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Something I've noticed since Jol left


ecnal

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Since we got the news about Jol leaving Hamer, I've been slightly less excited about Hamer. I realize now that I used to check his blog for updates all the time, and I liked reading his stuff, even though most of the new models are less interesting to me than the old ones.

I know that the same guys are making the guitars, and I occasionally speculate that I was turned down on more than my share of proposed guitars because of Jol's aesthetic, but still, he was the face of the company to me.

I wonder how (and if) Hamer is going fill Jol's shoes and promote a personal designer/builder aspect of their business. I liked the view into the workshop.

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The same guys are building Hamers right now. The quality is there. The same designs that were there a month ago are still there. Right now we can remain confident that Hamer guitars are still what we expect in Hamer guitars.

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well, Jol was a visionary, and unfortunately visionaries like that are often very stubborn. If FMIC and Kaman want to eventually have Hamer go up against Gibson and start large-scale production, that most likely would not have been to his liking. having the shop build guild acoustics may also have not been to his liking. If your vision differs from your bosses vision in fundamental ways, eventually you'll have to part ways.

I know he had opinions about things like boomers and about signature artists and endorsers that don't agree with the way the market is.

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He turned down a SHITLOAD of custom orders and therefore a SHITLOAD of revenue, just from my shop. I can't be the only one that constantly dealt with the arbitrary refusals.

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He turned down a SHITLOAD of custom orders and therefore a SHITLOAD of revenue, just from my shop. I can't be the only one that constantly dealt with the arbitrary refusals.

This is ...unfortunately...absolutely true. I had Greg ask for the following instruments, all of which were turned down by Jol, only to have them show up later. I had money in hand, was ready to order and I made that clear.

1. Korina V in opaque black or white.

2. Korina Standard in opaque black or white.

3. Korina V in cherry with gold hardware.

4. Korina V with binding

Jol leaving has me feeling mixed emotions. The is absolutely zero doubt that Jol was a driving force in the creation of some killer designs at Hamer. There is also zero doubt that Jol was instrumental in keeping Hamer small and QC at an insanely high level. I also never like to see someone lose their job.

On the other hand, some of his rejections made absolutely zero sense. The above orders are really not special in any way other than color. Their rejection was met by incredulity on my part that was only further compounded when I saw said instruments on display at NAMM. Cmatthes saw me almost immediately after I was at the Hamer booth and can attest to my outrage. It was at that point that I stopped trying and I haven't bought a new Hamer since.

I have been thinking about ordering a new Hamer for the past several months. My guitar of choice was going to be a Duotone Custom. I might very well change my mind and go after my dream V now...

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He turned down a SHITLOAD of custom orders and therefore a SHITLOAD of revenue, just from my shop. I can't be the only one that constantly dealt with the arbitrary refusals.

how many were because of boomers?

were they really weird custom builds? or just some color he didn't want to do? see, arbitrary stuff like that isn't something a custom shop can afford to do. If it's a totally new guitar they dont' even make, then I can see it.

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how many were because of boomers?

were they really weird custom builds? or just some color he didn't want to do? see, arbitrary stuff like that isn't something a custom shop can afford to do. If it's a totally new guitar they dont' even make, then I can see it.

read my post

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read my post

saw it. That is just... ridiculous. Maybe they were too "plain" for a custom build? if the demand is there you have to expand. keeping things small and qc insane is great, but only if it pays the bills. There's no reason they couldn't enlarge the shop and simply bring in more people.

I mean look at Sam Adams. They make craft beer... which isn't really the same as guitars. But they only do it in small production, so to increase overall production, they simply have opened up micro breweries in more locations spread out geographically.

I'm not saying that they should have 10 custom shops, but if they were getting those orders and turning them down, that's just stupid.

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He turned down a SHITLOAD of custom orders and therefore a SHITLOAD of revenue, just from my shop. I can't be the only one that constantly dealt with the arbitrary refusals.

This is ...unfortunately...absolutely true. I had Greg ask for the following instruments, all of which were turned down by Jol, only to have them show up later. I had money in hand, was ready to order and I made that clear.

1. Korina V in opaque black or white.

2. Korina Standard in opaque black or white.

3. Korina V in cherry with gold hardware.

4. Korina V with binding

Jol leaving has me feeling mixed emotions. The is absolutely zero doubt that Jol was a driving force in the creation of some killer designs at Hamer. There is also zero doubt that Jol was instrumental in keeping Hamer small and QC at an insanely high level. I also never like to see someone lose their job.

On the other hand, some of his rejections made absolutely zero sense. The above orders are really not special in any way other than color. Their rejection was met by incredulity on my part that was only further compounded when I saw said instruments on display at NAMM. Cmatthes saw me almost immediately after I was at the Hamer booth and can attest to my outrage. It was at that point that I stopped trying and I haven't bought a new Hamer since.

I have been thinking about ordering a new Hamer for the past several months. My guitar of choice was going to be a Duotone Custom. I might very well change my mind and go after my dream V now...

DO IT!!!!

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Many of my ideas were simple variations on existing guitars, like the ones that Poe wanted.

I have toured the factory a zillion times, and have spent a considerable time on the shop floor when business brought us up to Ct. Jol himself once said that I was the only dealer that could do each of the steps necessary to build a Hamer. As such, I am VERY aware of what changes are required to make different versions of the regular production models. I would ask over and over for things that would eventually show up in other store's inventories.

One particular instance comes to mind. I wanted to get a run (minimum of 6 pieces, possibly 12) of chambered Studio Customs with Sustain Block bridges, P-90 neck pickups and Explorer headstocks. When I first asked, it was "Nope" to the chambering. Eventually, I got Jol to okay chambering, now ALL capped solidbody guitars are chambered. Next it was Sustain Blocks....Jol told me "If you want them, YOU make them." Two different concerns made bridges, both were refused. Then Hamer brings back the Sustain Block for the Talladega. The real problem was the headstock, I was told. It wouldn't fit a regular GC-1 case, I was told. When the 32" 12 string basses that I begged for for years FINALLY were made, the case was PERFECT for the guitar with the Explorer headstock, and I told them so.

"We won't make that guitar", Jol finally told me on the phone one day...."It's too obvious".

Sorry, kids, but that is how you drive a business into oblivion. Jol proved that.

His successor will hopefully be more realistic and less arbitrary.

I don't mind being told that I cannot order a guitar because it cannot be done because of a LEGITIMATE obstacle. I am unable to understand why, when there are PAYING customers with histories of constant and consistent Hamer additions are told that Hamer isn't interested in making their next guitar, when that guitar is not only possible but EASY to produce. I cannot tolerate being told "No" and then someone else gets "Yes" for the same request.

Jol...have fun at your next stop. All of us here at BCR appreciate everything that you did for us, but we regret that you could have done a lot more.

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See... I don't get how a custom shop can turn down easily doable stuff. I also like heritage guitars, and it was no biggy for someone to get THIS built, which I think is awesome, and others think is something unholy:

H150custom.jpg

If you are saying "wow that looks like a les paul with custom wound strat-style pickups and an explorer headstock" you'd be right. On the other hand though, Heritage often gives their dealers fits with lack of communication. Jay Wolfe though seems to have a hotline and can get you anything.

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I'm going to sit back and watch how it plays out.

I liked the Talladega really well - great idea. But I got hooked on Hamer when Jol wasn't around - in fact I don't have a JD era Hamer. Hopefully, Fender understands what the brand means and will continue to support it. And I wouldn't put it past JD to start designing guitars that are a complete break from what he's done in the past.

This could end up being really fun.

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His successor will hopefully be more realistic and less arbitrary.

The question though is will there be a successor? The recent price increase for custom orders (as reported by Veatch) seems to indicate that Hamer production is well and truly on the back burner (deliberately pricing themselves out of the market?). Is this the slow end to the brand, or is there a bold new plan that has yet to be announced?

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I've been aware of Hamers for quite some time. My uncle used to deal them at a ma and pop store back in the early 80s. I started learning about them at a young age, but didn't actually care or get into them until recently. I was excited to see Hamer still going strong, but from this forum, I did notice odd things happening with the company such as a lot of custom orders being rejected for no good reason, and that is just bad business. Everyone was quick to blame Fender, KM, and other businesses on top of the pole, but perhaps Jol really wasn't performing good business tactics needed to succeed in the industry. Maybe Jol's denotion will be a good thing. Don't get me wrong, I love Jol and the things he did for Hamer, but recently, and although Hamer makes extraordinary guitars to this day, something needed to be done. KMIC and Fender (and whoever else) were well aware of the heat they would possibly get for Jol's departure and were willing to take the risk.

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Yeah, but if Jol is not there to say no to some of the things he didn't want to do..... maybe someone else will say yes?

Let's hope so, says the crown fan.

I know he had opinions about things like boomers and about signature artists and endorsers that don't agree with the way the market is.

What was Jol's opinion on boomers? From what I've been able to gather here, they were Hamer's attempt at having a sharkfin or other "metal" looking inlay, and I have to admit I don't like them at all. I've always wondered if the folks who do just like them because they were unavailable.

Thanks to Poe and BCR Greg for sharing their experiences with us. These firsthand accounts beat all the speculation any day.

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So who's gonna be the 1st to test the water? Seems to me there's a couple big concerns on the table, what will they or will they not do, and does it meet the high QC standards of the dare I say, past. Showtime all you moneybags.

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Several orders have already been placed.

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I think you might ask yourself if Jol wasn't holding back Hamer in the last few years. From somebody on the outside, it seems to me like he wanted to build what he wanted to build. Yes, I think the designs have been great, and I hope to pick up couple more someday. But a new Talledega Pro? Out of my price range, and I own a Porsche.

But, as far as I can tell, he didn't own the business. If I came to work on those mornings, as he would wax poetically, and my assets (shareholder equity) weren't on the line to make sure the employees were making what was necessary to feed lots of mouths, well, maybe, I could be seen as playing in some other man's sandbox. Think about the loyal dealers who worked to support Hamer products and now just have "custom Hamers" to offer. What are they putting on the walls? And how many Hamer dealers are throwing in the towel on the whole line because of this. Me thinks those guys have gotten stiffed and it was not by FMIC. IMHO.

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Several orders have already been placed.

Yup. We've have good dealings with Mike Oken (Product Manager) and Frank U. this past week. It's a new day. We're going to work positively, and hope folks enjoy and appreciate the results.

Point, click, and get in on the happy with us...

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