Kramer SM-1 Review & Prices

Compare
Kramer SM-1 Review
  • From Kramer's 2021 Original series
  • Made in Indonesia
  • 6 strings
  • 25.5"'' scale
  • 14" Fretboard Radius
  • Mahogany body
  • Mahogany neck
  • Ebony fretboard
  • Bridge pickup: Seymour Duncan JB SH-4 (Humbucker/Passive)
  • Middle pickup: Seymour Duncan Cool Rails (Humbucker/Passive)
  • Neck pickup: Seymour Duncan Cool Rails (Humbucker/Passive)
  • Floyd Rose 1000 Series Tremolo bridge
  • 1 volume and 1 tone Dome knobs
  • 5-way Switch
  • K-Speed SlimTaper C Neck-Through neck
  • 24 Medium Jumbo frets
  • Kramer Black Chrome tuners
  • Compare Specs >
  • From Kramer's 2021 Original series
  • Made in Indonesia
  • 6 strings
  • 25.5"'' scale
  • 14" Fretboard Radius
  • Mahogany body
  • Mahogany neck
  • Ebony fretboard
  • Bridge pickup: Seymour Duncan JB SH-4 (Humbucker/Passive)
  • Middle pickup: Seymour Duncan Cool Rails (Humbucker/Passive)
  • Neck pickup: Seymour Duncan Cool Rails (Humbucker/Passive)
  • Floyd Rose 1000 Series Tremolo bridge
  • 1 volume and 1 tone Dome knobs
  • 5-way Switch
  • K-Speed SlimTaper C Neck-Through neck
  • 24 Medium Jumbo frets
  • Kramer Black Chrome tuners
  • Compare Specs >

Verdict: is The Kramer SM-1 a Good Guitar?

Made in Indonesia with great craftsmanship while keeping the price as low as possible. It's a guitar with good playability. It has good pickups but might be lacking in terms of versatility. It favors playing solos more than chords. In general, it offers a good amount of features for the price. Overall, a good guitar for the price, especially if you like Hard Rock or similar genres.

Final Scores and Tone Evaluation

Playability 80
Sound 78
Build quality 65
Value for money 79
Overall Score 74
Tone Evaluation
  • Heavy Metal
  • Hard Rock
  • Jazz
  • Blues
  • Funk
  • Country
Strengths & Weaknesses
Kramer SM-1
  • Expensive Wood
  • Locking Nut
  • Top Brand Pickups
  • Neck-Through Build
  • Tremolo
  • Stainless Steel Frets
  • Locking Tuners
  • High-Quality-Standards Country
  • Compound Radius Fretboard
  • Push Knob or Extra Switch Option
  • Weight Relief
  • 21:1 Tuner Ratio
  • Retainer Bar
  • Strap Lock
  • Luminescent Inlay

Kramer SM-1 Prices

These are affiliate links. We'll earn a small fee if you purchase after clicking. We are not a store, we're not owned, nor are we related to these retailers in any way beyond receiving a fee from qualifying purchases. We'll always show you the best prices we find regardless of the compensation we receive. These prices are searched for automatically and are prone to error. Make sure you're buying the right product after clicking on a link from our site. We are not liable if you buy the wrong product after following these links.

Is the Kramer SM-1 a Good Deal?

Its average competitor's price is $1000, which means that the Kramer SM-1 is around 11% cheaper than the competition. This takes into account all guitars in our database with 6 strings and Double Locking bridge that are made in Indonesia.

Explore All Kramer Guitars >

Is The Kramer SM-1 Easy to Play?

The Kramer SM-1 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.

Kramer SM-1
New Player Friendliness
  • Comfortable shape
  • Tall frets
  • Wide nut
  • Comfortable neck
  • Easy-to-use bridge
  • Locking tuners
  • Comfortable fretboard
  • Short scale

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'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
Balance
Small hands

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's 25.5" scale length compared to other common sizes:

Kramer SM-1 Scale Length Comparison
Kramer SM-1'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 guitars with the same scale length:

Neck Profile

Kramer SM-1 Neck Profile
Kramer SM-1'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 guitars 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 has a fingerboard radius of 14". Here's an image comparing this guitar's fretboard radius to other popular choices:

Kramer SM-1 Fretboard Radius Comparison with Fender Stratocaster and Gibson Les Paul
Kramer SM-1's fretboard radius compared to other guitars

This makes it more similar to Gibson guitars (12'') than Fender (9.5''). It's slightly flatter than most modern Gibson fretboards though, which makes it more comfortable for single notes, bendings and vibratos, but less comfortable for chords. If you like the playability of a Gibson, which can be described as ''balanced for chords and solos'', and don't care about having slightly less curve for more comfortable solos, you'll like this radius.

Compound radius fingerboards give the best of both worlds. Unfortunately, the Kramer SM-1 has the same radius across the board.

More guitars with the same fretboard radius:

Playability compared to main competitors

Kramer SM-1
This model
25.5'' Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.625'' Nut Width
14'' Fretboard Radius
25.5'' Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.625'' Nut Width
Compound Fretboard Radius
25.5'' Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.693'' Nut Width
13.78'' Fretboard Radius
25.5'' Scale Length
Wizard Neck Profile
1.693'' Nut Width
15.75'' Fretboard Radius
25.5'' Scale Length
Wizard Neck Profile
1.693'' Nut Width
15.75'' Fretboard Radius

Nut Width

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

The Kramer SM-1 has a nut width of 41.3mm (1.625''). This is narrower than the typical 43mm (1 11/16") found in electric guitars. 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 much easier at the nut.

More guitars with the same nut width:

Frets

The Kramer SM-1 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.

Finally, these are nickel silver frets, so they won't last as long as stainless steel frets. If you use your instrument a lot, you'll need to replace the frets after a few years.

More guitars with the same amount of frets:

Fret Size

Kramer SM-1 Fret Size Comparison
Kramer SM-1'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's frets are Medium Jumbo size. These sit somewhere between a Jumbo and a Medium fret. They're not quite as tall as a full Jumbo, so you'll still feel the fretboard, but you won't feel it as much as with medium frets. This is a good size if you want to make it easy to press the strings but would also like a little bit of ''feedback'' to know when to stop pressing so the notes don't go out of pitch.

More guitars with the same type of frets:

Playability Score

Bending & Vibrato Ease 70
Chord Playability 80
Solo Playability 90
Playability 80

Does the Kramer SM-1 Sound Good? Tone Analysis

Wood will have little influence in the final tone of an electric guitar. Instead, we'll take a look at the hardware used—mainly the pickups—to determine what kind of tone you can expect.

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 moderade level of hot output instead of the overwhelming output that distinguises active pickups in metal.

The Kramer SM-1's configuration is HHH. If you like warm tones, three Humbuckers will give you all the warmness you want, but also tons of output power. The advantage of having three humbucking pickups instead of a combination of single-coils and humbuckers is that you won't hear volume differences when switching to other pickups. And since they're all humbucker pickups, you don't need to adjust the middle pickup so high that it will get in the way of your pick.

More guitars with the same pickups

Kramer SM-1
This model
24 Frets
Floyd Rose Bridge
Seymour Duncan JB SH-4 Bridge Pickup
Seymour Duncan Cool Rails Middle Pickup
Seymour Duncan Cool Rails Neck Pickup
24 Frets
Floyd Rose Bridge
Seymour Duncan Custom Shop JB/Custom Hybrid Trembucker Bridge Pickup
Middle Pickup
Seymour Duncan Cool Rails Neck Pickup
24 Frets
Fixed Bridge
Seymour Duncan JB SH-4 Bridge Pickup
Middle Pickup
Seymour Duncan '59 SH-1N Neck Pickup
22 Frets
Fixed Bridge
Seymour Duncan JB SH-4 Bridge Pickup
Middle Pickup
Seymour Duncan '59 SH-1N Neck Pickup
24 Frets
Floyd Rose Bridge
Seymour Duncan JB SH-4 Bridge Pickup
Middle Pickup
Seymour Duncan '59 SH-1N Neck Pickup

Versatility

It gives you a good amount of tone options with its 5-way switch. You can use it to choose at least 5 different pickup combinations.

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

Diagram

Kramer SM-1 pickups switch selector and push knobs diagram
Kramer SM-1's switch options

What music genre is the Kramer SM-1 good for?

As a 6 strings, Solid Body guitar with HHH 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 kind of guitar.

Sound Score

Pickups 85
Sustain 70
Versatility 71
Tuning Stability 85
Sound 78

How well is the Kramer SM-1 Built?

Where is the Kramer SM-1 Made?

Knowing where the guitar 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 guitars 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 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.

More guitars made in Indonesia

Quality of Wood Used in the Kramer SM-1

As an electric guitar, type of wood won't affect the tone and sustain much. Instead, the hardware will be much more important. However, wood is still important for the look and feel of the guitar in general.

These are the types of wood used in the Kramer SM-1:

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

The body and neck are made of Mahogany. 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.

Finally, the fretboard material is Ebony. 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 guitars made with the same wood:

Bridge

The bridge is a 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 guitars 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 the guitar stays in tune and will make it more comfortable to play.

In this case, the Kramer SM-1 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 guitars 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 guitars with the same build:

Build Quality Score

Quality of materials 56
Features 70
Quality Control 70
Build Quality 65

Most Popular Comparisons With The Kramer SM-1

Kramer SM-1 Specs

General
Brand: Kramer
Year: 2021
Configuration: HHH
Strings: 6
Made in: Indonesia
Series: Original
Colors: Black, Blue, Orange
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 Chrome
Fretboard: Ebony
Neck Material: Mahogany
Decoration: Kramer Mini Headstocks, 12-fret engraved Kramer
Scale Size: 25.5"
Shape: K-Speed SlimTaper C
Frets: 24 Medium Jumbo
Fretboard Radius: 14"
Nut: Locking
Nut Width: 41.3mm (1.625'')
Electronics
Switch: 5 Way
Knobs: Dome
Volume Controls: 1
Tone Controls: 1
Bridge Pickup: Seymour Duncan JB SH-4 (Humbucker / Passive)
Middle Pickup: Seymour Duncan Cool Rails (Humbucker / Passive)
Neck Pickup: Seymour Duncan Cool Rails (Humbucker / Passive)