The Hamer Story

The Hamer Story

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Ed Roman Has Always Been A Hamer Fan & Supporter For 37 Years
Ed Roman Was An Original Hamer Dealer Back In The 70's When Hamer First Started
Currently Ed Roman Is Moving Away From The 2010 Hamer Lineup !!!!


Ovation was one large company that had earned my respect in this industry for their tendency to try to do things right. This buyout of Hamer happened around the time that Bill Kaman Senior retired & Bill Kaman Jr (Both Billionaires) decided to leave the company. I mean why go to work when you have a Billion dollars. Unless of course you are a workaholic,  like someone I know all too well.

The Kaman family were rich corporate moguls but with one very important difference.
They Both Loved Their Guitars !!!!!   There Was A Passion....
Now the wall street bean counting creeps, who run our country didn't like it one bit that Kaman had diversified into guitars.  Guitars aren't as profitable as helicopters and none of the stockholders wanted anything to do with the guitar business. Therefore Hamer became the red headed stepchild.
The new management at Hamer made every mistake possible. It was like they took lessons from Gibson.
First Mistake: Ovation used their jobber reps to sell the guitars. Jobber reps don't know diddley-squat about boutique guitars. Their way of getting orders was to take a dealer out to dinner and get him drinking. (There are some exceptions notably both Ovation reps I worked with were tech-heads and above average reps)
Second Mistake:  They let anyone with a warm body become a dealer (Disaster)  Oh they made a little show out of authorizing dealers but even a tiny dealer who gave 6 lessons a week and sold strings could now order a Hamer in for someone. The Rep would always get him one sideways.
Third Mistake: Big Corporations have what is known as "The Quota". Every rep had a quota and that's why the Second mistake became intolerable to dealers who wanted to actually get behind the product.
Fourth Mistake: They discontinued all the great distinctive specialty models that had made Hamer their reputation in the first place.
Fifth Mistake: Ovation went to Korea, Indonesia & China to bring in low quality lookalike guitars and call them Hamer's.  Oh sure they made tons of money selling $65.00 guitars to dealers for $280.00 who then sold them to the public at $399.00.  This destroyed the cache value of the Hamer brand. Hamer collectors got hurt in the process and I relaxed my purchasing.
Sixth Mistake; In The Music Industry Hamer was known as the line to carry when you couldn't get Gibson.  Gibson was an easy sell,  Gibson dealers made unbelievable profits while Hamer dealers didn't make the same profits because the market would not support the cost of building good guitars.  Hamer quality & level of workmanship has almost always been better than Gibson's. Remember Hamer was founded by Gibson lovers who wanted to make something better.

Today Hamer Guitars Are Still Excellent Quality, The Original Designers & Founders Are Still There Making Sure The Quality Level Stays High. It's A Pity These Guitars Were Ever Named Hamer.  Paul Hamer Was The Owner Of The Store That These Guitars Were Built In.  Therefore The Name Hamer Was Given To The Guitars.

Remember I Said The Quality Was Still Excellent !!!  
 What I have to take issue with is the fact that they no longer make all those great innovative models they offered in the 80's.  The designs are now antiquated !! The fact that there are no neck thru body guitars has me on the fence whether I will continue to be a Hamer Fan.
Abstract Guitars Has Now Recreated All Those Great  Discontinued Models From The Past

Hamer Set Neck Abstract Neck Thru
The Steve Stevens Models  SS22   &    SS 24
The Jeff Watson Model Coming Soon
The Glen Tipton Model The Painkiller
The Paul Stanley Explorer The PSW 24
The Virtuoso 36 Fret Model The Prodigy 36 Fret Model
The Paul Stanley Custom Heaven's On Fire
The KK Vee The Studley Vee
The Chapparal No Plans To Recreate At This Time
The Scarab The Pharaoh
The Improv RVC Blues Deluxe
The Vector We Already Do Over 35 Different V Shapes
The Phantom The Shadow
The Prototype On The Drawing Board
The Firebird The Thunderduck
The Blitz On The Drawing Board
The Impact Bass Interceptor Bass
T51 (Tele Style) The Magic Twanger
Daytona (Strat Style) The Pearlcaster  The Scepter
The Californian See Below

           This Original USA Hamer Californian Is Currently Available !!
I would love it to be in my personal collection, 
So you'll have to squeeze me pretty hard to get this from me !!!


Currently we are not offering a Californian replica because Hamer is still offering it in a low cost imported model. (which by the way is one of he best lower cost imports I have seen on the market even beating out the Jackson & Ibanez imports) which are generally agreed upon to be the best in their class.

It's a real shame that Hamer stopped making the USA model. Nothing has ever come close to that guitar with it's solid tonewood construction. Hamer's superior design concepts dominate the competition.  I will now list all the great guitars that were second fiddle to the Californian model.

01,  The Kramer Baretta's, Pacer's even The mighty Sambora didn't stand up to it.
02,  The BC Rich Gunslinger's, Assassin's, Outlaw's were not even close.
03,  The Jackson Dinky was built as well but it did not have the design features.
04,  The Fender HM Strat was not even in the ballpark.
05,  Ibanez Satriani's, Gilbert's, Petrucci & even The Jem were great but the Californian was better.
06,  ESP's entries were crude by comparison, they were all Asian made & actually cost more. (Their concept is too overprice the guitars so people will think they must be good) They have been very successful with that marketing ploy just like Taylor & Gibson.
07,  Caparison's are nice and the fell good and might be very close but they are imported and I still choose the Californian.
08,  The revered the almighty legendary Charvel San Dimas was good but still no cigar.
09,  The Pensa Suhr was great but it was really nothing more than a well built Fender HM Strat.
10.  This hurts me to say it but the Californian even beat out my own J Frog Glock 22, Glock 24.   (I cannot tell a lie)

The guitars that did stand up to it were few & far between, The Kramer Nightswan was real close The Rand may have been slightly better but they only made about 125 guitars in their short life span (The have gone back into business 20 years later with the exact same model which they are asking $7,000.00 and up for.  I don't think they will be around for very long.

Honorable Mention :
The Washburn Nuno Models with their innovative Stephens cutaway design was a contender but the Hamer had the beautiful figured tonewoods. The Washburns were drab looking by comparison.

The Roscoe 24 was also pretty damn nice, It may even have been a tiny bit better but they are hard to count because they probably only made about 500 of them in total before they switched over to just making basses.

PRS, DEAN, GIBSON, RICKENBACKER, MOSRITE, BAKER, JET, WARRIOR, ALEMBIC, MOONSTONE, DUESENBERG ETC ETC Never made a competitive model to the guitars listed above that is why they are not listed or discussed.

If Hamer ever discontinues the imported version of the Californian I will have my own version of it on the market within 90 days. I've already reserved the name for it

 "The Angelino"

If anybody has anything to add to this article or they disagree with me in any way. Please by all means call me on the telephone and I will be glad to discuss it with you.
I will gladly give written credit by name to anyone who can enhance this article in any way.
Thanks for reading this
Ed Roman  August 10, 2010  3.34 AM PST



 KK Downing Studded Hamer Vee

This was KK's favorite guitar,
He is known mainly for this guitar which was a one of a kind made for him by the original Pre Kaman, Pre Fender, Hamer Company.
Hamer never released this guitar to the general public, They tried to be a vintage company instead and concentrated on their original double cutaway models.
A huge marketing mistake which I believe to have been their downfall.  The Hamer guitars were built extremely well, Easily better than Gibson and they stood toe to toe with any Jackson or PRS quality wise.  Their mistake was not to offer enough 24 fret models. They never ever offered a neck thru body guitar either. They failed to continue to innovate. They went backwards instead of forward which is why you don't see their new guitars in any stores these days.  The signature model KK plays today by some unknown builder looks ok but it doesn't have the feel & quality of that Hamer he used when he was at the top of his game.  Kaman eventually ruined Hamer by putting out low cost Indonesian made copies of the real guitars and putting the Hamer name on them. They made the classic mistake and today the real Hamer guitars aren't holding their real value because of it.

We Are Now Offering A Very High Quality Neck Thru Body Replica Of This Famous Guitar with the exact correct beveling. It took us 5 years to get close up photos so we could replicate the bevels and the studs exactly.