John Frusciante’s 1986/87 Kramer Pacer Custom II

access_time First seen circa 1988

This was the only guitar that John had with him when he first joined the Red Hot Chili Peppers back in 1988. He only used it for a few gigs with the Peppers [Red Hot Chili Peppers John Anson Ford Theater October 8, 1988], and for some of the early gigs with HATE (sideband project with Flea).

This particular guitar is somewhat of a mystery. What we do know is that the guitar had a 24-fret maple neck with dot inlays, long banana headstock, strat-style body with sharper horns, and an HSS pickup configuration. It also featured a custom paint job, perhaps something inspired by Eddie Van Halen who John looked up to in the early days.

As far as the exact model, the closest possibility seems to be the Kramer Pacer Custom II. As one of our readers pointed out, this seems to be the only model with an HSS config where the humbucker isn’t slanted like for instance on the Striker model, which features the same pickup layout.

What doesn’t fit with the usual configuration of Pacer Custom II model is the 24 fret maple neck featuring long banana headstock. By 1986/87 when the model was first introduced, Kramer already started using pointy headstocks, so John’s guitar must have been one of a kind. Even the few of the Pacers that featured maple necks all came with pointy headstocks finished in black, so again quite unusual seeing that particular setup on John’s guitar.

As far as to what happened to the guitar post-1988, we were able to spot it in the 1993 short documentary recorded at John’s place. This means that John kept the guitar for at least 5 years, even though by then he switched to playing Fender Stratocasters almost exclusively.

John's Kramer spotted in the 1993 short documentary Stuff

John’s Kramer spotted in the 1993 short documentary Stuff

If you happen to know anything more about this guitar, even the slightest bit of information, be sure to leave a comment at the bottom of this page. To help you start in your research – below is a video of John playing this guitar in 1988, and here’s a photo album on imgur showing screencaps from a couple of different videos.

Continue browsing, or go subdirectory_arrow_leftBack to John Frusciante Gear Page
access_time 1998

1962 Fender Stratocaster

This guitar was purchased by Anthony Kiedis when Frusciante joined the Red Hot Chili Peppers again in 1998. According to Anthony, at that time, John didn’t have a guitar of his own (all of his old guitars were either sold or lost in a fire that caught his house), but according to John himself, he did […]

access_time 1990

1966 Fender Jaguar (Under the Bridge)

This Fender Jaguar is undeniably best known for its appearance on ‘Under the Bridge’ video. The date of purchase is unfortunately unknown, but it is known that this was one of John’s favorite guitars at the time – the one he’d use for practicing and fooling around in his room. John’s Jaguar was finished in what’s […]

access_time 1989

1968 Fender Stratocaster

This was Frusciante’s main Stratocaster around the time of the release of ‘Mother’s Milk album’. It was seen on numerous occasions around that time, predominantly in 1989, but possibly also in 1990. Just to name a few, John played it at a gig at Dam Square, Amsterdam, on August 26, 1989, at Pinkpop in the Netherlands on June […]

access_time 1991

1958 Fender Stratocaster (BSSM)

For the recording of Blood Sugar Sex Magik, John used what was apparently a late 50s sunburst Stratocaster. However, there are some issues with this, because for that to be true, the guitar had to have had a maple neck, because rosewood necks were introduced only in May 1959. And, since we have a pretty good […]

access_time 1988

Ibanez RG760

John used a couple of different Ibanez guitars early on in Red Hot Chili Peppers in 1988 and 1989. The best-known one is the guitar featured on most of the photos that come up when you Google “John Frusciante Ibanez” – featuring a ton of stickers and hand-writings on the body. Based on the time when he used, […]

access_time 1997

1962 Fender Jaguar (Red)

From 1994 to around 1997 John seems to have lost nearly all of his instruments in a fire that caught his house, and those few that survived were probably sold for money since John was having drug problems at the time. Furthermore, Anthony Kiedis notes in his book ‘Scar Tissue’ that John had no guitar […]

access_time 1989

Ibanez RG750

To our knowledge, John was seen playing this guitar only on one occasion – at Shafer Court, Virginia Commonwealth University on April 14, 1989. Most likely the guitar was a backup for John’s main Ibanez, model RG760, and that he used it for that purpose more than just once. Also, given that the photo below was taken […]

access_time 2005

1961 Fender Stratocaster (Fiesta Red)

This is one of the guitars John bought just prior to Stadium Arcadium, most likely to have something on hands available as a backup for his 1962 Stratocaster. This Stratocaster was made in 1961, and features fiesta red finish and a rosewood fretboard. The pickups in it are most likely original, although there’s a possibility that John replaced them with Seymour Duncan […]

access_time 1998

1960s Fender Telecaster Custom

Bought sometime prior to Californication, and used on a few songs from that album – specifically “Easily” and “Scar Tissue” (only on the solo). It was also used on the band’s 2002 album “By the Way”, where John used this exact guitar to record one of their bigger hits, “Can’t Stop”. I just played the […]

access_time 2006

1959 Fender Stratocaster (Fretless)

John used this guitar occasionally on tour in 2005/2006 [Red Hot Chili Peppers – Live La Cigale 2006]. At that point in time, the Strat was most likely completely stock and featured a fixed tremolo bridge. Sometime in mid to late 2006, John decided to mod the guitar and replace the original neck with a […]

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I assume it was destroyed when his house burned down the following year

I read alot of his artwork and guitars were lost in that fire