In the ‘80s, Kramer guitars enjoyed a meteoric rise to ubiquity. Thanks to glowing endorsements from shredders like Eddie Van Halen, Mick Mars of Mötley Crüe and Vivian Campbell of Whitesnake, Kramer became the guitar of choice for any self-respecting, leather-wearing glam/metal fiend. Now the brand is back with their new line of made-to-rock instruments, spearheaded by the limited edition Satchel Pacer Vintage - a signature model designed for glam metal revivalist Satchel of Steel Panther.
WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE
Firstly, you’re either going to love or detest the design of the Satchel Pacer. Sporting a seriously gaudy leopard print design across the body (in your choice of either yellow or purple), this guitar certainly makes a statement. However, this is Steel Panther we’re talking about here. With songs named 'Bukkake Tears' and 'Gloryhole', subtlety has never been their strong point. In all honesty, once you grow accustomed to the design it can really grow on you. After all, music is supposed to be fun, right? Sometimes it pays not to take yourself so seriously. Underneath all that leopard print is a quality and weighty maple body coupled with an oiled maple neck. The neck features a classic Kramer profile with a 9.5” radius - making it very easy to get around the fretboard for some dexterous licks. The electronics are refreshingly simple, featuring a single master volume knob and a three-way mini toggle switch to choose between rhythm and lead sounds. Capping it all off, the guitar is loaded with two Satchel-approved Seymour Duncan pickups.
BUILT TO SHRED
Being a Satchel signature model, the guitar is essentially designed from the ground up to deliver an agile playing experience that shines through a high gain amp. Armed with a top quality Floyd Rose bridge and tailpiece, this thing can dive bomb with the best of them. I put the Floyd through some serious duress, and even when really digging into the whammy bar the guitar always came back perfectly in tune. Kramer know how to get the best out of these often frustratingly temperamental bridges, and they’ve really nailed it on the Satchel Pacer. While the neck pickup is perfectly usable and offers a strong, clear tone - the bridge pickup is what this guitar is all about. Featuring a slightly overwound, four-conductor humbucking pickup with a balanced coil configuration, it’s perfect for coaxing that sought after crunch out of your amp with bucketloads of sustain on tap. While the frets feel a little clunky and angular, overall the neck is a joy to get around. The oiled maple neck is a great touch too, absent of the stickiness that comes with a higher gloss finish.
TAKE THE LEAD
Clearly, this isn’t a guitar for everyone. But if you’re after something with show-stopping looks and some serious potential for high-gain antics - then you’ve come to the right place. Ultimately, this is a well built and sturdy guitar with a whole lot of character. Just don’t blame me if you start getting odd looks for turning up to work wearing spandex pants and a codpiece.
Hits and Misses
Great for classic metal tones
Fast, playable neck
First class Floyd Rose setup
A tone knob could be useful