Swampkaster T Review

manufacturer: Bill Lawrence USA date: 03/18/2010 category: Electric Guitars
Bill Lawrence USA: Swampkaster T
These guitars use CNC Korean necks and bodies made to specs. The body is made from 3 piece Louisiana Swamp Ash with high quality bounding.
 Sound: 10
 Overall Impression: 10
 Reliability & Durability: 9.5
 Action, Fit & Finish: 10
 Features: 9
 Overall rating:
 Reviewer rating:
 Users rating:
reviews (2) pictures (1) 3 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 9.6
Swampkaster T Reviewed by: unregistered, on march 18, 2010
2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Price paid: C$ 630

Purchased from: Don't Remember

Features: I purchased the Bill Lawrence USA Swampkaster T (T for Telecaster) in 2006. These guitars use CNC Korean necks and bodies made to specs. The body is made from 3 piece Louisiana Swamp Ash with high quality bounding. The neck is hard rock Maple. These guitars are assembled in San Diego and are very well setup. I chose the Maple fingerboard over the rosewood. The pickups are made in the USA and are better than those from Fender USA. More or less comparable to the quality of G&L Special ASAT or custom Fender pickups but different sounding. The neck is somewhat fat at the lower frets and is quite thin towards the upper frets. It is easy to play, soloing as well as chording. The frets are medium jumbo. There is a 3 ply pickguard. The tone control uses an expensive (vitamin B) oil capacitor which is quite unusual in its price range. The pots are somewhat small and cheap though. I changed out the pots, Switch and jack with Callaham cryogenic treated stuff. It uses a string through body Tele type bridge. Seems to be solid enough. I rate stock a very high 9 because parts in general and fit and finish are outstanding, not commonly found in guitars under $1, 000. // 9

Sound: I love the sound of Teles for Blues. The pickups get me pretty much the sound I want from Teles. In the neck position, the sound is clean and somewhat dark. The middle has a real nice Tele twang. The bridge position is bright and has the bite without being too bright or harsh. I have since upgraded another Fender Tele to these pickups with fab results. These guitars are played through a number of Vintage to re-issued Fender tube amps. I particularly like Fender Deluxe Reverbs. I rate the sound now with the Callaham mods to 10. // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: It came very well setup. Hardly any adjustments were necessary. The pickup heights were perfect. Fit and fi is beautifully finished. The whole guitar is on the heavy side. About 9 pounds, I think. I couldn't find any flaws. The three color Sunburst finish is great. This is one of the best under $1, 000 guitar I have owned. There are only a few sub $1K that I am keeping and this is one of them. The others are a Fender Special Edition Spalted Maple Telecaster and a Parker PM20. // 10

Reliability & Durability: I have had this guitar for a few years now. The finish is still perfect. Chrome seems to be solid and still shiny. I have replaced the strap buttons with locking ones. Seems reliable and dependable. But I don't gig with it. // 9

Overall Impression: I have been playing Blues for some 30 years now. This is one my favorite Teles along with a few USA G&L Asats. I highly recommend this guitar. Because of the low cost, I am able to change out the pots, Switch and jack for Callaham ones and got really fantastic results. The pickups are great, don't touch them. // 10

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overall: 9.8
Swampkaster T Reviewed by: GuitarPanda1970, on march 18, 2010
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: C$ 700

Purchased from: aamp

Features: 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. // 9

Sound: 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. // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: 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. // 10

Reliability & Durability: 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. // 10

Overall Impression: 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. // 10

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