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Too-many-strats

Any Kramer Fans Still Around??????

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Yeah, I am a huge Kramer fan. And want to find some decent replacements for the ones I sold in the late 80's (Nightswan and Barreta)

 

Sold them to pay my long distance phone bills when I got rid of my roommates and moved into my first apartment, by myself. And now you can get "unlimited long distance" on a cellphone for $10-$20 !

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I had a few back in the day.I still have a Kramer body,the one of the balalika (tough spell)the body style the one of the guitar players in the band Gorkey Park used to play.It still has the bright red paint with the flags on it and is signed by all the band members (who ever they were).I had put it together years ago with a black Strat neck I had around an Invader pickup and some extra hardware I had that fit it,Sounded pretty good to.I may have to dig it out and take a few pictures. BTW KevZone I really dig your Night-Swan big time.The Kramer's are definatly affordable and I really dig the Striker with the tiger finish also!

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Back when Musicyo.com was kickin big I was a Kramer Focus Freak like you wouldn't believe. The Kramer Focus 111S was one of the coolest guitars I've ever seen. The past 20 years or better I've become a pretty good hand at working on guitars. I come from a very rual part of The Missouri Ozarks and we're poorer than most folks but we're all poor so it's not too bad. Nobody stands out anymore than anybody else except for a few. I went on a quest to find guitars that sounded good, were made well and played well at a price that even us poor hillbilly's could afford. But on the other hand I didn't want junk. I bet I've built/modified close to 50 or better Kramer Focus 111S strat copies both for myself and for other players. One that you could buy at a good price and still end up with a decent guitar. One that was good enough to take out and gig with if you were in a band and be able to hold your head up while you were playing it in the process.

 

I've paid anywhere from $59 to $79 for Focus 111S's at different times. And $10 for a gigbag that wasn't too bad. I remember when I first started buying them there were a lot better quality than they became as time went by and they switched factories to save cost. They went to more of a jumbo fret also and I liked the smaller fretwire the older ones had in them. They've always been made on a CNC mills therefore being able to duplicate guitar after guitar and maintain the quality the quitar had. There were a few things that a person could change on the Focus 111S and make a $79 guitar as good or better than guitars costing up over $350. The tuners on them were cheap and sucked pretty bad. The PVC nut really sucked but alot of companys use them cause they were so cheap and easy to work. Next was the pickups. They didn't have much poop to them, but myself and a good friend of mine both have played semi pro gigs with stock Kramer Focus 111S guitars and sounded good enough to get us thru the gigs we played with them. Next you could either work the tremlo/bridge over or replace it. I was shooting for the younger crowd that were just learning to play a guitar and weren't whammy bar qualified yet. So I set the bridge down flat on the guitar body, put 5 of the stiffest springs I could find on it and go for sustain instead of the whammy capability. I've been playing 40 years and I still can't whammy anyway. From there you could come up with about whatever you wanted to for a bridge. I just filed any burrs that might have been on the stock bridge & polished them and then worked on the knife edge part of the 6 screw type tremlo.. One of my favorite things to dowith the Focus 111S was build what I called the Poorboy's Ultra Strat. In the 1980s Fender Ultra Strats use to be made in Japan and were a pretty cool guitar. They came out with Lace Sensors in them instead of regular "strat type" pickups. I found a place I can get 3 pickup set of Lace Sensors and pretty much your choice of red, blue, gold, etc for about $110 a set and that's cheap. I always put in new, upgraded pots, a 1958 Bumble Bee Capacitors from my Bumble Bee Nest I found once in an old chassis I couldn't use. Good ones and several of them to boot. When I buy my pots I have this company go thru and impedance match or grade them for me. It cost the same money and I usually donate a little something to their beer fund. Usually CTS Pots. A new upgraded 5 way switch. Matching everything makes alot of difference. I check every guitar I get for the impedance of the pots. Unreal how far off they are from the factory. If you order new ones and don't ask for them to be matched, it's unreal how much off the new ones are even. I like around 10-20 ohms or less. Then build your bone nut or atleast something besides PVC. Then I get these generic Spertzel locking tuners for $36.00 for gold and $30 for chrome, from a place and actually these are built better than real deal. Go thru and shield the body cavity and the back of the pickguard. I use HVAC type aluminum tape that's peel and stick and it actually stays stuck pretty good. It's pretty cheap when compared to cooper sheilding and it works fine. I check the shielding with a multi meter to make sure it's has conductivity everywhere it's suppose to. Put a heavier guage of wiring going from bridge (gnd) to back of pot. Then look at different schematics and see what version of a wiring set up you want and wire it up. I use wire out of an old 60s organ. Super high silver content in that wire and it's good stuff and was free. Lots of it too. Then when you get you pickups in and all wired up, put a new set of strings on and set the neck. I like .012"-.015" relief. Take your radius guages and set the radius on the bridge. I also buy these thick brass sustain blocks made for strats & copies for $22. You talk about adding sustain. That heavy brass block with 5 springs set pretty tight and it'll sustain for quite awhile. You can also change bridge saddles and get more sustain also. Stainless steel saddles help build sustain also. I guess set the bridge radius and the pickup heights, and play your new poorbody ultra strat with you Lace Sensors (3 Hot Golds sound great), good electronics and good wire, bone nut, locking tuners, sustain block and springs,new strings and a good low action for about $250-$350. They use to sell the real deal, made in Japan back in the 1980s and they started at $795. You could take those Focus 111S and do different levels of work on it and have a good playing and sounding guitar very cheap. The bodies are laminated(plywood lookin but everybody's doin it) and some people don't like them cause of that. Laminated bodies take the high edge off a guitar and it's not always a bad thing. Solid Ash bodies sometimes sound harsh cause they are so tight grained and hard. Anyway, now MusicYo.com is no more and you have to go thru a Kramer dealer to get Focus guitars now. They cost more than $79 now too. It was a good deal while it was happening. That's my story and I"m stickin to it. I still have 3 them left.

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Back when Musicyo.com was kickin big I was a Kramer Focus Freak like you wouldn't believe. The Kramer Focus 111S was one of the coolest guitars I've ever seen. The past 20 years or better I've become a pretty good hand at working on guitars. I come from a very rual part of The Missouri Ozarks and we're poorer than most folks but we're all poor so it's not too bad. Nobody stands out anymore than anybody else except for a few. I went on a quest to find guitars that sounded good, were made well and played well at a price that even us poor hillbilly's could afford. But on the other hand I didn't want junk. I bet I've built/modified close to 50 or better Kramer Focus 111S strat copies both for myself and for other players. One that you could buy at a good price and still end up with a decent guitar. One that was good enough to take out and gig with if you were in a band and be able to hold your head up while you were playing it in the process.

 

I've paid anywhere from $59 to $79 for Focus 111S's at different times. And $10 for a gigbag that wasn't too bad. I remember when I first started buying them there were a lot better quality than they became as time went by and they switched factories to save cost. They went to more of a jumbo fret also and I liked the smaller fretwire the older ones had in them. They've always been made on a CNC mills therefore being able to duplicate guitar after guitar and maintain the quality the quitar had. There were a few things that a person could change on the Focus 111S and make a $79 guitar as good or better than guitars costing up over $350. The tuners on them were cheap and sucked pretty bad. The PVC nut really sucked but alot of companys use them cause they were so cheap and easy to work. Next was the pickups. They didn't have much poop to them, but myself and a good friend of mine both have played semi pro gigs with stock Kramer Focus 111S guitars and sounded good enough to get us thru the gigs we played with them. Next you could either work the tremlo/bridge over or replace it. I was shooting for the younger crowd that were just learning to play a guitar and weren't whammy bar qualified yet. So I set the bridge down flat on the guitar body, put 5 of the stiffest springs I could find on it and go for sustain instead of the whammy capability. I've been playing 40 years and I still can't whammy anyway. From there you could come up with about whatever you wanted to for a bridge. I just filed any burrs that might have been on the stock bridge & polished them and then worked on the knife edge part of the 6 screw type tremlo.. One of my favorite things to dowith the Focus 111S was build what I called the Poorboy's Ultra Strat. In the 1980s Fender Ultra Strats use to be made in Japan and were a pretty cool guitar. They came out with Lace Sensors in them instead of regular "strat type" pickups. I found a place I can get 3 pickup set of Lace Sensors and pretty much your choice of red, blue, gold, etc for about $110 a set and that's cheap. I always put in new, upgraded pots, a 1958 Bumble Bee Capacitors from my Bumble Bee Nest I found once in an old chassis I couldn't use. Good ones and several of them to boot. When I buy my pots I have this company go thru and impedance match or grade them for me. It cost the same money and I usually donate a little something to their beer fund. Usually CTS Pots. A new upgraded 5 way switch. Matching everything makes alot of difference. I check every guitar I get for the impedance of the pots. Unreal how far off they are from the factory. If you order new ones and don't ask for them to be matched, it's unreal how much off the new ones are even. I like around 10-20 ohms or less. Then build your bone nut or atleast something besides PVC. Then I get these generic Spertzel locking tuners for $36.00 for gold and $30 for chrome, from a place and actually these are built better than real deal. Go thru and shield the body cavity and the back of the pickguard. I use HVAC type aluminum tape that's peel and stick and it actually stays stuck pretty good. It's pretty cheap when compared to cooper sheilding and it works fine. I check the shielding with a multi meter to make sure it's has conductivity everywhere it's suppose to. Put a heavier guage of wiring going from bridge (gnd) to back of pot. Then look at different schematics and see what version of a wiring set up you want and wire it up. I use wire out of an old 60s organ. Super high silver content in that wire and it's good stuff and was free. Lots of it too. Then when you get you pickups in and all wired up, put a new set of strings on and set the neck. I like .012"-.015" relief. Take your radius guages and set the radius on the bridge. I also buy these thick brass sustain blocks made for strats & copies for $22. You talk about adding sustain. That heavy brass block with 5 springs set pretty tight and it'll sustain for quite awhile. You can also change bridge saddles and get more sustain also. Stainless steel saddles help build sustain also. I guess set the bridge radius and the pickup heights, and play your new poorbody ultra strat with you Lace Sensors (3 Hot Golds sound great), good electronics and good wire, bone nut, locking tuners, sustain block and springs,new strings and a good low action for about $250-$350. They use to sell the real deal, made in Japan back in the 1980s and they started at $795. You could take those Focus 111S and do different levels of work on it and have a good playing and sounding guitar very cheap. The bodies are laminated(plywood lookin but everybody's doin it) and some people don't like them cause of that. Laminated bodies take the high edge off a guitar and it's not always a bad thing. Solid Ash bodies sometimes sound harsh cause they are so tight grained and hard. Anyway, now MusicYo.com is no more and you have to go thru a Kramer dealer to get Focus guitars now. They cost more than $79 now too. It was a good deal while it was happening. That's my story and I"m stickin to it. I still have 3 them left.

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