Price paid: $ 12
Purchased from: Pawn Shop
Features — 8
Unsure of the year of manufacture, but it is an XT model Sunburst SFX 2 model, which is a Les Paul Jr. double cutaway shape. This is a model that was made in Indonesia, and features 2 Hamer humbuckers, Hamer tuners which are enclosed Gotoh style, standard tune-o-matic style bridge, 2 volume and 1 tone control. The hardware is all in black which goes well with the while paint job on the guitar. The body is Basswood, flat top style with the front having a beveled edge, and has a maple neck with rosewood fretboard with medium jumbo frets. The guitar is a bolt on which is what I actually prefer. The guitar came with a gig bag and a cord to use with, and I got it for the price because it has sat at the store for a year.
Sound — 8
To start with, I am note going to say that this is a "true" Hamer, as I am well aware that Hamer's are among the finest guitars that you can own, and are handmade. To begin with, the guitar is solid as a tank, if you picked it up blindfolded or in a dark room, you would swear it is a set neck, but it is a bolt on neck style which I prefer. This guitar sound excellent through my Crate GLX 120 amp, my four force amp and my V=AMP. I always wanted a Les Paul Jr. double cut style guitar, and a Hamer, and this one is fitting the bill quite well. The standard pickups that came with the guitar, the "Hamer" as printed on the pickups humbuckers sound excellent. I like classic rock and power pop and this guitar fits the bill great. With the basswood body, it is a little brighter sounding than mahogany, but the tone control is excellent, so any fine tuning can be done without any trouble. I don't know who made the pickups, but I am not going to have to change them out, they sound that good, the guitar just rings when chords are played, clean and distorted, and this guitar has some weight to it which adds to the sound, very full, with a slight brightness from the wood and maple neck. In the neck position, it is easy to get a jazz tone from the guitar, but the real treat is in the middle position with both pickups on, and this baby just sings. Again, it is NOT a "Hamer" as you would think of it, but after testing it side by side with some guitars at a local shop, I put this above the Epiphone Les Paul Standards, and it blows any Squier away when it comes to quality. I am giving this a solid 8 for a rating as an overall guitar. In the intermediate range of guitars, this is a solid 10.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
I didnt buy this guitar new, so I can't make any comment of how it was set up at the factory, but that being said, whoever owned this guitar before me had the pickups so high up, it distorted whey to easy. Another problem was that when you got to the 20th fret, the strings would hit the neck pickup. After adjusting the pickups, and intonating the guitar, I have to say this guitar is a solid, well build instrument. The neck finish is excellent, and all of the hardware, including the strap holders are solid. The nut, bridge line up perfectly, and there is no rust or any wear on the hardware. The electronics work flawlessly, switching the pickups is effortless with no noise, the tuners hold the guitar in tune with not trouble, and the fit and finish are solid, with no fluctuations in the paint job. Again, I am going to give this a solid 8 for an overall rating.
Reliability & Durability — 10
This guitar would definitely be able to be played without a backup, it is that solid. It is not a new guitar, but except for one little nick in the paint, it is in excellent shape. All of the hardware is solid, with nothing loose at all. You can feel when something is solid, and this guitar has that feel. Even though it is a bolt on, it resonates and sustains like a set neck model. I also have a Charvel Surfcaster 3 and a Squier Tele and this guitar is superior to both which is saying something as the Charvel is also built like a tank. The paint job is solid, among the best that I have seen on guitars, and i don't see it being too much of a problem keeping the finish up. On this I am giving a solid 10 overall, it is built that well, not just for an Indonesian made guitar, but for a guitar period!
Overall Impression — 8
I like classic rock and power pop with some country and overall, this guitar will do the classic and power with no problem, and for the more progressive country, it will handle it fine. My other guitars are a Charvel Surfcaster 3 and a Squier Tele, both of which I have changed the pickups on, and this is the first guitar that I have gotten where I am not going to have to change the pickups. I don't know who made these for Hamer, with their name on the pickups, but they sound great, and they aren't the "Duncan Designed" model either, regardless, this guitar just rings when I play it and I love that the pickups are that responsive. What I like about this guitar the most is the neck, which is just unbelievably comfortable. Again I am surprised at how good this guitar sounds, and while similar to the Charvel, it is a little brighter, but then the tone control on this guitar works great, so there is a great tonal range. I would say that this guitar, which is made in Indonesia is more than on par with the Epiphone Les Pauls, and I mean Les Pauls, not Special II models, and with the SE Paul Reed Smith models. I know this is the most basic of the Hamer XT line, but it is not one of the "slammer" models. Overall I am giving it a solid 8 for all guitars overall, for intermediate models, this would be a solid 10.