Transition from Aluminum to Wooden Necks1976-1981
- Trademark pitchfork aluminum-reinforced necks — "Alumi-necks"
- Ebonol fretboard
- Schaller tuning keys and bridges
- Schaller and DiMarzio pickups
- Used exotic woods and hybrid wood/aluminum necks until 1982
Introduced in 1976, early models featured the trademark "pitchfork" aluminum-reinforced necks with a fret board made of ebonol—material similar to one used in bowling ball production. Unlike Travis Bean, Kramer went beyond the idea of a neck forged entirely out of aluminum, due to both its weight and its feel.
Instead, Kramer opted for wooden inserts in the aluminum necks. The inserts, set in epoxy, were usually walnut or maple. The bodies were made of fancy woods such as curly or Birdseye maple, walnut, and koa.
The hardware was top-notch as well: Schaller tuning keys and bridges; Schaller and DiMarzio pickups; custom-made strap pins; aluminum cavity covers. Kramer's "alumi-neck" line lasted roughly until 1982.
Out of this early part of Kramer history were born some exquisite musical instruments; truly a fine example of American lutherie. Generally, the ratio of basses to guitars produced was about 4:1, primarily because bass players were more willing to experiment.
By 1981, Kramer had the tools, and the experience, to take guitar mass production to a new level. Switching to wooden-necked instruments both held the promise of keeping production costs low as well as being able to appeal to traditionally-minded guitar players.