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PCollen

Non-USA Hamer Guitars: OK, or Avoid

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Just wondering how good (or bad) the offshore Hamer guitars are these days. How do they compare, one way or the other, with Epiphone, Fender Mexico and Squire, etc.

Also, I saw a player using a Les Paul copy with the brand of Prestige. Anyone ever heard of Prestige gutars ?

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When you score a USA Hamer for $500 used, why anyone would buy an import and start improving it makes no financial sense IMO.

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First you need $500 - then you have to find a USA for $500.. for that, there is MUCH competition.. if you see one, don't tell anyone and grab it.

If you are patient, you can get a Korean Hamer for $100-$200.. maybe up to $300 if you lose patience.. good, solid guitars, some of which are great; with pups you probably want to replace. If you have quality parts laying around, it's not a big stretch to get you to through a gig. I have a Slammer Series Eclipse and it makes complete financial sense to me - in fact, it is one of my favorites. Koreans actually listed for $500 - $800 in 1997. I know nothing of 'Prestige'.

Rawk it!

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Prestige is a Canadian based company, in British Columbia. There guitars are all made in Korea. You can find a Hamer Special or even possibly a Studio for less than a Prestige.

I don't know if it's that easy to find a $500 special these days. If you find one though...HUGE bang for the buck and just all around awesome.

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Tradition Guitars make darn fine instruments if you're looking for quality Korean made guitars! Made at the Samick factory for Tradition Guitars; Boutique guitars at factory prices! They start around $400 and are worth every cent (I have a few models for sale in the UK but not for the US market)...

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When you score a USA Hamer for $500 used, why anyone would buy an import and start improving it makes no financial sense IMO.

Thank you, SC. But I think that "When you score...", above, would be better if replaced by "If you can score...". And, of course, the $500 USA Hamer would have to be the model (shape/style) that you want and not just any old Hamer. For instance, I wouldn't even consider some of the Hamer USA guitars, just to have a Hamer USA.

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When you score a USA Hamer for $500 used, why anyone would buy an import and start improving it makes no financial sense IMO.

For instance, I wouldn't even consider some of the Hamer USA guitars, just to have a Hamer USA.

That makes sense. What model are you looking for? There are some imports without a US analogue.

That said, every USA model is going to be better than it's import counterpart.

There is still plenty of love for the imports, some makes and models and production periods better than others, but the general consensus is that they are still very nice guitars.

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While hard to say about EVERY available option, Korean made guitars are often very good. In GENERAL, the more recent ones are better than the old (IMO). Generally, the weak links are in the pickups and, sometimes, the hardware.

While not a Hamer, I stumbled onto a Korean made PRS (SE) yesterday.....Bernie Marsden model ("Les Paul"). HEAVY----Feels like a Les Paul! Was upgraded with Grover tuners, a better bridge, two Duncan P-Rails, with 2 mini-3 ways installed between the knobs to allow each pickup to get the sound of a rail, P90 or humbucker. Great condition with few signs of play. For under 4 bills, a very good value.

I would not rank it anywhere near certain Hamer, PRS or other higher end models in total, but it might be 80% of the guitar they are......$400 vs $2k to $6k is a VERY big difference.

I could have used it at our "gig" last weekend and had all I needed.

Unfortunately, there were multiple "generations" of imported Hamers and some were not all that great. But I would not shy away from playing some and seeing if they give you what you are looking for.

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There was a series called Slammer by Hamer. If you can avoid that. Anything else Hamer is great bang for the bug. When it says Made in China on the back of the headstock look twice. Some say those had issues. Anything Korean or Indonesian is perfect. Great quality, a little less fancy than the USA and with budget components.

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Hamer 'SLAMMER SERIES' = I had one... a Diablo made at the Cort factory in Korea in 1992. I bought it brand new in the UK in 1996 for £400.00 ($600.00). It had Duncan Designed HB103's (a copy of the SD6). I swapped 'em out for EMG's and I swapped the licensed FR for a Gotoh. Excellent guitar! The earlier Korean imports are some of the best import Hamers made IMO. Those SLAMMER SERIES and the Deluxe Cali's from the early 2000's are great...

Before mods:

01Original.jpg

After: Pink paint-job (but before the EMG's). FR cavity filled = Gotoh top-mounted.

SLAMMER SERIES on headstock painted over:

Diablo.jpg

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There was a series called Slammer by Hamer. If you can avoid that. Anything else Hamer is great bang for the buck. When it says Made in China on the back of the headstock look twice. Some say those had issues. Anything Korean or Indonesian is perfect. Great quality, a little less fancy than the USA and with budget components.

+1

Gorch says it all with avoid the Slammer by Hamer series! Koeran made Hamers are very nice guitars. I have more imports than USA models as they are a bargain. Some have upgraded pickups, some don't and I'm happy with all of them. Two made in Indonesia and they are very nice also. I would not shy away from the imports. That being said the USA Hamer guitars are special.

I wish someone would fill me in on where the $500 USA Hamers are being offered for sale. Other than USA Diablo's I have not encountered any for that price. Good Luck with your research.

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BUT, and don't get confused by this, Hamer Slammer Series on Headstock = Generally good stuff

Slammer by Hamer = Not so good and beginner entry level at best stuff. Usually says made in Indonesia on them.

Then there is the Hamer XT line made in China and IIRC, some in Indonesia. As above look those over good. All priced accordingly too. Some of the XT stuff is "nice for an import" including a "Korina" Standard with real USA Duncans stock and good tuners. Not sure it is Limba through and through or a laminate on those over Alder or Basswood.

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The ones I've tried seem perfectly good.

My definition of a Hamer is a guitar that's the vision of Jol and Paul and Frank and the team, executed by top builders in the US who cared about what they did.

Putting a Hamer logo on another guitar doesn't make it a Hamer. It could say Cort or Samick just as easily. Or PRS SE or Epiphone or Washburn. Might be a heck of a guitar, good price, fine player and totally right. But when I've bought imports (and this ain't an anti-import thing) I don't really give a rat's ass about the name on the headstock since it's a handful of factories producing them for the US labels.

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Before I owned a USA-made Standard, I tried an used import at a local GC. It was the deadest, lousy-playing POS! However, many USA Gibsons are too, so my advice with guitars is to play it before you buy it. If you like it, what difference does it make where it came from?

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... Not sure it is Limba through and through or a laminate on those over Alder or Basswood.

Laminate over maple as far as I know. Also has a maple neck. Very upper midrange I'd say. You won't find anything better from the major labels in the 600-800 price range.

Harder to find on the used market. For a good reason I think.

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