The pendulum swings back.
Just a few months after deciding there were so many cool guitars out there that I wanted to have Hamer end up being about 1/3 of my total guitars (and thus planning to sell/trade about 6 USA Hamers), I’ve now changed my mind and decided to sell off 90% of my non-Hamer guitars.
Here’s what happened (since I know you care about all the details of my life 😆 ):
While deployed, I purchased a Hamer USA Centaura Deluxe (pictures soon). But I had it sent to my sister for safe-keeping…then I had to wait until I settled into my apartment, then it took a while for my sister to send it to me, then I went on a vacation for a few weeks.
I finally got a chance to pull it out and get some extensive playing time about a week ago (tardy NGD pictures coming soon).
It has EMGs. I know some people hate ’em…I can’t say I’m in love with the tone, either, but the pickups certainly had an extra bite or zing or shimmer that made it sound more like what I hear in professional recordings. Yes, even on my little Roland Micro-Cube amp.
And for some reason, that woke up my ear.
From that moment on, *all* my Hamer guitars have sounded better to me, and most of my entry- or mid-level imports just sound…muffled. Or, less sparkly, perhaps.
The 2 Diablos, 3 Centauras, ’80 Special, and set-neck Chaparral all sound slightly different from each other, but undeniably good quality. And I have a rare 12-string Chaparral that I decided to keep (after no one would meet the price I paid for it), too.
My Jon Kammerer solid-body electric and Peavey Vandenberg sound just as good, so those will be keepers. The Vandy (black, w/ Kahler lockable trem and upgraded pickups) is a keeper for sound/playability, but is also collectible, as well. So I’ll keep them.
That leaves a few guitars I am still considering keeping:
– Hamer Slammer Series Californian: the tone isn’t perfect, but it is dang good. Say, 90% of the USA Hamers. And the action/playability rival the USA Hamers, and the transparent cherry is as good as, and in better condition than, the Diablos. So I may end up keeping the Cali and selling the Diablos
– Schecter Aviation Series PT: The action isn’t great, the sound doesn’t thrill me…if it were just the guitar aspects, I could sell it, but it does have the cool P-40 theme and USAF inlay that gives it special meaning for me (I’m in the USAF)
– Ibanez AX220QT: Good sound, decent action, and the only quilt top in my collection. I got it for $150 and I doubt I could get a better QT guitar for the same money. The sound is a little bit on the harsh/raspy sound, which makes it good for metal rhythm work, but not good for solo work
– Hamer XT SATF: I still really like the look and sound of this guitar. Not quite Hamer USA quality of sound, but doable, and it is the one flamed maple that I really enjoy looking at regularly (I tend to prefer either quilt or solid)
– Cort KX5: this one is troubling. I really don’t like the sound anymore, now that my ear has grown up a little bit. But it has amazing action, even better than my Hamer shredders. It has great ergonomics, I feel like I can really play it expressively. And it is brand new in appearance. The USA Hamers I have are, to put the most charitable spin on it, suffused with mojo. The Ibanez and Jon Kammerer are also both new, but there is something about the gleaming contoured body that I really like (pictures will be added later tonight).
– Yamaha 120SD: This single cutaway (kinda Tele-shaped) H/H guitar rocks like you wouldn’t believe. It has such a sweet sound. I’ve heard they have DiMarzio pickups…I’ve pretty much only played on Seymour Duncan pickups, so I don’t know if I just happen to like DiMarzio better? Or maybe it is just a Yamaha no-name pickup that happens to rock as hard as a premium pickup? Dunno. Anyway, I have some pictures taken of these, so you will see more in-depth reviews soon.
And the guitars to get rid of?
Rock Tools Spiderweb Guitar
The 2 Hamer USA Diablos
Hamer CX Californian (H/H, 24-fret, Tune-O-Matic fixed bridge)
Aria Pro II Knight Warrior
Hohner MR600 (this one is tough…it is a beautiful guitar that sounds good, but might have neck problems)
Epiphone 935i (this is another tough one, very rare, and pretty much an Epiphone-made Californian w/ better trem)
Peavey Vandenberg (red, w/ licensed Peavey Floyd Rose trem)
Cort Electric Guitar (no kidding, that’s its name! Another tough one to lose, because even though it is cheap and sounds nasty, it is cool due to extreme quirkiness)