Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Flying V Trick

I do this almost every night at the end of the show. It works with either of my two Hamer Vectors that are out here on tour with me. I am always amazed that they have such incredible balance. I wonder if Ted McCarty knew about this when he came up with the shape back in the 1950's?
FYI the strap is a normal nylon one from Seymour Duncan. No structure in it at all. The guitar is balancing only on it's two points.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Jol Dantzig

Jol and some of the good Hamer folks came out to our recent show in Connecticut. We filmed a video interview that will appear at soon, and Jol and I traded some licks on stage at soundcheck as well. Good times.

Korina Standard!

Here's an old favorite that I've been working out for two encore songs the past week or so out here. My Hamer Korina Standard, circa 1997 I think. New pickups for this year, Duncan 59's with gold covers, to make a more vintage look. This guitar feels so well balanced and comfortable. I just love it like a comfy old pair of sneakers. Thanks to my long-time tech and friend, Donnie Spada, for convincing me not to leave it at home :) Click on the photos to super-size.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Duotone, refinished

Hello everyone! The tour has been going well. Great audiences, great shows. It is exhausting from time to time, but I can't complain. I play this Hamer Duotone for a number of songs every night. I got it from Hamer maybe 8 years ago, and now this year they refinished it for me in Transparent Arctic White to match our stage set and the look of the show. Anyway, the key thing about the Duotone is that it is both an electric guitar and acoustic guitar at the same time. As you can see from the pictures, there are two plugs, one for the electric pickups, which goes to my amp, and one for the acoustic pickup, which goes to a DI and then into the house PA system. The two tones sound quite lush when mixed together, and sound great on "Don't Speak", "Simple Kind of Life", "Running" and "It's My Life". If you're coming to a show, listen for it. Click on any photo to supersize.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Guitar in action

This a photo from Saturday nights show at Tiger Jam in Las Vegas. I found it on the internet and thought it offered a good depiction of my new guitar in action. My bandmate, No Doubt bassist Tony Kanal, is pictured to my right.
It's good to be rocking and on the road again! (click on photo to supersize it)

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Amp and Pedals

It's time to check out my touring amp/pedal rig for 2009.
Below is the whole system pictured a few weeks ago at rehearsals:

Below left is the wireless/pedal/switching rack. Below right are heads.
At the point this photo was taken, I was still switching out pedals, so the wiring appears
somewhat untidy. It all got tightened up last week, as seen in the next picture below.

And below is a closeup of the pedals. Dave Friedman wired this rack up, as you can see I keep a pretty simple setup.
I like the guitar and amps to sound like a guitar and amps, most of the time, If you dig.
Click on any photo to supersize it.

And here is my key gear list to the best of my knowledge:

Divided by 13 "RSA 31" Amp heads
Divided by 13 4 x 12 Cabinets equipped with 16ohm Celestion G12M "Greenbacks".
I use one head to drive both cabs, and the other head is for backup.

Audio Technica wireless system.

GCX pedal switching system.

Eventide Modfactor and Timefactor pedals.

MXR Auto Q pedal.

Tone Freak Buff Puff and Naked OD pedals.

MXR Bass Octave Deluxe pedal.

Furman Power conditioner.

A&S Flight Cases

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Ladies and Gentlemen, introducing Arctic White Korina Vector!

Check it out! Tortoise shell pickguard and binding, Duncan Fat Cat pickups, Transparent Arctic White over African Limba wood ( also known as Korina). Hot from the factory and ready for the road. See me play it tomorrow morning May 1, 2009 on the Today show, hear it live on tour with No Doubt all summer.

Friday, April 24, 2009

The Special is finished!

Some photos from rehearsal today, click to supersize them.
This is the "Special", made of African Mahogany or Limba Wood, in Arctic transparent white. It has Duncan Fat Cat pickups and Hamer's own Original Sustain Block Bridge, which I especially love becuase it does actually provide more sustain than all my other guitars. Go figure. This one sounds and plays insanely nice. Like butter. I think it's going to be the main guitar for this tour. Fat Cats are my new fav pickup as well. My new /13 Amps love the Fat Cats. I think it's going to be a humbuckerless tour for me. This Special realy fits like a glove. Thanks everyone at Hamer it's super sweet!!!

Monday, April 20, 2009


Top photo we see the Vector in the assembly stage. And then below the headstocks after finishing. Getting close...

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Here we take a look at the Vector all masked up and taking a fine coat of Arctic White paint via airbrush.
Click on the photos to supersize them.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Guitar Guru

Jol Dantzig is the main man at Hamer, he's an artist in more ways than one, and this is his blog.
Kind of the inspiration for mine here, actually. I just love things that are well designed, well made, and by hand.
And that's what Jol and the Hamer folks do, so check it out.

More sanding!

Click on photos to giant-size them

Friday, April 3, 2009

Week three, binding the "V"...

Above, the Vector receives a fine sanding by hand. Please consider the binding which has been hand-cut and laid into place. For these instruments the binding is actually done in 3 layers;
the main ply is Tortoise Shell (cellulose and NOT from a real turtle) and Black and White between the tortoise & fingerboard.
The individual plys arrive in sheets, which Hamer luthiers fuse together then cuts into strips.
Next they route - by hand - the channels where the binding will lay.
For these guitars, this includes the headstock, fingerboard, and body.
The binding is then hand bent around the headstock and body, using a heat gun. This can get tricky...move too fast and you can kink the binding. Move too slow and you'll melt it.
After the correct shape is achieved the binding is glued to the channel and cures for
at least a day.
All binding then gets sanded flat with the wood surfaces,
plus the fingerboard binding is scraped along it's edge and around the fret ends.
Click on the photos to enlarge.

Above Dave applies an exacto knife to scrape the edges of the fingerboard binding.
The detail work is simply inspiring to me. Can't wait to make music on that thing!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Hamer Monaco Elite "TV" 2005

Click on photos to enlarge.
This is a custom guitar that the Hamer folks built for me in 2005. It has a nice heavy solid Mahogany body, with a "matte" TV finish. One volume knob, and one tone to keep it simple. Also there is a 5 position rotary-style pickup selector. You'll notice 3 TV Jones pickups to add a vintage Gretch-like tone and continue the TV theme. And furthurmore I play this guitar on No Doubt's upcoming TV appearance on the Gossip Girl spinoff, airing on May 11th on the CW television network. For that performance I also customized the look of this guitar with stripes fashioned from black electrical tape.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Week Two

Above you see the Vector headstock being sanded. Click on the photos for big ones.
And here above you see a Hamer craftsman gluing the two halves of the Vector body together. I know the order of these posts are mixed up somewhat, that should work itself out in the coming weeks.
This is the body of the Special cut out, routed and showing off its fine Korina grain. Looking very nice indeed.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Two Guitars, week one:

The folks at Hamer are building me two new guitars for the upcoming No Doubt tour. One is a "Vector" (sometimes referred to as a flying v). The other is a Special Korina.
Both will share the same paint scheme of a transparent Acrtic white, where the grain of the Korina can be readily seen beneath the finish. This color will tie in to the design of the stage-set we're building for the tour.
Both guitars will have transparent white headstocks as well, and the Vector will be fully bound. (You'll get a chance to see how that looks in a few weeks.) The Vector will be outfitted with two Duncan Fatcat pickups, and the Special with to Duncan '59's.
Above here you see the body of the Vector being cut out by hand. And below, both necks are shown in the process of being hand carved. Notice how the wood grain is angled and glued into a "chevron" pattern on both halves of the Vector body. This way the grain runs parallel to the outer edges
of the V's body. Sweet! Click on the photos to "blow them up"!

Hamer "Special Jr." w Humbuckers

Here we go, first post! This modified Hamer Special Jr. was built in 2003 of African Limba wood, also known as "Korina". This hot rod originally came from the shop with a single Duncan P90 pickup. For a change of character I had the Duncan Antiquity humbuckers put in. (I have another Korina Special Jr, almost identical, but built in 2004 with two P90's.) Two pickups just makes for a more versatile, usable guitar for me. Playing No Doubt music, I spend a lot of time in the middle pickup selector position. Note the volume and tone knobs stolen from one of my old MXR stompbox pedals!