|Today I serve up the '84 Hamer on a bed of effects for your dining pleasure!|
In this second of this series I am offering you a look at my 1984 Hamer Blitz. I am the second owner of this one. Here's the story on this particular instrument.......
1984. Hair bands. Heavy metal. I was 23 years old and in to all of that stuff. At this point in my life I had just gotten out of college for the last time and was working full time as a jeweler! Yep.... That's another story for another day. The thing was that I had no significant relationship going on with anyone at that time, so I was free to run around, check out bands, and listen to music. I played my guitars when I could. There was a back and forth between my home town of Charles City and Waterloo where I was living at the time, since most folks I knew at that point were from Charles City. This is significant to this story because of a band that was based in Charles City and its members were all from there. So, I knew all of them. Their band's name was "The Litterer Brothers Band", but by '84 they had shortened it to "The Litterer Band" , and then, just "Litterer". I was most familiar with their bassist, as he was my age, and one of their guitar players named Brent Estlund.
I didn't think I could afford it, but I always had wanted a Hamer Standard, which was the fancier version of this guitar, which was made famous by a member of my favorite band, Cheap Trick. I knew I could never afford a Hamer Standard, but I maybe could make this work. I arranged to make a couple payments to Brent, and I made the last one to him at his parent's house in Charles City where I took possession of the thing.
At first I was pretty happy that I had a "professional grade" instrument. It had been used on an actual recording by a working musician, after all! But there were some things I was not sure about afterward. I didn't know if I was all that in to the graphic design of the paint job. The neck was twisted slightly, which made certain notes fret out and the strings buzzed. The whammy bar, well....it wouldn't keep the guitar in tune, and the funky thumbscrews on the locking tuners were ugly and prone to bending and breaking off. I was in a love-hate relationship with this thing for about the first four or five years that I owned it. I wanted to like it, but I just couldn't.
|A Jenga block to the rescue!|
I had finally decided that the whammy bar was a no-go for me on this guitar, so I removed the thumbscrews from the tuners, making the tuners essentially standard ones. I blocked the tremolo with a piece from a Jenga game as it fit behind the sustain block perfectly. The trem arm was another casualty of the work I did. But that darned neck! I didn't have the talent to tackle that one.
By this time, Bob Guthart had left the now defunct Music Corner shop and had opened a new place with a partner called "G&G Music". The problem was related by me to Bob, and he felt confident that he could fix it. So, I dropped it off with him and he did his magic. It was much, much better when I got it back, but still not quite there. So, I took it back, and Bob sent it out somewhere, which took about three weeks, as I recall, but when it came back, it was dead nuts. The Jenga piece had been removed by Bob, but he put it in the cubby in the case, so I still have it, along with all the removed hardware.
The Hamer Blitz was a "working man's" version of its flagship Standard model, and due to those crazy times, it was offered in a multitude of weird finishes like zebra stripes, weird striped graphics, and even American flag motifs. There were solid colors offered as well. Mine seems to be one of the more "tame" graphic designed finishes. The Blitz was a three piece mahogany body with a three piece mahogany glued in neck. Pick ups were "Slammer" pick ups made by DiMarzio. (NOTE- The "Slammer" import line did not exist at this time, so this is a USA made instrument.) Unique to this and some Dean Explorer models is that in the middle pick up selector position, the pick ups are out of phase to each other, giving you a quacky, funky sound which can be defeated by slightly backing off the volume controls. Bridges were, at first, Hamer designs, but late in the Blitz's production they went to a Floyd Rose locking bridge. Later Blitz models also featured "hockey stick" style head stocks which were all the rage then. Blitz models also were offered as four string basses.
|Look closely and you can see that each peg head is threaded for those thumbscrew string locks.|
And the recording that this guitar was used on? I actually own a copy of that LP. I often wonder which tracks I am listening to which have my guitar on it, but of course, it is entirely possible that none of them really do feature this guitar. Who knows? It doesn't matter in the end, as I have my "psuedo-Cheap Trick guitar" and it sounds and plays awesome.
Stay tuned for guitar #3 in the series coming along at some point in the future here.......