Gary Moore fans eat your heart out! This is the guitar Gary made famous - he owns two of them, one of which is shown on the cover of his "Empty Rooms" album (right).
The original Hamer Special appeared in early 1980. It was Hamer's third guitar model, after the Standard and Sunburst. But it was no new design. The shape of the Special (and Sunburst) was loosely based on the double-cut Gibson Les Paul Special of the fifties. The Special was simply a Sunburst without body binding, all other details being exacly the same as the contemporary Sunburst: mahogany body and three-piece neck with a thin maple top, and the same hardware. Prior to the introduction of the Special, Hamer had built at least one 'Sunburst' without body-binding still carrying the Sunburst logo.
The Hamer Special would undergo many transformations over the years but retain the same basic flat-top, double cut-away design. The first Specials had a flat flame maple top (although opaque colours were also available), glued-in 22-fret mahogany neck (24.75 inch scale) with rosewood fingerboard, dot inlays and three-a-side peghead, at this stage with only the Hamer logo present. The thickness (or rather thinness) of the maple-top is clearly visible at just a few millimetres without the binding found on the Sunburst.
Hardware was a Sustain block bridge, Schaller tuners (a few have Grovers) and two calibrated Dimarzio PAFs wired out-of-phase, cream for the bridge, zebra for the neck. Controls were a three-way switch, two volumes and a master tone.
Towards the end of 1980 the Special started to receive its own 'Checkerboard' logo ,which this guitar has. The previous owner of this guitar indicated that it was brought into Australia by a Hamer founder as a promo and was the first of its kind in Australia.
A Grouse Guitars customer, Dario, has let us know about the origin of the checkerboard pattern on the logo, which seems so obvious in retrospect that I'm amazed I never realised it earlier! Hamer started in Illinois, home town of the band Cheap Trick, famous for their use of the checkerboard graphic (click here to see their website). In fact, check out the 5-neck Hamer owned by Cheap Trick guitarist, Rick Nielsen! The whole body of the guitar has been done in a checkerboard pattern! Rick has been a long-time user and endorser of Hamer guitars.
Serial number of 2 6299 shows a 1982 manufacture, and the guitar comes with its original "Hamer" case. This guitar is totally original in all respects. It has its share of chips and scrapes from nearly 25 years of use (check out the 'more pictures' link below), but these only add character and street cred! Here's a Les Paul type guitar that will out-Paul any Gibson version, and is a lot more rare. And a lot lighter, at just 3.8kg!!
Sold to David