12-String Bass Art

The first drawings of 12-string basses appeared very soon after the appearance of the first Hamer Quad Bass. While there are countless drawings of band members, only rarely will the instruments be accurately represented, the focus is typically on the faces of the musicians.

The front cover of Volume 1 of the Japanese Cheap Trick fan magazine, Cheap Sweets, may be the very first publication of any kind to display a 12-string bass. This issue seems to have been the only volume published because a competing magazine, Cheap Jack, appeared at roughly the same time. The drawing shows a reasonably accurate 12-string bass held by a Mona Lisa look-alike wearing Rick Nielsen’s baseball cap, smoking Bun E. Carlos’ cigarette and with Robin Zander’s hair.

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Published in 1978

This issue of Cheap Sweets appeared on March 21, 1978, only a couple of months after Cheap Trick starting using the 12-string bass in their live performances.


The fan magazine Cheap Jack featured Tom Petersson and the Hamer Quad Bass on the front cover of Volume 6. Tom seems to have a headache, or perhaps he just remembered he left the stove on.

A cartoon in Vol. 6 also shows the Hamer Quad Bass, although somehow all the band members’ noses are missing.

This issue appeared on June 16, 1978. Cheap Jack was published for just over one year with a total of 22 volumes being circulated.


Drawing of Tom Petersson from Madcity Music Sheet magazine, Fall 1978. Drawing by Dana Derber.


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Cheap Trick - Busted Comic

To try to capitalize on the success achieved with Cheap Trick’s “Lap of Luxury” album, for the “Busted” album in 1990 Marvel Comics published this illustrated ‘history’ of how the band got together. It contains 8 pages of comics plus promotional hype and ads for Cheap Trick on the covers.

Two panels in the comic show Tom Petersson playing his Hamer B12A.

Illustrations by created by June Brigman and Ralph Cabrera.


While at first glance this doesn’t appear to be a 12-string bass, Lily Johnson did a great job capturing her dad’s 12 - and won a contest in the process!

Ron Johnson on stage with his sea foam green Waterstone TP-2 12-string bass. The prize that Lily won was another 12-string bass for her dad!


Pokemon and 12’s make a good combination? You bet! Drawn by Cheyenne Rowe.

A Hamer 12 and a surf board - Shaka Brah! Drawn by Cheyenne Rowe.


12-String Bass Painting

This oil painting was created by Monty Colvin in 2008 and was used as the cover art for the “Overkill Is Just Enough” 12-string bass compilation album. The painting measures 8” by 10” and was painted on Masonite. The strings were drawn in with a silver sharpie. It is signed by Monty.