Hamer Serial Numbering System

From 1974 through 1985 Hamer USA employed two separate serial numbering systems, one for custom instruments and one for production models. From 1985 until they closed up shop in 2112, all Hamer instruments were numbered according to the Production Model system, including all standard production line guitars and basses, and all special and custom orders.

Custom B12S made for Jon Brant of Cheap Trick in 1982, serial #0642.

Serial #0408 on another Hamer B12S.

Custom Instruments

These instruments are easily recognized by the use of a four-digit serial number stamped into the wood on the back of the headstock. According to Hamer the numbers ran from #0000 through #0680, however numbers into the mid 0700's have been documented and may go as high as the low 0800's. The numbers can be difficult to read as they were sometimes stamped at a slight angle or with inconsistent pressure, consequently mistakes exist on published serial number lists. All of the early Hamer USA Standards and 12-string basses such as the Quad Bass as well as a number of prototype instruments were included in this serial numbering system.

Headstock from 1991 showing the position and orientation of many Hamer USA serial numbers.

Production Models

Starting in 1977 the production models are stamped (initially with ink, later into the wood, on the back of the headstock) with either a five-digit or six-digit serial number. The first digit indicates the year that the instrument was built. The next four or five digits are sequentially stamped in order of production. For example, serial number 7 0001 was built in 1977 and was the first production model guitar built. Similarly, 0 1964 was built in 1980 and was the 1,964th production guitar built. The serial numbering sequence by decade is as follows:

  • 1977 - 1979

  • 1980 - 1989

  • 1990 - 1999

  • 2000 - 2012

  • 7 0001 - 9 1450

  • 0 1451 - 9 24192

  • 024193 - 950155

  • 050156 - Unknown

Serial numbers are also found positioned across the top on production model instruments, rather than being positioned between the tuning machines.

Many USA-made models were also stamped "USA" below the serial number.

Serial numbers on Hamer CH-12’s

Regardless of whether they were built in South Korea, Indonesia or China, all imported Hamer Chaparral 12-string basses have 7-digit serial numbers. As with the USA-made basses, the first number indicates the year of manufacture. The serial number and country of origin are printed onto a sticker or decal rather than being stamped into the wood. These serial number stickers can be found in various places and positions on the back of the headstocks.