Back in Black

From the onset Hamer has listened to guitarists’ input regarding our instruments. We have always recognized that our team does not stop at the shop door. Rather, musicians, music dealers, distributors, the music press and many others are a part of what comprises Hamer Guitars.

Years ago, when we were still working out of our Arlington Heights, Illinois shop, our Japanese distributor came to us with a request that appeared to be an oxymoron.  They asked us for a guitar in black transparent. This request pre-dated other guitar manufacturers offering such a color. As many of you may be aware, rather than staining the wood, Hamer normally sprays color over clear coats of lacquer. We feel that this results in a cleaner finish.

Though we tried mightily, we could not thin out the black sufficiently so that we could spray a true black transparent over a figured maple top. As a result, we decided to start experimenting with stains. However we did not like the “dirty” look that resulted from staining maple. We continued to work on it, until we finally developed a three-step staining process whereby we stain the wood, sand it down, stain it again with a diluted stain, sand it with a finer grit, stain it a third time and finish with steel wool. We then spray clear coats over the stained top.

It’s an incredibly labor intensive process but we’ve found that it results is a black transparent that we can be proud of. We previously featured a Standard 12-String Bass sporting a black transparent finish. This Artist may be somewhat less over the top but it’s a great example of our execution of this black transparent on a 6-String. 

An ebony headstock face with a genuine mother of pearl hand inlaid logo beautifully compliments a black transparent finish.

Hamer guitars have always been hand buffed and polished. Here Todd is buffing out the back of this Artist Custom.

A lot of guitar companies these days claim that their guitars are made by musicians for musicians. We mean it. Many of our luthiers are also players.

We shield our electronics cavities with a nickel based paint and hand wire all Hamers. If you have been following Hamer for some time, you’re probably aware that we use oxygen free copper wire when wiring our electronics. We feel that the interior of the guitar should display the same level of craftsmanship as the exterior. You can see the plexiglass shield that we place over the back of the guitar when soldering so that no harm can come to the guitar itself. After we are done wiring the guitar, the electronics cavity is covered with an anodized aluminum backplate.

Chris in the set up room, readying to put the Artist through its paces. Prior to an extensive play test, we cut the nut, measure the string action and check the truss rod one last time.

The end result is stunning. We’re still happy that we got that original request for transparent black.

3 Responses to “Back in Black”

  1. My favorite Hamer finish. Cheers y’all.

  2. man, that guitar is KILLER !!!

  3. Jim Falco Says:

    I love Black Transparent.
    And I’d like to add that I am the very proud owner of the “Over the Top Standard 12 Bass” you mentioned earlier.
    After 3 months of playing it I am still amazed at the level of quality in every little detail.
    Whoever selected and chevroned that top is brilliant.
    Gary did an incredible job at, what I think is the ultimate Black Trans. finish anyone has ever done.
    Dave Brown did an absolute flawless build.
    Todd is the best there is when it comes to getting a glasslike finish.
    The sides and back are piano black, and there isn’t a ripple anywhere on the neck, top, peghead, or body.
    I hope I didn’t miss anyone here.
    All I can say is thank you guys. I waited a very long time to order this bass, and I’m glad I did (the right crew at just the right time).
    Hamer USA has the best team of craftsmen in the industry…period!
    No-one even comes close.

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