The Hallmark Sweptwing Prototype - Bakersfield Classic

Matthewriot

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For those wondering about the history of the swept wing a great article from Willie G Moesely and Vintage Guitar Mag


This one was a guitar that popped up in our local serious music shop, Front Porch Music, and for more than two decades I saw it and a sister piece in a diff color on that wall. I always tried to get the owner to come off of it cheap, and for over 20 years he never would. i moved away for 11 years, came back and saw it still on the wall. It was old, the water slide decal was peeling off, the bridge was falling apart, it absolutely couldn’t even be played in the condition it was in, and The owner still wouldn’t come off it any cheaper. I didn’t know much about the history of Hallmark or it’s connection to Moseley and Grugget or any of it - to me it was a cool shaped unplayable guitar. I asked a little more about it on my final visit to the shop - Apparently it was a prototype built for Bob Shade that he rejected at some point for whatever reason. I’d imagine if they showed him this quality of buildsmanship when it came to care and using good parts he wasn’t too impressed.

With that said - I love this body. It’s god a beautiful base. i love the shape of the headstock. However I’m not sure that this neck is really worth using as is. I’m taking it over to my stepdad who is a master woodsman (he woudlnt call himself that but he truly is) - and he’s gonna check out how straight the neck is, the wood, the rod, etc. if it’s not worth salvaging we will make a template from it and make a new one using better wood and fretboard material, - the tuning keys need to be replaced either way.

For the body I will be adding a bigsby b5. I don’t want to drill holes and I do have a vibramate for the b5 but I’m not sure if what’s on here will work with the vibramate and may have to drill anyway. Again, I’m fortunate that I have someone who knows what they’re doing to do all of the labor. I’ll be posting as it’s updated and upgraded. I’m not sure what pickups are there, but I will most likely scrap them and put in some Lindy p90s that I have hanging around (I tend to overbuy). I’m betting that the pickups are pretty cheap if the bridge and tailpiece are any implication.
Looking forward to the journey.
 

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smk506

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Looks neat, I like the body shape and the color is super cool. I’d try out those pickups before replacing them, some of those funky old ones have a lot going on and they’re p90s so worth having a listen.
 

Matthewriot

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I may give the pickups a try out before I decide - just looked at the nut - I can’t stop shaking my head
 

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Matthewriot

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Another great write up with pics of originals. The hesdstock is very diff on this one here.

 

smk506

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It’s definitely an oddball that’s for sure. Looks cool though, as long as you can fix up the neck ok or make a new one it should be fun either way.
 

Matthewriot

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As of last night we were checking out the neck - looks like someone cut the end off of an Allan wrench socket and used that to turn the truss rod. I ordered a Schaller 10/32 and a Fender bullet 10/32 to see if those nuts fit. Whole lotta jank going on with this girl. After buying it I didn’t put a whole lot of time into checking under the hood - I just got it home and realized how unplayable it was as nuts fell out of the saddle. Will make a fun build though. I think we can salvage the neck and hesdstock - the headstock is one of my fave parts Vs the original headstocks. Flows with the body better
 

redcoats1976

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pretty sure there was an article in vintage guitar magazine on these a few years ago.you might find it in their online archives.edit.you can look it up and find the article online,i just did,interesting background.
 
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Matthewriot

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I put the link in the first post, but it’s missing some of the images - I’ll add the images here if it lets me
 

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Matthewriot

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Another modification we will be making is redoing the pickguard and possibly the body to put the neck pickup at the correct angle. Hopefully rebuilding this like it should’ve been done in the first place. This adventure really has made me question how much the owner of front porch know about building guitars. I’m below amateur and some of this is just puzzling.
 

SASouth

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Contact Bob Shade. If this is an original proto Hallmark from the 60’s I would definitely talk to him before doing anything to it.
 

Matthewriot

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No, it’s definitely not a promo from the 60s. As best I can tell Arty from front Porch Music built these as prototypes to take to Bob Shade for a new model or possibly to try to … who knows… He didn’t comment on whether he was impressed or not, however told me any questions could be taken to Arty - and that is the same person who was sawing Allen wrench bolts in half for the truss rod and the rest lol. So I know it was somehow built to specs as far as body shape, but I think that’s where it ends. It’s sister prototype is still probably hanging in front porch music on the wall. He wants low end gibson prices for it last I checked. Not too tempted to buy the other after seeing what needs to be done.
 

Matthewriot

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Note - if it had been built by shade or hall, it woulda been way better built with not much to repair, since this had never been in playing cond.
 

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