Kramer Charlie Parra Vanguard Overview and Best Prices

Kramer Charlie Parra Vanguard Review
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  • 5 Prices - New from $899 >
  • From Kramer's 2021 Artist series
  • Charlie Parra Signature
  • Made in Indonesia
  • 6 strings
  • 24.75"'' scale
  • 12.6" Fretboard Radius
  • Mahogany body
  • 3 Piece Maple neck
  • Ebony fretboard
  • Bridge pickup: EMG 57 (Humbucker/Active)
  • Neck pickup: EMG 66 (Humbucker/Active)
  • 1 volume and 0 tone Dome knobs
  • 3-way Switch
  • LockTone Tune-O-Matic bridge
  • Slim C Bolt-On neck
  • 24 Jumbo frets
  • Mini Die Cast tuners
  • Weight between 7.6lbs (3.4kgs) and 8.5lbs (3.9kgs)
  • See all specs and compare >

Our Scores and Tone Evaluation

Playability 80
Sound 74
Build quality 59
Value for money 76
Overall Score 71
Tone Evaluation
  • Heavy Metal
  • Hard Rock
  • Jazz
  • Blues
  • Funk
  • Country
Strengths & Weaknesses
Kramer Charlie Parra Vanguard
  • Expensive Wood
  • Ivory Tusq Nut
  • Top Brand Pickups
  • Cheap Fret Wire (NS)
  • No Locking Tuners
  • Made in Indonesia
  • No Neck-Through Build
  • No Push Knob or Extra Switch Option
  • No Weight Relief
  • No Luminescent Inlay
  • No Tremolo
  • No Compound Radius Fretboard
  • No 21:1 Tuner Ratio
  • No Strap Lock

Price Overview

Its average competitor's price is $850, which means that the Kramer Charlie Parra Vanguard is within the average price asked for this kind of guitar. This takes into account all instruments of the same category in our database with 6 strings and Fixed bridge that are made in Indonesia.

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User Feedback

Not all instruments are created equally. That's why it's important to have different opinions. Here's what our users who have played this instrument say. If you've played it before, help others by voting below!

Weight

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Tuning stability

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Neck speed (thickness)

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Neck access to high frets

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Neck profile shape

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Fret edges

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Pickups noise

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Pickups power

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Videos

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Playability

The Kramer Charlie Parra Vanguard meets 3 out of our 8 criteria items for beginner friendliness, which means that it's not recommended for complete beginners. This takes into account the type of frets, scale length, nut width, bridge type, fretboard radius, and neck profile to determine the easiest combination for new players to get used to.

New Player Friendliness

Kramer Charlie Parra Vanguard
  • Easy-to-use bridge
  • Tall frets
  • Comfortable neck
  • Comfortable shape
  • Comfortable fretboard
  • Narrow nut
  • Short scale
  • Locking tuners

Hand Size Comfortability

After taking into account the neck profile, scale size, fretboard radius, and nut width, we can conclude that the Kramer Charlie Parra Vanguard's construction favors people with relatively small hands.

Nevertheless, this comes down in the end to personal preference. Make sure you test this guitar—or another one with similar characteristics—before buying.

Big Hands
Small Hands

How Lightweight is it?

We found that the Kramer Charlie Parra Vanguard weighs between 7.6lbs (3.4kgs) and 8.5lbs (3.9kgs). This was recorded from some online retailers that publish the weight of the instruments they sell.

Scale Length

Scale length is the distance the strings will span between the bridge and the nut. It can tell you a lot about the overall playability and tone of the instrument. A longer scale length means longer distance between frets, brighter tone and more string tension—which means lower action, but more difficult bending of the strings.

Here's the Kramer Charlie Parra Vanguard's 24.75" scale length compared to other common sizes:

Kramer Charlie Parra Vanguard Scale Length Comparison
Kramer Charlie Parra Vanguard's scale length (at the top) compared to other popular sizes

This is the scale length used in most Gibson guitars. If you like the playability of a Gibson, this guitar will feel pretty similar. It's a lot shorter than the typical Stratocaster (25.5'')

As you can see from the picture above, a shorter scale length also means shorter separation between frets. If you got really small hands, you probably will feel more comfortable playing this guitar than a Fender Stratocaster.

This scale length also allows for easier bends and vibratos because the strings will have lower tension due to the shorter scale.

Finally, another thing affected by scale length is tone. A shorter scale will give less room for the harmonics, thus resulting in a warmer, more 'bassy' tone.

Still, remember that you string gauge plays an important part in all of this. A lighter gauge will make it easier to perform bends, vibratos and will also give you a brighter tone.

More with the same scale length:

Neck Profile

Kramer Charlie Parra Vanguard Neck Profile
Kramer Charlie Parra Vanguard's neck profile

The neck profile tells you the thickness (neck depth) and shape in cross section. Every difference will completely change the feeling and comfortability of the neck. This is a highly subjective thing, but most players indeed prefer certain types of necks (like Cs and Ds) because they feel nice in most hands.

The Kramer Charlie Parra Vanguard's neck thickness is approximately 0.79'' (20.1mm) at the first fret, and 0.89'' (22.6mm) at the twelfth.

These measurements were taken either from the official Kramer website, or, in case this information wasn't provided, by researching multiple online marketplaces and forums where owners of this model have posted their measurements.

It has a C type neck. C-shaped necks like this have been the most popular for the last years. The reason is that they feel good in most hands. It's generally a thin neck that doesn't get in your way when playing fast, but that also has enough mass to give your hands a comfortable grip for chords if they aren't too big.

Thin necks like this make it easier to move your hand across the neck and it helps when playing fast solos, especially if you like to leave your thumb free while playing high on the fretboard. However, thinner necks are also weaker and will need adjustment more often than a thicker neck.

More for different hand sizes

Fretboard Radius

When it comes to fingerboard radius, personal preference will dictate which one is better for you. However, most people seem to agree that a more curved (lower) radius will make it easier to play chords while a less curved (higher) radius is better for soloing and bending.

The Kramer Charlie Parra Vanguard has a 12.6" fingerboard radius.

Here's an image comparing this fretboard radius to other popular choices:

Kramer Charlie Parra Vanguard Fretboard Radius Comparison with Fender Stratocaster and Gibson Les Paul
Kramer Charlie Parra Vanguard's fretboard radius compared to others

It's very similar to most Gibson guitars but slightly flatter, which makes soloing more comfortable. But it's not bad for playing chords as it still has a slight curve to it.

Compound radius fingerboards give the best of both worlds. Unfortunately, the Kramer Charlie Parra Vanguard has the same radius across the board.

More with the same fretboard radius:

Playability compared to main competitors

24.75'' Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.693'' Nut Width
12.6'' Fretboard Radius
24.75'' Scale Length
U Neck Profile
1.654'' Nut Width
13.78'' Fretboard Radius
24.75'' Scale Length
U Neck Profile
1.654'' Nut Width
13.78'' Fretboard Radius
25.5'' Scale Length
U Neck Profile
1.654'' Nut Width
Compound Fretboard Radius
25.5'' Scale Length
U Neck Profile
1.654'' Nut Width
13.78'' Fretboard Radius

Nut Width

Kramer Charlie Parra Vanguard Nut Width
Kramer Charlie Parra Vanguard Nut Width

The Kramer Charlie Parra Vanguard has a nut width of 43mm (1.693''). This is within the most common range of nut widths for a 6-string guitar. It offers a good balance of string separation at the nut. It's the size that most guitarists prefer as it gives them just enough space to play open chords without muting the strings, but without spreading the strings too wide and making bar chords difficult to perform.

Frets

The Kramer Charlie Parra Vanguard has 24 frets. A lot of people mistakenly believe that having more frets will always be better because it gives you a higher octave. This is certainly an advantage, but there's also a disadvantage to this.

Since the fretboard will be longer, the neck pickup will need to be placed closer to the bridge. And as you may know, the further away the neck pickup is from the bridge, the warmer it sounds. This means you'll have a brighter-sounding neck pickup when using a 24-fret guitar, even if you use the same pickup on a 22-fret guitar.

It comes with nickel silver frets, so they won't last as long as stainless steel frets. If you use your instrument a lot, you might need to replace the frets after a few years. But this is unlikely as most people change instruments before this happens.

More with the same amount of frets:

Fret Size

Kramer Charlie Parra Vanguard Fret Size Comparison
Kramer Charlie Parra Vanguard's fret size (in orange) compared to other popular sizes

Finally, let's talk about fret size. Some people prefer tall frets because it's easier to press the strings and perform bends since there's less friction against the fretboard. On the other hand, some people like shorter frets because they like to touch the fretboard when playing, or because they got heavy hands and tend to press too much on the string and alter the of the note pitch accidently.

The Kramer Charlie Parra Vanguard's frets are Jumbo size. This is a tall fret size that is becoming increasingly popular because it makes it easier to press down the strings cleanly. With this fret size, you won't feel the fretboard when playing, so if you press down too hard, you will get the notes out of pitch. However, this is something you can overcome by getting used to the taller size.

More with the same type of frets:

Playability Score

Bending & Vibrato Ease 95
Chord Playability 55
Solo Playability 90
Playability 80

Tone

Wood will have little influence in the final tone of an electric guitar or bass. Instead, the hardware, especially the pickups, will be the most important thing to look at. Bur first, let's see the quality of the wood.

Wood

Mahogany wood pattern used for guitar building
Mahogany Body
Maple wood pattern used for guitar building
Maple Neck
Ebony wood pattern used for guitar building
Ebony Fretboard

Mahogany Body: This is the type of wood found in many top-of-the-line guitars, so that's a positive point for the build quality. This red-looking wood Mahogany is found in Africa and Central America and has great sustain and a warm tone due to its high density. The downside about this type of wood is that it's relatively heavy.

Maple Neck: This is one of the most popular types of wood used in all kinds of guitars. It's heavy, strong and compact, which makes it great for necks. However, it's also used for fretboards, bodies and tops due to its light color, resistance and beautiful patterns. When it comes to tone, it highlights the mid and high frequencies.

Ebony Fretboard: This is one of the most expensive woods there is, which is why it's mostly used for fretboards. It is dense, heavy, highly resistant and comes in a really dark color that gives any guitar a classy touch. Tone wise, it helps the high side of the spectrum and provides good sustain.

More made with the same wood:

Pickups

This guitar comes with pickups from one of the top brands: EMG. So you can expect well built pickups with great sound that shouldn't need an upgrade anytime soon.

These are active pickups, so you can expect a lot of output with a highly compressed signal that will give your tones more distortion while retaining a clear, defined sound, which is what many Heavy Metal players need. However, they have the disadvantage of sometimes lacking a fully clean sound when playing without distortion.

The Kramer Charlie Parra Vanguard's configuration is HH. With this pickup combination, you'll get warmer tones and more output than using single coils. Humbucker pickups cancel the noise that single-coil suffer from, which also results in a warmer tone. This pickup combination isn't only for high-gain music like Hard Rock or Heavy Metal. Their warmness is also popular for Jazz, Indie, R&B, Blues and more.

More with the same pickups

24 Frets
Fixed Bridge
EMG 57 Bridge Pickup
EMG 66 Neck Pickup
24 Frets
Floyd Rose Bridge
EMG 57 Bridge Pickup
Sustainiac Neck Pickup
24 Frets
Floyd Rose Bridge
EMG 57 F Bridge Pickup
EMG 66 Neck Pickup
24 Frets
Evertune Bridge
EMG 57 Bridge Pickup
EMG 66TW Neck Pickup
24 Frets
Fixed Bridge
EMG 57 Bridge Pickup
EMG 66 Neck Pickup

Versatility

It comes with the popular 3-way switch that is present in most guitars. For more versatility, players tend to prefer a 5-way switch, although it all depends on what you want to use your guitar for.

Unfortunately, it doesn't come with more options for coil split or coil tapping. This makes it less versatile than some competitors.

Diagram

Kramer Charlie Parra Vanguard pickups switch and push knobs diagram
Kramer Charlie Parra Vanguard's switch options

What music genre is it good for?

As a 6 strings, Solid Body guitar with HH configuration and Active pickups, we'd recommend it for genres like Hard Rock or similar. However, you can use almost any guitar for any genre. This is just the typical type of music for this particular one.

Sound Score

Pickups 85
Sustain 90
Versatility 52
Tuning Stability 70
Sound 74

Build Quality

Country of Origin

Knowing where the instrument is produced is a good way to know how well it's built. Some manufacturing countries are known for having higher quality standards. For example, most expensive instruments are made in the US or Japan, but there are some exceptionally great countries—like South Korea—that are building a good reputation.

The Kramer Charlie Parra Vanguard is made in Indonesia. Many people prefer the quality of an Indonesian guitar over a Chinese. Respectable brands like Epiphone, Ibanez and Schecter are building in this country because of the great quality and lower price. Some people like to compare them to the ones built in Japan during the 80s, when Japanese guitar makers made a name for themselves.

Bridge

LockTone Tune-O-Matic: The advantage of fixed bridges is that they don't require any kind of set-up. This makes it extremely easy when changing strings because you don't need to adjust anything besides tuning the guitar. Also, the fact that the bridge is directly attached to the body will help to increase sustain. The disadvantage is the lack of versatility since you can't create the same vibrato effects as with tremolo bridges.

More with the same type of bridge:

Nut Material

Another important thing to analyze is the nut material, as it's one of the most important aspects that can affect the sound and playability of your guitar. A well-cut nut will make sure it stays in tune and will make it more comfortable to play.

In this case, the Kramer Charlie Parra Vanguard has a Ivory Tusq nut. This material is made to look, feel and sound like Ivory. It's made of organic polymers and doesn't contain oil or animal products. This is probably the highest quality nut you can get, so you can expect good tune stability and more clear tones when playing open strings. Most people seem to agree that it looks nicer than any plastic and even some bone nuts.

More with the same nut material:

Neck Joint

The neck joint is the part where the neck of the guitar meets the body. There are three main techniques to attach both parts together: Set-In, Bolt-On and Neck-Through. The latter two provide different advantages, although neck-throughs are the most expensive.

This guitar has a Bolt-On neck joint. Even though this type of neck was looked down upon for a long time, nowadays bolt-on necks are well built and provide just as much sustain as any other join method. First of all, it's cheap to make because it consists of simply 4 bolts that attach the neck to the body. And you can travel with the guitar more easily, swap out the neck if you damage it, or upgrade to a more comfortable neck later on.

More with the same build:

Build Quality Score

Quality of materials 56
Features 50
Quality Control 70
Build Quality 59

All Specs

Kramer Charlie Parra Vanguard
General
Brand: Kramer
Year: 2021
Configuration: HH
Strings: 6
Made in: Indonesia
Series: Artist
Colors: Red
Left-Handed Version: No
Body
Type: Solid Body
Body Material: Mahogany
Bridge: LockTone Tune-O-Matic
Neck
Neck Joint: Bolt-On
Tuners: Mini Die Cast
Fretboard: Ebony
Neck Material: 3 Piece Maple
Decoration: Dot and Day of the Dead owl at 12th fret
Scale Size: 24.75"
Shape: Slim C
Thickness: 1st Fret: 0.79'' (20.1mm) - 12th Fret: 0.89'' (22.6mm)
Frets: 24 Jumbo
Fretboard Radius: 12.6"
Nut: Ivory Tusq
Nut Width: 43mm (1.693'')
Electronics
Switch: 3 Way
Knobs: Dome
Volume Controls: 1
Tone Controls: 0
Bridge Pickup: EMG 57 (Humbucker / Active)
Neck Pickup: EMG 66 (Humbucker / Active)