Kramer’s Eruption humbucker aims to bottle Eddie Van Halen’s iconic ’80s guitar tone with the help of his former luthier Jim DeCola

Kramer Eruption humbucker
(Image credit: Kramer/Gibson)

A hefty overhaul of the shelves of Gibson’s standalone pickup shop has already brought the storied Greenybuckers to the masses. Now another iconic tone has been added in the form of the Kramer Eruption pickup – a unit that aims to channel the high-output sound of Eddie Van Halen’s ’80s instruments.

It’s not an official endorsement, so the firm is not completely specific about the model it’s based on. However, given the Eruption tag, it’s probably safe to assume it’s based on the Gibson PAF-like humbucker found in Van Halen’s Frankenstein guitar, or perhaps the later Seymour Duncan swap.

The pickup does have some serious Van Halen credentials, however, having been designed by Jim DeCola. In a past life, Gibson’s Master Luthier worked directly with Eddie Van Halen on the development of his Peavey Wolfgang signature guitar, so we’d wager DeCola will have brought some considerable insight to the table.

We know Van Halen changed the pickup on the Frankenstein numerous times, so this is more likely a general channeling of the sound, rather than a direct emulation of one unit. Kramer’s take uses Alnico V magnets and four wire leads, for coil-splitting purposes.

Eddie Van Halen plays Frankenstein live in 1982

(Image credit: Ross Marino / Getty Images)

Described as “aggressively hot for screaming leads and rowdy rhythm parts” the Eruption is available in Zebra and Double Black finishes with 15K and 16K output options and comes with short leg baseplates to ensure it can fit your usual humbucker routing.

“Inspired by the sound of the hard rock and metal bands of the 1980s,” says the press release, “the Kramer Eruption is a high-output humbucker pickup with all of the Made to Rock Hard tone an attitude you expect from Kramer.”

Kramer has it’s own credentials when it comes to Van Halen, too. Eddie leant on a variety of Kramers following the Frankenstrat’s retirement and developed and built several instruments with the firm.

Eddie’s original Hot For Teacher Kramer sold at auction earlier this year for $4,000,000. In addition, new footage of Van Halen’s legendary 1984 Monsters Of Rock performance at Donnington recently emerged – and you can spot a Kramer in Eddie’s hands throughout.

For more information on the Kramer Eruption humbucker, head to the Gibson Pickup Shop.

UPDATE 8/25: This article was edited to reflect the fact that the Kramer 5150 and recently sold Hot For Teacher Kramer are not the same instrument.

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Matt Parker

Matt is a staff writer for GuitarWorld.com. Before that he spent 10 years as a freelance music journalist, interviewing artists for the likes of Total Guitar, Guitarist, Guitar World, MusicRadar, NME.com, DJ Mag and Electronic Sound. In 2020, he launched CreativeMoney.co.uk, which aims to share the ideas that make creative lifestyles more sustainable. He plays guitar, but should not be allowed near your delay pedals.