Kramer launches its MIJ Historic Collection with 1983 Beretta Reissue – a faithful replica of “the quintessential hard rock and metal guitar”

Kramer Historic Collection MIJ 1983 Baretta
(Image credit: Kramer)

Kramer has a rich and proud history of high-performance electric guitars that armed the first generation of shredders, and to celebrate this, the brand has reached into the archive to reissue its most classic design – the 1983 Baretta – and officially launching its Historic Collection.

Made in Japan, with a design meticulously cribbed from an original example, the 1983 Beretta Reissue is built for speed. It has everything you need; there’s an Original Floyd Rose tremolo unit with an R5 locking nut to keep the tuning shipshape while going over the top with the whammy bar. There is a reverse zebra Seymour Duncan ’59 humbucker pickup, positioned by the bridge, at an angle because, c’mon, this was the ‘80s. 

And, of course, you’ve got the six-in-line headstock – kitted out with a set of top-quality Gotoh SG360 right-angle tuners but just as importantly it bears the elongated profile that defined the brand when Eddie Van Halen got onboard with it. Some call it a hockey stick headstock, others a banana. All can agree, however, that it looks badass.

This Baretta has nothing that you don’t need. No, you don’t have a tone pot. Who, in 1983, was playing hard rock and adjusting their tone control in the heat of battle? No one, that’s who. So yes, controlling that single pickup is a single CTS pot for volume. There’s none of your latter-day killswitch stuff either.

There’s no pickguard. Let that Classic White or Ebony finish take what’s coming to it, or decorate it with stickers. On second thoughts, best leave that gloss finish pristine; make no mistake, these MIJ instruments are high-end electric guitars, retailing at $2,199. But when you see replacement necks from original 1983 Baretta’s selling on the vintage market for nigh on a grand, this suddenly looks like good value.

Now, if you’re looking for an example of a really expensive Kramer, then the one master luthier Paul Unkert built Eddie Van Halen that got immortalised onstage and in the Hot For Teacher video is your Kramer; in April, that sold at auction for $3,932,000, making it one of the most expensive guitars in the world.

Back to this 1983 Baretta Reissue, we have a solid maple body, a bolt-on maple neck, both of which have been profiled from scans of an original. That neck is topped with a 16” radius rosewood fingerboard, seating 22 medium jumbo frets, and it is oiled to feel extra premium.

The 1983 Baretta Reissue ships in a hardshell guitar case and comes with a certificate of authenticity, and it begs the question: what’s next for the Historic Collection?

Perhaps Kramer’s archive-inspired Original Collection offers some clues, where models such as the triple-humbucker Jersey Star would be ripe for a high-end reissue for the Richie Sambora fan in your life, or, for a deep cut that’s yet to reappear on the now Gibson-owned brand’s lineup, what about an Elliot Easton EE Pro 1?

For more details, head over to Kramer.

Jonathan Horsley

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars and guitar culture since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitar World. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.