Vivian Campbell's Prototype Kramer Nightswan

Vivian Campbell is a guitar god to almost every guitar player that is 28 to 45 years old.  This is because he was one of the guys who at the beginning of it all really got out there and gave each and every one of us something to shoot at.  Vivian's first album with Dio was "Holy Diver" in 1983.  The other two that he played on were "Last in Line" in 1984 and "Sacred Heart" in 1985.  It is easy to say that I am sure that every one who is reading this, owns those three CD's.  If not you must be under 20 years old, and you should go and get them, because that is where a good portion of our music today comes from.

After Vivian stopped working with Dio, he filled in for and played along with Adrian Vandenberg (who was always complaining or sick with something) in Whitesnake.   Vivian didn't record the record, but played live on the tours.  After Vivian's stint with Whitesnake, he started his own band call "River Dogs".  I don't know much about them and with out blowing a whole night, I can't find out much about them.  Next he became a member of Def Leopard.  He was filling for Steve Clark, that had drank himself into the grave.

This is the guitar that started it all for every Kramer Nightswan.  I believe that the Nightswan to be Kramer's best guitar that they made.  That is one of the reason's why you see so many late 80's early 90's pro's using them.  Vivian's prototype is actually just that, the first one.  It wasn't even made by Kramer.  The guitar was made by a Texan named Buddy Blades.  Buddy and Vivian worked together on the guitars design (shape, pick up configuration, woods, etc..).  What they came up with is a mahogany body, maple neck with an ebony board.  Two hums in the neck and middle position, a volume and a three way, and an original Floyd.  The paint job is the legendary lightning graphic (so each lightning graphic you see on ebay, is the son of this guitar - not to mention all the other colors too).  

I believe that when Vivian brought the prototype in, Kramer liked it.  I believe that they changed the neck so that the neck would say Kramer and not Blaze (like his blue and white polka dot one says) since this was his main photo shoot guitar.  This neck is actually not the standard Nightswan neck, it is much narrower and thinner then a normal one.  Also there is no truss rod at the top, it is in the heel of the neck.  Vivian had used the trem so much, that the holes for the post had become loose in the soft mahogany, so they were plugged with maple and redrilled.  Along the way I think there could of been a possible refret and the bridge could of been swapped out for a newer Floyd.  This guitar was in Vivian's position from 1987 to 1994 (that is when he gave it back to Buddy).  He signed the front when he gave it back.  

If you look closely in the advertisements, you can see the evolution of the guitar from a two hum, to the one hum with added Tom Anderson single in the neck.  Aldo look very closely at the damage to the top of the guitar and how it matches up perfectly.  

This one truly is one of my most important guitars.  This if for two reasons, the history of Kramer and the history of guitar players. 


Close up of the neck plate  Close up of Buddy's mark

Close up of the damage on the guitar    Close up of the damage in advertisement

Photo of the original Kramer ad   Close up of Vivian and the guitar in the ad

Photo of the Grip Master ad just before he gave her to Buddy

Old photo of him with the guitar right when he first got it