Price paid: $ 500
Purchased from: Kassel Music, Marietta, Ohio
Sound — 8
I play in two different projects at the moment. One being a Progressive-Melodic Thrash (with MeloDeath and punk influence) band and a more Classic Rock-based side venture. Starting with the more Classic Rock project because it's a more brief explaination: The guitar has been mainly used for recording in the project (so far) and was either ran through an old Legend "Rock n Roll" 50 watt tube amp with a DigiTech Bad Monkey and a variety of other delay, chorus, and EQ pedals in front of it and also thru a Digital Setup where it was ran through a (rather surprisingly good sounding) DigiTech GSP 21 Pro rack preamp plugged straight into the interface. Using the Legend amp setup, I got great classic rock tones. Nice, crisp rhythms and good lead tones as well. However, I much preferred how things sounded when I ran through the DigiTech GSP rack. Very nice rhythm tones, also very nice, smooth, tube-y sounding solos. The guitar's neck and neck-middle pickup setting shined in this arena, providing all of the warm and bluesy lead tones I needed. Cleans were also very, very sweet sounding. On to the metal project, the guitar has been ran through a rack setup involving the aforementioned DigiTech Rack and also a (once again surprisingly great sounding) Crate Solid-State amp from the 90's which is plugged into a used Behringer Cab that I've modified. The Crate is also frontended by the Bad Monkey and also a pedal tuner and Noise Gate are used. I'm currently using the Crate thru Cab setup live with the project now while I save for another amp and am very pleased with the results. It's a high gain sound, but bot brittle or tinny. Although the pickups are '59's, they provide plenty of crunch to go along with a nice bit of clarity. (Note: I only use the bridge pickup in this project). The leads are nice and fluid sounding and the upper register notes aren't too shrill. The pickups seem to have a nice midrange to them, and when used in a "heavier" setting, really have some nice bite to them. The sounds aren't as dark as my Agile 2900 Chambered body, but I like it. It's not quite as bright as say a Humbucker-Loaded Strat, but it's also no Les Paul. Somewhere nicely in between. Soundwise, I'd give this thing a solid 8. I haven't tried it with enough styles to say much more, but I am very pleased with what I have gotten out of it so far.
Overall Impression — 8
Overall, I'm very happy I got this guitar. I traded in a Schecter Synyster Gates' Standard model for this guitar have been pleased ever since. Much more pleased than I was with the Schecter. It wasn't a bad guitar, per se, but just wasn't for me. This guitar's easy playing neck and straightforward configuration were the selling points for me. I've been playing about 8 years now, and for the moment, this is my "main" guitar. If it were stolen, I'd probably hurt that person horrendously.
Reliability & Durability — 9
It hasn't played a great deal of shows yet, but that's soon to change as I'm playing quite a few shows with the Metal Project now. So far, so good! Hardware and strap buttons seem quality. No problems with sharp edges on the bridge cause string breakage or anything like that. It's recieved a few dings here and there, but that's to be expected. I take care of my guitars, but at the same time, mine are to be played, not collected like a painting on the wall (exception: My late 60's Gibson acousitc). I normally have a backup at gigs, but that's just because I'm to anal about things not to. Finish seems fine. 9. Well built guitar!
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
I did lower the action a bit from the factory set-up, but it wasn't too bad to begin with. Pickups seem properly adjusted and the guitar looks great. No flaws with the body, and once again the only problem I've had with the guitar is the sub-par stock tuners. Since I lowered the action on the guitar, IT PLAYS AMAZING. It really does. The slim neck reminds me somewhat of an Ibanez type neck. Great for fast, shreddy leads. I use Ernie Ball 46-9 strings and the guitar is tuned half-step down for the Classic Rock project and half-step down and in Drop D for the Metal band. 9. Playability is great. Maybe the biggest reason why I got the guitar. Fantastic and cannot say more!
Features — 8
The Hamer Standard Flametop has an alder body with a flame maple top. The maple set-neck features a 22-fret rosewood fretboard with a 24.75 inch scale and a 14.5 inch neck radius. The headstock is black and the guitar's body and sport a nice Ivoroid binding. Electronically speaking, the guitar has two Duncan Designed pickups which after some researching I found were Duncan Designed '59 models, which of course are based on the Seymour Duncan '59 pickup. Two volume knobs and one shared tone knob paired with a 3-way selector round out the electronics. Hardware-wise, the guitar has a Tune-O-Matic bridge with a Stop-Tailpiece and comes stock with Hamer tuners. The only problem I've had with the guitar are the tuners. I do a great portion of the lead work for the bands I'm involved with and the stock pickups weren't sutting it. I quickly swapped them out for Grover Locking Tuners. They're inexpensive and took this guitar from being almost unplayable to being by "Number 1". The guitar's features are quite straightforward, nothing too flashy, but that's exactly what I wanted! I can pick the guitar up, plug in, and play. I'm giving the guitar an 8 because other than the tuners I'm completely satisfied with the guitar's straightforward features. I would like to give it a 7.5, because although it doesn't have many "bells and whistles" to speak of, it merits the bump to 8 because of the rest of the features, rather than the slump down to a 7.