Archive for Guitar Forum

Sledgehammer

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on April 20, 2011 by hamerblog

Sometimes the biggest things come in the smallest packages.  That’s certainly the case with the Impact Bass.  Hamer started working with Kip Winger in 1989, creating the Impact Bass in collaboration with him. With such a small body style, the working name during the development phase was the “Compact Bass”.

The Impact bass was historically built with a solid mahogany body.  Kip initially specfied a white bass with grey bevels. The custom Impact Bass that we shipped to Kip in June 1989 was the trademark Copper color. 

The customer for this bass wanted none of that.  Rather, he requested a flame maple cap over the mahogany body with a cherry transparent finish.  One of our concerns was to maintain the maple cap with the beveled edges.  The customer agreed to beveling through the maple to the mahogany if need be.  We were able to execute the bevel without that occuring.

The 24 fret rosewood fingerboard on this instrument extends all the way to the end of the neck.  Yes, the customer requested a rosewood – rather than ebony – fingerboard but retained the Boomerang inlays. The tenon is hand fit into the neck route.

There’s still a good deal of carving to do to achieve the seamless blend between the neck and the body.

As with all Hamers, this neck was pitched by hand.

The blending process starts on the vertical sander.

Dave has penciled out the parameters of the blend that he is looking to achieve. 

Dave Brown starts the neck blending process.

Tools of the trade. Luthiery at its finest.

Here we’re grainfilling the mahogany back in preparation for spray.  Due to its hard dense nature, the maple neck does not require filling.

Gary Pirro brings some color to this beauty.

Once it has dried for two weeks it was time to finish sand and buff out the compact bass.

Todd is fitting the bass with EMG P/J pickups, just like the original.

Dave’s carving paid off.  Check out the transition from neck heel to body.

It may have a compact body but this Impact Bass has a hammer of a sound.

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Brand New Classics for a Modern World

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on December 3, 2010 by hamerblog

While there’s been lots of fun along the way, what we most enjoy doing is designing and building guitars. On occassion our love for our craft truly shines through. It warms the heart to be recognized as doing something special. Here we are featuring two guitars we completed this week. Both are siblings to the original models within their family. Both have earned respect in their own right.

Newport Pro: We’ve been building the Newport for over ten years now. It was in February 2000 that Guitar Player magazine put the original Newport through its paces in one of their bench tests. The Newport did very well in the ratings game, earning an Editor’s Pick award with five picks (the highest rating) in all six rating categories: Tone, Playability, Workmanship, Hardware, Vibe and Value.

By the time the Bench Test was printed we had already introduced the Newport Pro, an adaptation of the Newport but with two significant changes. The original Newport was fitted with Phat Cat single coil pickups. On the Pro we replaced the Phat Cats with Seth Lover humbuckers. We also replaced the Bigsby tremolo found on the  Newport with a Tonepros tailpiece.

Much, however, remained the same. We retained the spruce top and mahogany back and sides, the 24 3/4″ scale length and fingerboard appointments, the twin f-holes, the interior sound chambers and the electronics.

After three separate levelings, Todd Gencarella buffs out the guitar, also a three stage process.

The real deal.

First time, every time. Despite our thin finishes, we take pride in seeing our guitars go through the first time – no errors or rework.

Time to install those Seymour Dunan Seth Lover pickups.

All done by hand in the Hamer Guitars workshop.

We use AAA Stika spruce for the tops on the Newports. This is the same high quality spruce as is found on the best acoustic guitars. The difference is that we have to find billets that are two inches thick so that they can be resawn and bookmatched. Sourcing fine woods has long been a challenge that we have embraced.

Another view.

While we have employed a number of different systems, the jack cups that we currently mount on the side of the guitar are the most functional to date.

The Newport Pro has certainly earned its place in the Newport family.

A family with a rich and deserving heritage.

Korina Junior:  Following a long Hamer lineage, the Junior is Special indeed.

The magazines raved over the original Special: “the Special’s combination of raw good looks, functional design and superb sound make it a truly exceptional instrument.”  On the Junior we lightened up the Special by using Korina (African Limba) rather than our typical Honduras mahogany.

A Tonepros wrap around bridge took the place of a Tune-O-Matic and Stop Tail piece from our original Special.

The Junior has a single dog ear P-90 with a tortoise shell pickguard rather than the two P-90s on the Special.

Truly clean Korina has become increasingly difficult to find.

However, we’ve always found character in each piece wood. It individualizes the guitar for the player.

We don’t make guitars like they used to. We don’t even make them like we used to. We make them better.