Review: Kramer Assault 220FR
The Kramer Assault 220FR model takes inspirational cues from Kramer’s current ownership without abandoning the brand’s shredtastic past.
Kramer Guitars, kramerguitars.com
The Kramer Assault 220FR is a highly affordable modern metal shred machine that picks up where Kramer’s past efforts left off.
Although Gibson has produced guitars under the Kramer brand name since the late Nineties, the instruments were previously available only online from the now defunct MusicYo web site. Recently, Gibson decided to distribute Kramer guitars through traditional music store channels, and it revamped the line as well, offering several new designs in addition to a few models that pay tribute to Kramer’s Eighties heyday.
The Kramer Assault is one of those new guitar models. With its Les Paul–like single-cutaway body shape and dual-humbucker pickup configuration, the Assault 220FR model takes inspirational cues from Kramer’s current ownership without abandoning the brand’s shredtastic past.
Like a Les Paul Standard, the Kramer Assault 220FR features a mahogany body with a carved maple top, a mahogany set neck and two full-size humbucking pickups. However, the similarities pretty much end there, as the guitar offers high-performance upgrades, like a licensed Floyd Rose double-locking tremolo, a master tone control with a coil-tap function, and a master volume with a treble-bleed modification, which allows more high frequencies to “bleed” into the signal as the volume is turned down, thus offsetting the high-frequency loss that occurs when reducing output with standard volume controls. The Assault’s super-fast neck has a 24-fret, 25 1/2–inch-scale neck with an ebony fretboard and 14-inch radius. The humbuckers feature Alnico V magnets and extra coil turns to provide hotter output.
The Assault 220FR is available with either an Alpine White finish with black binding or a black finish with red binding. Both versions feature black hardware.
Because the body is thinner and lighter than that of a traditional Les Paul, the Assault is much more comfortable to play. The cutaway is also deeper, which makes it easy to play all the way up to the 24th fret. Dyed-in-the-wool Gibson players may find the longer 25 1/2–inch scale more demanding to play, but the brighter, livelier tone is worth the extra effort.
The relatively thin and flat neck profile and medium-jumbo frets provide fast action, but a handful of frets could have used a little more filing and polishing, as I encountered some sharp edges.
THE BOTTOM LINE
The Kramer Assault 220FR is not an Eighties throwback but rather a highly affordable modern metal shred machine that picks up where Kramer’s past efforts left off.
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