c.1987 Kramer Baretta, Black
A Brief History from our Tech Writer
The end of the ‘70s saw the rise of heavy metal shred guitar, and many point to one man as the tip of that spear, Eddie Van Halen. With his Frankenstrat in hand, Van Halen revolutionized electric guitar playing, and in many ways, the electric guitar itself. Odd moves like tilting the humbucker in the bridge position would eventually lead to F-spacing, or more simple moves like popularizing floating trems; Van Halen did a lot for the guitar, and companies like Kramer were chomping at the bit to make a guitar for the legend. Kramer would get their chance, and Eddie worked with them to try and recreate his Frankenstrat down to the last quirky detail. Realizing the logistical difficulties inherent in this task, Kramer eventually settled on a simpler version which they dubbed the Barreta. The original “holy grail” Barettas featured tilted humbuckers, 22-fret rosewood boards, an original Floyd Rose trem, and one volume knob for no nonsense control. Though Eddie never endorsed the guitars on stage, the Beretta model remains the single most recognizable guitar in their line-up, and the most sought-after vintage Kramer guitar.
This is a late ‘80s American Series Baretta in glossy black finish with a 3-piece maple neck and a Seymour Duncan humbucker. The exact date is hard to nail down, as this guitar is one of the pesky Bxxxxx serial numbers that are notoriously hard to date. Normally, a letter followed by five numbers would indicate a Japanese made product, but those with the prefix B are not so cut and dry, and many collectors place these guitars around the same time frame as Fxxxx guitars; made in America between 1987-89. No part of the instrument pulls toward Japan made, and the “American” in script on the headstock would suggest an American instrument. Another oddity is the lack of a zebra Seymour Duncan JB. This instrument does have a vintage Duncan pick-up, but it's a Distortion, complete with its DDJ sticker. Our tech also replaced the pot and jack of the instrument as they were malfunctioning. At any rate, this guitar is Baretta through-in-through, with a hot humbucker and a fast maple neck; a real shredder’s dream. The trem is still super smooth and keeps tune perfectly. The sound is nice and rowdy, with a bite that is still somewhat nuanced and not entirely classless. There are some cosmetic blemishes on the back and top finishes, including some pretty decent scratches that, even after a good buffing from our luthier, would not come out. Despite that, the finish still shines up very nice and the guitar is wholly sound, structurally speaking. Ships in its original hard-shell case.
Weight: 7 lbs. 12 oz.
Nut Width: 1 ⅝”
7.9/10 (very good condition) c.1987 Made in the USA
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