The Hamer FM Special
This guitar was introduced as a follow-up to the successful Special. The body is constructed of a single piece of pattern grade Honduras mahogany with a flat 3/8" figured maple cap. My particular guitar has the maple cap finished in a flame style, and has a pronounced tiger striping. The neck is also Honduras mahogany with a rosewood fingerboard with Schaller tuners. The pickups are made by Seymour Duncan, with a JB in the bridge position and a '59 Zebra in the neck position. Essentially, the FM is a slab-cut Les Paul. Andy Widders-Ellis reviewed this instrument in the June 1993 issue of Guitar Player, and summed up the with "The FM plays like a dream, looks downright sensual, and sounds thoroughly musical". I certainly like and use it as my main guitar. I've always had problems with Les Pauls, since the upper strap button caused the strap to cut in my neck. The extended upper bout solves that problem for me. Manufacturers such as Paul Reed Smith seem to think that it is a good idea too, since their standard body style has the same feature. This particular example was purchased from the Guitar Emporium in Lousiville, Kentucky in the spring of 1995. I experimented with various coil splitting options, but settled on a pull switch that puts the two pickups out of phase. The mismatch of the JB and the 59 is enough that the out of phase sound with both pickups full up the sound is roughly as loud as the in-phase, but funkier. Adjusting the relative volumes of the two pickups produces a wide variety of sounds.