Vanguard S-440S review by Kramer

logo Ultimate Guitar
  • Sound: 10
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 9
  • Features: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 9.8 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.5 (31 votes)
Kramer: Vanguard S-440S

Price paid: $ 249.99

Purchased from:

Sound — 10
This guitar is perfect for the ind of music I usually play. My influences are spread out along the spectrum of music but I mainly settle on heavy metal. The guitar packs a powerfull punch and I'm certain will deck most pickups. The pickups are so good that I don't even need to Switch to the neck pickup or middle pickup to perform a sweep. The guitar emmits Pinch harmonics with ease and immense precision. The sustain in the guitar could perhaps be a little bit better but this is the opinion of someone who uses very little in the way of pedals to enhance his sound. When you coil tap the pick ups you get a really nice single coil sound. Sounds great for playing funk. The guitar produces a really meaty and thick clean tone without it being over bearing. I think this guitar is the ideal meat wagon. It's a fantastic sound.

Overall Impression — 10
Considering the style of music I play I feel that this guitar is the perfect choice for me. All my other guitars I have owned during the time I've had this guitar have long since been sold on. I've been playing guitar for 6 years now. I am very much an amp purist. My live and recording rig is simple. All I use is a Boss GE7 pedal for solos, a Jim Dunlop Crybaby Wah, and a Boss TU2 for my tuner. I play the guitar into the wah and the tuner straight into the amp and I run the EQ through my amp. My amp is a Marshall AVT150H Half stack. it has an effects rack built in. I use the delay for a bit of colour in my solos and I run chorus through my clean channel when I play clean solos. I am soon to be purchasing another Kramer guitar this time perhaps I'll get a Floyd Rose. But I don't really use them that much. I have used this guitar along side guitars made by the following companies: Gibson, ESP, Jackson, Maverick, B.C. Rich and Gould. The guitar stands up and knocks these brands onto their behinds. I love everything about the guitar especially the balance in it. I also love the profile of the neck and the Angle it sits at with the body. If I lost this product I would definately buy another one to replace it. I have had this guitar insured though. Hopefully I'll never have to pick up the insurance on it. Overall this guitar is Ideal for guitarists of all abilities. I've had and loved this guitar since the day I got it. I would never part company with it.

Reliability & Durability — 10
This guitar has been my main Live guitar for about a year. Before this time I didn't play Live much and when I did I was generally singing. The hardware so far has lasted 5 years and is still doing really well. I recon I can easily get another5 years out of it. The finish has some superficial scratches on the back where my belt buckle has done a number on it. None of these scratches have never actually broken through the paint work though. I never take a back up guitar to gigs with me and in the last 3 years I have never broken a string on it. The strap buttons are quite big and hold onto the strap really well. I am very pleased with this guitar and find it is a very reliable guitar.

Action, Fit & Finish — 9
The guitar was set up well at the factory. I raised the action a little. There was really no need for me to adjust the intonation (plus at the time of purchase I was new to guitar and still didn't know how). The pick ups felt a bit low for me but I think they were just the Standard height I tend to play my pick ups has close to my strings as possible. The guitar did come with a slight knick on the fret board under the High e on the 9th fret. But it has never affected how the guitar plays. I had to replace the nut about a year ago but it is the longest serving weapon in my arsenal so I'm not sure if that is normal. The guitar cme to me ready to play all I had to do was up the string guage to my prefered 10-46's and I was away.

Features — 10
I bought this guitar 5 years ago. It was imported over from Tenessee. I'm not entirely sure wether or not it was actually built there. It has a solid top and the body is made from north american alder wood. The neck is made from Canadian hard maple and is a slim tapered neck. The guitar has a Tune-O-Matic bridge with a stop tail peice on it. It comes fitted with to passive Quad Rail pickups set to H+H configguration. It has gotoh machine heads on it aswell. The guitar comes fitted with a coil tap and volume and tone controls. Over all the guitar is gorgeous.

10 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I own one of these and I like it but just want to change the pick-ups but thats probably due to the fact my other guitar has EMGs and the quad rails just dont sound as good
    From internet pics, I thought the finish looked really cheesy, but if you see the guitar in person you'll be amazed. It plays great, too.
    tommymahavolich wrote: don't know which one i should buy the S-440S or the other one!! HELP ME!!!!
    If you do downtuning, dont get the floyd rose. but if you play in stanard or drop d only, the floyd rose is perfect
    I'm thinking of getting one of these, choosing it above some other guitars because of its number of frets. But I'm a bit concerned that the body is in the way of the top few frets, effectively making the neck thicker. Can anyone tell me if reaching them is an issue?
    this guitar is sweet. i got mine online at and it was the best $200 i have ever spent. i absolutely love mine. the only things that i didn't like was that it came with no gigbag, available in red only, and the neck is slightly heavier than the body. so always hold this guitar with 2 hands or by the upper wing. but this may or may not be typical of v shaped guitars with offset wings. my flying v does not do this though. but for only $200, this guitar is a steal.