Price paid: £ 90
Purchased from: Ebay
Sound — 7
It's an Explorer and so it suited to Metal and rock. Anything from dirty overdriven tones to high gain metal crunch. It does not fail to impress in these departments. The bridge pickup is a screaming monster of a pup, while the neck pup is creamy and smooth. The dual volume pots mean you can have an exceeding amount of control over tone and I am impressed by both the harmonic response of the pickups and the dark tone it seems to exude.
Overall Impression — 8
I play high gain Metal and have been playing for 20 years. I play through a rack system and gig numerous times a year. This guitar is a great match for my style and the 25" scale length is comfortable without being over-straining on the hands. I'd like to know where to get more info on this guitar, as it seems to be from the late 1990s when these were marketed by Hamer before Fender bought them.
If it were lost or stolen, I would be heartbroken. This thing is a fantastic axe, and intermediate players should definitely check it out as a backup instrument or even their primary instrument.
The cheap plastic nut is a real let down. After the bang you job they have done on the rest of the instrument, putting a plastic nut on there seems penny pinching to the extreme.
At the end of the day, I bought this because it was cheap and local to me and I always wanted an Explorer. Now I have it, I'm so impressed that I would definitely consider these in future as a cheap alternative to my main guitar, which is a home made Flying V.
Reliability & Durability — 8
I would trust this guitar playing live. The hardware seems like its lasted for the last 15-20 years and is in good condition, but that may be because this one has been well looked after. Strap buttons are large and well secured. The forward one is actually attached to the neck plate by the bolt holding the neck in. Seems to be a popular thing amongst some makers. I could probably get away with gigging without a backup with this, but it never hurts to have a spare! The finish is rock hard and I don't see it becoming damaged by playing (dropping it... that's different).
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
The action has obviously been looked at by a professional at some point as its got a faultless action, although the intonation is a little out on the G and B strings, but nothing too serious that a screwdriver can't fix! The pickups had been bottomed out in the rings and required lifting... Again, nothing you can't do yourself. There is a n innovative feature on the TOM saddles where the strings are set deep inside the retaining block, effectively lowering the action further. I don't know if a luthier did this, but it seems to work well and there is a definate lack of string slap or noise when thrashing away. The plastic nut is a disappointment, but I will most likely swap it out for a brass or graphite nut to replace it. All in all the build quality is good and it feels like a "solid" guitar to me. The finish is pretty flawless. Hardly any marks except a little buckle rash on the back, but that's character!
Features — 8
Hamer Slammer XP-1 Explorer style guitar. Finished inb Gloss black and glossy clearcoat on the neck. No idea of date (although it does have the serial number label still on it!) 22 Frets, one of the darkest Rosewood fingerboards I've ever come across on a heavily figured maple neck. Standard TOM style bridge and tailpiece. 25" scale length, 2 passive humbuckers, 2 vol and one tone pot plus the standard 3 way selector switch located on the horn a-la its Gibson daddy. Standard tuners, plastic nut... Mine came with the original gig bag!