Swingster review by Epiphone

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  • Sound: 9
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 8
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 7
  • Features: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 8.4 Superb
  • Users' score: 7.2 (18 votes)
Epiphone: Swingster

Price paid: $ 500

Purchased from: DV247

Sound — 9
Now I bought this to play rock and roll, from Chuck Berry, to AC/DC. Now you wouldn't imagine it would be great at this, however I find the sound is excellent. The Swingbucker pickups sound like really good PAF's in their basic setup, however when you lower the pickup body and raise the polepeices, like a Filtertron, suddenly everything clicks together, a tight bass, slightly scooped middle, and sparkling highs. This gives you a beautiful clean tone, and then when you push the gain you suddenly sound like Malcom Young. I think these pickups could sound very good in a Les Paul, as I think it would give a nice metal tone, a bit different from the usual. In parallel, It sounds like a good Strat pickup, sparkly and wideranged. Unplugged, it sounds like a reasonable acoustic. The F holes give a more spread out sound than a single sound hole would. In comparison, its almost like the parallel pickup option, compared to the series of a soundhole. Overall, I think its a good sounding guitar, It sound different to my Gibson SG. However this is definitely a rhythm orientated guitar. that's not to say you can't do solos on it though!

Overall Impression — 9
I would say it is well balanced for any style up-to rock, however with metal it starts to struggle a little. I have been playing for 5 years, and through my tiny terror it sounds good. I do wish that it had the fret access of a Les Paul though, It would just complete the guitar. If it was stolen, I would have to toss up between this, and a Dot with Filtertrons installed. I love the sound, the neck is good, it is like a Ibanez wizard neck, if you scaled it up a big, Wide and thin (it's thinner than a 1960's Gibson style neck) I just wish they could have put some proper Filtertrons in it.

Reliability & Durability — 8
The guitar seems solidly built, I would probably be happier to throw it around than my SG as the finish seems more scratch resistant, and overall more durable. It uses solid hardware that ha proved itself on countless other Epiphones and Gibsons, so I have no doubt it will last its course. The strap buttons are solidly fixed, however they are the large sort, so Dunlop straplocks will not fit over them. I would definitely gig it without a backup, however the other guitarist in my band will usually have his backup, so its not an issue. The finish is thin, but looks hard and durable. I have no doubt it will last for a long time.

Action, Fit & Finish — 7
The setup from the factory was excellent, definitely the best factory fit I've ever seen. The pickups where set up ok, however my adjustments suggested above turn them from good sounding PAF, into Some of the best filtertronesque pickups I've played. The back has a bookmatched flame maple, that is beautifully matched and has a mirror finish. The binding is Ok quality, however some bits where not perfect, and there are file marks on some parts. My gripe is that at first the frets where rough to play on, however after a week or so, they are as smooth as anything. Another problem is the saddles, the low angle over then, and their radiused profile, means that sometimes your E string will pop out under hard playing.

Features — 9
This is an Asian made 2011 Epiphone Swingster. With a hollow maple body and neck, with an "f" holed spruce top. Mine is in the transparent black finish. The cutaway is in the venetian style, that gives it the look of an over inflated Les Paul. On the bottom there is a bigsby tremolo, with a roller bridge. The strings then pass over an 18 fret neck, towards the plastic nut, to the Grover tuners. Now the electronics are what set this guitar apart, alongside your standard 2x tone and 2x volume, the tone pots arte push pulls. This gives you a series/parallel option. This gives you a sparkling wide range tone, that can in a second be turned into a fat humbucker tone.

8 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Now I bought this to play rock and roll, from Chuck Berry, to AC/DC. Now you wouldn't imagine it would be great at this, however I find the sound is excellent. The Swingbucker Actually, that's pretty much exactly what I think it would be good for. The Chuck Berry bit anyways.
    I generally don't like that style of guitar, but with the matte black finish it somehow looks awesome. Wouldn't buy one myself though. Doesn't suit my kind of music =P
    Hey, you can play almost anything on a hollowbody. I can play Tool and Deftones on my Hagstrom Viking. Just stand a bit farther back from your amp
    After much research and several hours sitting in a booth playing guitars, I bought the white pearl Limited Swingster.I have only one regret, its not for me its a Christmas present for my 90 year old Jazz guitarist father. He will love it, who wouldn't
    Emster 23
    I want to get an orange one. $500 doesn't seem too much when you get a real bigsby, grover tuners, roller bridge etc. I still don't know if they include unattached pickguard or not. Seems naked without one.
    Silent Water
    There's definitely a pickguard. Clear, so as not to detract from the grain of the spruce top. Install it or not... your preference! And if you think it's a looker from the front, check out the flame maple sides and back on this baby. My fingers are all tingly just thinkin' bout it.
    I bought the white model. It sure is beautiful to look at. It has gold flake binding around the top, and back of the body and on both sides of the fret board, also with gold plated hardware, The wire handle on the Bigsby gives it that vintage look too. The fret board has real ebony inlays. The workmanship is really incredible. To my surprise after bringing it home and playing it without competing guitarists, It sounds even better. It has a very large array of tone. Just by pulling up on the tone knobs the pickups are now single coils adding another dimension of tone. it really brings in some of the highs that I couldn't hear before. The action was set a little high for my taste from the factory, so I brought the strings down a bit, and now it plays wonderful. The bridge is pinned as opposed to the floating bridge. The pinned is a big advantage where one doesn't have to worry about accidently moving the bridge while playing. Makes it a lot easier to change strings, I don't have to worry about where the center of the string are for being in tune with harmonics. Just an added headache when dealing with a floating bridge. The Bigsby arm was set to tight as well. Maybe that's why I got it at a discount. I backed off the nut a bit and now I can swing the wire arm out of the way. About the Bigsby, it's not meant for any dive bombing bends. It is really meant to provide that tremolo effect. The bonus, when using it, the strings stay in tune. What attracted me to the hollow body guitar in the first place, I live in an apartment. I could never find an acoustic guitar that had the same feel as an electric with a cutaway to reach those high notes like on a electric guitar. Another issue I can't always hookup to an amplifier say like 30 a.m. in the morning (the apartment thing,) so this guitar was the next best thing. It sounds pretty cool without the amplifier. If someone wants a great looking and sounding guitar, the Epiphone is it. The price was a bargain too. I was looking at the Gretsch too. The low end models did not impress me. I could go down the list of things I found that pushed me over to the Epiphone. This guitar will provide me many years of pleasure. The price was a bargain for what I got with it. Check out the list of famous musicians that use an Epiphone for their distinctive signature sound. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Epi... Most notable - The Beatles John Lee Hooker Django Reinhardt