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View Full Version : "Hamer Studio" Replacement Pickups?


Steve_2020
05-27-2005, 03:47 PM
I need suggestions for a pickup/pickups change for my Hamer.

It's a Hamer USA Studio I bought new in 1996 or 97. It has the carved Sunburst maple top, mahogany body/neck, dots on the neck. Not the one with the fancier inlays, but what I considered the good bang for the bucks one. Paid around $1100 out the door. The neck was/is love at first play- a near perfect neck for my hands. Maybe a 12" radius?

It came stock with the Duncan JB/59 pup set. I believe Hamer was using this same pickup config in most of their guitars from the double cutaway line they introduced in the mid 90s, beginning with the plankish FM and FM Specials, then moving up into my carved top guitar and the one above it (Studio Archtop?).

Btw, the JB/59 pickup set has been my default replacement pickup setup since Duncan came out with them. I've put them in 1970s/80s Les Pauls and 335s, always with good results.

My benchmark Gibson bridge pickup tone is Bluesbreakers/Cream era Clapton-> Marshall. Updated benchmark would be Gary Moore's 1990 Les Paul->Soldano (iirc).

The Hamer always was intended to be my Gibson-type guitar, Les Paul-ish though I know nothing is a Les Paul but a Les Paul. The trade off being not *really* getting the fatter, howling Les Paul bridge pup tone, but something close to it - and a Great playing guitar.

Over the years, I've become a bit dissatisfied with especially the JB bridge pickup tone. Too bright and thin. Even rolling back the treble, it seems to be too thin.

The tube amps I play it through are a Marshall 30th Ann combo in the hottest JCM 800 middle mode, also sometimes though a Peavey Classic 30 at practice. It sounds good, but I'm thinking the bridge position could a lot sound better with a pickup change.

After I got my PRS Custom 24 I realized how far off the Hamer was from what I was looking for. I've been playing (yeah, shopping I guess) some Les Paul Standards lately and it's driving home how thin the JB is in this particular Hamer.

Guitar Center would love to sell me a Les Paul Standard which would fill the Les Paul hole nicely, but expensively. I'd have to sell the Hamer to make it work financially and I think I'd regret selling the Hamer as they seem to only go for about $800, maybe a little more... It's an undervalued guitar (if you're the seller).

I've believe I've read someplace that Hamer is now using a different Duncan pickup in whatever they're calling these guitars now. (I think "USA Studios"?). Perhaps a Duncan Custom or Custom Custom?

Does anyone have any experience with these pups (or whatever the current pickup is) or suggestions?

I hate the hassle and expense of changing pickups if I get the pup wrong. Hopefully my description of the tone I'm looking for is good enough to get some suggestions happening. Or perhaps this guitar just won't do it...but I think it will. Just fatter and narlier than what it's doing now.

I had an original Chandler Tube Driver when I first got the Hamer and used to run it through the TD into clean channel of the Peavey. The Driver (which has a power supply that died and appears to be irreparable) buries whatever guitar you run into it, does it's own thing to it...but it was a pretty cool thing with the Hamer. Fattened up that JB nicely.

Wondering if a pickup swap to a darker pickup might take care of thngs....?

TIA for any advice, experiences.

Steve

arniez
05-27-2005, 03:54 PM
Steve,
Hamer replaced the JB with a '59 bridge pickup in the Studio. They do use the Custom in some of their other guitars. I don't personally love PRS pickups so I really can't offer you any replacement advice:)
ArnieZ

Steve_2020
05-27-2005, 04:10 PM
Originally posted by arniez
Steve,
Hamer replaced the JB with a '59 bridge pickup in the Studio. They do use the Custom in some of their other guitars. I don't personally love PRS pickups so I really can't offer you any replacement advice:)
ArnieZ

Thanks Arne. Now that you mention it I've heard of using a 59 in the bridge position. How does your's sound?

Btw, I just mentioned the PRS thing cause it reminded me that the Hamer bridge pickup needed something done to it. I know some folks buy PRSs and pull the pickups out of em immediately. The Custom 24 has it's own space in my collection and I'm fine with what it does sonically.

What I'm hoping to do with my question here is get some suggestions - hopefully some real world experiences to help me get the Hamer's bridge tone fattened up and howling in a Gary Moore blues rock kinda way.

Thanks again,

Steve

chedgeco
05-27-2005, 06:51 PM
Steve,

I see you're in Cupertino, I'm in San Jose. I've just recently installed a Custom Custom in my Melancon. While the Melancon is a different guitar, you could get an idea of what the Custom Custom sounds like.

We could certainly get together and you could give it a spin. I was pleasantly surprised with the tone. I was looking for basically the same thing you are in a new pup. I am sold on this one.

PM me, I'll be around most of the weekend.

Chris... :cool:

arniez
05-27-2005, 07:46 PM
Steve,
The 59 is basically a paf style pickup, the Seth Lover model is a touch more authentic. I think both sound very good for stock pickups, if you want to get better from there you'l have to go boutique, IMO
ArnieZ

bobbystroker
05-27-2005, 09:08 PM
Originally posted by arniez
Steve,
Hamer replaced the JB with a '59 bridge pickup in the Studio. They do use the Custom in some of their other guitars. I don't personally love PRS pickups so I really can't offer you any replacement advice:)
ArnieZ

i'll 2nd this and admit i'm thoroughly surprised to be doing it. i just recently bought a heritage h150 with 2 59's. i play modern rock/punk and never thought a 59 would cut it. i full well intended on switching the bridge pup out for a jb i have around as soon as i got the guitar. well, as luck would have it, the guitar arrived the same day we had rehearsal so i took it down as is...plugged it in and was like WOW! a big, thick meaty tone. round, full and thick. not a lot of gain but my amp takes care of that. the whole band carried on (and still does) on how good it sounds. surprisingly, it works great. so, for what that is worth...had to throw my 2 coppers in. :dude

Scott Peterson
05-27-2005, 10:57 PM
One of the greatest guitars I have ever owned is my 95 Hamer USA Custom Studio. I utterly adore this guitar in every way. And I have owned some FINE guitars. The Hamer holds its own and then some.

I have logged a LOT of gigging shows on it.

The finest move I ever made with it is to put a set of WCR Darkbursts in it.

Everything that was great about the tone is now larger than life. I have owned this guitar for about 4 years now; with those pickups I am *very* comfortable telling you that I'll be telling the same thing 5, 10, 20 or more years from now (if I am still on this side of the dirt. :D)

Trust me on this - expensive as they might seem offhand - WCR Darkbursts + Hamer Studio = the ultimate rock and roll machine.

pirateflynn
05-28-2005, 12:27 AM
Originally posted by Scott Peterson
One of the greatest guitars I have ever owned is my 95 Hamer USA Custom Studio. I utterly adore this guitar in every way. And I have owned some FINE guitars. The Hamer holds its own and then some.

I have logged a LOT of gigging shows on it.

The finest move I ever made with it is to put a set of WCR Darkbursts in it.

Everything that was great about the tone is now larger than life. I have owned this guitar for about 4 years now; with those pickups I am *very* comfortable telling you that I'll be telling the same thing 5, 10, 20 or more years from now (if I am still on this side of the dirt. :D)

Trust me on this - expensive as they might seem offhand - WCR Darkbursts + Hamer Studio = the ultimate rock and roll machine.

I'm very glad you think so!

I have a '79 Sunburst in Trans Red w/ WCR Darkbursts. Great, great guitar!

http://www.hamerfanclub.com/memberpages/pirateflynn/IMG_0210.jpg:cool:

pirateflynn
05-28-2005, 12:58 AM
Steve_2020

I really like both WCR Crossroads and Darkbursts. Hope it helps.

:cool:

Steve_2020
05-28-2005, 02:45 AM
Originally posted by Scott Peterson
One of the greatest guitars I have ever owned is my 95 Hamer USA Custom Studio. I utterly adore this guitar in every way. And I have owned some FINE guitars. The Hamer holds its own and then some.

I have logged a LOT of gigging shows on it.

The finest move I ever made with it is to put a set of WCR Darkbursts in it.

Everything that was great about the tone is now larger than life. I have owned this guitar for about 4 years now; with those pickups I am *very* comfortable telling you that I'll be telling the same thing 5, 10, 20 or more years from now (if I am still on this side of the dirt. :D)

Trust me on this - expensive as they might seem offhand - WCR Darkbursts + Hamer Studio = the ultimate rock and roll machine.
Thanks for tip Scott! With such a strong recommendation I'll probably try the darkbursts.

And thanks to all for the many helpful posts on this thread. Looks like there's at least 3 good to great options for taking care of my crunch/fatness issues with the Hamer.

That Hamer-even with the trebly Duncan JB- spent several years as my #1 gig guitar until I got a passive mid-boost put in the G+L Legacy Special and it just gravitated toward the number one slot. This is only cause it turned into a better sonic fit (once I got it strat crunchy and wailing) for my weekend cover band for most songs. This was more a function of the musical style the band developed over the years, not the guitars.

Then the PRS Custom 24 came into the picture.

Actually the Hamer caused me a lot of PRS pre-purchase tension when I had that 30 day try-out window to take it back to GC because the Hamer played just about as well as the PRS did, better in some ways due to the scale length. I was having a hard time justifying the money the PRS was costing me even though I wasn't totally happy with the bridge pup sound of the Hamer.

Then I finally said what the hell and let the free interest deal tip the PRS in. Turns out I'm glad I wound up buying the Custom 24 because it really is it's own thing and it's great and versatile and all that stuff. Also it was way past time for a new guitar, if nothing else....and the Custom 24 is a great one, for me anyway.

But so is the Hamer. And with this pickup upgrade I'm looking forward to getting the Hamer really filling that slot where the fat, crunchy Gibson-style humbucker sounding rock and roll guitar should be.

thanks again for all the suggestions! :dude

bobbystroker
05-28-2005, 12:06 PM
congrats, steve. 3 great guitars. decisions, decisions, decisions. life is good, eh?? :D :cool:

Steve_2020
05-28-2005, 02:19 PM
Originally posted by bobbystroker
congrats, steve. 3 great guitars. decisions, decisions, decisions. life is good, eh?? :D :cool:
Yeah Bobby:p That's what's great about guitars and chasing tone. It's all fun stuff.

It's even more fun when you can take a hopefully big step toward better tone with a guitar you already love -and have paid for:D - by replacing some pickups.

There's still another Les Paul and another 335 in my future somewhere, but they won't be must-haves because the Hamer was falling a little short tonally. They'll be there because I happened to run across the right guitar at the right price.

Speaking of price, I've checked some other threads and of course what was mentioned on this one. It's cool that a bunch of folks around here appreciate Hamers and G+Ls for the great bang for the buck guitars they are.

Steve