Price paid: $ 500
Purchased from: DV247
Features: 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. // 9
Sound: 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! // 9
Action, Fit & Finish: 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. // 7
Reliability & Durability: 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. // 8
Overall Impression: 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. // 9