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At the time of posting the web site info for this used, 2006, USA Hamer Artist Custom, I also listed a  used USA Hamer Monaco Elite – Both guitars came from the same previous owner, plus I sold both guitars, brand new, over 15 years ago – I try to offer an evaluation based on various product details and my own ’emotional content’ regarding the whole playing experience (feel, playability, tonal character etc) – Based on various factors, there is not a lot of difference between these two guitars based on feel, tonal character and playability – The finer nuances between the 2 guitars are fairly subtle, hence my evaluation report is pretty much identical when you read the two postings – The greater difference is with regards to the guitars aesthetics with the Monaco Elite possessing a strong LP flavour – The Artist Custom is effectively a tweak on the popular Hamer Studio Custom with a semi-acoustic F hole

I know the full history of this used USA Hamer Artist Custom – I sold it brand new to one local owner, over 15 years ago, and am delighted to be able to offer it for sale once again – The serial number, plus appropriate certificate, clearly indicates its date of birth as 2006, therefore ‘pre the Fender buy out’ that took place shortly afterwards – The FMIC buyout subsequently and sadly brought an end to the days of Joel Dantzig and his 30 year reign at the helm of the Hamer Guitar Company

Overview comments with regards to this used USA Hamer Artist Custom  :- £2469 will allow you to buy a boutique hand built instrument that is loaded with tone, soul and emotion – It would be easy to say the Artist Custom is effectively a semi hollow bodied version of the popular Studio Custom – It is hard to ignore that delectable figured maple top, that sits under a lush tobacco sunburst nitro gloss finish, but it only gets better once you hook it up to your amp and put it through its paces – From chilled out blues licks, to bone crushing rock riffs, this Hamer is a blaze with expressive tones, thanks to a one piece Honduras mahogany body, a highly figured maple top, along with the traditional Hamer 3 piece mahogany neck construction + rosewood fingerboard – The hand built, impeccable attention to detail is present and correct throughout, including  22 medium jumbo frets, that are profiled and polished to perfection, along with the ‘victory’ mother of pearl fingerboard inlays, plus ‘Hamer’ headstock logo – An extra nice touch is the  cream ivoroid grained binding around the body, fingerboard and headstock – The hardware is all from the top draw, with Schaller 3-a-side tuners, plus TonePros locking tune-o-matic bridge and tailpiece, whilst even the pots were spec’d/ordered with an improved taper, that allows you to preserve that expressive tone, whilst backing of a notch on the volume pot – This allows you to control the amp, from the guitar, so wind it up for more singing overdriven tones, or back it off, for more clean or subtle overdriven  tones

The Artist Custom retains the Gibson-esq 24.75″ scale length, so re-strung and set-up with a set of 10’s you’ll experience a slinky playing action that responds to a light touch – The mahogany neck has a fullish, Les Paul-esq profile which again should please those who like such Gibson attributes, but prefer the hand built attention to detail that Hamer offer – I almost forgot to mention that the Artist Custom is equipped with a pair of Seymour Duncan SH55 Seth Lover humbuckers  – This is one of those instruments that the more you play it, the more tones you’ll find, especially when both pick-ups are selected together, allowing the two volume controls to blend the pair of humbuckers as required – Whilst the guitar has a 2006 serial number, it has only had one careful owner from new – Look on the rear of the body and you’ll just about make out a ‘light haze’ around the ‘belt buckle’ area – But it is a slight ‘haze’ and not a graze/dint/dint, hence very light signs of playing wear – Other than a subtle blemish near the toggle switch, the finish on the figured maple top is in excellent condition, that is close to perfect  – You’ll find the usual hint of tarnish to the hardware – So overall a very clean guitar -Any subtle hint of wear to the frets is barely worthy of a mention – Certainly no fret dress work required and based on previous use, then you’ll have another 15 years or so of playing before any attention required

Further details :-

Tonal character : – Fit two humbuckers to a maple top + mahogany bodied guitar and the tone will obviously lean towards the fat plus smooth character of a Les Paul – The finer nuances of such guitars, when played side by side, is the variation between them  – With a pair of Seth Lover SH55 vintage flavoured humbuckers, along with the slight semi acoustic nature of the Artist Custom, then you’ll hear more articulation and a ‘politeness’  compared to a Les Paul – On clean amp settings it possesses enough natural character to avoid sounding ‘bland’ with a lush, laid back voice pouring out of the neck pick-up – With more of a hot ‘country’ pickin’ voice available from the bridge position that has a hint of a fat Tele character to it – Like many Les Paul’s, it is not a pure hot ‘death metal’ guitar, yet it doesn’t lack girth and energy if/when required – In my opinion the guitar shows its true colours when played through an amp, with subtle levels of gain, so that is more Green/Kossoff and BB King  – Now utilise the volume pots on the Hamer to control the level of gain that you require – As such a volume setting of 6 or 7 will deliver more of a chilled out cleaner voice, yet it won’t loose any of the guitars goodness – This option can be your ‘base camp’ setting – Now turn the volume back towards 10 as and when you require more gain, with a touch of extra bite   – This approach delivers far more expression, soul and emotion, as you and the guitar now control the amp – Add more gain to the amp if you want to sing more in the style of Gary Moore and co – A great guitar for fans of Robben Ford, or Steely Dan, whereby the guitar’s class and culture offers more expression

A pity that new USA Hamer Guitars are no longer available, so the hunt for nice second hand examples is now under way

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Guitars4You is not another corporate high street guitar store - My selection of premium grade guitars is about quality not quantity. Every guitar has been selected, inspected and approved by me, with particular attention to the set-up and playing performance. Every sale, phone call, email and mail order transaction is handled by me. A journey that is now over 40 years old, has fuelled my knowledge, experience, love, devotion and passion for exceptionally fine guitars.