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Hamer now owned by Washburn....


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These are production guitars from New Hartford that got stopped in mid process, and have been hanging around in limbo for a quite a few years.  They have the original tape and notes on the neck about 

The Arlington Heights shop was constantly trading staff with Washburn.  Mike worked for us and Yuri was at Washburn. I wonder if any of the old Hamer staff is still there?  

Hamers being made in Indonesia is bad enough, but Washburn?!

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20 hours ago, polara said:

That's nice. I wish them the best. Makes me wonder what is a guitar brand. Is it the people? Well, no one who was making Fewnders in 1954 is still doing it, and Leo left in the 60s. Dennis left Fano (and they were even built by Grover Jackson for a while) to form Novo, but Fanos are still good. I happen to own a Dennis-built one but the newere ones are cool, too.

Is it the designs? Is it the philosophy? The logo? The target market? I don't mean it in a negative way, but what do we collectively think a Hamer is?

This raises some really good points. Bringing guitar discussion to a whole new philosophical level. :) 

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19 hours ago, polara said:

That's nice. I wish them the best. Makes me wonder what is a guitar brand. Is it the people? Well, no one who was making Fewnders in 1954 is still doing it, and Leo left in the 60s. Dennis left Fano (and they were even built by Grover Jackson for a while) to form Novo, but Fanos are still good. I happen to own a Dennis-built one but the newere ones are cool, too.

Is it the designs? Is it the philosophy? The logo? The target market? I don't mean it in a negative way, but what do we collectively think a Hamer is?

This is another of my "Coming from the Brass Instrument side of things" posts, as in the end it's the name, and the DESIGNS. This can also go over into the design philosphy. Posting on the Hamer Facebook group, one can see that there are many people who over the years worked in the shops in various capacities. That means there are plenty of people who have some knowledge of how the shops were run.  Also, I don't really believe in some secret magical techniques that have been lost to the ages.

There was/is a company called Greenhoe Trombones, and their FIRST horns were not their own designs. Many trombones have a valve on the bell section, which lowers the key of the instrument from Bb to F, allowing some additional notes and also some shortcuts. Gary Greenhoe designed a freer blowing valve, as well as engineered tubing for it. What he did was then purchase the parts to make trombones from two legendary makers, C.G. Conn and Vincent Bach Corp, which now are the same company after merging their parent companies under the steinway name.

His company would then assemble the trombones in a stress free manner with top level craftsmanship, basically resulting in the ULTIMATE examples of these legendary horns. Many professionals used them.

So, if they can get a good CNC program / Scan of the bodies and other components, there is no reason they could not make a good Hamer Special, Studio, etc, if they have the same level of craftsmanship and working philosophy.

Will it be a "REAL" Hamer?  Is any Gibson a REAL Gibson, being the Orville Gibson has been long dead and never made any electric guitars?

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This looks to me, if it pans out, like the Hamer name will be treading the path of other guitar brands we know of and even discuss here.  It will give the guitar geek in us a lot more to talk about, a la:

Was it made in California, or Texas, or Asia?  Was it made in Japan, or in a New York shop out of Japanese parts?  Was it made before he sold the shop, or after?  Is it a California made one, or Mexico, or crafted in Japan, or Korea, or China, or Indonesia, or Viet Nam?  Michigan, or Tennessee?  Nashville or Memphis?

Regardless, these guitars won't be THOSE guitars, whether we're talking about the Illinois guitars or the Connecticut ones (see, it's already part of the Hamer story).  Different people, different places, different wood supplies.  They may be fine guitars, but they will be different.  We can't get in our time machine and put in our custom order (and maybe be told "No") or even just buy the one we wish we would have bought.  It's just a launch of another line of guitars, but maybe one with some familiar features.

Edited by mrjamiam
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9 hours ago, gorch said:

At last year’s GuitarSummit trade fair in Mannheim I spoke to the guy displaying the new Indonesian Hamers. He appeared to be a long time Hamer sales guy and said like Hamer would have been a dead brand for about 10 years. So, most people wouldn’t know them any more except for some older guys. He also mentioned that he would like to bring back a USA custom shop again if the numbers were right. Maybe he had achieved this. 
 

It would certainly be great if the brand would return to life. I bet the quality would be great and the guitars would play great too. Our own @Montelovesco is a Washburn fan. As I know him, he doesn’t buy crap. Question is, would we see the late period luxury or the 90s best buy for the bug without hameritis? Would they accept custom orders?

Thanks for the compliment, @gorch! I had indeed a few Washies over the years, most of the with help of some good souls from here. As for build quality they were not on par with the Hamers, but very, very well done. Nothing to complain about. As for playability the Hamers are far ahead (but remember, I am no shredder, so I can’t say anything about these models).

So I surely speak in favor of Washburn, but only for the US build Custom Shop line. Great guitars. 
 

Do I trust them to rebuild the Hamers or bring the brand back to glory? Sorry - my name IS Daniel, but other than the guy in bible I am no prophet...
 

But the Wonderbar sucks. 

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One way to look at this scenario:

For those seeking the ultimate expression of a custom-built instrument a la New Hartford-era Hamer USA:  Shishkov Guitars provides a different and narrower array of designs, but offers the finest quality in materials and construction along with an attention to detail that only a small-shop luthier can render.

For those seeking Hamer USA designs built in America and at a 2021 price point aligned more closely with what we recall from the Arlington Heights-era Hamer USA:  perhaps Washburn USA will meet that demand.

 

If that's the way it plays out, then it's a good thing IMHO.

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Just a thought: maybe they would want to buy that 1991 Hamer Archtop Custom prototype that one guy keeps saying he has.

Also this all comes down to what makes a Hamer a Hamer.  If they have several original employees, is that enough to make it Hamer? What if they decided to enlist Jol as a consultant to get things right?

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Return to the "Glory Days?" I don't see how.

There are some 50k USA Hamers out in the wild. Those of us that have been around a while have had a chance to try out pretty much as many as we wanted. Speaking for myself (and certainly some others) we are getting older, have (probably) more instruments than we need already, and have a certain level of expectations if we are to acquire more, esp at "new" prices.

What would be the goal, other than to sell enough to be worthwhile (profitable)? Toward the end, Hamer was building at as high a quality level as ever (IMO). There was an effort to go more "upscale" to (arguably) compete with "boutique" instruments. But to change the image from a quality mid price level brand to one with list prices over $4k (for guitars that were not too different than they were when offered for half that), and in some cases much more than $4k, at a time when the economy was falling was just not going to work. as evidenced by the huge discounts when Willcutts blew out the large inventory. And with so many great condition used ones selling for not a lot over $1k.....

So, do they go for VOLUME? Sell for under $2k? If so, what compromises will be made to ramp up production? Partial overseas production with a "USA" finish/assembly?

Make another push for "custom" instruments with the highest level of materials and quality control? Can they do it for less than $4k? Will they be perceived as a good value by the masses that do not know what a "Hammer" is and  see so many cheaper Hamer imports, not to mention the used market? Sell direct to avoid middleman costs? That is a big ask.....

If nothing else, look at the various lines offered by PRS, arguably hitting most all price points. Certain things like "Wood Library" are small runs (of otherwise established models, with tweaks) with very high quality and street prices well under $4k. Never mind the Private Stocks that go for twice that...Or more.

Dantzig? 'Nuff said......

Hard to see the latter with all the current oversupply on the higher end. Speaking for myself, as someone that has owned around 100 Hamers over the years, and ONE custom order Shioshkov, I know which way I would go.....

Good luck to them. Never say never, but i cannot see myself buying in.

Edited by django49
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I think Django's making the exact point I was making. For every mature player who takes no pause at spending $4k and up on a custom instrument hand-built by a luthier or small team, there are literally dozens (if not hundreds) of other players who will opt for a lower price point and accept the compromises that go with that choice.   A buyer who is shopping Wood Library PRS, Knaggs, Huber, etc., is not going to be interested in anything coming out Washburn USA.

PRS is a good example of how to "feel out" the market and develop lines that hit the various consumer expectation/price points. If the rebooted Hamer USA becomes the PRS S2/Core version of our beloved brand, then I think it stands a chance to succeed.  If they try to replicate the salad days of New Hartford, then I'm not sure how that would ever succeed. 

Edited by Biz Prof
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6 minutes ago, django49 said:

Return to the "Glory Days?" I don't see how.

There are some 50k USA Hamers out in the wild. Those of us that have been around a while have had a chance to try out pretty much as many as we wanted. Speaking for myself (and certainly some others) we are getting older, have (probably) more instruments than we need already, and have a certain level of expectations if we are to acquire more, esp at "new" prices.

What would be the goal, other than to sell enough to be worthwhile (profitable)? Toward the end, Hamer was building at as high a quality level as ever (IMO). There was an effort to go more "upscale" to (arguably) compete with "boutique" instruments. But to change the image from a quality mid price level brand to one with list prices over $4k (for guitars that were not too different than they were when offered for half that), and in some cases much more than $4k, at a time when the economy was falling was just not going to work. as evidenced by the huge discounts when Willcutts blew out the large inventory. And with so many great condition used ones selling for not a lot over $1k.....

So, do they go for VOLUME? Sell for under $2k? If so, what compromises will be made to ramp up production? Partial overseas production with a "USA" finish/assembly?

Make another push for "custom" instruments with the highest level of materials and quality control? Can they do it for less than $4k? Will they be perceived as a good value by the masses that do not know what a "Hammer" is and  see so many cheaper Hamer imports, not to mention the used market? Sell direct to avoid middleman costs? That is a big ask.....

If nothing else, look at the various lines offered by PRS, arguably hitting most all price points. Certain things like "Wood Library" are small runs (of otherwise established models, with tweaks) with very high quality and street prices well under $4k. Never mind the Private Stocks that go for twice that...Or more.

Dantzig? 'Nuff said......

Hard to see the latter with all the current oversupply on the higher end. Speaking for myself, as someone that has owned around 100 Hamers over the years, and ONE custom order Shioshkov, I know which way I would go.....

Good luck to them. Never say never, but i cannot see myself buying in.

I think there's a chance they could find their unique selling proposition from

a) What did Hamer have design-wise that's unusual? plus

b) USA made at a decent price point like the new Harmony guitars

So cheap USA semihollow archtops in about four basic colors and with sexy pickups like Lollars would be my choice if they hired me as CMO. But I wouldn't take the job: terrible margins on making American guitars.

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As far as things being destroyed.......I can tell you with absolute certainty that I am in possession of the original CAD CAM files from Arlington Heights and the stuff I did in New Hartford.   It’s not everything but it’s the bulk of the catalog since the 90s.

Last year I offered the files up free of charge to someone that was hinting at a comeback.  I was told the files weren’t necessary and that everyone and their brother had them. 

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5 hours ago, ptm1diver said:

👀

If you want the answers to all your questions, you will have to go to the Gear Page.    
 

😏

As a long time TGP member I resemble this remark! Though on TGP was spell it the "correct" way, Hammer. I mean, get a clue guys...  😉

I haven't seen this mentioned over there are all, pretty small Hamer collective there, along with experts on every subject under the sun of course.

Edited by Drew816
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2 hours ago, mirrorimij said:

Last year I offered the files up free of charge to someone that was hinting at a comeback.  I was told the files weren’t necessary and that everyone and their brother had them. 

Yeah, and now with all the laser scanning stuff, making new ones isn't super hard.

Again, going back to the trombone/brass world, there were many famous mouthpiece makers, and also many famous one offs that were legendary. The Bass Trombonist of the LA Phil went to one of the best horn customizers in the area, and was looking for a new mouthpiece. He had some standard ones he made, and there was some experiment on the shelf.

Well, Jeff Reynolds tried that experimental piece, loved it, and bought it. And now you too can buy a nearly exact replica thanks to CNC scanning.

Though, just having that doesn't make it a great mouthpiece. It's the hand polishing, finishing, and plating that make it a great mouthpiece.

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18 minutes ago, cynic said:

I'd like an all mahogany HH single cut with Tally Pro control layout, Tally neck, and sustain block bridge please.

You’re speaking my language...

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35 minutes ago, Travis said:

You’re speaking SHISHKOV language...

FIFY

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53 minutes ago, Jakeboy said:

FIFY

I’ve got a single cut on order with mike. I’m sure it’s going to be flat out amazing. But, if I’m being totally honest; none of the 3 SC variations tickle my fancy as much as the Talladega does. At least in pics, could be different once I see it in person and hold it next to my Tally. 
 

Altho, the more I look at a series 2 carved top, the more that’s growing on me...

Edited by Travis
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The Tally surely does look awesome....I have never seen one for real up close, but I am certain I would love it.

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8 hours ago, Biz Prof said:

I think Django's making the exact point I was making. For every mature player who takes no pause at spending $4k and up on a custom instrument hand-built by a luthier or small team, there are literally dozens (if not hundreds) of other players who will opt for a lower price point and accept the compromises that go with that choice.   A buyer who is shopping Wood Library PRS, Knaggs, Huber, etc., is not going to be interested in anything coming out Washburn USA.

PRS is a good example of how to "feel out" the market and develop lines that hit the various consumer expectation/price points. If the rebooted Hamer USA becomes the PRS S2/Core version of our beloved brand, then I think it stands a chance to succeed.  If they try to replicate the salad days of New Hartford, then I'm not sure how that would ever succeed. 

I’m that 2k market all day long. Plenty of fantastic SGs, sig/RI Fenders, and others in the sub-2k market. No reason a proper Hamer couldn’t be built for that. 

I got a WTB for a beater because that would be a cash purchase, but if I could put a new one for 0% on my Sweetwater card? In a heartbeat. 

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2 hours ago, cynic said:

I'd like an all mahogany HH single cut with Tally Pro control layout, Tally neck, and sustain block bridge please.

I’ve heard rumors of an all mahogany Talladega one-off being built by Hamer. I’ve yet to see a picture of it, tho. I’m thinking I would really like it...

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