Kramer FOCUS 6000
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King Loudness 04/18/2011

Kramer FOCUS 6000 : King Loudness's user review

« Unleash the eighties demon inside... »
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The Kramer Focus line of guitars was built in Japan in the eighties and was meant to be a cheaper, yet comparable line to the USA Pacers and Barettas of the time. Bodies and necks were built by the ESP factory in Japan, so the quality was high. This one was an '86 or '87 Focus 6000 (MIJ equivalent to the Pacer Custom I). The body was made of alder, and the neck was maple with a rosewood fretboard and 22 frets. The bridge system was the Original Floyd Rose Tremolo, and the pickups were made by ESP for Kramer.

The control layout was very simple. It had one volume knob and and three mini switches, one for each pickup to turn it on and off. This was a bit frustrating at times, but since I was primarily using it for eighties rock at the time, I was really only using the bridge pickup anyhow.

UTILIZATION

This guitar was a fairly typical feeling superstrat in how it was laid out. The design was far more ergonomic than a Strat, but it still had areas that were a bit harder to navigate. The weight of the guitar was medium, so it was easy to use for longer gigs without discomfort to my shoulders or arms/wrists. The upper fret access was much better than say, a Strat for sure. I had no issues per se, but it definitely wasn't a perfect design (due in part to the standard 4 bolt neck joint, which was not contoured for access).

Getting good tones from this guitar was not difficult whatsoever. What it lacked in versatility, it made up for with that biting LA rock tone ala George Lynch in spades. It definitely sounded very eighties, but since that was the vibe I was going for, that was perfect! Clean tones were average at best, and I didn't care for the guitar's tone for bluesier or mid gain applications, so I would say versatility is low on the list.

SOUNDS

When I owned this guitar, I was using a Mesa Boogie Mark III head and Basson Sound 2x12 cabinet. I was playing mostly in an eighties spinoff band. Our material was very similar to Dokken, Whitesnake, or early Skid Row, so the tones I was getting with this rig were excellent for that genre of music.

As I said above, clean tones were average at their best. The single coils were very low output and weak so they didn't have the power to cut through a lot of the time and I didn't like the sound of the humbucker for clean tones because the nature of the pickup was too biting. As a result, I rarely used this guitar for cleans, preferring to stick to my '89 Yamaha RGX612a which had active electronics whenever the band had a power ballad to do.

The distorted tones were great as I said above, but only if you wanted that eighties snarl. It was very LA rock and not much else. I've had many superstrats over the years and this one was one of the better sounding ones. They have a tendency to sound thin, but this one had a nice full sound with that biting top end as I said before. It certainly wasn't as thick as a Les Paul, but for a Floyd Rose equipped superstrat, it was fairly good.

OVERALL OPINION

All in all I was very impressed with this guitar for what it was. It did what I wanted and expected it to do, so I was happy enough there. It was definitely a one trick pony, but it did that one trick very well, so I kept it around for a few months until the band I was in dissolved, and thus I sold it to make room for other purchases. I wouldn't mind buying another one down the line (perhaps a Focus 1000 where I only need/use that single humbucker). It was a very well crafted instrument and I was impressed enough to try and purchase a USA Kramer Pacer Custom I to match it (that didn't end up happening).

Definitely a cool buy if you want that classic eighties bite. They can still be picked up fairly cheap on the used market, so if you can grab one, go for it!

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