NGD: Stop! Hamer Time! [Hamer Content, Obviously]

Discussion in 'Standard Guitars' started by narad, Jun 5, 2021.

  1. narad

    narad Progressive metal and politics

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    So it's been a while since I did a NGD. At the same time, I broke my phone last week, after babying it for nearly 4 years and keeping it in near mint condition, it fell about 18 feet onto a metal step. So new phone, way fancier camera/macro lens, figured I'd try it out.

    I've been increasingly getting into old 80s guitars from the US. Reading brochures and reading about some of the motivations of those guys, I really appreciate what they were trying to do in setting up high quality guitar shops as an alternative to Gibson/Fender. It's funny now -- I would say maybe something like Abasi guitars is sort of trying to do that now, in terms of making instruments for people trying to change what the typical guitar is like, but now everything is outsourced and the design and builds are separated. I kind of appreciate these old shops that would just do everything themselves, solve all the engineering issues themselves, and both design and build.

    Anyway, one of the most iconic 80s guitars for me is the Hamer Californian, especially the flame maple one. I saw one pop up here in Japan and decided to go for it. It's pretty cool! 27 frets, and access to the 24th is super good. Flame maple. Kind of like a Caparison TAT special way before (interestingly they also released the first ones in an amber color). Ebony board with the "boomerang" inlays. I used to think these were stupid, but I like the effect in person. The body is all maple and quite heavy, but the timbre of the instrument is a little different than the usual. There's definitely some brightness and presence in the highs, but the sound of the lows is still "round", for lack of a better word. It reminds me of my maple through alder Caparison TAT in the sound of the lower strings, but with more cut on the higher ones.

    Nice flame maple top:
    [​IMG]
    But what's cool is it's not a just flame maple top, but a flame maple body:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    That's probably the main standout feature. The 80s were a cool time for trying some new things in guitars / US made guitars. It's cool how the inlays actually cross the fret boundaries.

    [​IMG]

    The 25-27th frets are from the fretboard overhanging the body, which is kind of interesting. Makes me think of maybe getting a fretboard replacement on a bolt on horizon to get a custom 27 fret one without full custom shop prices.
    [​IMG]

    I guess the one thing I'm learning though is everytime I buy a 80s/90s guitars, there's a problem. Issue #1, a bit of jankiness on the binding. I thought it would be an easy fix but seems like there's some sticky glue in there and the binding would have to be taken off, and that goop scraped off before it'll rest flat.
    [​IMG]

    Issue #2, previous owner replaced the trem with one that needs the usual floyd route instead of the smaller Hamer one. Hamer had those early floyds where the saddle lock screws didn't really protrude at all. Some dents into the laquer from where these longer ones couldn't clear it:

    [​IMG]

    Issue #3, Shitty shim on the neck and looks like some poke through on the other side. Again, looks like the previous owner just didn't realize that trems have different spec. No pic really, but something to address.

    Overall not sure it's a keeper / if I feel like addressing these thing to get it setup properly. I have new short screws coming this week which will hopefully get the bridge sitting in the route properly and the action in standard tuning a bit lower.

    Guess I gotta go learn some whitesnake or something!
     
  2. narad

    narad Progressive metal and politics

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    Ah, guess I should post one of the headstock. The "r" hangs around in a weird way. I'm not sure it was a great idea, but props for them trying interesting things:

    [​IMG]
     
  3. Frostod

    Frostod SS.org Regular

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    Is the full body flame maple?!? Incredible!
     
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  4. Edika

    Edika SS.org Regular

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    A really nice looking instrument for sure. A few issues for sure but nothing structural at least. The route looks like a Schaller Floyd one, the type II Floyd that was quite popular at some point.
     
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  5. Kyle Jordan

    Kyle Jordan Ace of Knaves

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    Looks awesome. These Hamers and the ESP George Lynch plays in the Wicked Sensation studio outtakes have had me wanting a solid Flame or Quilt Maple body for a long time.
     
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  6. mogar

    mogar SS.org Regular

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    Very nice score!! Hamer is one of those brands that I've always wanted to try, but can never find one when I'm ready to buy. And the solid maple body is just... mmmm.

    As Edika said above, you'll want a Schaller floyd for that one. They can be a little pricey for a matching gold one, but I'd rather spend the money on that than carve into that gorgeous maple body to get the OFR to work. Plus, you should be able to flip that OFR to offset the cost of the Schaller.
     
  7. trem licking

    trem licking SS.org Regular

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    that thing is cool as hell!
     
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  8. StevenC

    StevenC SS.org Regular

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    Another classic Narad NGD
     
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  9. budda

    budda Do not criticize as this Contributor

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    Congrats! My Hamer USA was one of the nicest guitars I've ever owned.
     
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  10. technomancer

    technomancer Gearus Pimptasticus Super Moderator

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    Nice! Seem like some pretty minor issues to fix, the biggest deal being swapping the trem out.
     
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  11. GenghisCoyne

    GenghisCoyne im here to party

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    i didnt know hamer made cool guitars until right now

    3 mins later: holy moly old hamers are expensive
     
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  12. DiezelMonster

    DiezelMonster Complainasaurus Rex

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    What a cool score! I love old Hamers!

    The issues aside, I bet it plays awesome! and now I want one.
     
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  13. DiezelMonster

    DiezelMonster Complainasaurus Rex

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    What is interesting too is that it looks like the binding has shrunk, so simply removing it and lining it up may not work after you have gotten the old adhesive off. They don't typically use the same glue to build the guitar as they use to stick the binding onto the fretboard, as fishglue or hyde glue or even wood glue does not stick to ABS or whatever that material is, since it shrunk it's probably not ABS.



    This video has a good portion on binding repair albeit on old nitro binding but this may be helpful if you want to attack it yourself.
     
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  14. manu80

    manu80 Jackson for life !

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    Nice score !Still, they could have done the single coil parallel to the edge of the fretboard...;)
     
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  15. narad

    narad Progressive metal and politics

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    Ha, it's been so long since I did a NGD that I habitually put in in the wrong subforum .

    You bet! These days from a cost pov, probably makes sense to sell the billet to Ibanez/World music and let it become 100 paper thin tops, but in the 80s, I wonder if it was even much of an upcharge.


    Ah, cool -- yea, I knew Schaller made the Hamer floyds but didn't know they were still making them. Hopefully just swapping the screws for shorter ones will be enough. I saw the previous owner sold the Hamer bridge for $80 when he upgraded to the OFR :'(

    I think they were pretty cheap until 5 years or so ago. And of course covid has everyone trying for some reach sales on gear.

    It's way beyond me. Even if I can do it, I'm sure it'd take all day and I'd be better off just working overtime to pay an skilled person to do it better. But I'm not sure it's actually shrunk -- it juts out at an increasing angle so it makes sense for the ends to increasingly be out of alignment. If it's actually shrunk, it's probably not getting fixed :D

    Ha, definitely! That does annoy me. It's less obvious on the ones without binding.
     
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  16. Edika

    Edika SS.org Regular

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    Yeah, Scahller still makes them! I had a FLoyd Rose II on my Squier MIJ that ws quite beat up and was looking for a replacement. Schaller still makes them and has improved the edge knifes by using stainles steel inserts. The rest of the bridge is still made by softer metal but I also think they improved the string saddles. But it is quite a bit cheaper than an OFR (a bit less than half price for an OFR here). If he sold it for $80 he got good money for it lol!
     
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  17. aesthyrian

    aesthyrian SS.org Regular

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    Oh that is so sick! I love how Hamer had proper volume control and pickup selector layout figured out back then but most current manufacturers still haven't got it right.

    Do you know if it was made in the Chicago(Arlington Heights) factory??

    Oh you sweet summer rose, have you never heard of the Hamer Scarab of Dying Fetus fame?
     
  18. Leviathus

    Leviathus Psychotic Monster

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    Love the inlay bleedthrough and the whole body flame is killer. Congrats!
     
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  19. Shawn

    Shawn ESP • Ibanez Forum MVP

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    Very nice! I’ve always loved those boomerang inlays, one of my favorites. Great score. She’s a beauty!
     
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  20. ramses

    ramses Guitar/pizza regular

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    A Hammer from the '80s in this condition? How did you even find this?!!

    If it was mine, and I could fix it enough to play great I would keep it — I would not care about remaining cosmetic issues.
     
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