Tiger Eye: The Lefty Takes On Some Color
This guitar calls for a Tiger Eye finish. Tiger Eye is a stained finish and is applied in much the same way as black transparent is. We previously described the process so check out that post if you haven’t yet. We have only been offering stained finishes since 2003. Prior to then we sprayed all of our colors. The addition of stains has opened a new world of color to Hamer.
Tiger Eye is composed from a number of stains that we mix in house.
Gary Pirro has applied much of the first of the three step staining process. Gary joined the Hamer team in May 2002. He’s probably the highest skilled painter that we’ve ever had at Hamer Guitars.
Prior to coming to New Hartford, Gary worked in the technical services department of PPG Industrial where he was responsible for servicing industrial accounts such Harley Davidson and Titleist, companies that really care about their finish quality. Gary serviced five different qualities of paint: UV technologies, electrodeposition, powder coatings, pre-treatment and liquidpiece. We actually got to know Gary through PPG and he was instrumental in setting up Hamer’s custom color matching system.
While Gary’s been painting since he was 16 years old, he’s found a special spot in his heart with guitars. Gary especially enjoys finishing the Talladega: “I like the style of the guitar. I love doing the burst on the figured maple. Working with flamed or quilt maple, I feel that I can control the way that that guitar is going to look. I try to enhance the piece of wood to make it look its best. For me that’s the real challenge.”
Gary has also had fun with some of our more outlandish finishes. One of his favorite projects was Rick Nielsen’s “Pick Guitar” which had black and white checks all around guitar, including the neck, the headstock, sides, back, everywhere. In every checkerboard square Gary used paint transfers to place Rick’s caricatures, just like the picks that Nielsen nightly throws out to the audience.
The Glenn Tipton model was another fun challenge: “I liked the colors. It was beige with beige pearl, a little darker than the actual color, on the bevels of the face of the guitar.”
It’s clear that Gary can masterfully create any number of finishes, from sunbursts to custom graphics to the Tiger Eye on this lefty. They’re very different finishes but are all special in their own way. It’s kind of like the guitars themselves; we’ve built a wide variety of instruments but they all seem to be a part of the tapestry that is Hamer Guitars.
After staining, Gary sprays the first clear coats.
Once the clear coats have been sprayed the guitar will dry and then be ready for the first sanding. We refer to this as leveling because we are sanding the finish flat. Hamers are leveled three times prior to buffing, insuring the flatest of finishes.