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Kaman sold to Fender


alpep

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Just a thought...

A 50% interest in Guitar Center was sold to investors in 1998 for $126,000,000.00. That was a network of 18 retail stores.

Kaman's music division is sold in 2007/2008 for $117,000,000.00.

Guitar Center was purchased this month by Bain Capital for $2,100,000,000.00 with over 200 stores as well as Musicians Friend and other subsidiaries.

Don't be surprised to see Guild electrics back in production. Word was a few years back Fender was talking to Hamer about building Guilds and a few prototypes were made.

Are you talking about the Gretsch Spectrasonics? Hamer built the limited runs of those several years ago. I hadn't heard anything about Guilds...

My brain storage capacity isn't what it once was so maybe it was Gretsch. Either way, Fender will now have a way to build USA guitars under the Guild and Gretsch banners without the upwards of 10K list pricing. How about a USA built Guild or Gretsch at the same price as the Japanese built Gretsch models? Sounds like a winning formula to me.

That is if they don't gut Hamer the way they did Guild.

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Just a thought...

A 50% interest in Guitar Center was sold to investors in 1998 for $126,000,000.00. That was a network of 18 retail stores.

Kaman's music division is sold in 2007/2008 for $117,000,000.00.

Guitar Center was purchased this month by Bain Capital for $2,100,000,000.00 with over 200 stores as well as Musicians Friend and other subsidiaries.

Don't be surprised to see Guild electrics back in production. Word was a few years back Fender was talking to Hamer about building Guilds and a few prototypes were made.

Are you talking about the Gretsch Spectrasonics? Hamer built the limited runs of those several years ago. I hadn't heard anything about Guilds...

My brain storage capacity isn't what it once was so maybe it was Gretsch. Either way, Fender will now have a way to build USA guitars under the Guild and Gretsch banners without the upwards of 10K list pricing. How about a USA built Guild or Gretsch at the same price as the Japanese built Gretsch models? Sounds like a winning formula to me.

That is if they don't gut Hamer the way they did Guild.

Where would Hamer be building these guitars? Aren't they running their current plant at full capacity? If they have to hire a bunch of new people and build these speculative Gretsch guitars somewhere else, it's really not going to be Hamer building them at all.

-Austin

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To be honest, I tend to be not too optimistic for Hamer's future.

They have been and still are to this day one of the few guitar making companies run by enthusiasts and as has been stated earlier their US-makes (and that is what we really care about) are not making big profit in a day where all that seems to count is shareholder value. Fender invested to raise just that - profit and shareholder value. If Hamer doesn't fit the picture they will either be forced to do so or they will be dropped in the long run. This is a BIG market with BIG players and a couple of thousand guitars a years, even top notch instruments, is just peanuts for the beancounters. And they are the ones that get the listening in the end.

As I see it, if Hamer's philosophy is not backed up by Fender 100 percent (which I doubt) - this is it.

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you can bet that there is a plan of action already in place for Hamer USA. Before spending 117 million dollars a detailed business plan has been authored with major contribution by the bean counters.

Absolutely. When Eastern Airlines closed, the head honcho (Marty Shugrue) said: "I simply woke up and said it was time to pull the plug." Right. Everyone walking in to work was met with closed gates, everyone on the inside of the gates had new ID badges, and tags had appeared on anything and everything in the weeks previously (auction tags).

Nothing on the scale of Fender buying Kaman just happens.

Reminds me of the Mayflower moving vans leaving in the middle of the night for Indianapolis circa '83...

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Screw the headstock shapes! Quality is what matters! Hamer needs to keep doing the same and I don't care anymore about Vectors this and Vectors that. Hamer is one of the few American "glorious" brands which has kept the bar high there. Anything else is just superfluous at this point. Let Fender then mess with the import lines --no problem-- but please don't f#$%^& touch the US-made stuff! I swear I'll also purchase pointy-headstock-ed Vectors from now on! B)

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"It might be optimistic to consider "Hamer" as a viable brand name ready to play with the big boys. Afterall, it hasn't worked at all in the past."

While not on the level of Fender, Gibson, PRS, Martin, Taylor and others, it appears that it HAS worked well enough to create enough demand to exceed current production. Hasn't it?

Has it? I would love to see published figures that indicate demand exceeds production, and that Hamer is operating in the red (another factoid from this thread). The two taken together would be pretty puzzling.

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I would love to see published figures that indicate demand exceeds production, and that Hamer is operating in the red (another factoid from this thread). The two taken together would be pretty puzzling.

Jol told us at an Open House that the USA division is kept afloat by the import line. His words, not mine.

I doubt that demand exceeds production, however. Otherwise, there wouldn't be a waiting period (what is it now - 8 to 10 weeks?) to get a new one.

The point is that they don't show a profit, and that's never a good position to be in if you've just been "bought."

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Guest Meshuggah

Maybe, one day, we'll see a Hamer on a box of Wheaties. It could happen, miracles do. This is America!

"If FMIC is smart"?! Oh ha ha ha. Name me one fucking corporate pin stripe who gives a shit, a real shit, not those plastic shits you can buy in any convience store, but a real 100% American Shit, about anything but cash flow into his/her/its back pocket.

A bigger research budget? Its a fucking plank of wood with electromagnets attached. Maybe they can research composite materials for the backs of their hollow bodies. It could work, miracles do. This is America!

Maybe we'll see a Hello Kitty Hamer! It could happen, cuz, you know.....

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I doubt that demand exceeds production, however. Otherwise, there wouldn't be a waiting period (what is it now - 8 to 10 weeks?) to get a new one.

Huh???

My understanding from threads on the hFC is that they sell every one they make and they could sell more if they made more. The reason there's a waiting period is because they are sold out 8-10 weeks in advance of production.

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I doubt that demand exceeds production, however. Otherwise, there wouldn't be a waiting period (what is it now - 8 to 10 weeks?) to get a new one.

Huh???

My understanding from threads on the hFC is that they sell every one they make and they could sell more if they made more. The reason there's a waiting period is because they are sold out 8-10 weeks in advance of production.

I said that backwards. I meant to say what you said.

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In my line of work (industrial measurement) we see small companies bought up all the time by the big players like Honeywell, GE & Siemens. In almost every case these 3 things happen:

Manufacturing moves

Distribution changes

Oldtimers are replaced by lesser paid workers

What makes Hamer so special is Jol Danzig & the people currently building our guitars. Eventually they will be gone. Another thing about Hamer I love are some of the dealers. I spent an hour with BCRGreg today discussing what is possibly my last Hamer custom order (it's gonna be freaking KILLER btw). I cant see myself having that kind of dialogue with someone at Guitar Center, Sam Ash, Charley's Guitars, ad nauseum.

Someone suggested Hamer might be reduced to making specials like a $10000 checkerboard Standard. What a great way to make an extra $7000 on a guitar. Non-musician doctors, attorneys and investors rejoice! Didnt Fender just release a second version of the SRV strat at unattainable prices? Super-premium (relative to Fender's output) guitars with a link to the past sounds like a way to keep a low volume shop operating in the black.

I wish the best for Jol & crew; and the mom & pop dealers during this transition.

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This would make a lot more sense to me if they rely on the imports to that extent financially.

EDITED TO ADD - you know admins, when you remove the post that mine quotes it kind of leaves mine twisting in the wind, might as well delete it too unless you want me to explain what my post referenced.

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Hardest part is waiting to see what shakes out.

Edited to add: To bad the thread layout doesn't go like it use to. This thread might rival the Great Columbus Ohio thread. :D:DB)

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While everyone is worried about quality control and increased output...

Are Californians crap? How about Steve Stevens models and Chaparrals? They were all made in Arlington Heights when the production was about 80 guitars a week. Hamer is definitely at its highest point in quality, but they were able to put out some great stuff when they had to "crank out" quantity.

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While everyone is worried about quality control and increased output...

Are Californians crap? How about Steve Stevens models and Chaparrals? They were all made in Arlington Heights when the production was about 80 guitars a week. Hamer is definitely at its highest point in quality, but they were able to put out some great stuff when they had to "crank out" quantity.

I dont think its Hamers ability or morals in regards to QC/layoffs/parts-wood that is in question it is current day FMIC B)

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In my line of work (industrial measurement) we see small companies bought up all the time by the big players like Honeywell, GE & Siemens. In almost every case these 3 things happen:

Manufacturing moves

Distribution changes

Oldtimers are replaced by lesser paid workers

What makes Hamer so special is Jol Danzig & the people currently building our guitars. Eventually they will be gone. Another thing about Hamer I love are some of the dealers. ...I cant see myself having that kind of dialogue with someone at Guitar Center, Sam Ash, Charley's Guitars, ad nauseum.

Someone suggested Hamer might be reduced to making specials like a $10000 checkerboard Standard. What a great way to make an extra $7000 on a guitar. Non-musician doctors, attorneys and investors rejoice! Didnt Fender just release a second version of the SRV strat at unattainable prices? Super-premium (relative to Fender's output) guitars with a link to the past sounds like a way to keep a low volume shop operating in the black.

I wish the best for Jol & crew; and the mom & pop dealers during this transition.

+1

I think Hamer might not really be the focus of Fender's move. I think they're particularly concerned about the distribution network/Inventory controls/IT etc. The mom and pop dealers will have to hold their breath and see what happens.

Which brings me back to the idea that there might be an opportunity to try to buy Hamer (maybe Genz Benz) from Fender. The trick would be to figure out how to put a value on Hamer etc. since their results have been rolled up under KMI for so long.

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Guest Mike Lee

A few thoughts:

FMIC is privately held, so "shareholder value" from the point of view of a publcily traded corporation is irrelevent. Wall Street won't be dictating what FMIC should do with Hamer/Kaman Music as much as they did with Kaman. Of course, the owners of FMIC will want to see a return on their investment, but I think they will be better for Hamer than the managers of a publicly traded company.

A dealer friend of mine stopped carrying USA Hamers because of Fender. When he picked up the Fender line, the rep told him "off the record" that he needed to carry a Fender product of equal value to all his other product lines. If you carry Hamer, you need to carry Fender Custom Shop. He didn't sell many Hamers, but kept the line because he's in the Chicago area and had connections with the old factory. He certainly couldn't sell Fender Custom Shop in his store, so he dropped Hamer. This kind of stuff will change now that Fender owns Hamer.

It's possible Fender may use a 3-tiered structure for Hamer. Import lines for the low and middle end. A new USA line of regular production models with higher volume (and probably lower quality to some extent) than existing Hamers. And the current Hamer USA will become the Hamer Custom Shop. The key would be to increase the market for Hamers with lower priced USA offerings, and endorsement deals that get Hamers in the hands of Fender players to increase demand. I'm pretty sure Fender would want to capitalize on Hamer to prevent endorsements from going to PRS or Gibson.

So Hamer USA becomes the Hamer Custom Shop to make the endorsement guitars and fly the flag for the Hamer line. Prices will probably go up until demand equals supply. The new Hamer USA will provide the market with lower cost American made guitars that fill the demand created by the endorsement deals. And the imports will fill up the rest of the market.

Fender doesn't need Hamer to make shredders because they have Jackson/Charvel for that. Fender needs to rationalize the Hamer product line into something that makes more sense - many of the imports have little relation to the current USA line.

Hamer has a "gentlemen's agreement" with Gibson allowing them to use the V and Explorer body shapes without legal trouble. If Gibson had sued, Hamer might have prevailed because they have been making Standards for so long, but the attorney fees probably would have bankrupted them. Fender has enough legal resources that any threats from Gibson could be met with an appropriate legal response.

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I cut and pasted the blurb from Kaman Alpep put up on a few other boards. Here are the links to the responses of those threads:

http://www.deanguitars.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=42228

http://www.seymourduncan.com/forum/showthread.php?t=122584

I think you have to be a member to read this one: http://www.bcrichplayers.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2528

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Just some toughts :

How long will Jol stay with Hamer when Fender starts demanding a higher output, a lower QC, and a cut in costs on wood, less research, lower paid luthiers....

On the other way, I always had the idea, Kaman never realised wat a gem they owned with Hamer USA....

And....be prepared to pay a LOT more on your custom orders in the future.

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Just some toughts :

How long will Jol stay with Hamer when Fender starts demanding a higher output, a lower QC, and a cut in costs on wood, less research, lower paid luthiers....

On the other way, I always had the idea, Kaman never realised wat a gem they owned with Hamer USA....

And....be prepared to pay a LOT more on your custom orders in the future.

+1 They will be selling the Kaman brands in Kmart, Walmart, PriceClub to expand the retail exposure of the brands after they kill the quality. You know what Ray say's about Kmart.

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