On the Road to Being Number One
By 1983, the Rockinger trem (a.k.a. the “EVH Trem“) was out, and the Floyd Rose® system was in. Kramer was the only guitar company offering Original Floyd Rose® tremolos stock on their production guitars, a competitive advantage of Kramer over other guitar manufacturers of the period.
In late 1983, Kramer switched headstock design to the "banana" headstock design.
By late 1985, Kramer began installing Seymour Duncan® pickups in its guitars. When the sales figures came in, Kramer was the best-selling guitar brand of 1985.
In 1986, Kramer switched to a “pointy headstock” design, no doubt influenced by other manufacturers at the time.
By 1987, Kramer was using Japan exclusively for manufacturing its necks and bodies. The “American Series” of instruments were Japanese parts, assembled in Neptune, NJ. The Striker and Aerostar series were made completely in Korea.
The first sign of trouble came in 1987, when a massive labor strike hit Korea. At this time, Kramer was starting to fall behind on its orders to guitar stores. Kramer was also becoming overextended financially due to artist endorsement deals, advertising, and royalties to Floyd Rose.