Truly stepping outside traditional guitar shapes and techniques – aside from the perennially cheesy animal/skull-shaped guitars – is not something that is done very often. Differences often exist only in subtly “exotic” cutaways or fancy inlays. Gary Kramer’s Delta Wing boldly breaks the mold – without crossing the “cheese” line.
Of course, Gary Kramer is no stranger to breaking traditions. His beginnings in guitar building come from his role in two innovative companies: Travis Bean and Kramer. Both companies strayed from the norm in the ‘70s as the only companies using aluminum necks.
After Gary Kramer left Kramer, he spent nearly 20 years observing the guitar industry, watching what he saw as a decline in creativity and stagnation in new design. He returned to the scene in 2005, with a fresh design – the Delta Wing – crafted by Leo Scala, a handful of other prototypes, and a new company: Gary Kramer Guitars.
Since then, Gary Kramer Guitars has expanded their line to include variations on the Delta Wing design and fully-realized models based on their 2005 prototypes. The other models may appear to have a more traditional shape, but don’t be fooled: the Bondage model has leather-wrapped sides.
The Delta Wing remains the flagship of the company. There is no denying the sports-car influenced look, from the bright Ferrari reds and yellows to the sleek lines and slogan: “Take a Ride on the Delta Wing.” Still, the lines and shapes are meant for more than just a flashy look; ergonomically built from the player out, the Delta Wing aims to redefine the overall playing experience.
The Delta Wing’s ergonomic benefit targets three sections of the body. First, the design’s top arc utilizes a player’s body frame to place the guitar’s neck and body in perfect balance and playing position. Second, a shortened bottom cutaway provides effortless access to the frets. Finally, contours generate comfortable forearm support and place the hand and wrist in a perfect picking position. Additionally, the Delta Wing has a removable left-leg rest for increased comfort when playing seated.
The Delta Wing’s ergonomic shape is uniform throughout all of the lines, though Gary Kramer’s Southern California Custom Shop makes up only a portion of the Delta Wing models, called the USA Delta Wings. He also offers imported models like the Simulator and the F-1, a seven-string, 36-fret model.
The USA Custom Shop models have a five-degree angled headstock with patented staggered recessed tuners that provide extra string pull, allowing for a 30% increase in headstock wood mass which provides more focused tone and greater sustain.
Electronically, the USA Delta Wings have a concentric “fire button,” which allows for combination of a volume, a custom passive EQ, and a VCS (variable coil split) which allows a potentiometer to gradually split the pickup. With VCS you can sweep in the sounds of a full-out humbucker, soft humbucker, P-90, hot single-coil, and vintage single-coil with just a twist of a single pot. The import models utilize a push-pull knob for increased drive and tonal creativity.
Gary Kramer Guitars
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