Hamer Slammer Bass

This is my son Nick’s bass. Actually his first bass guitar. Once he started spreading his bass wings, he received long scale basses as gifts from manufacturer friends of mine once his hands outgrew the 30.3″ scale, so he moved on to long scale basses.

See the rest of the story below the photos. If you really need a larger image, you may click on any of the photos below. The photos shown here are “after” shots and have the new nut, new strings and ready for final assembly.

Update 1/19/13 (Christopher Cross concert at Wolf Trap tonight!)

Rewired and ready. Almost…

control cavity

You’ll hear a little buzz. Not 60Hz hum but a harmonic of 60Hz. I am thinking mostly 1800Hz. A bit of copper on the back of the control plate might help. I think we are just dealing with inherent stuff going on in the pickups themselves. No big thang. I did notice that the Cheese-Oh 1/4 jack needs to be replaced with a Switchcraft. I’ll get that done too. A sound bite of the completed bass and a photo of the cavity follows. Both pickups, Bridge, Bridge w/tone, Neck, Neck w/tone (pretty kickin’ tone for a short scale bass with stock China Cheese pickups!

Hamer Bits MP3 Click To Listen

Since this bass has lay fallow for 3-4 years and apparently I had begun replacement of a tone potentiometer and got interrupted (3-4 years ago), the knob and the control panel “found themselves missing”. Today I fabricated a new control cavity cover out of black WD pickguard material. Next step is to wire it all up, find a knob and it’s finished.

control cover

A block of Micarta 5/16" which turned out to be more like 3/8"

A block of Micarta 5/16″ which turned out to be more like 3/8″

Hamer Head Hamer Body Hamer Nut Back Hamer Nut

The “Rest of the Story”:

4-5 years ago our personal physician, Dr. K, asked me what to do about a bass for his son Sam. Sam was 12-13 and a smaller guy so the short scale made sense. Only issue is that he is a lefty. Rather than buy a bass, Nick offered to loan him the Hamer, thus putting it to good use. I switched over the strings for Sam (taught him a few bass lessons as I recall) and OF COURSE I had to recut the nut and adjust the intonation for Lefty. BTW, I am not a huge fan of jumping right to Lefty for beginners. I have them pick up the instrument without any instruction and I ask them to imitate someone playing a bass/guitar. MANY times they pick it up Righty and simply go on to play Righty. Makes sense cause the Left hand is much more important to playing (unless you play that bass-drive-by wockita slap crap, then you might as well buy bongos anyway). Many young players pick it up as a Righty and go on to play that way. Lefties, well, I have only taught a couple and I can live with that… NOW, what do Lefty violinists do? (Rhetorical question)

The bass has been back here for YEARS NOW! (Sam now owns a G&L Tribute L-2000-AWESOME Lefty) I have been getting things in shape for the official release of Fret Factor as a business, so I’m cleaning house and getting things in order. NEW NUT time for the Hamer Slammer. Other issues that need be addressed is the missing control cavity cover (apparently a job I started and didn’t finish-tone potentiometer needed replacing-in fact was replaced but GOD only knows where the parts are now!?).

I started with block of Black “Paper Micarta” (as opposed to Canvas or ‘other’). Micarta is essentially a block comprised of layers of paper and resin. Resin is hard as hell but it can crack when machined. The paper (or canvas depending on your choice of material) lends “fibers” to the mix and gives it structure. You can machine the heck out of it. In fact, many very high end, custom knife manufacturers use Micarta in their handles. I have done white micarta nuts from guitar supply companies and I remember it as being hard but this stuff is REALLY HARD! Took a very long time to cut the slots with my aging, but trusty, nut files (I just realized that they are over 30 years old!). Polishing is a cool process. I started with 320 and went down to 8000 Micro Mesh and what you see is the result.

Strung it up with a set of good old D’Addario XL 170 SS, adjusted the neck (MAN was that out of whack!) and intonation. Now to the electronics and fabricating a control cavity plate (ARGH!).¬†Oh, an I will probably have to come up with the missing knob and touch up the black headstock overlay when I get a chance.

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