Assault 220 review by Kramer

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  • Sound: 8
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reliability & Durability: 8
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 7
  • Features: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 7.8 Good
  • Users' score: 8 (38 votes)
Kramer: Assault 220
4

Price paid: € 289

Sound — 8
I play mostly metal, rock and punk, but I sometimes also play blues, jazz, bossa nova, pop, and other styles. It is very good for my heavier sounds - good sustain and warmth, and if I want a brighter, thinner sound, I can pop the coil tap for a more strat-like sound. Very good versatility, this guitar can pull a fat growl, and messing with all the 6 different configurations (between 3-way selector and coil tap), you can get some different sounds. However, this only holds true when playing with zero to medium distortion, because when I play heavier rock or metal, the coil tap does not feel like it's affecting the sound at all. I use it through a Peavey Vypyr 75, with the Sanpera I pedal. I use only the built-in effects and distortion. It has very little, almost none fret buzz ( in a scale of one to 10, I'd say it has 0,6 fret buzz) and it's practically negligible. However, it appears to have a lot of fret buzz from factory (nothing a good set-up won't fix) but all in all, it sounds very good. I have played it with some friend that had other guitars and I could compare it to active EMG pickus guitars, and I've got to say, it stood up very well indeed.

Overall Impression — 8
This is definitely a good guitar for everything from metal to pop, and everything in between - like punk and blues. Especially considering it's price. I mean, are you kidding me?! Guitars with inferior quality than this are sold at 350+ ! For the amount of extras this guitar has (FR, great looks, coil tap, volume bleed mod) and for the sound it produces, A more reasonable price would be like 450. But it's not, and I think this was a great buy. I have been playing for more than 3 years now, and up untill now, I only had a low-level Ibanez starter guitar, so this was definitely a step forward. However, beware of the FR: it's not the est out there, and if you are unsure, you should just buy the fixed bridge version. If it was stolen... I don't know if I'd buy it again, but I probably would. I will probably mod it - either active pickups or something DiMarzio. Other than that, it's already perfect for me. One of the thing I live about it is it's mad looks. It's a killer sexy guitar! One thing I hate... It's bigger than the Standard guitar dimension. I have a rigid guitar in which I can fit my other guitar easily, but this one needs some twists and spins to fit in there. I don't know why or what exactly it is, but it is bigger than it should. All in all, a very good guitar, especially if you want versatility, 24 frets with a great access neck, FR and all the cool things this guitar has. If you are in a tight budget, or even if you aren't and you just want a great guitar, I would strongly recommend this.

Reliability & Durability — 8
I haven't played it live yet (well only if you count jamming with my friends), but I have had playing sessions of more than 5 hours, and it holds pretty well. Because of the FR, it needs 10 seconds fine-tuning every other hour, and I would imagine more if you abuse the FR (which I don't), but other than that, it's fine. The hardware seems, for some reason, a bit more frail than my other guitar, but if you don't go around throwing the guitar to the walls, it will surely last long. I probably wouldn't use it in a gig without a backup, but that's because I'm obsessive compulsive, lol. The strap buttons are probably solid, but still, I swapped them for straploks, again, because I'm paranoid about that kind of stuff. The finish in the body and headstock seems perfect, but the neck is wearing out very fast. However, I applied fret cleaner to it, and it revived pretty fast. The guitar, being black, gets a lot of fingerprints on it, I'm afraid.

Action, Fit & Finish — 7
Like I said, the guitar's set-up was a bit off, with fret buzz in the E and A string, but al other strings were fine. Medium action, not as low as I would want it, but if I already had fret buzz like that, I won't lower it even more. The neck pickup was perfectly adjusted, but the bridge pickup is a bit off. Nothing noticeable from more than 20 cm away, but still, under closer inspection, it was a few milimetres up from where it should be. The bridge sits perfectly where it is supposed to, and all other functional parts work properly. The FR is also very responsive: in a friend's Ibanez Edge III bridge, you have to pull it almost all the way down to notice any wham, while in this guitar's FR, the slightest touch in the bar is instantly noticeable. This can be a bad thing. I found, however, a few aesthetical flaws in it: the headstock had a 1 mm radius dent; the neck's angle is about 0.5 degrees off; and the glood finish ends abruptly 2/11 ths up the neck, only to restart again in the headstock. All in all, some things could be improved, but nothing noticeable or nothing that affects the guitar's performance.

Features — 8
The guitar is Kramer Assault 220 FR black w/ red binding. From top to bottom: -> New Kramer headstock (black), with new Kramer logo (white), red binding -> Mahogany neck with ebony fingerboard -> 24 frets, 25.5" scale, 14" radius (feels like Ibanez's wizard necks) -> Red binding and red thorn inlays -> Set (glued in) neck -> Mahogany body with red binding, gloss finish -> Les Paul style body (single-cutaway) -> H-H passive pickup config (cool detail in how each of the single coil pickup of the humbucker in of a different colour than the other; from neck to bridge, they go like this: black, red, then red, black) -> Floyd Rose style bridge -> Volume knob, 3-way selector switch, tone knob with coil split (pull it out and it will turn the humbuckers into single coils) -> Volume bleed For more info.

10 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Dolor
    Well, I have this same guitar, but white coloured, but its features are as a matter a fact surprisingly nice. I'd say better than said in this review. I love to play with the floyd rose on it, and it keeps itself in tune very well, I have to tune it up only once a week, if I play a lot with it. For me, it's a good thing when the floyd rose is sensitive when being touched, easy to use it fast during soloes and stuff. And, I have played it live once, worked fantastic. No tuning problems there or stringbreaks or anything. So, at some parts I agree with the writer, but then again, I consider it better than said here.
    Dolor
    @pmprcv: Maybe I wasn't thinking that much, because now, I realize that. So 8 is proper for it.
    axeslinger0u812
    Nice review. I like that you compared it to other guitars and tried out different styles and distortion levels. I personally love Floyd Rose style trems, and so this guitar actually has a higher appeal to me because of it. I will say that I also prefer the Edge trem to the FR, and the guitar I have with it has shown it to be actually very responsive, and it's ease-of-use is much superior, BUT I have no qualms in picking up an FR fitted guitar. Again, good review and I'll be sure to check it out if I get a chance.
    Jimmy_SparX
    Sounds awesome, i might pick one up at some stage, but whats the volume bleed mod ?
    pmprcv
    IMPORTANT : ERRATA . "I use only the built-in effects and distortion. It has very little, almost none fret buzz ( in a scale of one to 10, I'd say it has 0,6 fret buzz) and it's practically negligible. However, it appears to have a lot of fret buzz from factory (nothing a good set-up won't fix) but all in all, it sounds very good. " What I meant was, it has almost no hum when you're not playing but are plugged in (not fret buzz). The fret buzz, however, is noticeable (like I had stated). ."I found, however, a few aesthetical flaws in it: the headstock had a 1 mm radius dent; the neck's angle is about 0.5 degrees off; and the glood finish ends abruptly 2/11 ths up the neck, only to restart again in the headstock. " I meant gloss , not glood . ."However, beware of the FR: it's not the est out there " I meant best , not est . ."One of the thing I live about it is it's mad looks. It's a killer sexy guitar! One thing I hate... It's bigger than the Standard guitar dimension. I have a rigid guitar in which I can fit my other guitar easily, but this one needs some twists and spins to fit in there ." I meant a rigid guitar box
    pmprcv
    @ axeslinger0u812 I've been playing around with my FR a bit. As additional info, when tuning your guitar in the head (not in the fine-tuners at the bridge), I've needed to spend some time doing it, each time I need to. I think this is standard in most FR's and is explained by the fact that the bridge is at at compromise between string tension and spring tension, so when you tune it, the springs need to adjust, resulting in when you finish tuning all 6 strings, when you strum the first one again, it's already a bit off, and so you have to actually tune your guitar several times until it stays. At any rate, after you do tune it, it stays in tune really well. At first, I needed to fine-tune it every other hour, but no it's holding 2-3 days of both normal playing and FR use to need fine-tuning again - probably because the strings are now more flexible, after some time of playing. All in all, I'm surprised with how good the bridge actually is, because I read in other places that it was kinda bad and would easily de-tune itself, and I have not encountered such problems. @ Jimmy_SparX: A volume bleed mod, for what I recon, is a mod in the guitar's electrical system which reduces the hum produced - as in that little annoying 'bzzzzz' that you hear when you plug your guitar in but aren't playing it. Noticeably, in this guitar, the hum is very reduced, and I'm assuming it's for the bigger part because of the volume bleed mod - because the pikcups themselves aren't great, but acceptable.
    bogardfury
    Hey man thanks for taking the time and writing such a solid review. I bought this guitar based on research and this review. Every time i look at it i fall in love with it again One question though did you need to adjust the truss rod in the neck at all?
    pmprcv
    @Dolor: You consider it better than an 8? Remember that 5 is average, 6 is above average, 7 is good but with some flaws, 8 is very good with very minor flaws, 9 is great with barely any noticeable flaws and 10 is perfect, couldn't get any better. Seeing as this guitar is moderately good with barely noticeable flaws, I'd put it somewhere between 7 and 8, and because of it's price I thought it deserved to be in the 8 category. It's sound is in fact good, but not good enough to be in the 9's category alongside 3000+ Gibsons and Fenders. It's also far from perfect, so a 10 cannot fit either. 8 seems pretty reasonable to me.