Well, I received the 2nd of my investment guitars a few days ago.
Man, the Hamers are awesome. They all sound great, feel great. They make me feel like a better guitarist, and are very forgiving of sloppy fingering.
I think I finally have enough guitars, because I don’t feel any lust for other guitars at all.
Here are the guitars I’m going to keep (no pictures…maybe later):
1. Carvin custom-built kit Bolt. Green semi-transparent automotive paint, birdseye maple neck, swamp ash body, and a splittable doublecoil in the bridge position. Positives: Really good, low action. Great sound for rock/metal. Negatives: It doesn’t produce classic single-coil sounds in the bridge position. Interesting points: I call it “custom-built” because those combination of features are not available in any kit they sell, and it was assembled under the instruction of a Carvin technician; the builder did well enough that he was allowed to put the genuine Carvin sticker on the headstock. It is my only guitar with a maple fretboard; all others are rosewood.
2. Hamer Slammer Series Californian. Positives: 27 frets, Hamer quality, excellent sound from Duncan Designed pickups, beautiful semi-transparent cherry finish. Fairly rare. Low action. Negatives: High E-string breaks easily at the bridge (possible burrs…fixable). I don’t know how well the trem system works because the string broke before I got much chance to play. The fact that it has a trem system is also possibly a negative, because I don’t know how to use them effectively.
3. JB Player Sledgehammer. Cherry sunburst over a strong-grained wood…swamp ash? Positives: Pretty good low action. It has the bluesiest sound in the neck position double-coil that I’ve ever heard from a guitar I’ve played. Which means it is the most usable neck position double-coil I’ve owned. The bridge position double-coil has a good crunch, too, that is extremely heavy on the bass; this yields a different character distortion than anything else I have. Interesting points: one reason to keep it is I got it for $100, so I wouldn’t get enough selling it to be worth losing its function in my stable of guitars.
4. Hamer Sunburst XT: Positives: Amber burst transparent finish over a beautiful flame maple grain. Hamer build quality. Great sound from the pickups. It can produce sounds that just make you want to play more. It is wonderful for light or heavy or zero distortion. It works great with the “Classic”, “British” and “Black Panel” settings on my amp to produce almost any sound I want. Negatives: Almost none. The action is just medium, rather than low. Only 22 frets, when I prefer 24…
5. Hamer Stellar 1. Cherry sunburst over Lacy Oak. Positives: 24 frets. Great sound from the Duncan Designed pickups. Action is on the low side of average. Hamer quality. Negatives: you can’t see the Lacy Oak wood grain farther than 5 feet away. The sound isn’t quite as good as the Sunburst XT. Interesting points: I have not yet seen one for sale on eBay, but I’ve seen pretty much every other Hamer guitar, to include Diablos, two Prototypes, Eclipses, Phantoms, original Californians, etc. To me, that makes the Stellar 1 rare, and I’ll hold on to it for that reason, at least until I see what one goes for on eBay. I bought it for $200, and its appearance, playability, and significance as the guitar that turned me on to Hamer make it worth at least $500 to me.
6. Slammer by Hamer Centaura CT121. Barely transparent blue-green paint. Positives: 24 frets, good combination of classic double-coil and single-coil sounds from the H-S-H, 5-position switch configuration. The best trem system I’ve ever used, returns easily to tuning “true” position. Hamer quality. Negatives: Action is fairly high. It can’t be tuned higher than a half-step below normal tuning; I think that can be fixed with an extra spring to balance the tension from the strings… Interesting points: one reason to keep it is I got it for $100, so I wouldn’t get enough selling it to be worth losing its function in my stable of guitars.