“Where some see only scars, others see perseverance and the journey of kings.”
Stephen C. Hogan
Many years ago, Lee and I visited the office of a CEO of a major American corporation. From the moment we stepped into the reception area, the top of every wall had a shelf that was adorned with the finest examples of small combo amps to be found. Every brand and name you could imagine were displayed and they were all in the best condition and rarest of colors and configurations. At the time, I remember being really impressed at the collection, which only got better as we got nearer to the CEO’s office and when we actually got inside, it was officially minds blown time. It was, without a doubt the greatest amp collection I have ever personally witnessed and while I was at the time awed, I remember thinking later that it was a shame that all those beautiful amps just sat up there on shelves, not being played and not making music. A curse or blessing- I guess it could be both.
As this story relates to this Kramer, its very appearance displays that it has not been cursed with sitting on a shelf over the last 35 years. Rather, it has made thousands of statements and sang thousands of songs. Back in my day (you’ll forever hear things like this from me,) these Japanese-made Kramers were literally found around almost every corner because many musicians couldn’t afford American models and if they could, it meant that their parents had money and then they’d be slinging a Jackson or Charvel.
But these guitars were the secret weapons of the everyday working guitarist and I am here to tell you that I saw with my own eyes some of the best gunslingers in the Atlanta area tear the frets off of more than one of these Focus models. They represented everything that was good about playing in a smoky bar back in the ’80s. If you were there, then you know. If you weren’t, then all you can hope for is that some of us kept our old VHS recordings and we can get them digitized. Or, go to a Steel Panther show- you’ll get the idea quickly.
Specifically to this Focus, she’s seen more rock and roll wars than many that didn’t survive. The scars are there to prove it, but the neck, the sound and the playability- the true engines of the machine are all still here and in “ready to roll order.” When I occasionally say that our tech, “El Hefe” didn’t want to put it down, then you can believe that we have a lottery winner here with us. This guitar has been detailed, restrung with fresh strings and completely set up. Hell, I’m a bass player and I didn’t want to put it down. The hardshell case looks like it’s for either an old Kramer or Ibanez, but it protects the guitar properly and will assist in a safe journey to its new owner.
As always, we thank you for taking the time to stop by and go down memory lane with us. It’s a small joy that has turned into a guilty pleasure for us ’80s guys, so please call, email or PM with any questions. I’m sure somebody around here will be working on their version of “Round and Round”…