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  1. #1
    Emperor of VHLinks.com Brett's Avatar
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    12.17.17 @ 11:54 PM
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    Ok so my friend basically sold me an old Kramer Pacer, it's a "C" serial number and he seems to think it's an '84, at the most an '85. It has the banana headstock, etc. It needs complete rewriting and some of the frets are bad, and I am replacing the pickups, I have a Duncan Custom for the bridge.

    Anyway the thing is pretty beat up, even needs a new volume pot, it's basically a mess and sort of a project guitar for me, but I would like to use it out as a backup if I can.

    Ok so my real dilemma is the neck. Yes this is really long and is me thinking out loud, so bare with me please.

    Ok it is a banana peghead, so that's a definite plus. It is a maple fretboard, which is cool, and someone told me rarer because Ed apparently didn't want Kramer producing maple necks like his. But whatever, don't really care of believe that, I've seen old maple Kramer necks. So the freboard is maple, the rest of the neck is black, the peghead is black, the back of the neck is black, all the way up the sides as well, right to the fretboard. Basically it's ugly. I really want an unfinished neck. I mean the neck isn't in the greatest shape, it has chips, needs some new frets as I said. Should I try to use paint stripper and take the black behind the fretboard off, or is it a dumb idea and not worth my time? Should I just leave it and live with it and just get the frets repaired? Should I let my guitar guy strip the paint off and sand it? The other thing is that the gold Kramer lettering is fading too, which kinda looks crappy, but I suppose I could get my hands on a new decal somehow, but doesn't that need clearcoat over it after you apply it? I contacted Warmoth and they will make me a Kramer banana-like neck, unfinished for like $158. But of course then I need my guitar guy to drill the holes, other than the floyd and the pegholes which Warmoth will do. And of course they frown on the unfinished neck thing and I guess I could clear coat it and then sand it off. I don't know give me your thoughts. I guess my whole point is I just want to know what the best thing for me to do with the neck is. Should I just fix the frets, maybe clean up the peghead, live with the black and the laquer neck, or try to make it an unfinished neck, or buy a replacement?

    Thanks guys for all comments, I've been mulling this over for like 2 weeks now and can't come to a solid decision.
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  2. #2
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    09.26.12 @ 10:15 AM
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    Okay, this is just my opinion...what I think that I would do.

    First off...

    Don't let the frets scare you. A qualified luthier can more than likely have that baby playing like a new one with just a little bit of work.

    As far as the black paint and laquer goes...

    If you want an unfinished neck, then strip it down. If you can just get most of it off with paint stripper, then take heavy steel wool, or really fine sand paper, you should be okay.

    If you do end up sanding away too much wood or something, you know you can get a new neck from Warmoth. It's really a win win situation. You have nothing to lose.

  3. #3
    Emperor of VHLinks.com Brett's Avatar
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    12.17.17 @ 11:54 PM
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    Prages - nah the fret work doesn't scare me at all, hell I've had my EBMM refretted twice!! Just saying it needed to be done, just one more thing to add to the list. [img]smile.gif[/img] Your solution is probably what I'm leaning towards, yep. If I mess it up....oh well!
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  4. #4
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    03.30.13 @ 09:28 AM
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    Toss it in the crapper and contact warmoth..
    Just kidding Brett.
    Forget about the paint chips and black paint, and peghead, and blah blah paint thinner blah blah paint stripper blah blah clearcoat, all the other shit.
    The "only" questions you should be asking yourself are, Does this neck feel good in my hands? Does the shape feel right? Can I see my self being happy with this neck in a year? Am I insane playing a 5150?
    Well, I'm waiting....Did you ask yourself those questions? I think you forgot the last one.
    Ok, done? Good.
    Now, If the answer to the first 3 questions were hmmmmm, then you need to think about it some more.
    If your answers to the first 3 questons were yes, then get it refretted, and have your luthier sand and clean the neck without finishing it, so either he or you can finish it with tung oil like your wolf.
    "Don't Use Paint Stripper On the Neck...Back Or front"!
    Fuck the decal, those are easy to get, but if you'd rather leave it on then just have him leave the front of the headstock the way it is. If you're gonna sand and put a decal on the headstock then don't tung oil it, just do the fingerboard, and the back of the neck. It's very easy, once you've oiled the fingerboard, to get a stain for the headsock which will match the fingerboard color.
    You don't have to apply any finish to the headstock for the decal to stick properly. You can apply a clear finish over it by hand if you like, but again, don't tung oil the headstock, or nothing will stick for any length of time.
    First get a luthier to check out the neck and see if it's straight, and the truss rod's in good shape.
    If you strip the body, expect to use a paint stripper that doesn't affect glue joints, and then you'll have to do the final stripping by hand with sandpaper. Most of the early Kramers I've stripped were alder, but one or 2 were plywood, so have a look before you start.
    Man, that's a project I'd love. I'd rip that sucker apart and start from the gound up.
    If I can help with any aspect of rewiring or rebuilding, email me. I've done shitloads of those guitars.

    By the way, if you answered the 4th question as a yes, then I'm afraid there's no way to help you.

  5. #5
    Emperor of VHLinks.com Brett's Avatar
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    12.17.17 @ 11:54 PM
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    tribb - The answer to the 4th question is yes, but I was already insane. [img]smile.gif[/img]

    Ok well honestly, to the me the neck is a bit wide for my liking, but I think if it was unfinished it would be more comfortable, but no it's not perfect. I mean how much are we looking at for a luthier to do all that, maybe it would just be cheaper to go through Warmoth and have my luthier finish it up with the neck holes, string holes, etc.

    As far as rewriring goes, with 2 pickups, a 3 knobs, and a selector switch, me very scared to be messing with it. I'll probably just let him do it.

    I just talked to friend and he said he was told the neck was a bit twisted and he shimmed the nut to raise the low string side also. So maybe it is a lost cause and I should go with Warmoth. Then my luthier can finish it up.

    Tribb, I'll send it to you, you fix it. LOL! [img]smile.gif[/img]
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  6. #6
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    03.30.13 @ 09:28 AM
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    No thanks bro, you keep it..lol
    Right off the bat you said it's too wide for your liking. Beleive me bud, it won't get better with time. You'll just pick it up less and less.
    When you're onstage do you really want to play a guitar that's uncomfortable?
    If it's really got a twist, then it's not worth trying to fix.
    Your luthier could plane it to try and take the hump off one side, but it could twist again. The kramer pacer necks really varied from guitar to guitar.
    I've seen some that felt like your wolf neck, and others that were like an Ibanez wizard neck, wide and flat in the back. Both fine neck shapes, but very different from each other and not for everyone. If it's the thin type, then planing it will remove even more wood, so maybe screw that.
    Depending on the luthier, an average fret job will run you between 150-300, depending on how valuable he feels his time is. That usually includes setup, but doesn't include wiring.
    Like I said, even after refretting there's no guarentee that it'll stay the way you want it.
    You know you'll get a good neck from warmoth, with any fret, and neck shape you want, and let them finish it for you with an oil finish like your wolf. I believe they'll warranty it now with that type of finish.
    A luthier will have to set up the neck with your strings, and set the intonation for the neck and type of bridge you'll be using. Most of the early pacers used real floyd bridges so that's a plus.
    The wiring you're talking about is a peice of cake if you have a soldering iron, but if you're uncomfortable let the luthier rewire it. That shouldn't cost you much at all because he's just resoldering a few wires. Maybe just a cold solder joint or two.
    The glued body wood can be very different looking from one peice to another. After stripping I've had to either repaint the body cause I couldn't match up the wood properly, or use some very inventive staining to get the peices to match in looks. I found one that was really nice, and I kept that one.
    The pacers used Seymour Duncan humbucking pickups, usually SD Jeff Becks, so check to make sure the pickups haven't been replaced.
    I don't know what you paid for it, but I hope it wasn't much, because when all is said and done, whether or not you have to toss the neck you'll be a few dollars shorter.
    The old pacers aren't really a collectable guitar unless they're mint, and even then they're not worth big bucks. The ones with the blonde necks and rounded headstocks are more valuable, but only if they're all original, playable and in excellent condition. Most guys who get them swap out the p/u's, and just play the shit out of them.
    Whatever you decide, show him the guitar, and get a price up front.

  7. #7
    Emperor of VHLinks.com Brett's Avatar
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    12.17.17 @ 11:54 PM
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    Tribb - Damn, thought I could pawn it off on you. LOL! Actually I paid hardly anything for it, it was basically given to me. I mean it's beat up, and I don't even care what it's worth. I just want to get a good sound out of it and play it, but if I can make it look a little nicer and have my Wolfie feel to it, why not do it. [img]smile.gif[/img]

    The thing does have Duncans in it, but I have a new Custom I'd rather throw in the bridge, so I'm gonna do that.

    I wired up my Ibanez once and screwed it up so that's why I am hesitant to rewire this. To me that's not gonna be the big cost anyway as you said, it's the neck stuff. I can live with the paint job for now, it's like black with that 80's looking red globs on it. Cleaned up might not look terrible.

    Gonna take it to my guy this weekend, see what he thinks I should do. He's always up front with me, so that leaves me feeling good. Thanks for the advice.
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    03.30.13 @ 09:28 AM
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    No problem. The Kramers with solid wood bodies all seemed to have good sound, so you should get a nice tone, which will be different, but just as nice as your wolf. Just remember to block the bridge so it only goes down.
    Sounds like a new neck is a good investment.
    I used a kramer while travelling for years and it was a workhorse, never screwed up.
    One more thing. Kramer seemed to cover all their bodies with a good primer, so if you decide to paint it a solid color you only have to go down as far as the primer before applying the new coat.
    I'd like to know how it turns out. Maybe post a before and after picture.
    Have fun.

  9. #9
    Emperor of VHLinks.com Brett's Avatar
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    12.17.17 @ 11:54 PM
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    Yep I will definitely take a before/after picture. I have used my '87 Kramer Baretta as a backup for a couple years and it has been solid, never had a problem of any kind. It's just that the rosewood and laquered it has is such a different feel than the Wolf or the EBMM it's hard to adjust when I need to switch quickly, but it's in great shape so I don't want to mess with it. This Pacer is a mess, so why not have some fun with it and at least get it to where I can use it comfortably live or even just to play it.

    Definitely will paint it, probably black or red, haven't decided. But that can wait for now.

    Thanks again tribb.
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  10. #10
    Emperor of VHLinks.com Brett's Avatar
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    12.17.17 @ 11:54 PM
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    Ok took the guitar to the shop, and found out some good things.

    The guy says the neck is fine, has a slight "S" curve but nothing to be concerned over. He said the neck is in nice shape, just needs to be re-dressed and some of the crowns may need to be filed down, but nothing too major. So I am going to have him do that and just play with it for a while to see if I really want to deal with unfinishing it. The re-wiring was no biggy, and he's going to put in my Duncan Custom and block the Floyd so it doesn't pull up.

    So right now I'm just looking for little things to clean it up. Bought a new chrome Floyd nut for it, and some Pacer knobs, not the crap it has on there now. Might change the tuners to chrome, haven't decided yet though.

    Since I'm gonna keep the neck as it is for a while, I want to touch up the black peghead where it's a bit chipped up. What kind of paint should I use to just touch it up? Also gonna replace the gold Kramer water decal, but am having a bitch of a time finding a replacement, but I'll get one.
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    05.28.08 @ 07:33 PM
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    Brett, you could do like a music store I went to once. They had a piece of shit, Gibson Grabber bass and it had a scuff mark on the headstock. Well all the idiots did was take a black Sharpie marker and color the damn thing in. I know you're down with that.
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    Brett...What a COOL project!!

    I agree that neck is a win-win...either way you went, you'd have a solid neck on that thing.

    Before and after shots would be GREAT!
    Can't stop...addicted to the shindig...

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    03.30.13 @ 09:28 AM
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    Brett, are the chips right down to the wood, or can you see color under the black?

  14. #14
    Emperor of VHLinks.com Brett's Avatar
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    12.17.17 @ 11:54 PM
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    Trbb, a couple are down to the wood and the a couple of the scratches you can still see paint.

    BS1 - The Sharpie route? Uh..... [img]smile.gif[/img]

    Sacto - I have some before pics of it, but my digital camera is being repaired right now and the chip with the pictures is in there. I think I took one of it a month ago. Won't look much different, just cleaner. But I will post some pics. [img]smile.gif[/img]
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    03.30.13 @ 09:28 AM
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    Brett, post some pics when you can.
    You can go the sharpie route..
    Or you can find some black enamel paint(model paint is fine), and a tiny fine point paint brush.
    You can paint a thin layer in once a day to let it dry properly, till over a period of days you have the paint back up to the level of the paint already on the neck. Once it's back up to level, or just a hair above, you can use a buffing compound, and soft cloth to remove any lines between the old paint and new. It takes a bit of buffing, so you have to be patient there as well.
    A small slow speed buffing wheel helps.
    Let the new paint dry for at least a week before final buffing and polishing to let it cure properly. If you want to be really anal like me you could paint a thin coat of primer before starting on the black paint.
    Since it's a beat up neck I know you'll probably go the sharpie route, but if you decide to do it right take your time, and it should look like it was never chipped when you're done.

 

 

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