Price paid: C$ 700
Purchased from: aamp
Sound — 10
This is a very good Blues guitar and it suits its purpose well. I use a Fender pre CBS Deluxe Reverb with it. Only pedal I use occasionally is a Dunlop Cry Baby Wah. The bridge pickup is bright without being harsh and has a really great transient attack. The neck is darker as expected, but with great definition. In the two middle position, I get a really sounding twang. Note: It came with a 3 way switch, which I had changed to a Callaham four way switch.
Overall Impression — 10
This is a great Blues Guitar, and I like it. If it went missing, I shall want to replace it with the same. Only thing it did not have was a hardshell case and Callaham hardware. I find this by far, the best sub $1000 Telecaster. I highly recommend it for the money. With the extra cash saved, one can always use it for the pots, switch, etc.
Reliability & Durability — 10
From the looks of it, the parts are all of high quality. So this guitar should withstand some abuse. The hardware looks nice without loosing their Shine after a few years of use. I changed out the strap button for a German designed strap locking system. There is no reason not to change to strap lock buttons unless you want to court disaster.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
The guitar came very well setup. The frets were well dressed too. Hats off to both Bill Lawrence USA and Aamp, their dealer. I made only minor adjustments after changing the strings to 11s. The Pickups were loud and quiet. Nice touch! I believe these pickups were used by Roy Buchanaan who was a great tone freak. Of course, he was one of my favorite blues guitarist. I could not find any flaws.
Features — 9
2006 Bill Lawrence USA Swampkaster T (Telecaster type) is Standard in features as in a Telecaster. The two pickups are made in the USA and are available as an after-market upgrade. The double bound Louisiana swamp ash (3 piece) body is nicely finished. I couldn't find any flaw! The body and neck are CNCed in Korea and assembled in San Diego. Neck is hard rock maple and has medium jumbo frets that are polished and smooth in the edges. The one I got has maple fingerboard and is finished tri-color sunburst. The tailpiece is Vintage Tele type and is string through body style. The tone control and volume pots were okay, but I changed them out for Callaham hardware including Switch (to 4 way) and jack. Surprisingly, the tone control capacitor is a high quality Vitamin D Oil type only found in custom guitars. The cast and sealed tuners are good quality and I didn't see a need to change them. Ditto for the tailpiece.