Vanguard FR440S review by Kramer

logo Ultimate Guitar
  • Sound: 7
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 10
  • Features: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 9 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.8 (108 votes)
Kramer: Vanguard FR440S

Price paid: $ 200

Purchased from:

Sound — 7
This guitar is meant for one thing, hard rock. Hard rock can go into anything with a blistering solo. I played hard rock/classic rock/80s metal. I use a Line 6 Spider III 150 watt with two 12 inch speakers. Since my Line 6 Spider III has many different settings I can disguise the pickups with how I set my amp. The guitar has a bright sound, but it depends on mostly how you raise or lower your pickups. The Quad Rail pickups, which are both the same model for middle and bridge are basically crap when it comes down to it.

Overall Impression — 9
Kramer prints for their moto: "made to rock hard", well it certainly is. If this guitar was stolen from me then I would be pretty pissed off. This Kramer was the first Kramer I ever bought. The only thing that this guitar needs is a well made humbucker, it doesn't have to be anything expensive, it just has to be something that people recognize as a humbucker. The middle pickup should have been moved to the.

Reliability & Durability — 10
With the Floyd Rose tremelo system on this guitar, it is always worth bringing to a Live show. As long as the guitar isn't thrown around on stage, it will survive for years. The electronics within the cavity aren't mangled or in a ball like some of the other guitars I've had from previous companies. This guitar is a dependant of mine for years to come. If all I had was my Vanguard at my house, while my other guitars were getting repaired, I would play it for a long time.

Action, Fit & Finish — 10
The guitar comes from Kramer guitars, that is basically all you need to know. Kramer has been supplying guitars for George Lynch, Mick Mars, and Eddie Van Halen (to name a few). Every guitar is great from the day it was made. Kramer puts a polish into every piece they make. There are no defects and nothing was wrong with anything.

Features — 9
This is a guitar made with 24 frets of furry. The neck is super slim... meaning it was meant for solo player. Since is limited on how many Kramer guitars they can sell, there aren't a lot of options for color schemes or neck finishes. The neck is rosewood, take it or leave it. The body copies the aysemertical Rhoads 'V' shape. Meaning, one side of the point is longer than the other side, making hard to put on a single guitar stand. The bridge comes with a great Floyd Rose tremelo, which will keep the guitar in-tune for days upon days of using the vibrato bar. The two knobs (volume and tone) come in a stock black color which match the Licensed Floyd Rose. The tone knob is a coil tap, but the only way I will ever use a tone knob is by mistake. Tone knobs aren't needed on guitars, nobody uses a tone knob. The pickups are flat-out "junk". The only way to get a semi-good non trashy sound of out the pickups is by raising or lowering them into the pickup cavity. The Vanguard comes with two humbuckers placed in the bridge and middle cavities of the guitar. The middle pickup should really be lowered into the pickup cavity to take away most of the distorted sound when trying to do a solo. As for the bridge pickup, it should be raised slightly to get away from the wood-sy sound and get a little more distortion to achieve hitting the artificial harmonics and natural harmonics.

12 comments sorted by best / new / date

    "This is a guitar made with 24 frets of furry." Sounds like a ZZ Top guitar. But seriously now, would you buy a guitar just because someone said that?
    JS30rr is a lot more expensive compared to this as well. this guitar is only about 150 dollars. if that.
    It might be the exact TYPE of the guitar, but whether it's the same MODEL I'm not sure..could be..
    I have a vanguard. and it's a beast to play, but you can set it up to get a nice heavy tone. It's not a bad guitar and it would work for shows but if you have the money, get the jackson
    NOTE: This guitar is not the actual guitar from guitar hero 2, or indeed the old type. This guitar is a different version, but it plays well enough. The quad-rail and bridge/middle setup, along with the reversed headstock, are all new.
    This was my second guitar, and for the money (like $150 in America) it's probably the best. And it's as good as some entry level Jacksons, but you're probably better off spending money on a Jackson or maybe an Epiphone Flying V.
    no, I hated the cheap, entry level jacksons, I had a king V from the cheap JS30 series, and I thought it sucked balls. Pickups in the jackson were low-output, but good for old rock/blues. Action was higher, and there was more buzz on the neck. I traded an old amp for my vanguard, and I like it a lot. I've been able to go from blues to metal on it no prob, high output pickups, and the floyd stays in tune. to everyone who bitches about licensed floyds and pickups: don't bitch about a licensed floyd so much, they aren't that bad. If you know anything about setting up/properly using a trem system you can use it fine. I have a strat trem that stays in tune great, for me, my LFR stays in tune perfect. and god forbid it go out of tune in such a small semitone only god could tell the difference. as for pickups, all a good player needs is high output. A good player can play any style on any pickup. You shouldn't be dependent on your equipment for good tone -- equipment matters, but you should rely more on your hands than on a pickup.
    since when do 5 year experience players have les paul customs (is it a counterfit guitar???)????