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cynic

70s and 80s Hamers with Brazilian Rosewood

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Posted (edited)

It's mentioned by members here enough that their 70s/80s Sunburst, Specials, etc. have Brazilian rosewood boards, as if it was all that Hamer was using at the time.  If I remember the story correctly, we have/had a Euro-member here that had a local shop that "certified" pretty much any Hamer he brought in to them as having Brazilian rosewood fingerboards.  I know Martin stopped using it in production guitars in the late 60s, and I believe it was the same time frame for Gibson and even earlier for Fender.  Why is it that tribal knowledge wants us to believe Hamer used it in even their least expensive production guitars well into the 80s?

Yes Django, we all know you've had numerous Hamers and god-only-knows what else with solid Brazilian doomaflotchees, but my question is specific to the earlier days when they weren't building limited edition white-collar runs.

 

Edited by cynic
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22 minutes ago, Studio Custom said:

My source of information on this subject was Jol and Jim Allen.  I remember when they started using Pao Ferro and we were all up in arms around here.  

https://www.guitarplayer.com/miscellaneous/hamer-newport

 

So a one off NAMM guitar had a Brazilian board.  Got it.

Anyone else.......please?

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There are always exceptions, but 70s and 80s (and probably 90s too) use Indian Rosewood. Not much Brazilian left by then.

I think later, in the noughties, some historical Brazilian Rosewood became available. But still very much on a minority of guitars.

 

 

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2 hours ago, Studio Custom said:

My source of information on this subject was Jol and Jim Allen.  I remember when they started using Pao Ferro and we were all up in arms around here.  

https://www.guitarplayer.com/miscellaneous/hamer-newport

 

 

2 hours ago, Hbom said:

"The 2006 version also has a mahogany control cavity on the back. " Damn! That would sure be handy.

 

2 hours ago, cynic said:

So a one off NAMM guitar had a Brazilian board.  Got it.

Anyone else.......please?

I do believe this is the guitar mentioned in the article:

 

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I just became the handler of a braz board piece. I guess since its only on high end guitars it will always sound good but dayum this strat copy w braz is the shit

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In the '70s and early '80s, for the most part, Rosewood was Rosewood.  The Brazilian Rosewood fingerboard mystique was not all that widespread, like it has been over the last 25-30 years.  There's a certain amount of revisionist history everywhere, I guess...

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Posted (edited)

I was taught that "pore density" was the best way to identify Brazilian vs. Indian rosewood.  A bound board doesn't lend itself to that inspection because the end grain is covered.  I find that more uniform grain is most always Indian.  Brazilian is less uniform.  Brazilian is darker, for the most part.  And Brazilian will have darker grain lines.  Purple hues are most often indicative of Indian rosewood.  The "rose" characteristic is the smell of the milled wood.  Brazilian boards are, only in very rare cases, rose colored.

That being said, can I be fooled?  Of course.  But I'm willing to bet you my '78 is Brazilian...

EvhEn2Y.jpg

My Black '79 is not...

5bO9Aa2.jpg

Edited by The Shark
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1 hour ago, The Shark said:

I was taught that "pore density" was the best way to identify Brazilian vs. Indian rosewood.  A bound board doesn't lend itself to that inspection because the end grain is covered.  I find that more uniform grain is most always Indian.  Brazilian is less uniform.  Brazilian is darker, for the most part.  And Brazilian will have darker grain lines.  Purple hues are most often indicative of Indian rosewood.  The "rose" characteristic is the smell of the milled wood.  Brazilian boards are, only in very rare cases, rose colored.

That being said, can I be fooled?  Of course.  But I'm willing to bet you my '78 is Brazilian...

EvhEn2Y.jpg

My Black '79 is not...

5bO9Aa2.jpg

 

Braz or not, these are damn fine guitars brother! 😍

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My '89 PRS Custom IS Brazilian, but it's not as dark as some others I've seen and I've seen some that are much lighter or more rosy/orange streaked.  Like all wood, there are a ton of variations - every tree is different, and some pieces cut from the same tree will look different.  

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I owned an early '90s Sunburst Archtop Custom with a Floyd Rose  and a 3-piece maple neck between 1991-1993 and I'm pretty sure that it had a Brazillian rosewood fingerboard, it was darker and just had a different look to what I'd later know to be Indian rosewood.  Back then I didn't know there was any difference, I just thought 'rosewood was rosewood' and that each piece would vary in appearance as it comes from trees which will all differ slightly.  Before having the Sunburst I'd also owned 2 different Gibson ES335s from the 1980s that had Rosewood fingerboards and I remember their fingerboards looking quite different to what was on the Sunburst.   Perhaps Hamer stopped using Brazillian Rosewood as a standard thing in the '80s  and used it on custom orders and some limited runs thereafter .  I'm pretty sure there aren't many of those Floyd Rose equipped Sunburst models around.  I sold my Sunburst very grudgingly as I was at college at the time and I needed a computer to learn to use Cubase on and the money from the sale of the Sunburst provided me with enough money to buy the computer, a 'hi-res' mono monitor for it and a 1987 (I think) Chaparral standard that had a Pau Ferro fingerboard, that was bloody brilliant  Must say I have no issues with Pau Ferro, but am glad that the stupid CITES regulations are being changed to allow for the freedom of movement and the use of Rosewood species in the manufacture of instruments again.

As far as an electric guitar having an East indian Rosewood or a Brazillian Rosewood fingerboard goes I'd bet the difference is inaudible - obviously the same couldn't be said for an acoustic guitar whose back & sides sides are constructed using the 2 different Dalbergia sub species.

I know I've gone off topic a bit for which I apologise but If anyone's interested this you Tube clip shows a comparison of identical model strats, one with a Rosewood & one with a Pau Ferro fingerboard,  the 2 people in the video are a bit annoying but they do a blind comparison which starts at 24:40, with an interesting result:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w9lX2g5l0zc

 

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I'm pretty sure ALL Hamers are made with Brazillion rosewood boards. Here's mine; a T-51 with a very rare "blond" Brazillion fretboard. This wood came from a rare Brazillion rosewood tree that was raised from a sapling by monks who fertilized it with unicorn poop, which gives it its rare blond appearance. I even have a certificate of authenticity, though I had to draw it myself on a napkin, but I did sign it to make it official in case anyone wants to pay me thousands for this rare gem. 

image.jpg

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4 hours ago, FGJ said:

I'm pretty sure ALL Hamers are made with Brazillion rosewood boards. Here's mine; a T-51 with a very rare "blond" Brazillion fretboard. This wood came from a rare Brazillion rosewood tree that was raised from a sapling by monks who fertilized it with unicorn poop, which gives it its rare blond appearance. I even have a certificate of authenticity, though I had to draw it myself on a napkin, but I did sign it to make it official in case anyone wants to pay me thousands for this rare gem. 

image.jpg

Looks like a real versatile ax. I’ll bet you can even make it sound like maple if you wanted!

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I'm pretty sure that all of the limited edition Korina Vectors & Standards had Brazilian rosewood also pretty much every Artist model I've seen has Brazilian fretboard

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Posted (edited)

                                                                      I have had many guitars through the years with rosewood fingerboards including some with real Brazilian Rosewood.Of the 2 Hamer Sunbursts I owned both from 1979, I'm certain neither one of those guitars had it. Of the guitars that I did own that had  BRAZ boards I could hear no difference  compared to any of the others  that didn't. Its certainly a incredible upcharge  on a guitar these days.

Edited by ARM OF HAMER

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A friend has a 79 Sunburst it's definitely indian rosewood.  I used to own a Earthen Maple Studio custom with a braz board that had bright red streaks in it. It was stump wood it was interesting to look at but not pretty - if that makes sense.  Tonally, that guitar didn't work for me at all. Braz hype for sure I never cared for solid braz neck PRSi but I own a wildwood MB strat which is one of the greatest stratocasters I've ever played or heard. But I'm giving more credit to Todd Krause than the laminated fingerboard. Who knows, YMMV.

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No matter what we say here, it won't matter nearly as much as it did to people who play dreadnought acoustic guitars, which traditionally had rosewood back and sides, as well as fretboards. That's a whole lot more real estate and function than just a fretboard will ever be.

Also the bridges could be rosewood as well.  Nothing quite looks like a brazilian rosewood acoustic back with herringbone inlay.

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I’ve only had two basses and one guitar with rosewood boards and I don’t care what type they were.

i just liked them.

Edited by HSB0531
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