Ain’t That A Shame

Many of you may have heard about this summer’s Blues Fest in Ottawa where a violent storm erupted causing the collapse of the stage. Cheap Trick was playing at the time, barely escaping injury. The police cordoned off the area, treating it as a crime scene.

While the band was safe, the same cannot be said for the gear. That’s why we ended up with some of Rick’s guitars in need of TLC.

While the Hamer 5-Necks are known throughout the world, perhaps the most iconic of Rick’s Hamers is the Checkerboard Standard with bow tie inlays and that curious truss rod cover. Rick has always had a thing for the checkerboard design. When he first approached us in 1978 to build this guitar we knew it would be a daunting task. Naturally we took it on. At the time, the idea of a checkerboard guitar was a compelte novelty. Actually, it still is.

 Many of you have seen Cheap Trick in concert where Rick regularly changes guitars during the set. The checkerboard Standard was featured on the cover of Dream Police. This guitar is featured on stage when Dream Police is played.

The constant touring has taken the toll on this guitar. The weather in Ottawa compounded problems, resulting in the peghead splitting. We’ve since repaired the headstock and replaced all of the electronics (save the pickups). You’ll be seeing this most road tested guitar back in action in short order.

An iconic instrument.

We’ve done a number of Beatles themed guitars over the years. The Sgt. Peppers guitar was perhaps the most dramatic interpretation on the theme. Luckily, this guitar did not suffer extensive damage. It probably got the most exposure during Cheap Trick’s Sgt. Pepper’s run at the Paris Resort in Vegas. We were able to get it back on the road in time for the band’s Dream Police shows in Milwaukee.

We all know what song this guitar is featured on. The rain really took its toll on the Gonna Raise Hell Standard. The finish is flaking off of the back of the neck. We’re reapplying the original finish and coating over it to retain its original look. It’s a major project.

Uncle Dick is also back in the shop. This guitar was to be a caricature of Rick Nielsen (isn’t Rick Neilsen already a caricature of Rick Nielsen?). We built it to accept interchangeable heads but only got so far as completing Bun E. Carlos.

These guitars have traveled around the world and are still working hard. We think that it’s time for them to have some company. More on that later.

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13 Responses to “Ain’t That A Shame”

  1. Very cool to see those “workhorses” getting some TLC. Looking forward to seeing those back on the road soon.

    • Great story! I was wondering about these icons and their condition when I had heard the news. My own Hamer Standard Custom is the best guitar I have ever owned and I can’t say enough about my love for it! :)

  2. Disturber Says:

    Make sure you make a helmet for Uncle Dick while you’re at it.
    Great work! Thrilled to see these icons again.

  3. Daddy Doo-Lap Says:

    Cool stuff!

  4. Actually all the band member heads were made. You can even see Robins head on the guitar in the I can’t Take It Video. I used to schlep that stuff around in Rockford, starting in 1985 – 1990 and I recall playing will all the Uncle’s! Jon Brant, Robin, Bun E and Rick. They fit into the guitar with a metal doll pin that pushed into a plastic or ceramic hole on the top of the guitar. Quite cool!

  5. Correction, it is Bun E’s head on the guitar in the I Can’t Take It Video. Silly memory. Did you get the Beatles Day Tripper guitar too?

  6. Correction, it is Bun E’s head on the guitar in the Video and it was Robin holding the guitar. Silly memory. Did you get the Beatles Day Tripper guitar too?

  7. Best of luck with the Gonna Raise Hell Standard. It’s my personal favorite of the bunch and I’m sure it’s been through hell by now.

  8. Bobby Marshall Says:

    It’s amazing that the band is okay. Great that Mr. Nielsen sticks with Hamer. Can’t wait for the follow up on this story.

  9. pachyderm Says:

    well done. get those noggins finished for uncle dick…

  10. [...] Ain’t That A Shame (Hamer Workshop) – awesome look at Rick’s guitars! [...]

  11. Very cool look at Rick’s axes! What a treat to see these beauties close up — take good care of ‘em! (we know you will, duh)

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