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becoming familiar with Hamer


gmaslin

Question

Hello everyone. I recently played an SFX and liked it very much but was told they were not the best or most versatile Hamer so naturally, I became curious and ended up here. So. let's start with a feature set:

1. tapered/slim neck heel for easing high fret play and headstocks that don't angle strings to the nut.

2. great sound versatility that is coherent and familiar (ie: I hate most fat strats and prefer serial wired singles)

3. I prefer single coils but have played some very convincing split humbuckers so will not rule them out with a split circuit

4. I would like a generally high standard of build quality with action as low as I want it and comfortable, well seated edges

Now that I've described what I want, what should I be looking at?

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Not the greatest expert. The daytona is Hamers take on a stratocaster.

Here is a link to some info in them

http://www.buddlejagarden.co.uk/hamer/vint.htm

If you are looking for a shredder

http://www.buddlejagarden.co.uk/hamer/chaps.htm

Also the mirage has a three single coil version

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Veteren HFCer

That's lovely! Does it have a serial/parallel circuit option on the mini toggle or the usual Telemode (bridge/neck)?

Outer Circle

I couldn't find a pic of the neck heel from the back so if you can confirm that it's tapered, those would fit the criteria too with push/pull pots for options.

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Pics and wirings are variable the guitar is a stable. So when the wood smokes for you, the rest should be easy to set up for your taste.

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Hello everyone. I recently played an SFX and liked it very much but was told they were not the best or most versatile Hamer so naturally, I became curious and ended up here. So. let's start with a feature set:

1. tapered/slim neck heel for easing high fret play and headstocks that don't angle strings to the nut.

2. great sound versatility that is coherent and familiar (ie: I hate most fat strats and prefer serial wired singles)

3. I prefer single coils but have played some very convincing split humbuckers so will not rule them out with a split circuit

4. I would like a generally high standard of build quality with action as low as I want it and comfortable, well seated edges

Now that I've described what I want, what should I be looking at?

Please note that the SFX you are clearly taken with is from the most economical line of the import range, if you buy anything USA made, it'll take your breath away :o

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VeterenHFCer

Okay, I've never been a USA made snob. It would be shameful arrogance to presume the world has no luthiers equal to our own and we know many overseas factories have tools as good as ours so let's put together a short list in several categories:

Category A - Under $300 used, solid wood, tapered/slim heel, dual humbuckers with split circuit, (BH, BH/NH, NH, BR, BR/NF, BF/NR, NF)

Category B - Under $300 used, solid wood, tapered/slim heel, S/S/S with serial/parallel wiring

I'll stop here for now and study what's submitted.

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Sorry. No arrogance at all here.

The USA made Hamers are simply light years better, all around. It's not snobbery, the woods are far superior, the guys doing the building are world class luthiers, not assembly line workers...it's a HUGE difference.

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VeterenHFCer

Nice pictures but no names and do they fit the criteria above? I've heard the same opinion about domestic vs. import Fenders and it's exaggerated by my standards. I am more discriminating about functionality and tonal variety than appearance or snob appeal. For years my favorite guitar was a Korean plywood Stratocaster so don't be afraid to suggest anything on the fear that I will ridicule it.

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As much as I like Hamers, I DO have a particular fondness for certain non-USA guitars. For better or worse, they start well over ten times that $300 bar.

All else aside, DO make an effort to try at least one Hamer USA.......They ARE great AND a value priced proposition.

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VeterenHFCer

Okay, I've never been a USA made snob. It would be shameful arrogance to presume the world has no luthiers equal to our own and we know many overseas factories have tools as good as ours so let's put together a short list in several categories:

Category A - Under $300 used, solid wood, tapered/slim heel, dual humbuckers with split circuit, (BH, BH/NH, NH, BR, BR/NF, BF/NR, NF)

Category B - Under $300 used, solid wood, tapered/slim heel, S/S/S with serial/parallel wiring

I'll stop here for now and study what's submitted.

SUBMITTED? Really? :huh: Sounds like unpaid work to me, especially when looking for a 'under $300 used' guitar for a four-post newbie. We're good at volunteering suggestions around here at the HFC, though. Especially when the magic word 'please' is used in requesting them.

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Jeez crunchee, maybe Engrish isn't his native language. Maybe he speaks TGP. Or LPF. Gotta cut the new guy some slack.

New guy - good luck finding all you want under $300. If you do, let us know! The Stellar 3 might be close, but nowhere near a USA Hamer.

(FYI - if you look just above and slightly to the left of 'Veteran HFCer' or 'Outer Circle', you'll find our actual screen names)

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crunchee, django49, The Shark, cmatthes. Jem, gorch and cynic

None on my requests were meant as demands and I apologize if they appeared that way. I am clearly uninformed about the Hamer line and thought asking for suggestions of specific models within a price range that fit a feature set would have been a natural practice for those more familiar with them than myself. If the required attitude here is supplication then that is unfortunate for me because I don't do that well. So help if you want to but don't expect me to lick your balls.

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You're not a real social butterfly, are you? You want help from the most knowledgeable Hamer people on the planet who are also some of the friendliest you'll find anywhere, but you're really coming off as a bit of a.....unfriendly person.

Lighten up. We'll help if you let us. Ball licking is optional.

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veatch

Thank you for emphasizing the one salty comment out of a paragraph of sense. I guess you missed the apology.

hamerhead

Try to not to conjecture anything about my social life. I assure you I can be quite charming but for some reason my introduction to this forum became negative. I will attempt to start over:

Hey guys, my name is Gina and I'm in NYC. I am a retired stripper (den mother) and I play guitar. I've dated rock stars and celebrities and I'm probably too smart for my own good but there are things I don't know anything about and that is why I'm here. I recently played a Hamer SFX with split coils that had an awesome tone gamut and so became interested in the brand. I have listed some features above that I like to have on my guitars for anyone that might be interested in helping me choose a guitar from the Hamer line. A Hamer Stellar was suggested above and that would seem a good place to start because it has a tapered/slim neck heel. What makes a Stellar better than a Slammer SP-1? It was also suggested that import Hamers or Slammers are far inferior to the US made models. Is this inferiority due to fitting, setup and workmanship or parts selection?

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Hey Gina! Nice to have you here!

USA Hamers vs import Hamers is sorta like Volkswagen vs Rolls Royce: same sport, different league. If you ever have a chance to play a USA Hamer, you'll instantly see and feel the difference.

Generally speaking, the earliest imports are considered the best of the imports and say 'Slammer Series' under the Hamer logo. The Stellar model is among the second wave of imports (plain Hamer logo, nothing else), and are decent quality. The 'Slammers' are more recent and generally considered the worst of the bunch. Hamer has the most baffling naming system ever, so if you're at all confused you're right at home.

That's just a quick, broad overview. You came to the right place for answers. The search function might help you out, too.

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Most of the people on this board aren't that familiar with the non-US Hamers, so an in-depth discussion may not occur (as compared to referencing variations in the US models).

As for the differences between the US and import lines, there are two key differences:

Luthiers - the US guitars are handmade by top notch luthiers. These guys are AMAZING. I'd be shocked if the imports weren't mostly machine made. As a reference, check out this thread of work being done on the last US Hamers: http://www.hamerfanclub.com/forums/topic/60068-creating-a-hamer-a-behind-the-scenes-look/

Materials: there seems to be a pretty big difference in material between the imports and US versions. Compare the Special Jr. Import: Mahogany bod, Hamer brand pup, non-branded hardware. US: limba bod, SD pup, Tone Pros bridge, Schaller tuners.

I don't think you'll even find a US made basswood bodied Hamer (as standard) like that SFX2, but I could be wrong. Do the imports seem to be good bang for the buck? Yes. Are they built to the same level as the US ones? I have yet to hear a single person who has played both say "yes".

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Tres Aardvarks

Noted. I have a friend who does most of my setups and fret maintenance so I'm a little less concerned about those kinds of things than I am about the body routing and parts. Things like the neck fitting, the pickup placement on the body and specifics about all the component parts are what i look at before I play it. I have found that those things tend to define a quality instrument more than a pretty paint job. I wear jewels, I don't play them.

hamerhead

Thanks for the welcome. I look at the guitar as a whole system and the structure wood is only a durability issue until you play it. Pickups change character with the wood they are mounted on only with string tension or sound pressure waves but these things are much lower in priority than the others mentioned above for me. I hope you, or anyone else reading, doesn't get offended when I ask for specific details about the part differences between similar guitars. I understand these kind of answers should perhaps not be disclosed on a public board so i left my private message and email open for these more discreet discussions.

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Honestly, I think for the price you are looking at, you would probably be happiest with a Yamaha.

Look for Pacifica, RGX, or SE. And anything 6xx or higher. They have great tone, good workmanship, and the fit/finish of any 9xx or 12xx is as good as any top quality guitar you care to name, including Hamer USA, and you can find even 12xx series Yamahas for under $300 with a little patience.

If you want to try Hamer, I second the Hamer Stellar. The Hamer Slammer Series Centauras and Californians are excellent guitars, too. The SATFs of every generation from Sammer Series to XT can be very, very good.

Al of these guitars come with Duncan Design pickups, so while they sound decent for playing in your basement, they won't have tone that brings tears to your eyes, nor are they ideal for gigging.

Since you have some specific wiring requirements, I think you could be extremely happy with a Slammer Series Centaura if you take it to a local guitar shop for a pickup swap to a professional quality pickup and have them wire it to your specifications at the same time.

Ebay has had a bunch of people trying to trap the unwary and listing import Hamers with USA Hamer prices. They can be good enough to be worth those prices when compared to the overpriced used prices of Fender and Gibson, but the lesson there is that USA Hamers are an even better deal, you just need more money to get there.

So if you want to try an import Hamer, search through Guitar Center with a $300 limit, or through Music Go Round websites with a $300 limit and see what catches your eye. Both chains will take extra pictures for you, and often will even test out the guitar and give you an idea of tuning stability, action, electronics condition, etc, and both will ship for about $50.

Good luck. Report back what you find.

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For what it is worth, I was one who used to insist the gap between USA Hamers and import Hamers was smaller than everyone around here claimed.

Over time, my opinion changed to the point that I no longer desire any import Hamers. They can be very, very good, but even at their best, they lack some of the sheer awesome badassery of the USA Hamers.

But it's cool to fully investigate the imports. You may be like me and eventually learn to appreciate the upgrades of the USA Hamers. Or you may be so satisfied that you never get the itch to try one.

At some point, however, you should come to an HFC gathering to try out a USA Hamer risk-free. You might be pleasantly surprised...

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More to the original questions. The Mirage I pictured above would likely suit your needs/expectations the best. It has a 25.5" scale, rail-style humbuckers and the extra switch is a "blower" switch that sends the output of the bridge pickup straight to the output jack, bypassing all else. I'm sure that the switching could be doctored to your needs pretty easily. The sculpted heel is NIIIZE.

Your second best choice would be a Daytona.

I know that some of the longtime members have scored $350 USA Hamers before, sometimes several/many. I've only managed the feat once, about 10 years ago. It was a beat-to-death P-90 Special that rocks hard as anything. But the $350 USA Hamer has pretty much turned into a running joke.

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Nathan of Brainfertilizer Fame

LOL, love this name and the paranyms that immediately come to mind (ie: sh*t for brains, etc.). Thanks for your very insightful posts. I will have a Slammer by Hamer sp1 in few days to try out so I can comment first hand on playing the lowest grade of the Hamer line. I've had similar experience with Duncan pickups. What is it about them that makes them lose their luster at high volume? Are they designed for low output or is there some electrical characteristic (ie: impedence or stray current) that makes them get ugly at high volumes. I wonder if it's an amp design interactive thing (ie: current vs. voltage drive). Does the whole Duncan line do the same thing at high volume or is it just the consumer grade?

I guess you are suggesting that the Yamaha has the best component parts for the money, is this so? I've seen some of the Yamaha's you mentioned and they remind me of the Ibanez line which is fine but there was something about the Hamer I played in the neck position that was just so big, round and articulate in both single coil and HB mode that I never heard before. The bridge position was interesting too in that it was slightly quacky as a humbucker. I can get a Slammer Strat for $100 but I'd have to mod the heel like I do with all my Strats and ruin the finish. I've been told that these are also great players. How would they compare to the current Squier Classic Vibe Strats? If you could answer in terms of quack, clarity and tone coherency I will be more likely to imagine the sound description.

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