Hamer has also made custom Newports from time to time, and the company unveiled this stunning “one off” at Winter NAMM. The guitar—serial number S 5440, and bearing a list price of $6,220—was completed on November 16, 2005, and is absolutely one of the loveliest Hamers we’ve seen. It’s also quite different from previous Newports with its gorgeous flamed maple top, Brazilian rosewood fretboard, “victory” inlays, bound back, and trio of TV Jones Filter ’Tron pickups that feed a 5-position rotary selector. At 8 lbs, the new Newport was 16 ounces heavier than a 1999 model we compared it to. The 2006 version also has a mahogany control cavity on the back. To get to the pots or wiring on the oldie, you must reach in through the f holes—which, by the way, are bound on the new model.
As you might expect upon eyeing those gleaming Filter ’Trons, the 2006 Newport is a very different sounding animal than the 1999 model. Whereas the older guitar’s voice is accented with P-90-style midrange squawkiness, the new version has the twang and jangle associated with a Gretsch. Chet Atkins and Eddie Cochran probably would have totally dug what the Newport has to offer, and with three pickups, they’d have also gotten some cool clucky tones from the neck/middle and middle/bridge combinations— sounds that are not part of the classic Gretsch milieu. This is a very enticing guitar, and the pairing of Hamer’s superb design and craftsmanship with the distinctive sounding Filter ’Trons makes this custom Newport something special indeed.