker, heavier body of a Les Paul. The sound is also both fatter and crunchier than an EC-1000 when played through a distorted amp, and then warmer and sweeter than the EC-1000 when played clean.
Don't get me wrong, this isn't a bash the ESP/LTD guitar review. Just the opposite - the ESP/LTD EC line is excellent. I've got an EC-1000 Deluxe, and it is one of my favorite guitars. I just like the Kramer Custom a little more because of the sound and the heft of the thing. Truth be told, the EC-1000 is just slightly easier to play (the action seems to inherently be set a little lower, and as a result the playability feels a little more fluid). Still, the Kramer Custom feels great - very much like a Les Paul (no surprise as Gibson owned Kramer by this point and helped design the Custom). It is very playable, noticeably more than most Les Paul knockoffs have been over the last three-plus decades (and every bit as playable as a Gibson, if not moreso). The Custom just has a natural feel in your hands and it is very comfortable to play.
And the sound - WOW! This thing is loud. REALLY loud. It is the ultimate Hard Rock and Heavy Metal musical weapon. Big, beefy tones explode out of this thing, but it never sounds muddy or harsh. The Kramer pickups (98T in the bridge and a 90R in the neck position) are surprisingly good. They're crunchy, but warm. They've got good definition, so when the distortion is turned down on the amp they sound pretty darned nice. But turn that distortion up and the tones are all ideal - from the mildly distorted Classic Rock sounds to the early 80's traditional Heavy Metal sounds, to more modern ultra distored Metal tones, the Kramer Custom sounds great in that entire range.
And the Custom looks amazing. Beautiful, highly pronounced quilt tops, colorful (and thick) abalone binding around the entire body, neck, and headstock, and just some nice workmanship all around make for one of the best looking Les Paul styled guitars on the market over the last twenty years. It looks just as good as it sounds.
It may not be very easy to find one of these (they don't come up often), but if you see one and you're a Les Paul fan, don't hesitate to buy it.
Sound - 4.75/5
Playability - 4.5/5
Looks - 5/5