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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
In my NGD thread for the Kramer Focus a few days ago, I noted that I was getting a Pacer Imperial (which the Focus is based off of) with which to compare. Well, here it is, straight out of 1983. I also included a few bad photos of the two guitars together for comparison's sake.



















The Pacer has a quartersawn maple neck, maple body, OFR and Schaller hardware, and Schaller Golden 50 pickups. The Focus has a flatsawn neck, alder body, OFR and Gotoh hardware, and Whothefuckknows pickups.

You'll notice that the Focus has rounder edges, with the horns not being cut down quite as much and the belly cut not being as aggressive. Between that and the differences in construction, the Focus feels and sounds more neutral and Strat-like, whereas the Pacer has a very strong individual identity. I wouldn't say one is better than the other; they're just very different.

In fact, the second I plugged in the Pacer, it was like "oh yeah, I know that sound!". Basically, the sound of every record made between 1982 and 1986. The maple body and Schaller pickups (sort of Duncan Custom-ish) give it a very compressed sound with a sharp and focused top end. I wouldn't characterize it as "bright," simply because it also has lots of low-end. It jumps right out at you.

Interestingly, Joe Satriani played a Pacer Imperial on his first two albums, and you can also hear *that* immediately when you plug it into a Marshall-type sound. Supposedly, Joe had Ibanez copy the neck profile on his Pacer when they developed the JS series, and I can feel the similarity, though the neck on mine is probably slightly a rounder "C" than the JS guitars. Same thickness, though. My Focus has a slightly thicker neck, much more like a '60s Fender.

Because I'm such a gear whore, I'll probably end up keeping them both. :lol:

I got the Focus for $279 and the Pacer for $500, which is absolutely ridiculous for such high quality guitars. These are just about the last of the '80s shredders that are still undervalued.
 

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Nice!
man I remember back in the day , these things were everywhere. I never owned a Kramer but
my best friend at the time had 3 of them so i would noodle on them all the time :)
 

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You guys give me 80's guitar GAS so bad. My ESP built Barrington had that baseball bat/tele neck that was absolutely fantastic.
 

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Kramers are like the perfect 80's guitar. Great score
 

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$500 bones for that Imperial is a steal. :yesway:

I've got a Deluxe. It was my first quality guitar. I'll never give that thing up.
 

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I never doubted that for a sec.
 

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My friend had the Pacer Carrera, it was the all black one with no fret markers, man what a sweet ass guitar.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Anyone got any pickup suggestions? I know maple bodies complicate things a bit. The Schaller pickups are pretty good, actually, but they might be a bit too clinical for what I like. I'll give 'em awhile longer.
 

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Maple bodies are a bitch to get pickups right in, especially bolt on.

I have an EVO in my Mirage (Neck Through, but still maple) and it works out pretty well, the top end is subdued enough it's not utterly overbearing. You are probably looking for something lower output than that though. Super 3 obviously works if it's mega bright, as I'm sure you know, but that pickup is pretty awful in most guitars.

Kramers are rad as fuck. I want a Showmaster with the talon inlays so bad.
 

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Anyone got any pickup suggestions? I know maple bodies complicate things a bit. The Schaller pickups are pretty good, actually, but they might be a bit too clinical for what I like. I'll give 'em awhile longer.
By '85 they came with a JB/Jazz set. That combo pretty much crushed in mine.
 

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Perpetual Burn for that real '80s sound?
 
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