Striker 211 review by Kramer

logo Ultimate Guitar
  • Sound: 7
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 8
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 9
  • Features: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 8.2 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.1 (40 votes)
Kramer: Striker 211
1

Price paid: £ 200

Purchased from: GAK

Sound — 7
Back in the good old days of rock n roll, Kramer was one of the world's biggest brands, competing with Fender and Gibson in terms of sales. This was helped no end by the endorsement of a certain Eddie Van Halen, although he was by no means the only famous guitarist to have used Kramer guitars. Mick Mars, Richie Sambora, Tom Morello and Jeff LaBar, Vivian Campbell, George Lynch...all these and many others have endorsed Kramer guitars at some point. Kramer's success coincided with the success of 1980s glam metal/hard rock, and shortly after the 80s came to an end, and with it, the reign of glam metal, Kramer went bankrupt. After spending many years out of the limelight, Kramer was recently bought by Gibson, and several models are now available. As you can probably work out, I play mostly 1980s hard rock, and my influences include Van Halen, Motley Crue, Skid Row, Cinderella etc. This guitar doesn't come with the world's greatest pickups, but the sound is still satisfactory, and it can be used for both screaming lead guitar as well as nice, chunky rhythm guitar. It copes well with both distortion and clean guitar, and can certainly be used for recording demos with. I use my various Line 6 devices (which I'm not overly fond of), and if I'm honest, I'm considering a change of amp/effects as well as pick ups. The mahogany body certainly shouldn't hold back this thing's potential, and I see no reason why I can't get an even better sound out of it in the future. For now, though, I'm generally pretty pleased with what I've got, and for home/band rocking out purposes, it's more than good enough.

Overall Impression — 9
I've been playing guitar for a few years now. I own a fair few guitars, including 1 ( beginner's)classical, 2 Strat styled guitars, a Harley Benton V styled guitar and a soon to be sold Ibanez RG370DX. I've never been much of an elitist when it comes to buying guitars, since rocking out is something I do for fun, not for a living. Therefore, I've gone for quantity over quality, and I'd say I have quite the eye for spotting excellent value for money as far as low-end guitars go. Excluding the Ibanez, my guitar collection comes to about 450, which would be the equivalent of perhaps a nice Epiphone Les Paul, or a good quality ESP-LTD or something. Instead, I have chosen carefully, and instead own several great looking guitars which are just as good as guitars two or three times the price. My collection is relatively diverse given its low cost, and the Kramer certainly fits in well. Anyone else who wishes to buy a distinctive guitar, with a big name and excellent value for money should really consider this. Its main rivals, Ibanez GRG series, Jackson JS30 etc., are similarly priced but by no means are they any better. It depends on your music taste really. If you prefer Van Halen to Linkin Park, Dokken to BFMV, Whitesnake to Trivium, then you should really consider this based on its genuinely excellent, flamboyant, over-the-top 1980s looks. If you prefer contemporary metal, then you should still consider this as far as value for money is concerned, but it just might not look heavy or brutal enough. In all, its a very cool guitar, that plays very well indeed and sounds good, and its by no means too expensive for anyone looking to build up a collection on a relatively small budget. Its not really a beginner's guitar, but at 200 you're getting something that's just as good as guitars 100+ more expensive, and, if it suits your music taste, 100X cooler.

Reliability & Durability — 8
Apart from taking a while for the tuning stability to sort itself out, there's not much wrong with this guitar at all. Its well made, and I see no reason why it won't last me for many, many gigs to come. I treat my guitars rough when rocking out on a stage, even in band practices. This guitar should certainly last a good long time, although truth be told, I haven't owned it long enough to give a definitive answer here. Certainly, it's well made and I can't see any reason to have cause to worry about it at all.

Action, Fit & Finish — 9
The action was set up as high as it could be when it arrived, which was actually rather low. It was relatively easy to adjust the action to a slightly lower height that suits me, although it's certainly possible to get even lower. If you like your action high, then don't get this guitar. High action is not an option. To be honest, medium string height is barely just an option. Other than being a bit out of tune, the guitar was ready to play, and there were certainly no flaws/technical problems. GAK, I salute you. The action is great for shredding on, and I feel the only thing limiting the speed I can reach is my (gradually increasing) technical abilty, whereas on previous guitars, I had felt the guitar was the limiting factor. I chose the trans purple option, and it certainly looks like its travelled in time from 1985. Its a very good looking guitar, which stands out from all the 21st century Ibanez and ESP superstrats out there. I'm surprised it didn't come with a free bandana or can of hairspray if I'm honest. If 1980's glam metal is your sort of thing, then this guitar is certainly one you should consider.

Features — 8
This Indonesian-made superstrat has a 24 fret maple neck, mahogany body and some of the coolest 1980s looks available today. It is available in trans black, trans fireburst and trans purple, all with a flamed maple finish. This model is the one with the string-through HardTail bridge, as opposed to the slightly more expensive Striker 211 FR Custom, which has a liscenced Floyd Rose. It has HB-S-S pickups, and a volume control along with 2 tone controls and a 5 way pick up selector. All in all, this guitar has everything you need to rock out 1980s style, and very little to go wrong. In particular, I like the 'banana' headstock, which looks sincerely excellent, especially with the name "KRAMER" on it. It came with allen keys and a lead as well, which is fair enough really. Overall, some pretty good set of features for its price.

37 comments sorted by best / new / date

    detman
    Esta buena la viola, lo negativo para mi es que la madera no es de cuerpo entero, en la parte del clavijero esta incrustada con otra madera como un puzzle. Sonido ok,pero las jackson tienen mejor terminacion (de mas Calidad. Es muy versatil yo toco desde the cure, blur hasta van halen, the outfield con ella.
    Guitar Sushi
    This isn't super on topic, but indonesia is one of the best sources of cheap guitars. They realy are quite good for the price, you can't complain. Unlike Chinese crap....
    KramerW5150
    you gots long hair dude? your influences are identical to mine aha, lets bring back hair metal?!!?!
    Skin_Removal
    I want a Kramer so bad, perhaps a Vanguard, Striker 211 Custom, and not to forget a white Pacer Classic.
    coolstoryangus
    Crap sorry about that mods anyway accidently clicked post comment not once but twice anyway. Korean guitars in the 80s and 90s sucked until after the new millenium.. Japan yeah they where good since the 70s but it took a while for korea to get any good so i dont get why people are saying that 80s and 90s MIK are good just because modenr MIK is good
    MaggaraMarine
    detman wrote: Esta buena la viola, lo negativo para mi es que la madera no es de cuerpo entero, en la parte del clavijero esta incrustada con otra madera como un puzzle. Sonido ok,pero las jackson tienen mejor terminacion (de mas Calidad. Es muy versatil yo toco desde the cure, blur hasta van halen, the outfield con ella.
    blablabla... Speak English or die!
    Rockinguitar
    Jj795 wrote: Another arroagant yankee !
    Jj795 wrote: Dam spelling !
    Probably the funniest thing I've read all day.
    Blargaha
    Mazz- wrote: ...& to Follow-Up, "200" MEANS NOTHING TO ME (& I know that's not a sophisticated, "Man of The World" thing to say...but, I live in the United States, I don't plan on moving to any other country, so why do I have any need to know the "" amount...
    Because he paid in pounds and don't have time/lust to translate into dollars for people who is to lazy to do it themselves?
    LSGuitarist
    Is this review respective of the price? Is it rated so high because it is good for a cheap guitar or could it be compared with Ibanez RG guitars or Jacksons? Also is it Professional Quality?
    Chaos-Serenade
    Guitar Sushi wrote: This isn't super on topic, but indonesia is one of the best sources of cheap guitars. They realy are quite good for the price, you can't complain. Unlike Chinese crap....
    I agree with you my friend, this is a very crucial topic people may overlook concerning newer guitars these days, the way I see it, quality lower to higher is: China, then Indonesia, then Korea and/or Japan, then USA/Custom shop. This is the main reason I like 80s/90s guitars made in Korea or Japan, their quality is so exceptional compared to any guitars nowadays of similar price.
    Redd_dymond
    TeleCam1990 wrote: I'm torn between this and a GRG270B. Anyone fancy helpin me decide?
    Definitley the Kramer. I used to own an Ibanez RG3something, which is the step up from the GRG series. There was no comparison. The Ibanez was later traded in, and the Kramer is still here. It's extremely good value for money as far its sound, looks and most of all, playabilty is concerned.
    HaloDestroyer
    Lol, I live near GAK - I hope you bargained with them over the price! Also, if you've only ever had cheap guitars, how do you know you're getting value for money - if you have no idea what an expensive guitar is like to own? You can't make comparisons to guitars 'two or three times the price' (in your own words) if you don't know what they are like to play - oh yeah, and playing an expensive guitar for 5 minutes in the axe shop doesn't count as experience with it, rofl. Ben.
    grohl1987
    HaloDestroyer wrote: Lol, I live near GAK - I hope you bargained with them over the price! Also, if you've only ever had cheap guitars, how do you know you're getting value for money - if you have no idea what an expensive guitar is like to own? You can't make comparisons to guitars 'two or three times the price' (in your own words) if you don't know what they are like to play - oh yeah, and playing an expensive guitar for 5 minutes in the axe shop doesn't count as experience with it, rofl. Ben.
    Damn straight. There are way too many people on here who make wild claims about 80 guitars being better than 8000 guitars when they clearly have absolutely no experience with the guitars they're talking about.
    ktrogm
    because just saying 200 could mean any currency moron, 200 yen? 200$? 200 coconuts? America isn't the only country in the world dude...
    Mazz-
    Indonsian -Made . So what it *really* is...is a Squier (by Fender)
    Quoteman
    HaloDestroyer wrote: Lol, I live near GAK - I hope you bargained with them over the price! Also, if you've only ever had cheap guitars, how do you know you're getting value for money - if you have no idea what an expensive guitar is like to own? You can't make comparisons to guitars 'two or three times the price' (in your own words) if you don't know what they are like to play - oh yeah, and playing an expensive guitar for 5 minutes in the axe shop doesn't count as experience with it, rofl. Ben.
    This is very true, but any guitarist worth their salt should be able to mod a not 2-3K$ guitar up to the level of a more expensive one (granted, it doesn't always make sense, but if you're starting with a 300$ Squire or Epiphone it will definitely be). Good electronics are easy to find and with the level of technology these days it's easy to buy a good neck, even cheap depending on your preference.
    Mazz-
    ...& to Follow-Up, "200" MEANS NOTHING TO ME (& I know that's not a sophisticated, "Man of The World" thing to say...but, I live in the United States, I don't plan on moving to any other country, so why do I have any need to know the "" amount...
    jetwash69
    Chaos-Serenade wrote: quality lower to higher is: China, then Indonesia, then Korea and/or Japan, then USA/Custom shop. This is the main reason I like 80s/90s guitars made in Korea or Japan, their quality is so exceptional compared to any guitars nowadays of similar price.
    What about Mexico and India? There's many aspects to quality...my MIJ RG has flawless craftmanship, but the paint chips easily (Lazer Blue [sic]). My MI Indonesia Xiphos is less than perfect where the neck binding meets the body, but it's a set neck and the paint is holding up great. Although the finish comes off the hardware (Cosmo Black) on that one. No issues whatsoever on my MIK Schecter, MIK Accoustic Fender or MIA Strat. My MIC Squier came out of the box w/dead frets and 2 of the tuners broke after 3 years, but after shimming the neck,replacing tuners with Fender/Shaller locking tuners, and replacing all the elecronics, it has been great (other than a big chunk of paint getting knocked off).
    Quoteman
    Though, it should be common sense that if someone claims any 200$ guitar could compete with it's 2000$ peer, they either have VERY low standards or just don't know what they're talking about. Then again, some of the best guitar tones have come from cheap P.O.S. guitars. What do we know?
    Slaytan666
    KramerW5150 wrote: you gots long hair dude? your influences are identical to mine aha, lets bring back hair metal?!!?!
    Could this be love? lmao
    RyanMetalMatthe
    Off topic, but Whitesnake is NOT a hair band. They're a bad ass blues rock band that was temporarily sucked into that hair crap, but David Coverdale was smart enough to get out because he knew it was wrong.
    jacks2axe
    with the argument on expensive over cheap i think you can get lucky, some expensive guitars, even of the same make and model, will vary slightly, some are great some less soand the same goes for the cheap guitars, a friend of mine has a onyx strat copy that he bought in the early nineties and it is faultless to play, i've told him to change the pickups in it and then it would be an awesome guitar, lets look at cars, if you get two cars that are made in the same factory on the same day, same make and model, one of them will break down before the other, it's pure luck.
    althebold711
    My Jackson DKMGT looks exactly the same...except mine's alder, and this is mahogany and the bridge design is different. Also, mine's better.
    coolstoryangus
    coolstoryangus wrote: Chaos-Serenade wrote: Guitar Sushi wrote: This isn't super on topic, but indonesia is one of the best sources of cheap guitars. They realy are quite good for the price, you can't complain. Unlike Chinese crap.... I agree with you my friend, this is a very crucial topic people may overlook concerning newer guitars these days, the way I see it, quality lower to higher is: China, then Indonesia, then Korea and/or Japan, then USA/Custom shop. This is the main reason I like 80s/90s guitars made in Korea or Japan, their quality is so exceptional compared to any guitars nowadays of similar price.
    coolstoryangus
    Chaos-Serenade wrote: Guitar Sushi wrote: This isn't super on topic, but indonesia is one of the best sources of cheap guitars. They realy are quite good for the price, you can't complain. Unlike Chinese crap.... I agree with you my friend, this is a very crucial topic people may overlook concerning newer guitars these days, the way I see it, quality lower to higher is: China, then Indonesia, then Korea and/or Japan, then USA/Custom shop. This is the main reason I like 80s/90s guitars made in Korea or Japan, their quality is so exceptional compared to any guitars nowadays of similar price.
    KoGg3
    Chaos-Serenade wrote: Guitar Sushi wrote: This isn't super on topic, but indonesia is one of the best sources of cheap guitars. They realy are quite good for the price, you can't complain. Unlike Chinese crap.... I agree with you my friend, this is a very crucial topic people may overlook concerning newer guitars these days, the way I see it, quality lower to higher is: China, then Indonesia, then Korea and/or Japan, then USA/Custom shop. This is the main reason I like 80s/90s guitars made in Korea or Japan, their quality is so exceptional compared to any guitars nowadays of similar price.
    Judging by my Japanese made Fender Jaguar Special (a HH and fixed bridge dealio, 'tis the shiz), I would par Japan with American made standard models without a second thought. The neck on that guitar is amazing, the lacquer, particularly. I've also encountered problems with frets not being level with the edge of the fretboard on many American Fender models. Frankly, I think it was only made in Japan because the electronics are so damn complex. Also, my Japanese ADEC watch is pretty cool too.
    FearOfTheDuck
    HaloDestroyer wrote: Lol, I live near GAK - I hope you bargained with them over the price! Also, if you've only ever had cheap guitars, how do you know you're getting value for money - if you have no idea what an expensive guitar is like to own? You can't make comparisons to guitars 'two or three times the price' (in your own words) if you don't know what they are like to play - oh yeah, and playing an expensive guitar for 5 minutes in the axe shop doesn't count as experience with it, rofl. Ben.
    I hate the workers in GAK, really puts me off going in there. Thats a nice guitar! Makes me wanna start a hair metal band :p
    Sakke
    Really, is it that versal guitar? From hair metal to metalcore?
    HaloDestroyer
    Ok, so there has been a lot of guff posted on here about value for money and the relationship it has to where the guitar is made. Having been playing for 10 years, achieving a guitar degree, and owning a wide collection of expensive and inexpensive instruments, here's how it works; 1./ Anything made in Indonesia, China, and to some extent, Korea, is only fit to be thrown in the bin. Some of these instruments can be alright for beginners, but most are rubbish. They also cannot be improved or modded - the wood and the general standard of construction ensures they'll still sound bad, even with top-class pickups and electronics. The cheapest strat you should ever go for is a Mexican-made, and even they are pretty poor, quality-control wise. I speak from experience here - my first guitar was a Fender Squire P-Bass, made in Indonesia. I couldn't play it out of the box, as the neck was warped so badly, you couldn't even tune it up. It had to be sent back, and the replacement wasn't much better. It also sounded crap, was awful to play, and generally horrible. I also have a Mexican Standard Strat, which is awful - dead spots on the neck, weedy little pickups that sound rubbish, low quality finish, etc. 2./ Next, lets talk about US-made guitars. Face it, you're paying for the stamp on the back of the headstock (Made in the US of A). I own a few US guitars, including a 2006 Fender American Deluxe H/S/S Stratocaster. For a year or so, I thought it was awesome - lovely fit and finish, great quality parts, epic sound. Until I needed a new guitar for a tour. I wanted something a little cheaper, but that would still be up to my standards, and sound as good. I had read that Japanese Fenders made for the home market were very nice indeed - nice enough that Fender USA restricts their sale here in the UK to just a few models that Fender US doesn't make anyway; this is because the Japanese Fender would outsell the US ones every day of the week. I had a Japanese Fender 1972 Re-Issue Stratocaster imported for me to the UK - there are some great companies that do this - check out MC Guitars, and the Guitar Emporium (in particular, look at the range of models and finishes offered!). This has superceeded my USA Deluxe as my main instrument. Out of the box, I honestly couldn't tell the difference - It was easily of a higher quality than a Fender US Standard Strat, of which I own two. The finish is flawless, the wood has a lovely figure - in particular, the Japanese Maple on the rear of the neck has some lovely, eye-catching curls. As opposed, of course, to the US and Mexican standards, which look a heck of a lot like pine to me - ugly furniture wood lol (I know they're not, but it's horrible, either way). The guitar sounds great - made of the same basswood most instruments are made of these days (apart from top-end custom shop jobs, that is), and has US Vintage pickups as standard. You can even get some with Texas Specials fitted out of the box! I've played it and played it for about three years now. It's had the neck scalloped by a luthier here in the UK (check out Nigel at Leceistershire Luthiers - he did a fantastic job at a great price!), has had Dunlop Jumbo frets fitted, a new nut (a SlipStone self-lubricating nut), and I replaced the tremelo block with a steel one to improve sustain (guy on eBay UK makes them for 20.00 a pop - again, highly recommended). It has a Seymour Duncan SSL-4 QuarterPound in the bridge, and a DiMarzio HS-3 in the neck. I also replaced the electrics - Axes R Us here in the UK stocks kits for as low as 20.00 - using the original components that top end US Fenders use. To be honest, I only really re-wired it because I had an accident installing a new pickup, and needed to replace the switch - it was fine before this, but some people say the wiring on the Japanese Strats is the only thing that could do with being replaced out of the box. Again, mine had no issue. Used on-stage, on tour, and for recording - I only play Fender Japan instruments now, because you do NOT get value for money when you buy US. You just get bragging rights, and even these only work with other guitar elitists. My Fender USA Deluxe sits in a hardcase in my bedroom, awaiting the day it becomes 'vintage' (read: worth a crapload), on which I'll sell it to a guitar snob for a bomb. Meanwhile, my Fender Japan goes to work with me every day in a gigbag, with no complaints. Any questions? PM me. Ben.