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Kaman sold to Fender


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Don't know what to think about this.... they always say they have too for the future....the future will tell.

Funny things is a play 3 favorit brands of guitars, and they will be under one roof now:) Guild, Ovation and Hamer

Jeroen

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Who actually endorses Hamers these days? I don't ask that in jest either....I'd really like to know.

The Ghost Whisperer was an endorser for awhile.

hewitt-3.jpg

For an up-to-date list, go here. You'll see that studio monsters Lyle Workman and Matt Smith, guitar legend Larry's son Julian Coryell, and blues guy Keb Mo' are all current endorsers, as well as many other prominent working studio/touring cats.

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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

I did not say that Hamer would be building the speculative Gretch and Guilds. My point was that Fender having the capital would be able to take the knowledge and run with it. They could slowly higher and train more workers and start to use CNCs for production. Look at the quality of PRS guitars before you laugh at me. Other than the CNC for the rough carve of the bodies they are hand worked. If you have ever been on a tour of the PRS factory or have seen any factory tour videos or photos you would know what I am talking about.

When Fender moved Guild to Corona they found out that couldn't build 'em right and killed off the electrics and bought Tacoma so they had a way to build a great acoustic again. Hopefully they learned a valuable lesson and will take Hamer's knowledge and learn how to build Guild and Gretch guitars in the USA.

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What do you think Hamer's relative profits are in the overall Kaman Music division? Compared to Ovation, Takamine and Gretch Drums, could Hamer USA bring in as much as 3%? 5% tops?

My guess is that Hamer USA is barely a blip on Fender's radar screen. This could be good or bad news.

On the good side, Hamer USA is so small that Fender may decide it just isn't worth messing with and leave it as is.

On the bad side, Hamer USA is so small that Fender may decide it just isn't worth messing with and shut it down.

If Fender does decide to meddle, I can't see how it will be an improvement.

I think our best hope is that Fender decides to leave well enough alone. I don't think that is likely.

Get yer custom orders in now, boys!

-Jonathan

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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."

When demand outstrips production, a backorder and subsequent wait is exactly what happens. Hamer's waiting list is bigger than 10 weeks. Ask BCR Greg about it.

From what I figure, Hamer has never been a big moneymaker for Kaman, Do the math. Kaman sells nearly $200,000,000.00 worth of stuff every year, and I doubt if Hamer represents .5% on a good year... that's half of one percent. That said, I don't think they are losing money like Guild was or Jackson or SWR. I doubt if they were even a footnote in the Fender plan. Fender is too small to completely disassemble the Kaman setup as it stands, and why would they? Kaman makes money as opposed to the other brands they bought. This acquisition is not even close to the tiny ones they did before i.e. Guild, SWR, Charvel. Fender bought a distribution company... the biggest in the music industry at that. They'll have their hands full as it is, meanwhile Hamer will just keep flying under the radar adding their little $$$ to the bottom line. Fender's management has their hands full as it is, that's why they have STATED that things will remain the same. They're not even changing KMC's name to Fender yet.

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What do you think Hamer's relative profits are in the overall Kaman Music division? Compared to Ovation, Takamine and Gretch Drums, could Hamer USA bring in as much as 3%? 5% tops?

My guess is that Hamer USA is barely a blip on Fender's radar screen. This could be good or bad news.

On the good side, Hamer USA is so small that Fender may decide it just isn't worth messing with and leave it as is.

On the bad side, Hamer USA is so small that Fender may decide it just isn't worth messing with and shut it down.

If Fender does decide to meddle, I can't see how it will be an improvement.

I think our best hope is that Fender decides to leave well enough alone. I don't think that is likely.

Get yer custom orders in now, boys!

-Jonathan

I agree with Jonathan (and it comes as much a shock to me as anyone else), except for the part about Hamer USA's "relative profits...in the overall Kaman Music division." Jol had said that they don't turn a profit, so I don't think that the estimate that Jonathan guesses at could be possible.

But I think his point is still a valid one.

Hamer is small. Very small. So small that one of the only things that could save it is if it made money.

I'm no economist, but I find myself asking "What would Fender want with Hamer, USA?" While this guitar brand is very important to US, I think it is barely a blip on the radar screen of most Fender Custom Shop buyers (and most Gibson followers, for that matter). I think as far as the music division goes, Fender wanted to acquire Ovation, Takamine, and the accessories manufacturers, but I don't think that Fender considered Hamer USA in the plan any further than the the fact that they came with the package. In fact Hamer USA might have kept the over all sale price down. Handing over a company in the red is rarely a selling point.

Why do so many people posting in this thread feel that Hamer is so important to one corporation acquiring another? Hamer is not an entity that has any more of a right to exist in this economy than any other. Sure we love the guitars, but I don't really think that Fender cares too much about a band of rabid supporters in a sea of the millions of "mainstream" guitar enthusiasts. Do you really think that with all that they have just purchased that they're sitting around thinking, "Now, what can we do to make Hamer USA profitable, while still managing to keep everything in place the way it is and without having QC suffer?"?

Maybe, but I'd find that VERY hard to believe. How much time are they really going to devote to a company that makes about 100 - 150 guitars a year (or whatever the actual figure is)?

So "someone very high up at Hamer" said that things will continue on, status quo. Well, what would you expect him to say? "We're goin' down, kids! Grab what's yours and abandon ship!"

The truth is that none of us are on the ground floor here and will not know anything about what happens next until it's already done. Kinda like the airline story that Mattson posted above.

I don't mean to sound negative. In a perfect world, everything would stay the same. They'd find a way to get the guitars to us a little faster, QC would not suffer at all, they'd bring back the set neck Chap for BlackMagicJack, and they'd even lower prices.

Unfortunately, I think all of those would fall in the same category at this point, which is to say, I seriously doubt it.

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Well, another way to look at it is that as small as Hamer is they have a much larger footprint in the industry than might be warranted by such a small company. Many great innovations and great players have been associated with Hamer. That could mean that there is a lot of potential profit to be tapped if marketed correctly. I like the business plan Mike Lee put forth re. the different tiers of Hamer and how they could compete against Gibson. It works in the car industry; like Scion, Toyota and Lexus etc. This model allows companies to use a synergistic approach to tap different segments of the market. It could work for Hamer.

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I don't really have anything to add, except that I was hoping to order a Telladega in the not so distant future......I hope I still can when that time comes.

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When Fender moved Guild to Corona they found out that couldn't build 'em right and killed off the electrics and bought Tacoma so they had a way to build a great acoustic again. Hopefully they learned a valuable lesson and will take Hamer's knowledge and learn how to build Guild and Gretch guitars in the USA.

I wouldn't say that. I have one of the 2002 NAMM Bluesbirds from a run of 35 the Fender Custom Shop made. The thing is freakin' flawless in every way, as good as any Hamer I've picked up.

I'd not be surprised if Fender, like any intelligent company, looked at their portfolio of assets and decided how to brand them so that they complemented each other and helped the overall holding company, and sold off a few assets that didn't fit this vision. Perhaps a...

Custom shop bolt-on electric: Fender Custom Shop

Custom shop set-neck electric: Hamer Custom Shop (new designation)

Top-end bolt-on electric: Fender USA

Top-end set-neck electric: Hamer USA

Top-end traditional acoustic: Guild, Tacoma (maybe they'll sell off Guild or Tacoma)

Top-end "modern: acoustic: Adamas

Mid-line bolt-on electric: Fender import

Mid-line set-neck electric: Hamer import

Mid-line acoustic: Ovation, Tacoma (?)

Budget bolt-on electric: Squier

Budget set-neck electric: Slammer

Specialty rock/country electric: Gretsch

Specialiy shred electric: Jacksn, Charvel

Specialty rock electric: EVH

Might be a good portfolio of brands to really saturate the market.

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I am stone cold realist. Hamer is at best an afterthought in this deal.

It may very well be, as Dandy Don used to sing on Monday Night Football, "Turn out the lights, the party's over".

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I like the business plan Mike Lee put forth re. the different tiers of Hamer and how they could compete against Gibson. It works in the car industry; like Scion, Toyota and Lexus etc. This model allows companies to use a synergistic approach to tap different segments of the market. It could work for Hamer.

Well, I don't. Particularly when you take into account that it goes against everything we have been told and have come to expect about Hamer USA guitars.

Remember their commitment to quality: There are no seconds. Every guitar has to be perfect before it leaves the factory. Jol "plays every guitar," after all.

Sure, there are still screwups (I have owned a few of them), but a multi-tier model implies (or even ensures) that some guitars will be better than others and some will even have a few QC issues. That's OK for Gibson and Fender, but it's not why I like Hamers, and I think that most if not all of you agree with me.

That's not to say that it WON'T happen, of course, but Jol will have to dramatically change his tune to try to sell that to anyone, particularly any of us.

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I believe they are making their best product to date right now. If you look over the past though they really did have their fair share of "pizza" days and Hameritis etc. (like any company, I suppose).

The Hamer we know and love will be the Hamer Custom Shop and the regular line would be more for the Guitar Center masses. Gibson runs it in a similar fashion and I'm not saying it's ideal but it may just be a fact of survival in business. Much like having the import line to sustain the US production was/is. Of course, they could just shut the whole thing down instead of compromising. Easy to do if the company is not profitable anyway. They could have been as inflexible as you would want back in the 80's and not make those Floyded (and bolt-on) guitars but they did what they had to do to survive (and thank God because that's my favorite Hamer era!). There probably wouldn't be a Hamer company today if they didn't adjust to market conditions back then. This may be a similar crossroads. Jol could always leave and become even smaller but expect prices to go through the roof then. They may rise anyway but not to the small-shop boutique levels if he goes it alone.

Don't take it that I think it's ideal, but realistically looking at the options going forward it may the best available. I do agree with you that it diminished the status of Gibson by doing this; not so much in the publics eye, but in the minds of guitarists who love quality. But, again, from a real world business point of view you have to decide to go down with the ship of principles or adapt to survive and fight another day.

I wish them all the best...whatever that is.

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750 guitars per year output x $3000 each (I'm guessing) = $2.25million gross revenue. FMIC paid 117million in this deal? Hamer has to be no more than a very nice, but very small piece of the puzzle. We'll have to wait and see what shakes out.

For Fender, getting Hamer is kind of like when the Red Sox got Series MVP Mike Lowell as a throw-in on the deal for 20 game winner Josh Beckett. B)

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Oh, and to add to Polaras plan; bring back the Californian!!!

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A lot of conjecture in this thread.

Of course.

I doubt that anyone will change a good thing for the worse.

Of course not. That never happens in corporate America.

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let's just hope that fender doesnt make a bunch of personel changes B)

i havent been able to experience Hamer quality first hand yet (soon!) but i would hate to see that get lost

just like heritage guitar in kalamazoo, mi.....they are up for sale....i have a bad feeling that that great co. will be lost???

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A lot of conjecture in this thread.

We know that the guys at Hamer (ie Jol) are very specific in what they do and why they do it. I doubt that anyone will change a good thing for the worse.

Its all conjecture but some good guesses also. Fender has been down the road with some other guitar companies.

With some drastic changes were made. Others not so much. I know that Jackson/Charvel is still putting out good quality product but prices have gone up rather dramatically for the custom shop items. And quality control has not been what it use to in some cases but not all. Some bloopers make it past QC.

Fender is not going to lose money. What would be the point of losing money for anybody. I think all can agree to that.

So I would think supply and demand are in play here. If Hamer USA is not currently making money then something is wrong and has been wrong all along. Either prices have to go up, quality has to go down or they sell the brand.

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**shudder**

Ditto. News like this makes me uneasy.

Don't expect to hear much from Hamer as to what their future holds. They may not know much more than we do. That's often how these things go.

On the positive side, if the quality of USA Hamers goes down, we may finally have an answer to the question of what years were Hamer's golden era. And those of you who have been wanting the values of used Hamers to go up are sure to get your wish.

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just like heritage guitar in kalamazoo, mi.....they are up for sale....i have a bad feeling that that great co. will be lost???

Heritage was actually sold (partly?) to a local Kalamazoo lawyer. They've just reopened their doors. It's now the wait and see phase.

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How many members are we at the HFC? Can't we all chip in and buy the damn company B) I'd rather place my money there than on a custom order right now.

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