Sunday, April 6, 2014

99 - Hamer Time

This weekend I shot my Hamer Special FM. The Special FM is no longer made, but it's basically a slab-cut Les Paul. It has the classic Les Paul formula of dual humbuckers, mahogany body and neck, and a maple top. It varies from the formula with a double-cutaway shape and a control configuration of two volumes, a master tone, and a 3-way toggle placed on the lower bout. US-made Hamers are great instruments with excellent woods, top-shelf parts, and superb fit and finish. The thick maple top on this one is PRS-pretty with an amber finish.  I bought this guitar 20 years ago and it's still in fine shape. It has a few surface scratches and the pickup covers have a fair amount of corrosion (one of the drawbacks of nickel-silver covers). I swapped out the original pickups for Duncan Seth Lovers, which are particularly authentic reproductions of '50s era Gibson PAF pickups. They're low in output and very warm sounding, with just enough bite to be articulate. All of which adds up to a vintage Les Paul sort of sound. I used this guitar for some of the rhythm tracks on my first CD and they ended up being the songs that had the best guitar sounds on the record. The only real criticism I have for the Special FM is that the short upper horn makes the guitar just a bit neck-heavy when balanced on a strap.

I've reached a crossroads with my guitar photo series. I have several photos left to post-process, but beyond that I'm trying to decide if I want to continue the series or not. I've learned a lot and of course there's always more to learn, but I think I could advance my cause more by moving on and finding some new challenges. On the other hand, the series has gone very well and has generated a fair bit of traffic to my web sites. Most likely, I will at least take a break from photographing guitars for awhile and maybe return to it in the future when my enthusiasm for it has recharged.

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