by Bob Malkowski | 3,9 / 5,0 | Approximate reading time: 3 Minutes

 ·  Source: Kramer


An icon of 1980s Hairmetal is back! The Kramer 1983 Baretta Reissue is an authentic, Japanese-made version of the guitar that found itself all over MTV in the 80s. From Eddie Van Halen to Motley Crue’s Mick Mars, the Baretta was part of the 80s excess. Now, it’s back, four decades on from its introduction. But does all that 80s excess make sense in today’s world? Let’s take a closer look… 


Kramer 1983 Baretta Reissue

If you’d have turned on your TV set in the mid-1980s, then it wouldn’t have been long before you saw a Kramer guitar. One of Kramer’s most famous models is the Baretta, developed in conjunction with Eddie Van Halen. The Baretta was intended to be Eddie’s signature model, but it took on a life beyond EVH. It was one of the icons of 1980s hair metal; in the hands of players like Motley Crue’s Mick Mars, the Baretta could have been made for MTV.

Unfortunately, Kramer’s star shone brightly but shortly, by 1990 Kramer went bankrupt and the party was over. EVH moved over to Music Man, Peavey and then his own EVH Brand with Fender. We started gravitating towards more vintage-styled instruments, and these pointy headstocked gems gathered dust in the back of pawn shops.

Authentic Reissue Features

You can’t help but notice that all things 1980s are deeply cool again; equally, Eddie Van Halen’s posthumous legacy continues to shine bright. It’s perhaps no surprise then that we’ve been blessed with the Kramer 1983 Baretta Reissue. Made in Japan, just like the originals, Kramer has apparently scanned and copied a “holy grail” original Baretta to ensure authenticity.

So what do you get with the Kramer 1983 Baretta Reissue? The signature double cutaway maple body is present and correct, with those deep cutaways offering unimpeded fretboard access. So too are the pared-back electronics of the original; you’ll find a single Seymour Duncan ’59 pickup paired with a single volume control. Exactly as it was in 1983!


Finally, there’s a Floyd Rose R5 locking tremolo that enables you to do all those wild 80s divebombs and squeals.

Any colour (as long as it’s black or white)

The Kramer 1983 Baretta Reissue is available in classic white or ebony finishes only and comes with a fitted hardshell case. As well you’d hope it would do for the asking price: £2199 is quite a chunk of change for a bare-bones guitar like the Baretta. However, prices of Kramer guitars from their heyday of the 1980s have soared in recent times. I’ve seen originals priced similarly in line with this re-issue.

Equally, it seems you’ll only be able to buy the Kramer 1983 Baretta Reissue directly from Kramer itself, with the manufacturer taking pre-orders directly on their website. As an alternative, perhaps check out Ibanez’s equally significant RG550 from the Genesis collection. If you’re after a Japanese-made 1980s Legend the RG550 series will supply similar vibes with much more versatility for half the cost.

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Of course, if only a Kramer will do, then the Kramer 1983 Baretta Reissue is a welcome return.

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  • Kramer 1983 Baretta Reissue 3: Kramer
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One response to “Kramer 1983 Baretta Reissue – Eddie’s Hairmetal Hero is back!”

    Kevin Longworth says:

    I’ve been around awhile, what I can’t figure out is?”” these are the designs they went with””??!!!

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