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Kramer Custom Graphics Collection Strike First Baretta

Kramer Custom Graphics Collection Strike First Baretta  ·  Source: Kramer


Kramer evidently believe that our appetite for ’80s-tastic graphics is not yet sated. Enter the Custom Graphics Collection Strike First Baretta! We’re just not sure if this guitar is the perfect axe for your glam metal tribute band – or for your 8-year old.


Kramer Custom Graphics Collection ‘Strike First’ Baretta Cobra

The cobra graphics were designed by graphic artist Eric Caspers. This martial arts-inspired ‘Strike First’ Baretta would not look out of place in the Cobra Kai TV series. It has an alder body, paired with a three-piece 25.5″ scale length hard maple neck with 22 jumbo frets. The sound is powered by a single Seymour Duncan JB zebra-coil humbucker, wired to a single 500K Master Volume with Push/Pull Series/Parallel switch. That should let you coax a few different tones out of this snake.

Kramer Custom Graphics Collection Strike First Baretta

Kramer Custom Graphics Collection Strike First Baretta

To keep the price reasonable, Kramer/Gibson has opted for a mid-priced Floyd Rose 1000 series tremolo with an R2 1000 series locking nut, plus an EVH D-Tuna Drop D tuning system and a Floyd Rose LRT-L40 Trem Stop. That means you can drop tune that D and not worry about tuning stability. A nice touch.

Snake Charming

For the record: I like cheesy graphics! So, this design works for me, albeit on on a childish level. However, I can’t see the market for this guitar in 2021. It feel like it’s on the wrong side of the line dividing retro and dated. Sure, if you were a teenager in the ’80s, like me, then you may have some nostalgia for this type of thing, but I think it looks daft. If you love the re-launched Kramer brand, then the ‘Strike First’ Buretta Cobra is certainly in keeping with what we’ve seen so far.

Another thing that seems off here is the price. I would never pay near a grand for one of these. Especially when I could buy an EVH, Charvel or an Ibanez with higher specifications for the same money. Sure, if you have a thing for big yellow snakes, or you’re a die-hard glam metal fan, this guitar may have the aesthetics you need. But at this price, you will have to like the graphics a lot.

For the rest of us, I think this guitar is overpriced. Other brands are offering me more for my money, like Luminlay side dots, stainless steel frets – and a lot less snake.

More Kramer Information

by Jef

9 responses to “Cobra Kai or Cobra Why?: The Kramer ‘Strike First’ Baretta”

  1. Ab. says:

    I don’t find the price outrageous (and I don’t understand how anyone can judge the fairness of it without having seen or played the guitar).

    (Side note : I don’t peculiarly like Kramer and I very much dislike Gibson… however 1000€ isn’t crazy if the craftsmanship and components are up there)

  2. JP says:

    Perhaps it might serve your audience (and writing style) rather better if you were a tad less opinionated, stuck to the facts and left readers to make up their own minds, Jef? Does anybody actually care what one writer thinks?

  3. Wiliam Paxson says:

    The guitar itself seems decent enough (and Jeff, Luminlay side dots and SS frets are not must haves for a lot of folks) but the “First Act” level graphic makes it look like it belongs in the Toy Section at Walmart.

    • Jef says:

      I’m old and so glow-in-the-dark side dots are great for me when I’m standing on a dark stage, and I prefer frets that are long-lasting. The kids can keep the yellow snake graphic, and I’ll spend my cash on something else.

  4. ElJosé says:

    I think you are missing the point of the Kramer Reissues, it would be a bad business decision creating another Schecter/LTD/Englund (I know they are all made in the same Korean/Indonesian factories). Kramer’s target group is clearly the 80s shredder that wants banana headstocks, flashy & tacky graphics, a non recessed/decked Floyd like Eddie had and definitely no luminlays. Very little other big brands offer this in series for under a thousand bucks. Concerning the Korean Floyd, the price seems over the top. For 1600$ you’ll already get a decent FU Tone, american warmoth or custom Chubtone. I am with you on the nickel frets though. Wouldn’t want stainless on a Strat/Tele/Gretsch/Les Paul style guitar but for pretty much everything else they are great, even EVH switched to them. A potty the modern EVH-Mexico series got back to nickel (stingy Scrooge McDucks they are ! )
    Please don’t take this the wrong way, as I am a regular reader of the side, but I think you should decide if you make this a more subjective blog or an info blog. Keep up the good work !

    • ElJosé says:

      Also, I get your argument saying its a stretch from the regular series. You are right. I might want to ad that I dig the Cobra Kai Snake though 🐍

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