KRAMER
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KRAMER
Instruments currently produced overseas and in the U.S. Instruments previously produced in Neptune, NJ. Kramer (the original BKL company) was located in Neptune, NJ, since its inception in 1975 to the late 1980s. Production of Kramer (KMI) instruments was at facilities in Eatontown, NJ. Kramer Guitars is currently a division of Gibson Musical Instruments, located in Nashville, TN.
Gary Kramer and Dennis Berardi founded the firm in October of 1975 to produce guitars. Kramer, one of the ex-partners of Travis Bean, brought in his guitar-building know-how to Berardi´s previous retail experience. In the following April, Peter J. LaPlaca joined the two. LaPlaca had worked his way up through Norlin to vice presidency before joining Kramer and Berardi. The original company is named after their three initials: B, K, and L. Kramer (BKL) opened the Neptune factory on July 1, 1976. The first Kramer guitar was co-designed by luthier Phil Petillo, Berardi, and Kramer. Once the prototypes were completed and the factory tooled up, the first production run was completed on November 15, 1976. The first solid body guitars featured an original body design, and a bolt-on aluminum neck with rear wood inlays.
One month after the first production run was finished, Gary Kramer left the BKL company. Guitar production under the Kramer trademark continued. By the early 1980s, the company line consisted of fourteen different guitar and bass designs with a price range of $649 to $1,418. Kramer´s high profile continued to rise, thanks to an exclusive endorsement deal with Edward Van Halen. In the mid-1980s, the company flourished as they had the sole license to market the Floyd Rose tremolo system.
In 1985, Berardi bought the Spector company; production and distribution of Spector basses then originated from Kramer´s facilities in New Jersey. Throughout the late 1980s, Kramer was one of the guitar companies favored by the hard rock/heavy metal bands (along with Charvel/Jackson). However, the company went into bankruptcy in 1989, attempted refinancing several times, and was purchased at auction by a group that incorporated the holdings under the company name of Kramer Musical Instruments in 1995. The newly-reformed Kramer (KMI) company had also acquired the rights to the Spector trademark and Spector instruments designs. Kramer (KMI) was located in Eatontown, New Jersey.
Kramer (KMI) reintroduced several new models at industry trade shows in 1995, again sporting an aluminum neck design. However, the company never did directly bring any large amount of products to the musical instrument market.
In 1997, the Gibson corporation acquired the Kramer-trademark. By 1998, Gibson was displaying Kramer trademarked models at the Summer NAMM industry show, and ads in the print media followed a month later. It has been indicated by some Gibson company officials that the Kramer SuperStrat style models will be produced in Korea (like current Epiphone models). Gibson did not pay much attention to Kramer for the rest of the 1990s and early 2000s. In 2006, at Winter NAMM, Kramer displayed a full line of guitars in their own booth - located not even close to Gibson! Kramer produces several replicas of their old guitars overseas, as well as a few reissue models in the U.S. For more information, contact Kramer directly or visit their website (see Trademark Index).

From Blue Book Publications:


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