Okay, I’ve fallen in love with Hamer guitars.
I currently have five:
– Hamer Stellar 1 (year 2000 or so, 24-fret, made in Korea), H/H, Cherry sunburst over Lacy Oak “flame/quilt”; would really like to keep, but considering selling
– Hamer Sunburst Archtop Flame (year 2000 or so, 22 fret, made in Korea), H/H, Tobacco burst over (very light) maple flame; already up for sale on eBay
– Hamer Sunburst Archtop Flame (SATF), XT Series (who knows what year, 22 fret, made in China), H/H, Amber (honey?) burst over clear maple flame; will keep this one because the look, sound, and feel are all awesome
– Slammer by Hamer Centaura (2004 or so, 24 fret, made in Korea), slightly transparent blue, H/S/H, Floyd Rose-licensed trem (that stays in tune); will 99% likely keep this one because of the sound and effective trem
– Hamer Slammer series Californian (2000 or so, 24/27 fret, made in Indonesia or Korea?), transparent cherry, H/S, Floyd Rose-licensed trem; 60% likely to sell this one
In addition to the Hamers, I have 3 other guitars I’m considering keeping:
– Carvin Bolt (22 fret), H/S/S, splittable humbucker, excellent low action, great metal/blues sound, slightly transparent green over Swamp Ash, with a birdseye maple fingerboard. Will keep this one due to its sound, and really low/fast action.
– JB Player Sledgehammer (22 fret), H/H, cherry sunburst over what might be Swamp Ash. I want to keep this one because it has no physical problems, but has the best neck-position tone I’ve ever heard; perhaps most importantly, I wouldn’t get much for it anyway (maybe $100, probably much less).
– Ibanez GRG121 (24 fret), H/H, opaque silver. The sound is really thin, but the neck/action are awesome: it’s probably the fastest guitar I own, or at least as good as the Carvin. One of the reasons I’m considering keeping it is simply that I paid $130 for it, and would be lucky to get $100 for it on eBay.
Here’s the thing: I’m never going to be a professional guitar player. Do I really need 6 or 7 guitars? No, I don’t. 3 should be enough:
the Carvin, because it is the best mix of sound and playability.
The Centaura, because it has a great (but slightly different) sound than the Carvin, and has the working tremolo system.
The Hamer XT series SATF, because it is great for vintage rock sounds, ZZ Top blues, has amazingly good quality workmanship, and is beautiful to look at.
When my wife left on vacation, I had 7 guitars, and she was unhappy with how much I spent getting the last few. Well, I kind of got stupid with buying and selling guitars while she was gone and I didn’t have to explain anything. I now have 7 guitars (counting the one Hamer as already sold). She will see that 5 of the guitars are different than when she left. I’ve pretty much broken even on cash, but she will be (rightfully) suspicious when I try to explain that to her: why would I go through so much just to end up with 7 guitars? Now, she should notice the increase in beauty on 2 of the guitars…but that will just make my breaking even that much harder to believe. So maybe I should sell more of them. If I sell some of them, I can always point out I added cash to our bank account, and reduced the number of guitars I have.
But which one(s) do I sell?
The Californian is really unique with its 27 frets on the high E string, 26 on the B string, and 25 on the G string (thanks to a slanted fretboard edge), and the wood grain is beautiful through the semi-transparent cherry stain. I really want to keep it, but I could get $300-400 if I sell it…
The Ibanez is a logical candidate, but as I pointed out, I probably would get less than $100 for it.
The same goes for the JB Player.
The Hamer Stellar 1 seems like a clear choice as the odd one out. I don’t know how much I could get for it because I haven’t seen a single one for sale on eBay in the 2 months I’ve been watching and buying Hamers. That means it is probably pretty unique, and I could conceivably get $400 for it, even though the 2006 edition of the Guitar Blue Book puts it at $325 in 90% condition. One thing that would detract from its selling price is that the nut is broken: a large portion has chipped out across about 60% of the surface, but it still holds the strings fine. To be honest, it’s sound/feel is quite similar to the XT series SATF, so it doesn’t really occupy a unique niche in my stable of guitars. It has a unique look, but only close-up. It does have 24 frets, which makes it slightly different than the SATF and Carvin, i.e., slightly more versatility in notes. But I really want to keep it because it was my first Hamer, and because it seems so rare in the market.
So the ones I would do best to sell in order to help our bottom line (the Stellar 1 and the Californian), are the two I want to sell the least.
I’ve even considered selling the Carvin rather than selling the Stellar 1. Briefly, and immediately rejected the notion, but that’s how much I want to keep the two Hamers.
As I’ve been typing this out, my dilemma is becoming more clear to me.
I will sell the Ibanez, regardless of how little I get for it, because I can point out that I reduced the number of guitars cluttering up the place. I will keep the JB Player, the Carvin, and at least 2 Hamers. The problem is that I want to keep the XT series SATF and the Centaura for sound, feel, and function. But I want to keep the Stellar 1 and Californian for their rarity. Nobody has made guitars like these, and Hamer only made them for a few years, and then stopped. That freezes those guitars in time: even if Hamer reintroduces new guitars with the same appearance/features, they will only highlight the earlier, limited edition versions. For instance, Hamer does still make a Californian…but it is pretty much the same guitar as the old Centaura, i.e. 24-fret H/H or H/S/S. I want the SATF and Centaura to play on…but I want the Stellar 1 and Californian to pull out 20 years from now and show off, saying, “yeah, I got this Stellar 1 for $200 from the pawn shop” or “I got this Californian for $260 from eBay; the pictures didn’t show how gorgeous it was–now it’s worth $1500 for one in this condition!!” Or some such fantasizing like that. If you collect anything, you know exactly what I’m talking about.
Of course, the easy solution was I should have been up front and honest with my wife from the beginning.
I don’t always live up to my own ideals.
Anyway, I still want your input on which guitars I should keep, and which I should sell. I’ll let you know my final decision later.