HFC II – Hamer Factory Open House

Introducing the HFC Class of ’99

We did it again, On October 15th over 80 HFC’ers from as far away as the left coast made the trip to our “Mecca” the Hamer factory in New Hartford CT. The Day included Tours of both the Hamer and Ovation factories and Ended with a Greg from BCR and endorser Matt Smith leading a Friday evening jam session with Frank R. paying for the beer!!  here’s some sights and insights from HFC II.

Once again I was overwhelmed that the open house went as it did. Baby, We got a thing going on. Everyone involved deserves a big THANK YOU!Jol, Franks U and R, as well as the guys who build our dream machines, you’re the best and show us everyday that this business is still about making the great instruments.

To Kim Keller, We’re lucky to have you. You show the world that there really is a thing called customer service. It could never happen without you.

Resolution #1: Next year I will not fall prey to Peter Fung’s evil plot the night before.

To all my friends, thanks for sharing my love for this special guitar company, then again they make it easy. – Ted Martin

Now with Just the facts, here’s Steve Haynie, who once owned a guitar with a Bird’s eye Maple neck

For those of you who could not make it this year I’ll try to fill you in on what happened.

It seems like there were less of us staying at the hotel than last year, but there were more people attending than last year. The reason there was no breakfast served at the factory this time around is because the local business that catered last year’s great spread burned down and no one wanted to cater the event. Kim and Frank Rindone drove the vans again. Frank Untermyer greeted everyone when we arrived. Like last year, Jol Dantzig and Rick Hall gave the Hamer and Ovation tours. The Ovation factory has moved some things around, but I really wouldn’t have noticed. We went out to the same place for lunch as last year. It was good, just like last year, too.

The biggest difference in the tour this year was the addition of wireless headphones that allowed Jol to speak into a lapel microphone at a normal tone of voice. No matter where you were standing, in front or all the way in the back you could hear every word he said. It allowed us to look around the factory a little more easily without missing any of the spoken information. As the group moved from one area to another and even up the stairs, we could all hear Jol speak and answer questions. Hamer had a big investment in that wireless headphone system and we are the only large tour group they’ve ever had. Thank you, Frank Rindone, for spending Hamer’s money on those wireless headphone sets.

David Cardew, Mike’s son, won the guitar this year– a Vanguard.

The HFC guitar for this year was a reproduction of the original Sunburst– flat front with maple, binding, gold hardware, and the original string-through-body bridge. Frank Rindone said there were nine of them. Korean model prototypes were on hand for us to check out and even purchase. Of course, HFC’ers were encouraged to pick out maple tops for guitars they could order as well as pick out whatever was already in production. The flame maple tops for the Standards are now cut from a billet of wood like the other flame top guitars. It’s very thin, but not the traditional veneer that has been used in the past. Jol seemed proud of that. There were a handful of USA Hamers sold after the tour as well. – Steve Haynie

Ladies and Gentlemen, the Jazz Box  (actually as of this photo it was still un-named)   modeled by the lovely and talented Eric Baird

Just wanted to post that I was extremely impressed with my first visit to see the Hamer/Ovation factory. In no particular order, the people, the quality, the people, the process, the people, the experience, the people – it was truly incredible. How could anybody buy any other brand of guitar after realizing the time and effort that goes into building their product. Finally, the hospitality was unbelievable and very genuine. They went above and beyond the call of duty! Thanks for a great day.  – Craig Latto

Had a blast! Met a lot of the people who used to be just names and words. Seeing the people who devote time to making the guitars made me realize just how good they are, and what a bargain they are compared to other of brands guitars. (Gibson, Fender, blah, blah)

It was a treat to play with such talented people at the Jam. SO MANY GREAT GUITARS. I don’t play out that often anymore, because of having to supervise my EVIL teenage daughter (13 going on 14, God help me). Made my year being accepted by all the other great players.

These people at hamer to do this are way above any other company. From what I saw I think they will continue to build the finest guitars around at a price people can afford.

Thanks to Kim for giving me the chance to buy that great studio. The flame is 3-D on the thing, another Hamer to show around town to convert people with. Greg, what can I say, you aren’t half as bad as what I expected LOL. Great guy.

I finally met the AnDy fellow, the Ebay man himself, Man of few words and many great Hamers. NICE Sunburst (wanna trade) I don’t recall everyone’s name, but if I see you again I will remember who you are.

And the final words are free beer, free beer, free beer Oh yeah orange and yellow chips.

Too Cool
– Gene

Just got back from a very grueling drive but it was well worth it.First THANKS to Jol, Frank U. Frank R. and KIm for having the open House II David is very aware that the Vanguard is his guitar. I have to ask to play it and so it should be it’s his guitar. He’s is very interested now in learning. Thanks for helping him move in that direction. Also Thanks to Angela, Paul Shammel’s wonderful wife. Paul, Angela is a godsend I glad you brought her this year and look forward to next year. The open house and factory tour was great as was lunch But I’ll remember to bring my own Yellow Cheese. You had to be there and at our table. Thanks to Steve Haynie for taking care of the sandwich sorry you didn’t make the jam. All in all I think this year was much better than last. Yes there was a certain magic to going to the factory for the first time, But this year it was like going to see old friends and meet new ones. Also a chance to put faces to other HFCers.  I’m tired and rambling but Thanks to the Folks at Hamer and Kaman for taking up the challenge of holding another Hamer Day and Thanks to all that attended. IT was a blast and if they do it again I’ll be there and hopefully those that didn’t or couldn’t will be also. – Thanks Mike C.

A Newport in the Finish room

Bald psycho Eric again with a Newport that maybe his.

The Open House was a lot of fun.. It was great seeing everyone again and getting to meet new people there too. I am torn between getting a Newport or another Standard right now.. The orange paint on the Newport is awesome and would look very cool on a Standard. The web site photo does not show the Newport guitar the way it really looks. I also saw some regular double cut Hamers with this colour and a Ovation with the same colour but without the metal flakes in it. Hmmm Bigsby or no Bigsby?Paul’s “Vanguard silver” A7 was cool looking even if I don’t like those guitars.

On another note one of the first things Frank U said to us all was about the breakfast thread here.. The Hamer guys seem to read everything we post here so let’s quit the BS and talk about guitars, amps and hell maybe music too..

Thanks for the great time Hamer and Ovation guitars. I will be buying a new Hamer soon because of all this. Now lets see.. I could get this in that colour or…


I’ll second that. I won’t soon forget “Play(ing) That Funky Music” with Paul, Jim, Kim, Rick Hall, (geez, was Frank R up there too?), etc. (Hopefully I can get a copy of one of the pictures Angela took of that to frame and hang on my wall alongside the picture of me holding Hamer #1!!!) The talent present all night was incredible.The tour was awesome and it was great meeting so many of my fellow HFCer’s. Special thanks to Mike C and Archie as well as Serial Steve and Chris M for letting me bum rides… And Set-Up Man – the Girl Scout uniform looked great; you really carried that off well.

Thanks again Jol, Kim, Frank U, Frank R and Rick as well as all the HFCers for an AWESOME time.  – Cary

Major thanks to everyone involved in putting the jam together! It was a crowning end to the  day’s events. And to those who played – Wow! You knocked me out – I have never seen so many great players in one place at one time.

Q: How many HFC Jam guitar players does it take to change a light bulb?

A: We’ll all change it together, thank you.

– paults

Jol, Kim and Ted holding Plaques  (created by Chris Matthes, below)   commemorating Jol, Kim and Rick Nielsen’s induction plaques into the HFC Hall of Fame

Jol holding the Korina special referred to by DaveL


I’ve gotta get me one of these!!! (see picture on left)I was again impressed but not surprised at Hamer’s generosity with the whole affair. One thing that struck me was that the factory looked very busy. I was happy to hear they had a healthy backlog of orders. There were some real interesting pieces in various stages of production (axes for Billy Corigan, Tom Dumont and Rick Nielsen), You would not believe how beautiful the Korina looked in person. It was great meeting all the cool people. The hotel and bar across the street were pretty cool too. Can’t wait till next year!!  – DaveL

One of the things that I’ll remember is that BIG grin on Ted’s face the whole time (and I don’t think it was due entirely to beer). He just looked like a proud papa, and deservedly so.

Thanks again for all you’ve done, Ted. It was great meeting you. – Cary

It was an AWESOME time and I met a lot of GREAT people. Hope to see everyone again next year. My thanks to all.  – Jerry Lacko

That was the coolest jam ever. Kudos to all who loaned gear & set it all up. Greg/BCR your Tech 21’s are pretty cool. Thanks for tolerating my slippery slimy slide playing and to the nice lady who stepped in and did a great vocal – I didn’t get your name. Can’t wait ’till next year!  – REC

Just wanted to say thanks for letting me join the jam on Friday night. I left CT on Saturday and drove straight to a gig where I proceeded to wow the band with my stories of the HFC Open House and the World’s Most Dangerous Jam!!!! There were lots of great players and not too many blues tunes (which is impressive in itself). Kudos to Greg and others who made sure that some of the quieter types had their chance to play. (See Greg, I don’t always laugh at you… just most of the time!) Can’t wait to see Little David play on his Hamer in a couple of years!!! – Amy B.

As always, was great seeing everyone and meeting some new friends as well….. Netta and I had a riot and now she understands that it isn’t just me that’s crazy…… She also wants to learn to play so I can get her a purple Hamer! Thanks to all for a wonderful time! -Billybob

John Bednar with “the original” Hamer guitar

Just wanted to say it was really cool meeting individuals I’ve been communicating by email with for over a year. You’re all super cool & really nice people……Zzzzz… Don’t wanna bore you, but here’s some names >>> Serial Steve, Chris Matthes, Ted & Dan, Peter “Dr. Bitch” Fung, Gene Wallace, Steve Haynie, Mike Cardew, Paults & Wife & Silver Phantom A7, John Bednar, Stonge (Enjoy the chunky neck phantom), Billy Bob & Friend, Jeff… Outt…,  George (NYC) & last but not least >>> BCR/DONUTMAN (Thnx for the great job on the Custom Phantom/Where’s my DR “Zebra” strings for my Duotone ???/I bet you traded the set for case of USA Pee Pee beer)……. DaveL >>> Where were you ???…..

I’m sorry if I forgot any names >>> Lack of sleep & Arab Biological Weapons Test Bird/Mosquito flu…

A BIG thank you to Jon (NYC) & Companion, Ms. “I baked 10 Billion Cookies” De la Rocco (?) & Tommy “I don’t know where we’re going” Williams for letting me follow you to and back from the Hamer/Ovation factory. Sorry that I declined the dinner invite, I had to head back to Brooklyn. Rain check ???…….

Can’t forget to thank all the people at Hamer for the tour & lunch…. Kim, Jol, Frank Rigatoni, All the Hamer/Ovation craftsman and Frank U (Thnx for showing me the coffee machine & the chit chat)…..

I hope to make it again next year & see you all again & hopefully some of you that couldn’t make it this year…

Next year’s jam will probably be seeing an additional (2) Phantom A5’s… NO BLUES PLEASE !!!!!!!!!!!!

Note: MikeC… I’ll be adopting David a few minutes before next year’s guitar draw & I’ll give him back to you once I’ve won whatever Hamer has in store for us… LOL  – AnDy


I brought my video camera and shot some terrific stuff! Sadly, the Zygotes(Serial Steve and his evil twin bro Chris) missed the VERY loud and boisterous rendition of “Surrender”!There was a truck full of talent at the jam, highlights for me were: Kim’s (mostly) excellent bass AND guitar playing(plus some scary facial contortions); Paul Schammel’s stage mannerisms and nearly flawless playing; Stonge’s ability to sprout guitars at will (and rip with all of them); Rindone’s ability to NOT destroy my HFC I Korina Standard (it wouldn’t have far to fall!); Campbell KILLING on slide (you MUST give me that ’79!), Tommy Williams and Holly Ann doing multiple duties; the tolerance of the assembled throng to my inability to find a place to stand still; David Cardew attempting to disrobe Paul’s FABULOUS wife (he failed, as he should); MATT SMITH in general (one of the FINEST musicians on the planet!); THREE 80’s phantoms on stage at once(!) and everyone’s versatility when the lineups and musical styles changed. I was fortunate enough to play with most of the attendees and I LOVED IT!  To those of you who missed it, you are at a loss. Hopefully next year will find more of us together!  – BCR/Greg

Serial Steve with the box that holds the stamps he lives for.

Although Chris and I had to bail early, I kept finding it harder and harder to peel myself away from that place to finally leave (I think that Eric can attest to that!). Sorry we missed the CT jam- that’s one I can handle! Seriously, it was great to see lots of spirited playing and next year, I’m staying over so I can be there for the whole time. Of course, by then, Cary, Eric and I will be able to do a rousing Ramones/Pistols medley (the entire Ramones catalog should take about as long as “Crossroads”). It was really great to see everyone playing those beautiful Hamers. Paul S, not only had a hot guitar up there, but he demonstrated that he is the ultimate showman. Hey Paul, anything you CAN’T do?! Greg burned on “Oh Well” and Tommy Williams was great and… Needless to say, I can’t wait to see the video!  – Serial Steve

Ted Martin
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