Hamer Arist vs. CS336 vs. PRB HB

fjs1962

Gold Supporting Member
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2,461
I'm looking to a replacement for my 335 that isn't as big. I owned a PRS Hollowbody Spruce that was nice for jazz but had too soft of an attck for me to use for rock and blues. So I'm looking at PRS HBI (maple top), Gibson CS336s, and someone said I should also check out a Hamer Atrist. I'm going to look for used in whatever I buy so if it doesn't work for me I won't lose a ton of $. Unfortunately my shcedule is such that I can't get to a dealer (closet is 2.5 hours away) to try any of these. So I'm looking for opinions on the three. Which do you like and why?
 

sanhozay

klon free since 2009
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11,870
The Hamer Artist Custom is a fantastic instrument! I think they are flawlessly built and are equipped with stellar sounding pickups. I do not like the PRS or Gibson pickups at all.


The Hamer has a nice beefy neck {skinny minny on the Gibson} with super easy access in the upper registers {neither the PRS or the Gibby are nearly as good} and the fret & nut work {unlike Gibson - even their CS instruments are notoriously inconsistent} is outstanding, rivaling or superseding PRS. Which is saying a lot!

Buy a Hamer new and turn it around in two years and you'll get bagged. Buy used and be astonished! Hell, even at full price they warrant all the praise. And I predict that once Gibson finally nails the coffin shut that these babies will be in big demand and the smokin' deals often seen on used Hamer's will end.

If this was my dime then - No contest:

#1 Hamer
#2 PRS
#3 Gibson
 

Calloway

Silver Supporting Member
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1,703
I own a gibson 336 that is a really great guitar. i however have replaced the pickups in it with Duncan Antiquities. The flame on it is wonderful really beautiful. My friend has a hollow body prs that he really likes, but he always ends up playing my gibson more! My only criticism of the guitar which is leading me to thinking about selling it is that the 60's taper neck is just not working for me, and i'm looking into something totally different like an R6 goldtop or something with p90's.
 

KHK

Gold Supporting Member
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910
Can't speak to the Hamer or PRS but I recently purchased a 356 because my 355 is a load and I wanted something more comfortable. Same as a 336, no?

No QC issues in terms of the fit or finish. Beautiful wood and nice siennaburst finish. Honestly couldn't find a flaw inspite of the many reports about QC problems around here. Neck feel was slimmer than I was expecting but it felt pretty natural right out of the case and the ebony board is nice and slippery. There is an annoying design flaw (IMO) with the front pickup ring being mounted at 2 much of an angle to get the pickup parallel to the strings. Custom Shop did rectify the situation even though they stated it was within their spec. Would think that they are all that way but it may not bother you. The CS is not an easy bunch to get access to if you have a problem.
It is much lighter than the 355 and very comfortable on your shoulder and in your hands. Don't care for the '57 classics but I have WCR's in an LP so no surprise really...I'm spoiled. The overall sound is what I expected...more like the 355 than the LP but smaller with less bottom end. The 355 sounds darker/creamier and the 356 has more of a mid range emphasis. I have read many people say that it is a cross btwn the 335 and LP. That really means it has a sound all it's own which I agree with.

The surprise was how good it sounds with a gainy amp... the '57's are pretty articulate for that application. I actually like it better than the 355 or the LP for that matter through my mesa.
It has great natural sustain and sounds very nice plugged into my DR at pretty much any setting. It has a nice clean sound but not as sweet as the 355. All in all, a nice balanced and versatile guitar that is much easier to use than the 355.

My goal was pretty much the same as yours and I can say it was mission accomplished. That being said, I wish I had thought about it more carefully before I bought because it was terrible goal. It was alot of dough and I don't see myself being able to get by without other tools like the LP. Since I am not selling the 355, I wish I had looked into a Thorn with a cool man pickup tapping/switching setup that got me closer to my real goal of one guitar that does it all. That's what I'm doing now.
 

fjs1962

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2,461
Originally posted by sanhozay
The Hamer has a nice beefy neck {skinny minny on the Gibson} with super easy access in the upper registers {neither the PRS or the Gibby are nearly as good}
That's what I was afraid of with the Gibson. I don't really care too much for the slim-taper necks they do. So is the Hamer neck closer to the size of a PRS wide/fat? To me that's the perfect size, what I'd call a medium to med/lg neck.
 

sanhozay

klon free since 2009
Gold Supporting Member
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11,870
Originally posted by fjs1962
That's what I was afraid of with the Gibson. I don't really care too much for the slim-taper necks they do. So is the Hamer neck closer to the size of a PRS wide/fat? To me that's the perfect size, what I'd call a medium to med/lg neck.
The Hamer is almost idemntical in thickness and measurements to a PRS wide-fat neck. However, the radius on the Hamer is 14" as opposed to 10" on PRS guitars and the scale on the Hamer is slightly shorter, so they do feel different.

You won't be dissapointed with a Hamer Artist. They have one of the best taper on their volume & tone pots than any production humbucker guitar. There is even a built in boost on the volume control between 8.5-10 and it works exceptionally well for throtlling your guitar out front. Very cool feature. And because the taper on the pots is so dynamic you have a massive pallette of tones availble to color with. Gibson pots are useless unless you want one tone and play at full throttle all the time. I don't get the logic behind the pots that they install. All I hear is mud at low volumes and the tone controls functions as on/off switches and the volume control goes from loud to louder. Granted you can upgrade the Gibson eletronics for under $100 but still...
 

fjs1962

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
2,461
Originally posted by Rock Fella
Id go for Hamer Custom Studio, the Artist has a slight neck heaviness that I found a tad unsettling.
The only problem is I really want a semi-hollow. I already have two McCartys and a Les Paul for the solidbody stuff
 

Buffaloe

Member
Messages
574
Consider a Hamer Newport. I have an Artist Custom and a new Newport Pro. The Artist was my #1 but the Newport has edged it out. They are hollow forward of the bridge. There is a block in there to support the bridge and tailpiece., but completely hollow otherwise. They tend to be light. My Newport is 7 lps. 4 oz. My Artist is slightly heavier. It's also very resonant plugged and un. Build quality is steller. Slightly larger than the Artist, smaller than a 335.
 

Jim Gilmore

Member
Messages
86
If you don't mind a little searching, look for an Ibanez Artist AM50. It's from the golden age of Ibenez Artist series in the late 70's early 80's. The AM50 is the 3/4 size, smaller semi-hollow 335 style guitar model (they also hade a full size 335 style Artist model). These Ibanez Artist guitars had some of the best old style *ibson not too big, not too thin necks - a great hand full, nice tobacco burst finish, a great rock/blues smaller, lighter semi-hollow guitar. I found one for $800 a few years ago, and now have some Gibson P94 single coils in it. It's a vey experssive instrument. All of the suggestions above are truly great guitars; but poking around for one of those older Ibanez Artist semi hollow guitars can get you everything your looking for, for well under a grand, be every bit as good, plus you'll have a great neck that is already 18 to 20 years old (stable!). Enjoy the hunt.
 

sanhozay

klon free since 2009
Gold Supporting Member
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11,870
Here's one from our own emporium {I'm not the seller}:

1996 HAMER Arched Top Artist
Exc ++ Condition, light weight, Duncan Seth Lover Pickups, Nice medium girth neck, Awesome Flame Maple top over chambered Mahogany body with f hole, wraparound tailpiece, Original Hamer hard shell case, Schaller tuners, just a little Hameritis on the side of the neck/fingerboard area that doesn't effect anything (cosmetic). Guitar sounds like a combination mix of a Les Paul and a 335, without the weight & bulky body. Has a carved top like a Les Paul.

Lots of photos here...$850 shipped & paypalled...or USPostal money order cash discount price of $825 shipped. EBAY refs under Paul144

http://www.PictureTrail.com/gid7265970
 

tms13pin

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
1,847
Check out the Gadow Custom Hollow. www.rrgadowguitars.com
Best deal in handmade USA guitars out there. Fralins, tonepros
wrap bridge, carved top, coil taps, piezo option, etc. Nice GP
review (link to the article is on their site). Great folks to work
with. Neck is 1 3/4" at the nut (wide enough?) and has a 12"
radius. But, 25.5" scale, which I love! That's my spalted one
on the front of the homepage. You can play anything on these.

--Tom

P.S. Just found this... here you go... beautiful, brand new,
and an absolute steal for a handmade USA semi-hollow! If I
didn't already have one, I'd grab this right now!

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=7336477476&category=2384&ssPageName=WD1V&rd=1
 

Brion

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
4,059
+1 on the Newport I've had one for a few months now. The regular Newport has a Bigsby and Phat Cat pickups (Hum sized P-90 type) which is what I own. The Newport Pro uses Seth Lovers and has a TOM/stop tail config I've played these as well and they are very nice. It took me a while to get used to all of the useful tones to be had from using the volume and tone knobs. They interact very well and the tone knob is useful throughout it's whole range. This is with the phat cats, I'm not sure how the Newport pro with the seth's reacts to these changes as I have only played these in stores before I decided wether or not to buy one. I played 4-5 different ones and they all were set up nice and played wonderfully. I bought mine online without getting to play it first and it was set up just as nice as the others. There are not many guitar makers I would take that leap with, but every new hamer that I've played has had exceptional playability.
 

KHK

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
910
The choices above look very similar except for the Newport which is hollow. Looks like you could buy a 336 for alot or one of the others for alot less and have $$$ that could be spent on something else. The $850 Hamer would put you in a situation where you could check out the style at no risk. That style may not even be what you are looking for once you've played it for awhile. The Gadow is a lot less than the Gibson, has good press and the HB's split to single coil...very nice and hand crafted.
 

Rock Fella

Member
Messages
2,567
did anybody else find the Artist neck heavy as I did ?

it didnt make it unplayable or anything and it is a stonking guitar, its just that tendency to feel like it is sliding towards the floor when you let go of it that concerned me.
 

paul14470

Member
Messages
248
Hi everyone, I'm the one selling the Artist in the ad above...it is a little neck heavy, but I remedied this by adding a 6oz lead fishing sinker wrapped in electrical tape in the inside of the back control cavity. Its totally hidden, and held in place by a small set screw. It counterbalances the weight of the neck perfectly, and no one would ever know its there. The guitar is still crazy lightweight too.
My newer Hamer Custom Artist is a little heavier so its perfect.

I had a '87 Gibson 335 dot neck reissue that got sold when I bought the Artist...the body is just too damn big and uncomfortable to play. I'm on the short side, and always felt like the guitar was too big for me...not with the Hamers...sound even better than the 335 and feel awesome..
And I'm not just saying that because I'm selling one...I just found a great deal on a Custom and I'm letting the other Artist go.

You can't beat a used Hamer! If someone offered you a custom shop Gibson 335 for $850, you'd buy it right? Grab one before the prices start shooting up.
 




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