Kramer, XL-5, 1980


Serial Number: 
Cherry Red
DiMarzio humbuckers
The Story Behind

About the Builder:

Kramer was founded in the late 1970s by Dennis Berardi and Gary Kramer to manufacture aluminum-necked guitars.

The Kramer aluminum neck era ran from 1976 to 1985 and was the legacy of the company before switching over to the more popular wood neck models uring the 80s. The first production batch of Kramers were introduced in November 1976. All of these early Kramers featured a "forked" aluminum headstock and aluminum "skeletal" neck (the Dukes had no headstock). These necks, designed for sustain, contained slots that ran the length of the neck for holding the wood fills in place. (See diagram) The idea of the wood inlays were to reduce the coldness feel of aluminum. Usually but not always, the wood neck fills were the same type and color as the body. The Ebonol fretboard contained large Phil Petillo designed "center-touch" frets, a zero nut and aluminum dot inlays. The higher up models had the mother of pearl "crown" shaped inlays. Scale lengths were 25". Tuners were Schallers. They were manufactured at the Kaiser Aluminum plant on East Avenue in Erie, Pennsylvania. The necks were attached to the body by two bolts and the bolts were covered by an oval shaped aluminum plate. Control cavity covers were also aluminum. Some bass models were available fretless as well as half fretted/half fretless also.

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About the Guitar:

The XL series debuted in 1980 with three basses and two guitars; the XL-5, 7, 8, 9, and 24. These were divided into two different body shapes. The XL-5 (guitar), XL-8 (8-string bass) and XL-24 (bass) were based on the type 1 body which was not unlike BC Rich's designs of the time. Bodies were comprised of a radical shape of walnut and maple strips or vice versa, 2 vol, 2 tones and coil tap switches.

A very cool and hot guitar!

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