“A testament to the enduring legacy of the shred sleds of the 80s, reborn for today’s generation”: Ready Player One! Kramer shows some love for 8-Bit arcade games with the NightSwan Pixel Hearts

Kramer Nightswan Pixel Hearts
(Image credit: Kramer)

Kramer has unveiled the NightSwan Pixel Hearts, a go-faster high-performance electric guitar that’s aimed squarely at the guitar player who was weaned on nourishing pop-cultural output of hard rock, heavy metal and 8-bit video games. 

This limited edition run of the classic Kramer S-style is for those whose manual dexterity was carefully honed by long afternoons playing Paperboy and Galaga, before working through the tab books for Perpetual Burn and 1984, for those who grew up in the ‘80s – and for those who wish they had.

Graphics finishes can divide opinion but there is something appropriate, aesthetically complementary, about the use of 8-bit graphics on this white high-gloss shred machine. And the fundamentals are on point, too; this is spec’d to be a power-up for OTT lead guitar.

The NightSwan has a solid mahogany body, a 24.75” scale. We have a bolt-on maple neck, carved into a slim C as per Kramer house style, finished in satin so there’s no gumming up on you.

The fingerboard is ebony, seating 24 jumbo frets, and it has a 16” radius, which offers up favourable real estate for your fretting hand to cut loose in. The inlays are subtle but playful, with pearloid dot inlays arranged in a ping-pong pattern.

Although constructed for the six-string maximalist, the NightSwan is a simple drive, a single-pickup guitar equipped with a 85-T humbucker at the bridge, with white bobbins to match the body and headstock. 

There is no tone pot, just a solitary knurled-nickel master volume, but it does have a secret level – a push-pull function for accessing series and parallel humbucker modes, with the latter still offering a humbucking performance but with a subtle alternate tone to the more traditionally series configured sound.

Kramer Nightswan Pixel Hearts

(Image credit: Kramer)

An all-important Floyd Rose 1000 Series tremolo and R2 locking nut will offer a stable platform for whammy bar gymnastics. Extra points for those divebombing harmonics and using the expression pedal to increase the intensity of the reverb as they go – always a fun sound when operating in the thrash and death metal spaces.

Other cool things to note would be that banana-style six-in-line headstock, with bonus points for the finish matching and hot-red Kramer logo. Nice. There is a set of sealed die-cast tuners, and the guitar ships in a premium gig bag

There is no price on this at the moment. As with those 11 guitars Gibson quietly unveiled the other day, the NightSwan Pixel Hearts was introduced on the quiet via the Gibson Gazette. On Valentine’s Day, of course. 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.