February 13, 2010 - ModGuitar Senior Editor
Kramer Focus 1000 Review
The stock pick-up leaves a little to be desired for all but flat out rock – making this an ideal candidate for a pick-up upgrade The single volume control is installed right where your hand will hit it if you’re a strummer, but is great for pink swells. On these vintage and potentially collectible guitars, drilling holes and doing a lot of mods is a questionable pursuit. We did eventually swap in a Dimarzio® Super Distortion to really make this one worthy of recording and playing live – so check out the sound files for a comparison.
These 80s Focus series have the neck mounted in a shallow pocket so that the adjustment bolt at the heel is readily accessible. This also allows the trem to be set up to float without routing a pocket on the top of the guitar (as innovated by Ibanez later on). The trade off is that the trem sits fairly high off the face of the guitar. A common problem with this configuration is the large hardened steel wood screws wood splitting or an “ovaling” the trem mounting post holes, as these instruments preceded the advent of threaded trem height inserts. The sky is the limit for Mods with vintage Kramers. Models like our example with the ‘hockey stick’ head stock are an obvious tape & spray-paint candidate for your own version of EVH’s 5150 style guitar. Even a simple pick-up swap can breath new life into these babies. The Original Floyd Tremolos are a big plus as some feel these have better tone than many of the licensed versions available on production guitars today. The control cavity is already routed for additional controls. We’ve left this one almost stock for now, with a pick-up swap (keep those original parts!). It’s one of our go to guitars around the studio because it’s always in tune and plays like butter.
The Kramer Focus 1000s are great used guitars. Solid hardware, specs and a great way to add a vintage guitar to the collection that you can enjoy playing every day. If being collectable isn’t a concern they are ripe for Mods. They’re good alternatives to more collectible USA made Kramers from the same time frame. Keep an eye out for original Kramer Focus series guitars at your favorite used guitars spots. We think you’ll find them to be a fun and budget friendly addition to your guitar stable.