Kramer unveils the SM-1 Figured – three top-of-the-line shred machines with AAA flame-maple finishes

Kramer SM-1 Figured
(Image credit: Kramer)

Kramer has given its top-line SM-1 series of high-performance electric guitars a classy AAA maple makeover, and perhaps something a little different from one of guitar’s most-shreddable brands.

The Kramer homepage might tell you everything you need to know about its core demographic’s taste in electric guitars, with the page dominated by the Baretta Custom Graphics Collection’s Strike First Baretta – an martial arts inspired S-style hotrod with a yellow and black cobra graphic by Eric Caspers. Très Cobra Kai. Très ‘80s shred.

But Kramer is nothing if not cognisant of the fact that shredders are on occasion looking for something more sophisticated. Not to say grown-up because that suggests slowing down. No. Something classy, and the SM-1 Figured, available in a trio of colour sunburst – or “perimeter” – finishes, each making the detail in their AAA figured maple veneers pop, could be just the thing. 

Choose from Caribbean Blue, Royal Purple and Black Denim. The latter, confusingly, is more brown than black, and is not like any jeans we have had in the drawer. The backs of the instruments are finished in gloss black.

Moving on, like the original 1980s Stagemasters that inspired them, the SM-1 is an HSS hotrodded electric, though here the bridge humbucker is parallel to the Floyd Rose 1000 Series vibrato as opposed to the acute angle of the ‘80s models, and those single-coils are actually stacked humbuckers. 

These SM-1 Figured models have solid mahogany bodies, neck-through construction, with mahogany necks whittled down to a K-Speed SlimTaper C that’s sure to add some zip to your leads.

Kramer SM-1 Figured

(Image credit: Kramer)

Your pickup options are selected via a five-way blade-style selector switch, controlled by volume and tone knobs, and comprise a Seymour Duncan JB-1 at the bridge, with Seymour Duncan Cool Rails single-coil sized humbuckers at the middle and neck positions. 

With five positions on that pickup selector, there should be plenty of range on these models, even if most players' stock in trade on a Kramer is to turn-and-burn on the bridge 'bucker.

Other specs include the 25.5” scale, 24 jumbo frets, 12.6” radius ebony fingerboards that bound in white and inlaid with Kramer mini-headstocks and the brand’s logo at the 12th.

The SM-1 Figured represents Kramer’s most expensive models in the current lineup, but for those looking for a shred machine with a super-slinky feel, a neck-through build for sustain that rings out, Seymour Duncans, and of course a finish that does not suggest a wardrobe stocked with striped Spandex trousers, $1,199 is not too shabby at all. 

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.