R36 Turbulence review by Gary Kramer Guitars

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  • Sound: 8
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 9
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 10
  • Features: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 9 Superb
  • Users' score: 6.1 (18 votes)
Gary Kramer Guitars: R36 Turbulence
1

Price paid: $ 700

Purchased from: Manufacturer

Sound — 8
I play (prog) metal, and this guitar sounds good for what I intend to use it for. It will be my guitar for heavier stuff, because it's a sevenstring. I won't be using it exclusively, because of it's limited sounds. The stock pickup is good, but I will be replacing it, there's room for improvement. I'm playing the guitar through a Boss GT-10. I don't get much noise one the less distorted sounds, and my heavier patches are all extremely noisegated. It's quieter than my other guitars, though. All kinds of heavy sounds work well, from completely midscooped to more "djent"-ish stuff, but clean sounds an warm blues tones just need a neck pickup, which this guitar doesn't have. Then again, you won't be playing in a blues band with a guitar that looks like this...

Overall Impression — 9
I love this guitar. It's great for what it's intended to do (not so good for other things) and it is unique. I've been playing for a little over 1.5 years. My main guitar is a heavily modded Ibanez JS-100. If it were stolen, I'd definitely buy it again, because it's the best for playing/practicing seated, among other things. I love the neck, playability, range, and shape of this guitar. Probably the best thing about it that I haven't mentioned yet is the reactions it gets. Most people don't know what to say because they've never seen anything like it. Before I found out about this, I was considering the low-end Ibanez and Schecter 7strings, which cost about the same as this in my country, but as soon as I saw this, especially its price, I had to get it. The only problem for me is its lacking versatility.

Reliability & Durability — 9
This guitar is really solid. After a couple of bumps into the wall and two hits to the headstock with a friend's bass, the only damage is a bit of paint come off on the headstock's tip. (which seems to happen to all my guitars :/ ) I've installed Schaller straplocks to make sure it stays on the strap. If this was the only type of guitar I was playing, I think I would rely on it, but I still would bring an "emergency" backup in case a string breaks.

Action, Fit & Finish — 10
The setup was great out of the box. I only had to tune the low B and I could start playing. Not bad for a guitar that's been shipped from the USA to Switzerland! The action is great and i can play fast, I didn't have to adjust anything. There is a slight buzz on the low b string if I pick hard, but I don't mind that. Everything is aligned and installed properly and there are only minor flaws. There is a tiny flaw in the finish near the headstock. Also, The trem arm tends to get loose on deep dives, which kind of annoys me.

Features — 9
I don't actually know where or when the guitar was made, I can't find any information on this. I know it's an import model, so its probably china or korea or something like that. The guitar has seven strings and 36 frets, making for a lot of range. For better playability, the upper 12 frets are smaller than the others. The neck is made of five pieces maple and walnut with a maple fretboard and is bolted to the body with five screws. The neck joint starts around the 27th fret on the high e string. The body is made of mahogany and has a great shape. Even though it may look like it's just designed to look crazy, its actually very well thought out: The long upper horn rests against the body, the big lower cutout makes it easy to reach the high frets, and the curved top is comfortable for the right arm. There also is a left-leg rest, which puts it in a perfect playing position when sitting. The body and headstock is painted glossy black, with "TURBULENCE" written on the inside of the upper horn. The neck back is painted satin black with a red binding around the fretboard and headstock. One side of the headstock is finished clear to make the different woods visible (they call this "Composition Display Window"), which looks really cool and unique. The bridge is a licensed Floyd Rose, recessed into the body, with a locking nut. All the hardware is black. Because of the number of frets, there is only one pickup. It's a Gary Kramer humbucker, mounted directly on the body. There's no use for a pickup selector, so there's only Volume (with a nice big knob) and tone, which also splits the pickup when pulled out. The guitar came with a case, which is nice, but has an uncomfortable handle.

24 comments sorted by best / new / date

    DarkValo666
    How are you supposed to reach those high frets? And even if you reached them, aren't they too small to play?
    celticstorm84
    I've seen these on Ebay quite a bit. I saw the review and had to read it, seems like a worthwhile guitar if you want the range. Awesome review. What does the neck profile compare to?
    MaggaraMarine
    Omg how fugly guitar. I think this beats the reverse flying v on fugliness.[ quote]DarkValo666 wrote: How are you supposed to reach those high frets? And even if you reached them, aren't they too small to play?[/quote] + 1 36 frets WTH!!!!!
    Zhuriel
    Zhuriel wrote: It's thinner than a 6string I tried out at a shop once,
    Sorry, meant to write "6string RG"
    Zhuriel
    celticstorm84 wrote: What does the neck profile compare to?
    Don't really know, since I don't have much to compare it to. It's definitely really thin. It's thinner than a 6string I tried out at a shop once, and thinner than all of my other guitars.
    Black Paranoia wrote: looks awful
    Wow, that was really constructive...
    3-R4Z0R
    celticstorm84 wrote: I've seen these on Ebay quite a bit. I saw the review and had to read it, seems like a worthwhile guitar if you want the range. Awesome review. What does the neck profile compare to?
    I'd say it's quite a thin neck, rather handy profile, but I'll let my friend know he's got questions to answer. =)
    3-R4Z0R
    blinky67 wrote: I Think this is more a Hang on the wall guitar?
    That's wrong. I've tried this guitar (we're friends) and it is at least as playable as any other guitar I've come across yet. Even though it may look odd it is balanced in the same way as any other guitar, the only difference being a bigger cutout at the bottom than on other guitars. To compensate the weight loss there, the upper horn is a bit longer than usual. In fact, for the one playing this guitar, everything is at the same place as on a usual guitar. And the leg-rest is really a nice addition. It's design to purely make playing easier, not to look badass or something. I myself don't really like the looks (some may know I play a B.C. Rich Virgo), but this would be the best choice for someone who seeks a guitar which will technically do anything (except having a neck pickup).
    TheOpenMind
    DarkValo666 wrote: How are you supposed to reach those high frets? And even if you reached them, aren't they too small to play?
    That's what I was thinking too. Anyway, good review and nice guitar!
    Zhuriel
    Plus I can imagine that the headstock/neck is too heavy, there not really being much body to offset it. I usually like guitars that have a different optic than the mainstream Strats and L.P.s, but it looks like this one compromises too much to achieve the wild body shape.
    Actually, it isn't designed to be "wild" but for ergonomic reasons, and it's the most balanced guitar I've ever played, because the upper horn is so long.
    And you sure as hell can't sit down with it.
    As I wrote, it has a leg-rest that puts it in a perfect 45 position. It's actually better for sitting down than my other guitars!
    I cannot see how you are supposed to access the higher frets at all
    The cutout and the carve on the front are huge . The 27th fret is easily reachable without stretching. Of course, I won't be using the upper frets often, but they're really cool when you're playing in A or something and want an extra A on the fretboard
    Just looking at it i'd say it makes for worse playability having them that small, heh.
    It does improve playability because they're narrow, so you have more space for your finger.
    Vabolo
    EpiExplorer wrote: Madness, utter madness, And I thought MAB's 29 fretter was just pushing it a little.. Yeah, you DO get a lot of range with 7 strings and 36 fuggin frets.. But like everyone else is saying, could anyone really play that? You'd have to tune it to like, F# for it to sound normal..
    Madness? THIS.IS.AWESOOOOOME!
    EpiExplorer
    Madness, utter madness, And I thought MAB's 29 fretter was just pushing it a little.. Yeah, you DO get a lot of range with 7 strings and 36 fuggin frets.. But like everyone else is saying, could anyone really play that? You'd have to tune it to like, F# for it to sound normal..
    pete-c
    "For better playability, the upper 12 frets are smaller than the others" I'm sure it's more for the reason that they'd be really out of tune otherwise, for super funky mathmatical reasons. Just looking at it i'd say it makes for worse playability having them that small, heh.
    Tyler Durden
    this just seems more of a novelty item, then a functioning guitar for any type of performances, I cannot see how you are supposed to access the higher frets at all
    Way Cool JR.
    Nothing about any of the Gary Kramer Guitars is about novelty. They are professional guitars meant to be played.
    Jesus_Dean
    Me, too. Plus I can imagine that the headstock/neck is too heavy, there not really being much body to offset it. I usually like guitars that have a different optic than the mainstream Strats and L.P.s, but it looks like this one compromises too much to achieve the wild body shape. And you sure as hell can't sit down with it. LOL But otherwise, a nice descriptive review of an unusual instrument.
    jean_genie
    I'm guessing that if you play with 9s or even 8s, those frets might be useable. Doubtful with heavier strings though.