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.
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.
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.