Vintage Guitar - July 2016 - Open - 38
1) This '67 Swept-Wing Pro was refinished by Bill Gruggett when he worked with Shade and is the only solidbody Pro that Shade has seen in-person. 2) '67 Swept-Wing
Deluxe. 3 & 4) Swept-Wing semi-hollows in two-tone (left) and three-tone sunburst. 5) An Epcor prototype Swept-Wing from 1967, from Joe Hall's personal collection.
who also noted the interesting chronology
of their pickups.
"Joe designed them in 1966 with alnico
magnets running through the top of the
cover to the bottom of the pickup," he said.
"It was similar to what Fender was doing at
the time, but in a very Bakersfield sort of
way." But, after being threatened with legal
action for the design, in '67 Hall reverted to
a design he'd been using since his early days
as a builder in the late '50s.
"That pickup had adjustable pole pieces
and two flat alnico magnets under the coil,"
said Shade. "Joe had made some of this style
when he was commissioned to build several
prototypes for Standel. He'd also used the
design for the Sterling brand of guitars he
made in the early '60s, which were hand-built
with fancy scrolls, hand-formed aluminum
hardware, and fancy plexiglas pickguards."
Swept-Wing guitars were originally
marketed as solid-tailpiece "Pro" models
and "Deluxe" models with (outsourced)
vibrato tail pieces.
"Hallmark was not set up in the early
days for their own vibrato system," Shade
detailed. "The first Swept-Wing guitar with
one had a Kapa vibrato and bridge, made
in Hyattsville, Maryland. Joe ultimately
decided not to use Kapa hardware, and
instead went with a Japanese tailpiece that
was similar to Fender's design. Later, he had
a local machinist replicate the Japanese one,
but it was heavier and worked better than
the earlier Japanese vibratos."
An early black solidbody Swept-Wing
in Shade's collection has a '66-style neckposition pickup with non-adjustable pole
pieces and a '67-style pickup in the bridge.