I took this photo of Martin Turner of Wishbone Ash standing in his driveway after receiving the Standard bass. It’s not quite the first Hamer, but the first one with a serial number: #0001.

A vintage Gibson might have been a missed opportunity, but it inspired a pair of builders to reach for greatness.

Everyone has that “one that got away” story, and as a former small-time vintage-guitar dealer, I’ve got more than a few. The blue-chip examples that passed through my hands haunt me, but there were others that just spoke to my soul. I have fond memories of the hunts, catches, and the releases. Even the ones beyond reach or missed opportunities were exciting. Still, there was one encounter that sticks out maybe more than all. In fact, it led to my 50-year-and-still-counting stint as an instrument builder.

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