Kramer SM-1 H Review & Prices

Kramer SM-1 H Review
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  • From Kramer's 2022 Original series
  • Made in Indonesia
  • 6 strings
  • 25.5"'' scale
  • 12.6" Fretboard Radius
  • Mahogany body
  • Mahogany neck
  • Ebony, White Binding fretboard
  • Bridge pickup: Seymour Duncan JB SH-4 (Humbucker/Passive)
  • 1 volume and 0 tone Dome knobs
  • Floyd Rose 1000 Series Tremolo bridge
  • K-Speed SlimTaper C Neck-Through neck
  • 24 Jumbo frets
  • Kramer Black Die Cast tuners
  • Weight between 6.45lbs (2.9kgs) and 7.05lbs (3.2kgs)
  • Compare Specs >

Our Scores and Tone Evaluation

Playability 80
Sound 78
Build quality 62
Value for money 78
Overall Score 73
Tone Evaluation
  • Heavy Metal
  • Hard Rock
  • Jazz
  • Blues
  • Funk
  • Country
Strengths & Weaknesses
Kramer SM-1 H
  • Expensive Wood
  • Locking Nut
  • Top Brand Pickups
  • Neck-Through Build
  • Parallel Split Pickups
  • Tremolo
  • Cheap Fret Wire (NS)
  • No Locking Tuners
  • Made in Indonesia
  • No Weight Relief
  • No Luminescent Inlay
  • No Compound Radius Fretboard
  • No 21:1 Tuner Ratio
  • No Retainer Bar
  • No Strap Lock

Price Overview

Its average competitor's price is $1000, which means that the Kramer SM-1 H 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 Double Locking bridge that are made in Indonesia.

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Your 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!

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Is it Easy to Play?

The Kramer SM-1 H meets 4 out of our 8 criteria items for beginner friendliness, which means that it's not bad for beginners, but it could be better. 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 SM-1 H
  • Comfortable shape
  • Tall frets
  • Narrow nut
  • Comfortable neck
  • Comfortable fretboard
  • Short scale
  • Locking tuners
  • Easy-to-use bridge

Hand Size Comfortability

After taking into account the neck profile, scale size, fretboard radius, and nut width, we can conclude that the Kramer SM-1 H'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 SM-1 H weighs between 6.45lbs (2.9kgs) and 7.05lbs (3.2kgs). 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 SM-1 H's 25.5" scale length compared to other common sizes:

Kramer SM-1 H Scale Length Comparison
Kramer SM-1 H's scale length (at the top) compared to other popular sizes

This is the same scale length used in Stratocaster guitars, and it's one of the main reasons they have such a bright sound. It's considered a long scale when compared to most non-baritone guitars.

Since the distance between bridge and nut is relatively long, you'll need to give the strings more tension to get them in tune. This higher tension will allow for a couple of things. First, you can get a lower action (get the strings closer to the fretboard) because the strings won't 'wiggle' too much when pluck and won't cause fret buzz. This can allow you to use lower tunings without increasing your string gauge, and it will make it easier to press down the strings fast.

However, the frets will also have a wider separation between each other, which can make it harder to play, especially if you got small hands. The higher tension will also make the strings feel stiffer, so bending will require more strength.

More with the same scale length:

Neck Profile

Kramer SM-1 H Neck Profile
Kramer SM-1 H'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.

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 SM-1 H has a 12.6" fingerboard radius.

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

Kramer SM-1 H Fretboard Radius Comparison with Fender Stratocaster and Gibson Les Paul
Kramer SM-1 H'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 SM-1 H has the same radius across the board.

More with the same fretboard radius:

Playability compared to main competitors

Kramer SM-1 H
This model
25.5'' Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.625'' Nut Width
12.6'' Fretboard Radius
25.5'' Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.625'' Nut Width
Compound Fretboard Radius
25.5'' Scale Length
U Neck Profile
1.654'' Nut Width
Compound Fretboard Radius
Multiscale Scale Length
U Neck Profile
1.654'' Nut Width
13.78'' Fretboard Radius
25.5'' Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.654'' Nut Width
12'' Fretboard Radius

Nut Width

Kramer SM-1 H Nut Width
Kramer SM-1 H Nut Width

The Kramer SM-1 H has a nut width of 41.3mm (1.625''). This is considered a narrow width for a 6-string guitar. This means that this guitar will have a narrower string separation at the nut, which will affect your fretting hand.

If you are a player with big hands, you might find it difficult to play chords without muting strings. However, this is good for players who have smaller hands, as it will allow them to reach each string more easily at the nut.

Frets

The Kramer SM-1 H 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 SM-1 H Fret Size Comparison
Kramer SM-1 H'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 SM-1 H'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 80
Chord Playability 60
Solo Playability 100
Playability 80

Tone Analysis

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, Neck
Ebony wood pattern used for guitar building
Ebony Fretboard

Mahogany Body and Neck: 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.

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: Seymour Duncan. So you can expect well built pickups with great sound that shouldn't need an upgrade anytime soon.

These are passive pickups, so you can expect a rounder sound and a moderade level of output.

The Kramer SM-1 H's configuration is H. A single humbucking pickup will give you all the space you need for picking, and it might give you a bit more sustain since less magnetic fields are messing with the strings' vibrations. However, you won't have the same versatility as with other guitars with more pickups. It's recommended if you want to use it mainly for high-output riffs.

More with the same pickups

Kramer SM-1 H
This model
24 Frets
Floyd Rose Bridge
Seymour Duncan JB SH-4 Bridge Pickup
22 Frets
Fixed Bridge
Seymour Duncan JB SH-4 Bridge Pickup
24 Frets
Fixed Bridge
Seymour Duncan JB SH-4 Bridge Pickup
22 Frets
Fixed Bridge
Seymour Duncan JB SH-4 Bridge Pickup
24 Frets
Floyd Rose Bridge
Seymour Duncan JB SH-4 Bridge Pickup

Versatility

Naturally, the Kramer SM-1 H doesn't come with a pickup selector because it's a single-pickup guitar. These instruments have less versatility, but they're good for practicing. Besides being cheaper, limiting yourself to a single-pickup guitar can help you improve by learning to control the tone with your technique and playing style. Things like playing further away from the bridge for a warmer tone, or plucking the strings fast for a snappy sound can help you become a better player.

It has a Parallel Split option. Some pickups will be wired in parallel (the input and output are wired together). This is how the typical Stratocaster pickups are usually connected, so you can expect a very bright sound when activated.

What music genre is it good for?

As a 6 strings, Solid Body guitar with H configuration and Passive 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 80
Versatility 62
Tuning Stability 85
Sound 78

Build Quality Analysis

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 SM-1 H 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

Floyd Rose 1000 Series Tremolo: With this type of tremolo bridge, you'll be able to perform dive bombs and pinch harmonics without getting out of tune. This type of bridge gives you the best versatility, but it also makes it harder to set up your guitar correctly, especially when changing your strings.

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 SM-1 H has a Locking nut. Instead of the typical nut, this nut locks the strings in place and will make them stay in tune even after heavy tremolo use. This type of nut provides the best tune stability, but they also make the guitar more expensive.

Unfortunately, it doesn't come with a retainer bar for the nut, which would be a helpful addition. Without it, the strings will change pitch once you lock down the nut, so you'll have to make more micro-adjustments at the bridge to tune it correctly.

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 Neck-Through neck joint. Many people believe a neck-through build delivers the best sustain because some of the vibrations from the neck aren't lost like with other neck joints. However, no one has been able to prove this. What we know is that a neck-through build is usually the most comfortable when playing the upper frets because there's nothing on your way at the neck-body joint.

More with the same build:

Build Quality Score

Quality of materials 41
Features 75
Quality Control 70
Build Quality 62

All Specs

Kramer SM-1 H
General
Brand: Kramer
Year: 2022
Configuration: H
Strings: 6
Made in: Indonesia
Series: Original
Colors: Gold, Purple, Gray
Left-Handed Version: No
Body
Type: Solid Body
Body Material: Mahogany
Bridge: Floyd Rose 1000 Series Tremolo
Neck
Neck Joint: Neck-Through
Tuners: Kramer Black Die Cast
Fretboard: Ebony, White Binding
Neck Material: Mahogany
Decoration: Kramer Mini Headstocks, 12-fret engraved Kramer
Scale Size: 25.5"
Shape: K-Speed SlimTaper C
Frets: 24 Jumbo
Fretboard Radius: 12.6"
Nut: Locking
Nut Width: 41.3mm (1.625'')
Electronics
Switch: 0 Way
Knobs: Dome
Pickup Mods: Parallel Split
Volume Controls: 1
Tone Controls: 0
Bridge Pickup: Seymour Duncan JB SH-4 (Humbucker / Passive)

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