Hamer ranks as one of the earliest boutique electric guitar makers, kicking off operations in Illinois in the early '70s. While many early models were adaptations of Gibson designs like the Explorer and Flying V, Hamer readily brought more modern finishes and features to their instruments. Notable Hamer endorsees include Rick Nielsen of Cheap Trick who famously owns a five-necked Hamer. Hamer also produced a series of 8- and 12-string basses which have earned a devoted following in the years since their introduction. After the departure of key builders including Paul Hamer himself, the brand changed ownership a number of times through the '90s and 2000s. In 2012, Hamer production ceased entirely, though a sizable fan-base of Hamer loyalists continue to seek out used specimens all over the internet.