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Well, it was fun....... but it's over.


BCR Greg

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LOVE!

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Thanks :)

Has any guitar manufacturer ever brought over Korean, Chinese, Mexican, Eastern European builders and had them work in a U.S. shop....to lower costs and still claim "Made in USA"?? That would be one way to make U.S. models at a entry-to-medium level price to compete...and then use the killer longtime U.S. guys as the "Custom Shop."

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I know I haven't posted in a while, but I always check posts on this board. As someone who was deeply involved with Hamer for many years and who owns a stack of them, this news is not unexpected but s

Eh. As long as the guys at the factory are still employed... then no harm. Come one, admit it: We were all trading and selling and buying used Hamers 'cos they're too damn pricey for 99% of us new. Sa

Great names have come and gone throughout our lives, and will continue to do so long after we're gone. The best we can do is relish the memory, and appreciate & enjoy the legacy. With my Newpor

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Not sure how that would lower costs. On American soil you'd have to pay them a comparable wage and conform to safe workplace requirements. Neither of those things apply overseas.

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Actually, FMIC never tried to "revive" the Hamer brand. They allowed it to continue on its own, but didn't put any resources behind it. Frank U. did what he could to keep the lifeblood pumping, but in the end, FMIC just decided it was time to pull the plug and put money behind the Guild (and other) lines.

It's sad that FMIC didn't at least give a final gasp and say something like "no more orders after Dec 31," to let dealers/buyers get in under the closing gate.

+1 on giving a future deadline so dealers and potential buyers could maybe get them a few more orders. At least they could have waited until after Christmas when people could maybe better afford to do one last custom order.

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But that was a custom ordered one. If they wanted their name out there and did a run, they could do it for less. Heck a Gibson Explorer is only $1400, I'm sure Hamer could be close to that.

Possible, but not in the last few years when everything was "custom" and the price tag showed. FYI, I had that one made for under $1,400. One piece mahogany body and a one piece mahogany neck, Schaller hardware, SD pickups etc.

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Actually, FMIC never tried to "revive" the Hamer brand. They allowed it to continue on its own, but didn't put any resources behind it. Frank U. did what he could to keep the lifeblood pumping, but in the end, FMIC just decided it was time to pull the plug and put money behind the Guild (and other) lines.

It's sad that FMIC didn't at least give a final gasp and say something like "no more orders after Dec 31," to let dealers/buyers get in under the closing gate.

+1 on giving a future deadline so dealers and potential buyers could maybe get them a few more orders. At least they could have waited until after Christmas when people could maybe better afford to do one last custom order.

As much as I would have liked that to be the case, my guess is they didn't want to be inundated with orders for a brand they were putting to bed.

Not to mention, the factory just, or is about to, shut down for the holidays,

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Not sure how that would lower costs. On American soil you'd have to pay them a comparable wage and conform to safe workplace requirements. Neither of those things apply overseas.

Definitely. The biggest factor in Asian manufacture is high-precision large scale automation of manufacturing processes and bigger economy of scale. Example: I used to moonlight selling pianos. If you make a piano rim by the Steinway method, it takes at least a week glueing up a grand piano rim, and at least 6 months for it to cure as they still use sawhorses, brushes, and hot animal glue. When Samick makes a grand piano, the wood goes into a huge power press that produces a rim in ... 90 seconds!

I talked to the local Samick rep back then (1992) and he said Samick was the biggest user of Sitka spruce, and that it was brought over from Alaska by boats the size of super tankers, but filled with stacks of spruce.

Also, if you examine Asian guitars with a variety of brand names on them--Abilene, Samick, Epiphone, etc., you'll see that diagonal scarf joint where the headstock meets the neck. They are no doubt making thousands of guitars for dozens of brand names and then attaching the appropriate headstock (and maybe tailpiece) for a given brand name. That's how they can make credible ES-335, Casino, and ES-175 copies for a small fraction of the Gibson price, even when factoring out the difference in hardware and pickups. Bringing a few of the line workers over to New Hartford wouldn't be much help.

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As much as I would have liked that to be the case, my guess is they didn't want to be inundated with orders for a brand they were putting to bed.

Not to mention, the factory just, or is about to, shut down for the holidays,

Yep - I believe Elduave nailed it above...

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Also, if you examine Asian guitars with a variety of brand names on them--Abilene, Samick, Epiphone, etc., you'll see that diagonal scarf joint where the headstock meets the neck. They are no doubt making thousands of guitars for dozens of brand names and then attaching the appropriate headstock (and maybe tailpiece) for a given brand name.

This joint is used to produce an angled headstock from thinner or shorter stock. Even rough work on a headstock or neck prior to the joint being glued up feels backwards from a production standpoint.

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Also, if you examine Asian guitars with a variety of brand names on them--Abilene, Samick, Epiphone, etc., you'll see that diagonal scarf joint where the headstock meets the neck. They are no doubt making thousands of guitars for dozens of brand names and then attaching the appropriate headstock (and maybe tailpiece) for a given brand name.

This joint is used to produce an angled headstock from thinner or shorter stock. Even rough work on a headstock or neck prior to the joint being glued up feels backwards from a production standpoint.

Ah yeah. That would make a significant cost difference, especially for bigger operations. But given how identical so many Asian archtops are with various brand names and headstock shapes, I suspect they're getting a double benefit here. I've played Epiphone, Samick, and Abilene ES-175 copies back-to-back-to-back, and they're pretty much indistinguishable. And $500 instead of $2500.

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Actually, FMIC never tried to "revive" the Hamer brand. They allowed it to continue on its own, but didn't put any resources behind it. Frank U. did what he could to keep the lifeblood pumping, but in the end, FMIC just decided it was time to pull the plug and put money behind the Guild (and other) lines.

It's sad that FMIC didn't at least give a final gasp and say something like "no more orders after Dec 31," to let dealers/buyers get in under the closing gate. So now Fender has nailed the coffin lids on the two brands that I owned the most of over the years...Hamer and SUNN.

It's a sad day but I guess better than FMIC having turned all Hamers into non-US made crap and slapping a Fender-ish logo on them to put them in Walmarts and Best Buys.

We can only hope they simply mothball the brand and keep all the builders busy building Guilds, etc. until the economy recovers and then bring Hamer out of a hiatus. I personally believe Hamer's value to FMIC is that it is a way for Fender to make Gibson-ish guitars without being sued by Gibson. If FMIC ever decided on a clever way to market that, especially while Gibson is also presently hurting finacially, it could pull from Gibson's market share.

Rather ironic how the timing of the release of the long hoped for Hamer Guitar book will work out as a eulogy.

HamerLogo_NewFenderVersionW.jpg

At first I read that as "Harmer" which some may have considered appropriate.

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Actually, FMIC never tried to "revive" the Hamer brand. They allowed it to continue on its own, but didn't put any resources behind it. Frank U. did what he could to keep the lifeblood pumping, but in the end, FMIC just decided it was time to pull the plug and put money behind the Guild (and other) lines.

It's sad that FMIC didn't at least give a final gasp and say something like "no more orders after Dec 31," to let dealers/buyers get in under the closing gate. So now Fender has nailed the coffin lids on the two brands that I owned the most of over the years...Hamer and SUNN.

It's a sad day but I guess better than FMIC having turned all Hamers into non-US made crap and slapping a Fender-ish logo on them to put them in Walmarts and Best Buys.

We can only hope they simply mothball the brand and keep all the builders busy building Guilds, etc. until the economy recovers and then bring Hamer out of a hiatus. I personally believe Hamer's value to FMIC is that it is a way for Fender to make Gibson-ish guitars without being sued by Gibson. If FMIC ever decided on a clever way to market that, especially while Gibson is also presently hurting finacially, it could pull from Gibson's market share.

Rather ironic how the timing of the release of the long hoped for Hamer Guitar book will work out as a eulogy.

HamerLogo_NewFenderVersionW.jpg

++1 with MC2. When I found out about the FMIC acquisition the first thought that came to my mind was that FMIC now had a Brand in Hamer that had Guitars that would compete with Gibson. I still hope & dream that FMIC will resurrect the Brand when they hopefully get themselves on better financial footing.

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...

Definitely. The biggest factor in Asian manufacture is high-precision large scale automation of manufacturing processes and bigger economy of scale. Example: I used to moonlight selling pianos. If you make a piano rim by the Steinway method, it takes at least a week glueing up a grand piano rim, and at least 6 months for it to cure as they still use sawhorses, brushes, and hot animal glue. When Samick makes a grand piano, the wood goes into a huge power press that produces a rim in ... 90 seconds!...

All true! On the other hand there are still customers out there who like to be individual in that they prefer to order hand-made instruments, either for playing or collecting. There are many individualist luthiers out there creating great instruments for even great prices. My Red Special Bo Diddley project is a good example here.

The question is, for a company like FMIC, would it be in a certain dimension profitable to run a custom shop like Hamer. For FMIC, a custom shop would have to turn round a certain amount of instruments to make sense for them. Well, with Hamer it obviously wasn't the case. You can speculate on the reasons.

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Hi Inner Circle,

"... Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?..." Are you on drugs? Are you kidding? :)
Thank God that history is not written by you, even the Hamer-history.

429532_10151174473749646_1703041569_n.jp

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The Fender "Custom Shop" pumps out more in a week than Hamer does all year (based on Hamer's production numbers from the last few years). Hamer gradually stopped producing "guitars for the working musician" and tried to make everything along the lines of PRS' "private stock". When they did that, the only affordable new Hamers were imports. The 1990's "Modern Vintage" era is when production peaked and Hamers were affordable. It was still less than 20 instruments a day. The "Modern Vintage" era gave so much bang for the buck I think it turned people off when they tried to price the new ones where they needed to be to stay afloat. The new high prices weren't out of line with what other companies were offering (Gibson custom shop, PRS private stock, etc). Obviously, the consumer thought otherwise.

Lets face it- a lot of Hamer fans are cheapskates and only bought used or when they were underpriced. That doesn't support the factory or the builders. No sales = no factory.

Most of my experience with Hamer is with the NH era. I met Jol and Kim shortly after they set up in New Hartford. I was having my T-51 retro-fitted with the Fishman bridge. Jol personally took the time to discuss the control layout and how I wanted the guitar to function post mod. He spent way more time than he had to, for a nobody, and we shot the shit for quite awhile. The Vision of what Hamer was to be was clear. This was not only Jol's vision, Kaman's as well. IMO Jol was aked to come back and agreed to come back because of this. Everyone who has had the opportunity to attend an HFC event or visit the facility could see that the production area was not geared for volume and neither were the building methods.

I believe Hamer failed because they were unable to make their vision a reality. The answer as to why is not black and white, and I am only speculating, like everyone else. Marketing and brand perception were certainly a big part. Where others succeeded Hamer failed. Isn't a PRS Santana little more than a Studio Custom? Yet people willingly paid more for that than the Hamer, though it could be argued that the Hamer was made just as well, if not better. Hamer offered too much for the money and was still not able to convince the public that it was worth it. We have all seen hundreds of examples of exceptional wood tops on non-custom models, tops that would have been labeled "10" tops or Artist tops at PRS for no upcharge. In this sense reality exceeded perception. It is clear many feel Hamer priced themselves out of the market. What isn't clear is what they thought or hoped their market was. I believe they tried, perhaps too late, with the guru tours to make players aware of the quality and value of their instruments. Certainly the Artist Ultimate was a tour de force to demonstrate their lutherie skills. Did they ever make a dime selling any of those?

I hope Hamer is revived some day but I doubt it. With FMIC's inability initiate an IPO and their dependence on GC even it's future is unclear. Kudos of course to the Hamer dealers for their passion, knowledge and willingness to share with customers. Had it not been for a persistent dealer who stuck a T-51 in my hands and insist I play it, I probably would not have the pleasure of owning several of these fine instruments.

This will end the ramblings of an old man :)

post-1107-0-88007600-1355836855_thumb.jp

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Perfectly put, Bob and Arnie.

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Hi Inner Circle,

"... Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?..." Are you on drugs? Are you kidding? :)
Thank God that history is not written by you, even the Hamer-history.

Joining MCChris in disbelief... :blink: Dood, where have you BEEN since 1978? :blink:

verydemotivationaldoublefacepalm.jpg

Actually, FMIC never tried to "revive" the Hamer brand. They allowed it to continue on its own, but didn't put any resources behind it. Frank U. did what he could to keep the lifeblood pumping, but in the end, FMIC just decided it was time to pull the plug and put money behind the Guild (and other) lines.

It's sad that FMIC didn't at least give a final gasp and say something like "no more orders after Dec 31," to let dealers/buyers get in under the closing gate. So now Fender has nailed the coffin lids on the two brands that I owned the most of over the years...Hamer and SUNN.

It's a sad day but I guess better than FMIC having turned all Hamers into non-US made crap and slapping a Fender-ish logo on them to put them in Walmarts and Best Buys.

We can only hope they simply mothball the brand and keep all the builders busy building Guilds, etc. until the economy recovers and then bring Hamer out of a hiatus. I personally believe Hamer's value to FMIC is that it is a way for Fender to make Gibson-ish guitars without being sued by Gibson. If FMIC ever decided on a clever way to market that, especially while Gibson is also presently hurting finacially, it could pull from Gibson's market share.

Rather ironic how the timing of the release of the long hoped for Hamer Guitar book will work out as a eulogy.

HamerLogo_NewFenderVersionW.jpg

I'm still waiting for that new model from Fender, the "Cl*sterf*cker". :lol:

verydemotivationalmegaflicks.jpg

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This one goes out to everyone at management level at Fender Corp. And a Merry Chrisfuckmas to you too!

MickHamer.jpg

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Hi Inner Circle,

"... Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?..." Are you on drugs? Are you kidding? :)
Thank God that history is not written by you, even the Hamer-history.

Wow, after decades this bait still delivers the goods.

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Hi Inner Circle,

"... Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?..." Are you on drugs? Are you kidding? :)
Thank God that history is not written by you, even the Hamer-history.

Wow, after decades this bait still delivers the goods.

For the record, it probably doesn't help that Frank is from Germany and has probably never seen Animal House (although he has to know something about WWII :ph34r: )

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I believe Hamer failed because they were unable to make their vision a reality. The answer as to why is not black and white, and I am only speculating, like everyone else. Marketing and brand perception were certainly a big part. Where others succeeded Hamer failed. Isn't a PRS Santana little more than a Studio Custom? Yet people willingly paid more for that than the Hamer, though it could be argued that the Hamer was made just as well, if not better. Hamer offered too much for the money and was still not able to convince the public that it was worth it. We have all seen hundreds of examples of exceptional wood tops on non-custom models, tops that would have been labeled "10" tops or Artist tops at PRS for no upcharge. In this sense reality exceeded perception. It is clear many feel Hamer priced themselves out of the market. What isn't clear is what they thought or hoped their market was. I believe they tried, perhaps too late, with the guru tours to make players aware of the quality and value of their instruments. Certainly the Artist Ultimate was a tour de force to demonstrate their lutherie skills. Did they ever make a dime selling any of those?

I think Hamer failed because they abandoned what established their brand in the first place.

It's summed up pretty well on the Hamer Wikipedia page:

Hamer began publicizing their instruments with small black and white ads in guitar magazines in 1974...During this period Hamer's customers were limited to big-name touring groups such as Bad Company, Wishbone Ash, Jethro Tull, and Savoy Brown...During this time the company undoubtedly gained more popularity with the high-profile patronage of Cheap Trick guitarist Rick Nielsen and the use of Hamer 8- and 12-string basses in their music.

You mention the PRS Santana. Aside from the fact that the Studio lacks the Santana's tremolo tailpiece, the key factor that differentiates the two is 'Santana.' The artist endorsement connection is an essential element when marketing high-quality instruments. Hamer used to have those connections. Now, not so much.

Simply put, I think Hamer failed because no popular guitarist was ever seen with a Studio or Artist or Newport or Monaco in his hands.

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Aside from the fact that the Studio lacks the Santana's tremolo tailpiece, the key factor that differentiates the two is 'Santana.'

...and the scale length.

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