Hamer CH-12 Chaparral Bass

The Hamer CH-12 Chaparral 12-string bass was introduced in the summer of 2000. Cosmetically it is identical to the Hamer USA model B12L but the features and construction have been trimmed to reflect its lower cost. The CH-12 sells new at retail for about 30% of the B12L. Originally the CH-12 was made in Korea but production was subsequently moved to China and then Indonesia. The Korean basses are generally accepted to be the best quality CH-12's.

CH-12 White Pearl finish
The White Pearl finish was available on the Korean basses, but all Chinese and Indonesian 12's are black.


Korean CH-12 Headstock


CH-12 8-Saddle Bridge and Tailpiece


The Chinese-made basses are part of the Hamer XT Series.
They have "XT Series" inscribed on the headstock, and "Chaparral 12" on the truss rod cover.


2005 Chinese CH-12 with brass nut

Customized CH-12's

Pekka Ranta's CH-12 with Custom B12S-Style Body

The neck, pickups and hardware are from a black 2001 Hamer CH-12. The alder body was made by Marko Ursin in Finland. The finish was produced by putting mahogany stain between nitro coats. The original CH-12's active electronics were removed; now the pots are just volumes for each pickup.

When asked about the sound of the different body Pekka reported, "Well, the sound is rounder and the harshness with the old bridge pickup location is gone. The front pickup is in the P-Bass position and when the bridge pickup is soloed you can spot a bit of a Sting Ray sound there. When both are played together the sound is more mellow. I actually thought there would be much less tonal variation. Of course I didn't or can't do an A / B test with the old body but the new body resonates better and is a bit louder and open sounding when played unplugged."

"The reason to ditch the preamp was that I prefer to tweak the amp and pedals. The very main reason to change the body was of course the looks."

Hamer CH-12 in a Custom Metal Flake Purple finish


The work was done by GMW Guitars which is the Jackson / Charvel custom shop. Everything but the face of the headstock was stripped.
The back of the neck and headstock were left natural.

The pickups were replaced with EMG-40 soap bar pickups and a BTC active tone circuit was added.

Custom Stars Finish CH-12 by Steve Cooper

The stick-on stars are part of a set that was intended to be used as decorations for a kid's room.

Very cool!


Custom Pick Guard, Control Cavity Cover and Truss Rod Cover on a Black CH-12


The bass now has new knobs and a sticker.

Korean CH-12 Features:
Mahogany Body
Glue-In Set Maple Neck with dual Truss rods
Custom 12-string 8-saddle bridge
Custom Tailpiece
Long Scale 34" Length
Two Humbucking pickups
Active Bass and Treble pots, Volume and Pan Controls
Split V Headstock
Rosewood Fingerboard, Mother of Pearl dot inlays
Chrome Tuners
Produced in Gloss Black and White Pearl Finishes


Chinese / Indonesian CH-12XT Features:
Basswood Body
Available in Gloss Black Finish Only
Other features similar to the Korean basses


Hamer CH-12 Ad:

"The Chaparral 12-String Bass is designed after its cousin the Hamer USA B12L, with a Maple neck and a Mahogany body. The set neck features two truss rods for a stronger and truer neck. Two humbucking pickups provide sparkling highs as well as all the bottom end you'll ever need. Active tone pots and a pan control provide custom sound tailoring. The bass features the four fundamental strings with the octave strings doubled for incredible sounds."

Although both the B12L and CH-12 should have stereo jacks, that does not mean that they have a stereo output. When correctly wired, the ring of the stereo jack serves as a battery disconnect for the active electronics. Plugging your cord into the jack turns the active electronics on, and removing the cord disconnects the electronics and preserves the life of the battery. So the jack is stereo, but the output is mono.

The first shipment of Korean Hamer CH-12 basses was shipped with incorrect mono output jacks. These jacks cause the batteries to become completely drained within a very short time. Check here for instructions on how to correct this problem.