Fun fact: Most super-big musical instrument manufacturers are still run like mom-and-pop businesses.
Above is a Kramer Beretta Special. It comes in only two colors. Black and Vintage White, both cheap. It is arguably the most basic and most easy electric made right now. Perfect for beginner guitar players as well as adults that want a guitar that has absolutely no frills and just works.
It is the ultra-simplicity of the Beretta Special that makes it great. One pickup, one volume control and nothing else. The only thing that makes it even remotely complicated is the fact it has a vibrato arm, which most people call a whammy bar. And to be honest, I wish the guitar didn't have that.
Why own a guitar so unbelievably simple?
There are several very cool things about owning an ultra-simple guitar.
1. You know what it can do.
There is no question as to what the Beretta Special is capable of, because you already know just by looking at it. One humbucking pickup and a 22-fret neck is all you have to work with.
2. You know what it can't do.
Knowing what the guitar is incapable of is also a good thing. Since it has no neck-side pickup and no tone control, you are forced to come up with other ways to "soften" the sound, such as turning down the volume and/or adjusting EQ settings via pedal or amp.
The best part about knowing what the guitar can't do is that every thing it's incapable of doing is one less thing you have to worry about.
3. This is a guitar you can work on.
Let's say for the moment that for some simple tone control, you decide to install a linear taper 500K potentiometer for the volume control (this allows more treble to be cut off with only a small turn instead of a large turn, and works very well with a humbucker.)
How difficult would that be to install? Not difficult at all. Installation time is only a couple of minutes. If you're not-so good with a soldering iron, about 5 minutes.
Switching out the pickup is also dirt simple. And it's cheaper because you would only have to replace just one pickup.
The Beretta Special is so simple that you don't even need a wiring diagram. As long as you note where the signal and ground wires go, that's all you need to know.
4. Simplicity establishes a very nice comfort zone.
This is the part I'll talk about the most.
I own a Jazzmaster, and that's a complicated guitar. Most guitarists who have never played one get totally confused by the separate rhythm and lead circuit controls. I know every part of a Jazz, but I'll be the first to admit that it takes a certain kind of player to appreciate one.
The Beretta Special on the other hand is something all players can appreciate, regardless of skill level. There is something very endearing and almost romantic about a guitar that has almost nothing to it.
Over the decades, there have been several famous guitar players who play similar guitars, where they take an existing guitar and purposely simplify it. It's usually something that used to have two pickups where the neck-side pickup was removed, tone control removed (or left there but not wired,) and the setup ended up being exactly like the Beretta is.
There is never a switch to accidentally hit when playing on the Beretta because none exist. You will never bang your pick on a pickup by mistake because the neck-side area is totally open. Maintenance on this guitar is as simple as it gets. Upgrading parts is as simple as it gets. It just doesn't get any easier.
"Too simple for me."
A really basic axe sometimes is not the thing for everyone. However, if you like basic but not ultra-basic like the Beretta Special, the next best thing is the Squier Affinity Telecaster. Same price as the Beretta Special.
The above was not something I was intending to buy, but had to.