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70's Aluminum Neck Kramer Project

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by blendermassacre, Feb 6, 2016.

  1. Hey guys, seriously long time no post, but I thought I'd shed some light on a cool project I'm working on.

    Got this 70's Kramer off of ebay with a gnarly looking pickguard made of vinyl sticker. Wasn't sure what was under there:
    Screenshot_2016-01-31-23-25-48 (1).

    (good timing on the screen shot while connecting to WIFI)

    Then It came home. Didn't even snap a pic before ripping the ancient strings off and peeling off that vinyl which revealed;
    IMG_20160204_175501 (1).

    Pretty gnarly. Gross overall, the pot shafts were rusty, there's a ding filled with superglue, and god help me, that pickup route.

    I'm pretty sure this had sat in someone's basement since the 70's. I took off the bridge. Two things here. First, good lord it was SIIICK. I cleaned it up nicely. OG Badass bridge.

    Progress pic: IMG_20160205_202924.

    Clean (and the saddles on the right way): IMG_20160205_205324.

    Kind of a bummer (hard to see in the pick) but the lowest string tuner is broken at the slot. It still works, and since these are riveted on, I'm probably going to keep it. IMG_20160204_180310 (1).

    The DiMarzio's in there are legit vintage though, but I'm not keeping that:
    IMG_20160204_214949 (1).

    Now for Future plans:
    Pretty much decided to ditch the BA bridge to go for a top loading Hipshot of some kind. Not exactly sure which one yet. As mentioned, ditching the DiMarzio P for a Guild BiSonic.

    Tonight I roughed out the idea for the pickguard using some magic markers (thanks kids):

    Going to get a buddy who works in sheet metal to make a brushed aluminum pickguard with this basic shape (Sort of a ripper / Stingray 5 vibe). That way I can cover up some of the nasty, re arrange the controls how I want them (probably kill switch and volume) and not have to fill up any holes.

    That's it for now. I'll update as things happen.


    Attached Files:

  2. OH YEAH. Forgot to add that the moron that did all this used this for shimming the route he made around the BA Bridge: IMG_20160204_215545.

    For those playing at home, that's about 1/8" of plastic and cardboard. I'm filling up that hole with aluminum sheet cut to size.
    1stnamebassist likes this.
  3. Eww. That Kramer is even more disgusting than the last bass I restored, and it was my worst so far.
    Should be a fun project.
  4. Wondered if there were any of those still in existence. Last time I saw one was at Big Dudes Music/KC and that had to be mid 70's. Had a cool kinda piano bass sound but heavy a hell and if memory serves neck heavy too. Be interesting to see the finished project.
  5. knumbskull


    Jul 28, 2007
    Nice project, those old Kramers look amazing. Keep us posted!
  6. davkane

    davkane Supporting Member

    Jul 27, 2007
    Cool looking Kramer! Good look on the project.

    I had a xl8, 8 string aluminum neck.

    It was well over 10 pounds, geez. It was beat to hell already when I picked it up for next to nothing in the 80's. It sounded like a piano, really cool sounds. Kept it until 2009 when I couldn't take the back an shoulder pain anymore.

    knumbskull, Qlanq and blacktocomm like this.
  7. GIBrat51

    GIBrat51 Innocent as the day is long Supporting Member

    Mar 5, 2013
    Lost Wages, Nevada
    Kramer 450B. Congrats on your Lumie! I have one like this; a 450B, but mine's a lefty (all my pics are still in my old computer). I'm pretty sure yours is a DMZ 4000; especially if those are passive DiMarzios. If it has active circuitry, it's one of the last 4000s, and pretty rare. They made a handful, just before they changed the body slightly, and called them 4001s. Shame about the extra routing, but... You can replace the tuners, though; that's just a little pin, instead of the usual wood screw. The nut's also pinned. It might be a struggle, but they will come off. They're Schallers, by the way; as was the original bridge - marked "Kramer", but a Schaller nonetheless. It was an early version of their 3D-4 bridge. And, yes, it will be a neck-heavy monster. With a grippy strap; if I let go of it, mine will yank my shirttail out of my pants, and try real hard to pull my shirt over my head. But, the tone is worth it...:thumbsup:
    davkane and knumbskull like this.
  8. Oren Hudson

    Oren Hudson

    Dec 25, 2007
    Gastonia, NC
    That's a great project to undertake. I love watching a rehab progress along.

    Here's my early 1981 USA Kramer Vanguard (Flying V) that I've had for well over 15 years. When I first got it, I added the Tele bridge cover and the finger rest. I might add those today, but's it what I did then. Original case came with it too. Plays and sounds great.

    002.JPG 003.JPG 004.JPG 005.JPG
    davkane and knumbskull like this.
  9. bassgod76

    bassgod76 bass turd burglar

    Mar 13, 2003
    South Florida
    I purchased the OP's neck.

    The tuner pins can be removed?
  10. GIBrat51

    GIBrat51 Innocent as the day is long Supporting Member

    Mar 5, 2013
    Lost Wages, Nevada
    Well, the tuners can be removed with no problem; after I removed the threaded shaft bushings, all of mine actually fell off. The pin is a pretty tight fit in the little screw hole, though; that might present a problem. On my old project neck, the tuners are unsalvageable, anyway; bent, corroded and nasty. And one is broken and useless. If there's no real problem with your tuners, trying to get the pin out is really a moot point, I would think... In my case, I don't foresee a problem finding something to use as pins with the new tuners. Brass welding rod might be nice...
    On the other hand, if you need to remove the nut? It can be done, but you'll have to (gently) work at it. Mine only has one pin, and it got bent a little when I pulled the nut back enough to get a little screwdriver under it. It pried up easily, though, and the pin is easily straightened. In my case, however, the nut needs to be replaced anyway. Besides the slots being hacked up and nasty, it's right handed - and I'm not. So, it will have to be replaced with a new one; and I'm seriously considering Mammoth Ivory...:rolleyes:

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