"Dream Pacer" Warmoth Build: 2009-2014
This is a guitar that underwent many transformations since 2009. Because this guitar was relatively
easy to put together, I opted only for this handful of photographs
along the way.
In early and mid 2000s, I was quite the connoisseur of early Kramer
guitars, attending Kramer Expos in Nashville religiously, as well as
getting into bidding wars with fellow guitar collectors on ebay. Around
2005, I saw a photograph or a great looking Kramer Pacer circa 1983.
The Pacer was in poor shape and in need of parts or restoration;
however what drew me to it was the great looking two-tone burst finish and maple neck.
The finish was extremely rare for a Kramer Pacer and looked great on
the two-piece Poplar or Maple body. I scoured far and wide for the
guitar, only to find out that it was owned by a European collector who
also refused a sale offer from Mike W of vintagekramer.com.
The original Kramer Pacer owned by a European collector that inspired
In 2008, I bought a similar looking Warmoth body off eBay. It was in
great condition and already finished, but probably mis-advertised; what
was described as a factory Warmoth finish on Poplar is more likely a semi-pro
nitrocellulose finish on Alder.
The body set out on my workbench. I used a piece of paper to trace the
original Kramer electronics layout before drilling it out. I stayed
pretty true to original Kramer in most ways, for example using wood
screws as Floyd Rose pivots.
View from the back. It's a bit hard to tell, but the Warmoth cavity
cover is the large older type. Fortunately, I had a spare!
In late 2008 I ordered a neck from a member of the Kramer Forum known
for using very high quality woods for his builds. The price reflected
the wood used, around $300. The builder will remain nameless due to his
poor customer service and workmanship. Although the neck looks great
and has an awesome beefy profile I requested, it took over 6 months to
deliver vs 3 weeks as promised; in addition, both the fretboard edges
as well as the heel needed hours of additional of work. That this was an
annoyance is an understatement; I will never do business with this
The neck, ready for mounting--receiving its 4 coats of Birchwood Casey
Tru-Oil and Wax. These products, usually used for finishing gun stocks,
were originally used by Ernie Ball guitars and subsequently adapted by
guitar aficionados who prefer an oil finish on their necks.
Another view. The flame and birdseye maple look insane! I had to shave
down the width of the heel and roll fretboard edges significantly
before these photos were taken.
A first pass at the loaded body. The Seymour Duncan JB was wired to
traditional Volume, Tone, and coil tap switch.
This is a view of the guitar in its first incarnation. I have since
made several tonal and build improvements, namely: upgraded the Floyd
Rose block, changed the pickup, and upgraded the traditional tremolo
claw to the Schaller Sure-Claw.
Original Floyd Roses have a steel sustain block. Over the last few
years, brass, tungsten, and titanium blocks have become sought out
alternatives, with many manufacturers as well as AP International (owner /
distributor of Floyd Rose tremolos) getting on the bandwagon. This is a
comparison of the original steel block and the upgraded "fat" block.
A view of the Floyd rose with the upgraded block. Tone improvement is instantly evident!
I also upgraded the flimsy traditional claw to the Schaller adjustable
claw, or "Sure-Claw." Though this product can be considered over
engineered, it is perfect for helping achieve just the right spring
tension for any tremolo guitar. I will never use a traditional claw on
a guitar build again, as long as these are available. The Schaller
Sure-Claw is a bit hard to obtain in the US, but available through MusiciansArsenal.com. I love Schaller products!
The guitar circa 2011. The metal pickup ring had been changed to a
wooden one and the pickup changed to a covered Claim humbucker. Used on
Shadow and Claim guitars in the late 80s-early 90s, Claim humbuckers
are reportedly made by Schaller and are basically a covered Golden 50
pickup. The wire color codes are the same and it delivers the same
rich, tuneful sounds. Unfortunately the neck, despite being made from great woods, would not stay in tune due to a faulty truss rod. In 2014, I replaced the neck with a Warmoth maple / ebony neck with a "'59 Roundback" profile
To accommodate the vintage nut Warmoth neck, I replaced the Floyd Rose trem with a Schaller 3801 "Vintage Tremolo," which retrofits a Floyd Rose. This is another great tremolo by Schaller and sounds great!
The Warmoth neck is sealed and finished with about 8 coats of oil and wax; the nut and string trees are Graph Tech Tusq; the locking tuners are Gotoh SG381 MG-T. To top it off, I added a "Poseur" decal to the neck. Integrity be damned, this guitar sounds and plays great--wear the Poseur label with pride!
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© George Tarnopolsky 2009 - 2014