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.
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.