I have now owned more Hamer guitars (8) than I have any other guitar brand, with Fernandes a close second (7).
I like Fernandes guitars…but I love Hamer guitars. I probably won’t buy another Fernandes, but only because I love Hamer guitars far more.
You generally get what you pay for, but with Hamer, you get much more. Much, much more.
Fernandes had a good sound for the cost, but as I do my research on guitars I stumble on or hear about, I find that many guitar manufacturers have good, cheap, entry-level guitars that have a decent sound. Fernandes is merely one of the better ones.
But Hamer guitars have great tone.
Keep in mind that Hamer guitars have pretty much four levels of quality.
The lowest level is the current Slammer guitars. I haven’t played one, but they don’t look any different than a host of other cheap, bottom-/entry-level guitars. I have one of these, but it is in pretty bad mechanical condition. I bought it on eBay because I expect I can sell the case itself (genuine Hamer USA in good condition) for as much as I bought the guitar, and then I can fix up the guitar a little and sell it for another $75 or so. I will not keep it.
The next step up would be the Hamer “Slammer series” guitars. They were made in the late 90s and early 00s. Mostly Korean-made, they have pretty good sound, and good quality workmanship typical of higher-level Korean guitars. At this tier I have a Hamer Stellar 1, a Hamer Slammer Series Californian GCAS (I think), and a Slammer by Hamer Centaura CT212. I consider it a tier above the aforementioned “Slammer” guitars because even though it is a “Slammer by Hamer”, it was made in Korea rather than China/Indonesia (like the current Slammer guitars). Further, it has a different configuration than the current Slammer Centaura guitars, and slightly higher-end Schaller tuning hardware. But I could be wrong. Finally, I owned a Sunburst Archtop Flame (very dim flame) that I sold for a profit of about $30.
The next higher tier is the XT series. I’ve heard some people say these guitars are crap, but I disagree. First, they are advertised on the Hamer website. I don’t think they would advertise crap there, because it would hurt their reputation. The guitars are made in Indonesia and China, and I know China doesn’t have a good reputation for making guitars yet (although I think it is probably following the same buisness arc as US, Japan, and Korea, where you start with cheap crap, then move to inexpensive quality, then get too expensive once the quality is apparent). But I picked up a used Sunburst Archtop flame for just $200 (with case), sold the case for $80, and kept the guitar because it is so awesome. It has a beautiful transparent amber burst over flamed maple (as I’ve said at least twice before), and the sound/tone is wonderfully thick, sweet, and syrup-y, with a nice growl on the low end, and good bite when played high. It sounds awesome playing Journey, or ZZ Top, or Night Ranger, or Aerosmith, or ACDC songs, based on the various settings on my amp. The XT series usually costs in the range of $400-500 new (depending on some options or styles, can be up to $900), and some can be found used for aroudn $200 (like mine). I cannot imagine how they can be so cheap, except that maybe Hamer has flown under the radar too long for anyone to realize how good they are? Mine plays and sounds like a guitar expensive enough I wouldn’t have been willing to pay for (which is $1000 andup). Okay, maybe it is weak praise to say it sounds like an $1000 guitar. I can’t exaggerate and claim it sounds/looks/feels like a Paul Reed Smith, but you certainly get more than you pay for when you purchase one for $400-500.
And, of course, the top tier is the Hamer USA guitars themselves. I have two, deliberately purchased in order to sell at a profit. I am being careful, however, because I want to make sure I maximize my profit on these, so I’m taking good pictures, considering all the places I’m going to post ads, and I will even post a short YouTube video of me playing the guitars, to give potential buyers in other locations a chance to get an idea of what sounds it can produce. A video of a Hamer guitar’s appearance is usually better than a static photo, too, because you can see the play of light across the guitar’s liquid-looking finish. Of course, there are different tiers of expense even within the Hamer USA guitars, but they are all professional quality boutique guitars. And even at $2000, the guitars are underpriced. They can hold their own with PRS and other premium guitars, and beat them 6 times out of 7.
Get a Hamer guitar. I don’t think you’ll be sorry.