Vintage Guitar - July 2016 - Open - 36
Brief Flight from South of Bakersfield
By Willie g. moseley
pHoTos By miCHael g. sTeWarT
ob Shade exemplifies the adage "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery." The guitar builder has an enviable assortment of '60s Hallmark
guitars and basses, and they've inspired his own creations.
Hallmark was founded by Joe Hall (19382011), a former Mosrite employee who in
1965 opened a shop in Arvin, California,
just down the road from Mosrite headquarters in Bakersfield. Hallmark's signature
model was the Swept-Wing, a modernistic
instrument with a silhouette that resembled
the "scoop" on the side of a Corvette body.
Hall dressed his instruments with cer-
tain Mosrite parts such as strap buttons
and bridge saddles, and had an informal
partnership with another Mosrite defector,
Bill Gruggett (1937-2012), who in the late
'60s also made instruments bearing his
surname. Decades later, Hall and Gruggett were affiliated with Shade's modern
Hallmark's early lineup consisted of
'66 swept-Wing Deluxe models in white and
black (the middle with pickguard signed by Dick
Dale in the '90s). A '67 swept-Wing Deluxe
with its original-equipment hallmark strap.
solidbody guitars and basses made from
alder or mahogany. Their bolt-on maple
neck was two-piece laminate and the
fretboards were rosewood with a zero fret;
guitars had a 25.5" scale, basses were 30".
"It was a great neck, because if you sliced
[the wood] in two pieces, reversed one,
then glued them together, its stability was
as good as a quartersawn neck," said Shade,