Paul Hamer and Jol Dantzig became friends in 1970 with a common interest in guitars which led to the two buddies opening a music store northwest of Chicago in 1973, Northern Prairie Music.
They were a “fixer upper” shop specializing in restoring older instruments they bought on the cheap and flipping them.
The first guitar they built from scratch was a Flying V style bass for Dantzig in 73’ followed by an Explorer rendition for Hamer the next year (eventually known as their Standard model). While gigging they attracted enough attention to their personal “Hamer” guitars to begin taking orders in 1975.
After several other successful models, mainly of Gibson nostalgia, Hamer introduced their first original design called the Prototype in 1981.
As the decade moved on and eccentric pointy metal guitars became the rage Hamer got in the game with the Scarab. Rooted in Hamer’s flagship Standard body shape, the Scarab has a smaller, pointier treble horn and a large wavy cutout on the lower part of the body.
The Scarab was a short-lived offering by Hamer, 1984-986. Although Hamer did not entirely abandon “guitars with flare” (Scepter model 1985) in the mid 80s they began to focus their efforts on super strat style guitars coming out with the Chaparral in 1985.
The wheels came off a couple of years later, Paul Hamer left in 1987, a year before being bought by Kaman, and Dantzig lasted until 1993.
In 1988 Kaman Music Corporation (KMC), the parent company of Ovation, bought Hamer. Kaman sold their musical properties to Fender in 2007 and six years later Fender ended their run of the Hamer brand. However, JAM Industries acquired KMC 2015 and reintroduced Hamer in 2017.
There were two Scarab models the I and II, nomenclature based on the number of humbuckers.
Plus a Scarab bass. Being a boutique shop there were a variety of offerings available on the Scarab, a Floyd Rose or Kahler, rosewood or ebony fretboard, and even LED light inlays! Pickups were generally Hamer Slammers (made by DiMarzio).