Andy had a little-known partnership with the Hamer company during the Police years. Hamer got in touch with Andy alot of times during his Police days and offered to build him some fabulous custom instruments. These humbucker-loaded guitars gave Andy's tone some power and sustain that he craved. Here are the Hamers Andy had:
Andy bought a Hamer Standard around early '78. This is basically a "better" version of a Gibson Explorer. Andy regarded highly of it's neck, which would later serve it's purpose . . .
Andy also had a Hamer Fretless guitar, which he got before the "Ghost In The Machine" sessions. He claimed in December '81's Musician Magazine that it: "only works on the bottom four strings anyway." He never used it on-stage or in studio, but employed it on his first duet album with Robert Fripp, "I Advanced Masked."
Update: Andy is pictured with this guitar on the cover of the May 1981 issue of Guitar World.
Hamer's first original design intrigued Andy very much. He got this Hamer around '79. He used this guitar on some of "Zenyatta Mondatta", but every album after it would have his Hamers all over the place. Note that the name "Sunburst" is very misleading, as Hamer offered the "Sunburst" in a variety of colors, like transparent cherry (Andy's favorite color?)
This is a really unusual acquisition that's best left for Andy to explain. "[Hamer] gave me a great guitar on the last big tour we did of the States," he told Musician magazine in 1981, "where they put one pick-up back at the bridge, and it's like three pick-ups in one, and that has been very effective." It can be seen in the "De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da" video.
Update: Having watched the 'Police Around The Word Video' I can testify for the other-worldy sounds of this instrument. Andy used it quite frequently live during the 1980-1981 Zenyatta Mondatta Tour, most notably on 'When The World Is Running Down' and 'Shadows In The Rain.' Incredible instrument for an incredible player.
The Hamer Phantom was an obscure guitar design that Hamer debuted around mid '81. It is now highly collectable. Andy received one and used it for certain songs during the "Ghost In The Machine" Tour. My guess is it was used in the studio alot as well, since it has a Kahler locking tremelo system. It has a single coil in the neck position and a humbucker for the bridge. I have not seen pictures of him using it onstage for the "Synchronicity" tour...
Update: It turns out Andy Summers was the co-designer for the Phantom! Look at this ad, taken from a different angle, and you'll see the humbucker isn't a triple. Due to the growing popularity of guitar synths in the 80's, Hamer decided to market the Phantom in a Roland Guitar Synth compatible version, adding the synth pickup right behind the triple pickup and a plastic shim on the Kahler tremolo to reduce stray resonance from the guitar (back in the days of 'primitive' guitar synths, it took any little vibration to trigger the synth. In other words, doing Pete Townshend 'windmills' triggered off hundred upon hundreds of glitches.)
An alternate view of a Hamer Phantom, one of the definitive 80's guitars.
Probably the most famous Hamer Andy has been seen with. "At the moment Hamer are making me a guitar," he told John Dalton of Guitar Magazine in 1980. "It should be very nice, a combination of the Explorer-type Standard guitar, and the Sunburst. I have both of those, and the Standard has a beautiful neck, better than that on the Sunburst, so they're going to combine them for me on a cherry red body and fit a pair of Gibson '58 PAF's for me."
Andy has used this guitar live, in the studio, on videos . . . thus helping strengthen the excellent reputation of Hamer guitars.
By Greg Danielak - 2000