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Kramer ruled the ‘80s off the back of Eddie Van Halen’s striped 5150 model, but even the official website admits it “slowly burnt out” alongside the shoulder pads and Police Academy movies. Enter Gibson, with a fistful of dollars and a new run of models including this stylish singlecut.
It was acceptable in the ‘80s - but is it now? The Assault moves with the times, concealing Superstrat features within a modern package that doesn’t scream, “I love 1984!”
Best news is that Kramer’s trademark neck speed has come through, with the wide mahogany profile delivering velocity and comfort. Also welcome is the versatility: with both pickup formats, it makes a decent fist of most rock styles.
Granted, its clean tone sometimes sounds comparatively thin, but it bites hard in the high end and that (along with the Floyd) has gotta make it the virtuoso’s choice.
The Assault is a solid choice for faster, more technical players who crave tonal clarity for quicksilver legato, a floating vibrato to abuse and a legendary name on the stock. If that’s your criteria - and you’re not expecting JEM performance - then you’re unlikely to be disappointed. Not a giant leap up the ladder, but a definite step-up.
Pros: Price, versatility, keen sonic bite.
Cons: Tonal character bit lacking.
Buy: Kramer Assault 211 FR is currently available from Thomann.