Hamer B12L Fretless 12-String Bass

1999 Hamer Fretless B12L 12-String Bass

Not only is this the only fretless 12-string bass that was ever built by Hamer, it is also the very first fretless 12-string bass to be built by any manufacturer. It was built in 1999 and was the sole fretless 12-string bass on the planet until the fretless Rothstein Andromeda appeared in 2006.

1999 Candy Blue Hamer unlined fretless B12L 12-string bass, strung Inverted.

This 12 is strung Inverted with the fundamental string on top. We have never understood the argument that stringing a 12-string bass either Standard or Inverted is dependent on whether or not the bassist plays with a pick or fingerstyle. Surf plays with a pick.

The Candy Blue finish was selected after seeing an imported Hamer 4-string bass in a music store that had a similar finish. The USA version of this finish is much richer and has more depth. It takes on a definite teal cast under certain stage lighting.

So why was this bass built fretless? Surf learned to play on a fretless and played fretless basses almost exclusively until the last few years. Hamer had no hesitation in a building a fretless 12-string bass but they were very concerned about stringing it Inverted. According to Kim Keller at Hamer Guitars, over the years they had made several 12-string basses strung Inverted, and without exception all had been returned to Hamer to be restrung to the Standard arrangement - which was a pain to do. It took Surf 30 minutes on the phone explaining to Jol Dantzig why he wanted this bass to be strung Inverted - and the fact that Surf had 12 years of experience playing a Rickenbacker fretless 8-string bass that is strung the same way no doubt sealed the deal.

Surf on stage in 2011.