In November 2019 I was surfing the web looking for something special. Maybe it’s a mid-life crisis thing, or just that I love playing my basses so much I want to play all the instruments I can get my hands on. Never-the-less, I was bouncing around items on Reverb and took a break to see what Ed Romans had listed.
They’ll make you anything you want at Romans, the quality is very playable, but I was really hankering for a one of a kind that was made by the hands of the person who had the dream, created the vision and built the brand. There it was. Jack Blade’s Hamer Scarab.
Anyone into rock and roll knows who Night Ranger is and is well aware of who Jack Blades is. He’s great, there’s no denying it – and this is stated as being his custom built, one of a kind bass. Normally I’d have spent days doing research, but I remember being 14 and seeing Night Ranger and I could swear, at the Worcester Centrum, in front of 18k people, Jack Blades was playing this and I said to myself, “Someday I’m going to play that guitar!”
I called Romans without haste and bought it. Price not disclosed, but they treated me extremely well, I’d say, more in my favor than theirs – and it’s another reason I appreciate the staff at Romans. Here are some shots of the guitar since I had it detailed and brought up to peak playing ability.
On the phone I was told, “Ed has stated he’s confident this was actually Jack’s bass and we can stand behind that statement from him, but we have no official documentation.”
So I had already pulled the trigger. The bass was on its way to me, regardless of the true history… but now I had to find out.
Reaching out to whomever I could
I started with the obvious places. Lets contact Jack Blades. Well, in the end, the only outlet online to find Jack was sadly, social media. I sent him a message through Facebook, hoping that he, or whomever monitors his social media pages would respond. To this date, the message still shows as unread – it’s been a few months (at the point of me writing this here).
In the past, I had done some cool video work with Brad Gillis, so I took time to reach out to him. I simply stated what I’d bought and the claim it has on it, is he at all aware of it, or could he point the question to Jack Blades, or someone who might know. To no avail, it lies unread and un-responded too. Kind of a bummer, but after all, who am I? Why would I expect a response.
I reached out to KMC Music, the people who now own the Hamer brand, and of course, there isn’t a person working there that really knows anything about the brand. It’s a conglomerate situation – it’s just a brand name. No help there, but they were kind and offered to ask around and get back to me. They still haven’t responded, but that’s to no avail.
Then, the Power of the Web
I looked up Jol Dantzig, co-founder of Hamer and he’s right there, online, making guitars and easy to reach. I left a message on his machine and in two minutes I got a call back, from Jol himself. Very cool.
Jol was able to confirm for me that he did actually make this Scarab, and it was a custom order from Jack Blades. What’s better, we ran over the original spec/order sheet and down to the original paint job on it – everything on the Scarab is original, the way he built it, verified by the original order form and build sheet – which he was more than kind to send me a copy of for posterity – I’m forever grateful to him for that.
As Jol stated, “My pleasure, your treasure.” A real mensch. Thanks Jol.
So here’s what it was ordered special with:
The custom parts state:
– Kahler Tremelo
– Slim Neck
– DayGlow Blue Paint
– Black Pegheads
– Black EMG Pickups
– 25k Ohm Pots
– No Pickguard
– Mondo Logo on the Headstock with “Jack Blades”
Eric’s Guitar Shop – Los Angeles
I brought it down to Eric, who immediately while holding it, stated the few things that would bring it right back to its original playability. Eric is the guitar whisperer.
– Score nut, remove and shim
– Deoxidize the frets, clean and condition fingerboard
– Re-String, intonate, action and component/hardware adjustment
– Clean all electronics
– Re-align E-String saddle (my request)
Bam – picture perfect.
To my new Hamer family members – I hope you like the pics to see what it is.