Aluminium Neck Kramer XKB-20 Bass Guitar

This was the first aluminium neck instrument I owned. A vintage Kramer XKB-20.

I hear a lot of people bitching about Kramer as a brand. Mainly die hard Travis Bean fans bad mouthing Gary Kramer’s business ethics.

In the late 70’s Gary Kramer was a Travis Bean sales rep, who, to cut a long story short, attempted to improve on the idea of an aluminium neck guitar and got the patent for his own design. This, apparently, put Travis Bean out of business.

Kramer later dropped the alminium neck idea and started making instruments aimed at 80’s cock rock and hair metal players. To which, he sold many thousands and made a big name for himself.

I’m not one for taking sides in Kramer / Bean debate. Believe it or not, it’s possible to enjoy both. – I own both!

Apparently some of Kramer’s instruments weren’t built to the same rigid quality as Travis Bean’s, but the same can’t be said of my XKB-20.

It’s essentially a simple P bass. It has that P bass grunt to it. But the aluminium neck adds a certain clarity to the tone. A shimmer and a natural chorus. Great for chords and tapping.

Add some vintage solid state amp distortion and a pick and you get a really gnarly tone from this thing!

Perfect for punk rock / hardcore / doom.

The ebanol fretboard is one feature where I think Kramer beat Travis Bean hands down. This bass is 36 years old but you’d never be able to guess that from the condition fingerboard, because it doesn’t mark, wear or get clogged with finger grease like wood does. (Also, TB fretboards are known for detaching from the neck, as wood doesn’t expand or contract at the same rate as aluminium so the glue comes un stuck).

The only thing that bugs me about this bass is that it Neck dives quite savagely.

To counteract this, I added weights into the back plate of the body cavity. The bass now weighs 11lbs. – still 1lb less than my Travis Bean TB2000.

Here’s a review I made when I first got the bass (apologies for the quality, it was my first YouTube video):

Here’s a video of how I solved the neck dive issue:

Kramer basses are a great, affordable entry into the world of aluminium neck instruments. – this one is for sale for £750 – use the contact page to enquire about purchasing it from me. It includes the original Kramer branded hard case.

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