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Sunburst, ’78


Serial # 80551.

Hamer Guitars began as a music store in Wilmette, Illinois called Northern Prairie Music in 1972. Paul Hamer’s store specialized in selling and repairing vintage guitars. Soon Jol Dantzig became a business partner, and the two sought business among high profile musicians playing in the Chicago area. The skill and knowledge acquired repairing vintage instruments led to building new guitars based on the best features of classic ‘50s and ‘60s electrics. The first Hamer Guitar model was known as the Standard, and was based on the shape of a ‘50s Gibson Explorer. The guitars built prior to 1977 were custom made instruments, and about only 10 to 15 were made a year.

In 1977 it was decided that a more affordable model was needed to appeal to working guitarist. The guitar would be easier to build, allowing more to be made and sold. The design was based on a double cutaway Les Paul Junior, but with a pair of humbuckers and a flame maple veneer on top. To speed up production time, the guitar was only offered in cherry sunburst, therefore giving the model the name Sunburst (the Sunburst was eventually obtainable in other finishes).


The 1978 Hamer Sunburst pictured has features typical to that year, including: a six saddle “sustain block” bridge (replacing earlier, thinner Mighty Mite versions)with strings going through the body in a method similar to a hardtail Fender Stratocaster, a one –piece mahogany neck (3-piece by mid-1979) with optional bound rosewood crown inlayed fingerboard(dot inlays on an unbound fingerboard were standard), a “snakehead” headstock  (inspired by early Gibson mandolins), a solid mahogany body with one-piece flame maple veneer on top, and two specially wound DiMarzio PAF pickups.

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