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*Bill Lawrence SwampKaster

*Bill Lawrence Swampkaster

Summary
Features 10 (2 responses)
Sound 10 (2 responses)
Action, Fit, & Finish 9.5 (2 responses)
Reliability/Durability 10 (2 responses)
Customer Support 10 (2 responses)
Overall Rating 10 (2 responses)

 

Price Paid: US NA

Purchased from: N/A
NA

Features: 10
I just bought the *Bill Lawrence SwampKaster Tele. I have used it on two gigs and am quite impressed with it in every respect. It's new, (2002) made in USA. It has a beautiful Butterscotch finish which is transparent to show the attractive Swamp Ash wood grain. Tortise shell pick quard. Two *Bill Lawrence Tele type pickups, Vol., Tone, and three way switch controls. 21 medium size frets that feel great under 91/2 guage strings. The action is very low and easy to play all the way up or down the neck. The strings thread through the body from the back and run over the six individually adjustable saddles. The tuners are the split top/hollow center style that I love because the pointy end of the string is safely hid in the center of the post and then wound around it from there so as to eliminate the hastle of needle like ends of strings pointing out in all directions getting caught on everything or puncture wounding your precious finger tips. The neck is "Hard Rock Maple" (the only way to fly)

Sound: 10
I have been a staunch Strat guy for many years. I play country music but occasionally wander into the classic or southern rock side of things too. So I thought a Strat was the all around guitar that could easily cover all styles. But I now find that this guitar is perhaps even better suited for that role. What I have loved about a Strat is its ability to go from rhythm to lead tones so effectively. For rhythm, I'm all about blending with the other musicians. For lead you want to be heard above the others. This Bill Lawrence is even better at this than my Strat, which I didn't think was possible. The volume control reminds me of a well designed sports car that feels comfortable in town at slower speeds but on the open highway there is ample amounts of extra get up and go. As I played rhythm, I found that I could get an amazingly sweet tone at a very comfortable volume leval and if I wanted I could strum fully as if playing an accoustic guitar. Turn the volume control up a little and I could play beautiful full arpegios. I found that for lead there was so much headroom still left in the volume control that it was like getting the greatest tone all the while knowing there was yet more... Like a guitar that really does go up to 11! I'm still learning the characteristics of the three different switch positions, but I know they are very distinct. So far I mostly stay in the middle which is both pickups on together. In that position you get the clarity of the bridge pickup coupled with the warmth of the neck pickup for a full glassy sweet tone. The bridge pickup by itself is great for stomping on the compressor pedal and getting the perfect country lead sound but you may want to pot down the tone control a little as it is very bright sounding compared to the other two settings. The neck pickup by itself is great for that mellow jazzy sound or old blues or swinging country stuff. What really impressed me most was the sweet sound of the dickups when I switched to the distortion settings of my multi effects pedal. Whether I was on the slight distortion of my "Vintage" setting or the screaming blaze of my "Metal" setting, the pickups were so warm and dripping with good sound that I found my playing was more inspired because of the ease with which my tone was fitting the song - it made me sound like a genius ha ha.

Action, Fit, & Finish: 9
As mentioned, the action is very low on this Tele. The only trouble spot was a bit of buzzing in the low E string. However I noticed that only as I was playing it unplugged at home in my room. Sometimes that sound isn't there when plugged in. I don't recall hearing any buzzing while playing the gigs. But if there is, it's easily fixed with an adjustment to the low E string's saddle which raises just that string and eliminates the buzzing. The guitar is put together extremely well. Even the pickups are aligned under the strings with percision so that no strings are left out in the cold by not having a pole piece lined up under it. One thing that does bum me out but it's so minor is that the volume knob is on slightly at a tilt so that as you rotate it you can see it has a wobble look to it. I tried to straighten it but was afraid I might damage the pot if I put too much pressure on it. No biggie. That's why I give this category a 9 instead of 10.

Reliability/Durability: 10
This guitar is every bit a work horse and I would not bother with one that was not.

Customer Support: N/A

Overall Rating: 10
I've been playing guitar for 30 years. I now own 8 guitars, 7 amps, one bass guitar, one bass amp, and a PA. If I lost this guitar I would buy it again because after trying a Tele I think you never want to be without one again. I did compare this to the SwampKaster Strat but liked the Tele much more. When it comes to Strats I'm already satisfied with the one I have. One thing I wish it had is the kind of strap lock strap buttons that a Fender Strat has. I hate the insecure feeling of not having a strap lock of some kind of the instrument.

Submitted by Barry at 08/13/2002 02:33

Price Paid: N/A

Purchased from: N/A
local dealer

Features: 10
wow.i cant help but gush about this great guitar.we all know *Bill Lawrence for his great pickups.but he is in the guitar making world now.this beatiful 3 tone sunburst lousianna swamp ash body with real binding is an eye catcher for sure.it screams vintage tele!!im pretty sure they are assembled in san deigo california.each string has its own intonaton adjustment which is fantastic.(many tele's dont)maple fingerboard with medium size frets.pricise tuning keys,3 position pickup selector switch.vol and tone knobs.$650.00 list price!!! INCREDIBLE

Sound: 10
WELL my buddy turned me on to this ax.and i must say after hearing his,i had to order immidiatly.neck pickup sounds nice and full with plenty of sparkle.roll down the tone knob and the guitar sounds like a jazz box.bridge pickup sounds fat and sassy.from country to rock its great.!!!

Action, Fit, & Finish: 10
the only thing i did was adjust the intonation.the guitar was set up well other wise.tho ill personalise it for my playing style as we all do .right?finish is nothing shor of fantastic.its a nice weight too.lighter than many tele's ive played.i figured id better buy this before *Bill Lawrence wakes up one morning and realises he's nutsfor selling this guitar for such low bread.i own and played many expensive guitars over the years and this is as good as many of them

Reliability/Durability: 10
yes i would take this ax(swampKaster) to any gig or session.cant stress enough how much vintage vibe for your dollar this guitar is.smokin guitar at a incredidibly low price.hey its basically bill's version of a tele.want a vintage style tele that'll hang with the best of them.here ya go.

Customer Support: 10
never had to have any repairs but .when i talked to them they seem very friendly.i guess have your local dealer call the lawrence company.i dont see them in every store yet.if my friend had not purchased one at a music show i would have never heard of it.lawrence number is 1800 453 8145.tell em you read my revue..fino roverato
my friend there jim is a great cat.he helped me out greatly.great country picker too..rock on pulcifer

Overall Rating: 10
ive been playing for 30 years.own a few guitars andamps including grosh,larrivee,godin,lawrence,matchless,fender,prs.ive done manya session,including touring as a membe of frankie valli and the 4 seasons.jingles..i would buy this ax again if stolin.i dig it>>>>

Submitted by fino at 04/02/2002 10:09

Summary
Features 10 (2 responses)
Sound 10 (2 responses)
Action, Fit, & Finish 9.5 (2 responses)
Reliability/Durability 10 (2 responses)
Customer Support 10 (2 responses)
Overall Rating 10 (2 responses)

 

 

*Bill Lawrence Tele Copy

Summary

Features

9 (2 responses)

Sound

9.5 (2 responses)

Action, Fit, & Finish

9 (2 responses)

Reliability/Durability

9.5 (2 responses)

Customer Support

N/A (2 responses)

Overall Rating

9 (2 responses)

Additional Info

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Price Paid: US $750 used

Purchased from: N/A
Some guy in NY. Included nice tweed case.

Features: 9
I think my Tele is the same as the other reviewer's. When I bought it, the seller (not ebay) suggested that it was copied after one of Roy Buchanan's later Tele's (rosewood board)...the description matches the other review. The body, however, is a little heavy for a Tele.

Sound: 9
Probably manufacturer's own pick-ups, and they sound great. Quiet, and well-balanced; just great. The bridge p/u could have a little more honk, but there's only Fralin or who-ever is always an option.

Action, Fit, & Finish: 9
Bought used. Great action. Very nice neck. Finish has it's mileage on it, but looks great. Blonde-ish butterscotch I'd say.
As with all but the Danny Gatton Tele, the volume knob is way too close to the selector switch. I'm surprised at Leo on this. Probably the only time he ever let me down. All Tele's I've ever played, way too close!

Reliability/Durability: 9
This thing sounds really great. Meaty, believe it or not. Hardware fine, finish should last but has some dings. Very dependable.

Customer Support: N/A
Bought used and well out of warranty.

Overall Rating: 9
Playing 26 years, own lots. I would likely not be able to find another one of these. Until I find one that really grabs me, this one stays.

Submitted by john at 11/08/2003 19:44

Price Paid: US $450 used

Purchased from: N/A
individual

Features: 9
I am not sure of the year this was made but the serial # is B 11281 if that helps anyone. This made-in Japan tele copy uses great wood (pretty sure its ash) with the body consisting of 2 pieces. It is a standard tele configuration with 2 pickups and a 3 way switch. I suppose the pickups are *Bill Lawrence (better say copies here, because if you have ever been to his website you know what a ranter he is...more on this later) This model has a maple neck with a rosewood fretboard.This neck is probably why I bought this guitar, it is a great soft "v" and I just love it. The bridge is a tunable brass style that actually works better than my other 2 teles. The tuners are Japanese and they work very well. This baby came with a Fender case.

Sound: 10
I play blues almost exclusively with very few effects. The single coils are as noisey as the Fenders but sound WAY better than my Fender with the noiseless pikups. The noiseless pickups just lack something..... It compares well with my Tele standard however. Tele twang all the way and articulate. I play through a couple of amps but lets suffice to say that when I use my Fender Super Reverb or the Peavey Classic 50 (2 12's) I am happiest with the sound. The tone control on this guitar works way better than eith of the Fenders I own and is a joy to utilize. I love the sound of teles and this hold true to the tele sound. As stated before, this copy is my best tele.

Action, Fit, & Finish: 9
I bought this used but the other owner was a player and the set up was almost perfect. The pups are set up well. As stated before, the woods used are great and the guitar looks super. No complaints.

Reliability/Durability: 10
All teles with survive anything you can throw at them. Thsi is no exception. The finish is durable and starting to look really fine. The strap buttons have been replaced with strap locks which suit me well. This guitar could be counted on to make it through a lifetime of gigs....easily.

Customer Support: N/A
Here is where the story gets a bit weird.....Apparently *Bill Lawrence and another fellow have had business disagreements and the other guy has somehow fallen into the rights on *Bill Lawrence's name. So....when you go to the *Bill Lawrence website there is all kinds of evil aimed at this other guy.I think this rhetoric of evil has gotten to him as the site practically doesnt even recognize these guitars as existing. There is also some kind of disagreement as to what constitutes Bill Lawrence pickups but I will let the individual readers figure that one out. As the warranty is not an issue with this guitar,and its a tele, I just wont worry.

Overall Rating: N/A
I have been playing now for 38 years and my gear lust has never waned. Lets just say I have a lot of guitars and amps. However, this Bill Lawrence tele copy is way up there with the best I have, I love this thing. I wish I had of known more about the company's infighting beforehand but maybe I wouldnt have bout it, and that would be a shame. My favorite feature is a brass tone bar situated on the back of the headstock. It might not do a thing, but maybe mojo is all in the mind. I really dont compare guitars, I just buy them, and keep them if I like them. This one has replaced my other 2 teles(both Fender)and sees a lot of playing time. I just hope that *Bill Lawrence and the other guy can come to grips with the situation and get on with life. I urge you to go to the *Bill Lawrence website and figure out this situation for yourself. In the meantime...I am extremely pleased with this fine tele.

Submitted by Anonymous at 04/21/2003 16:27

 

*Bill Lawrence Swampkaster T

Summary
Features 7 (3 responses)
Sound 9.5 (3 responses)
Action, Fit, & Finish 9 (3 responses)
Reliability/Durability 10 (3 responses)
Customer Support 7.5 (3 responses)
Overall Rating 10 (3 responses)
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Price Paid: N/A

Purchased from: N/A

Features: N/A
new swampkaster tele in butterscotch blonde finish, with red pearloid pickguard, maple neck, C shape. very good ash body from louisiana, hardware is korean made, so far very adequate tuners, and brass bridge like the new fender stuff. very sharp looking guitar, it has a feel like an old tele, but new. this is not a 2000 custom shop tele but it is much better than some of the other stuff at this price range. under 500 bucks, a very good buy. medium jumbo frets. very solid guitar. vintage single coil tuners. it sounds like a tele. the *Bill Lawrence pickups, american made are very full, bright and with plenty of power. i have decided to keep this guitar. at first i was hesitant...

Sound: N/A
this guitar is surprisingly not noisy. i had ordered one with humbucking pickups, and after a whole lot of confusion with the dealer/salesman, decide to keep this one. i have never really had any more trouble with getting the order right that i have had with this company. i first called and asked how long it would be to get one on the way to me and got a variety of answers. i emailed another person who dealt with the company and got the same thing. finally i was told it would go out in three days. i ordered it, paid for it and over a week later it went out, they shipped it 3 day select instead of ground and it was not exactly what i ordered. i was very specific up front on all things , making sure they understand what i wanted several times. but still got the wrong thing. i dont want to send it back. it is a good guitar, and for the money, you cant go wrong. if you need a good tele for not a lot of bucks, this is the one. just dont be in a hurry, and talk several times, with a very forceful manner about what you want and how you want it. and dont be in a hurry.

Action, Fit, & Finish: N/A
i had to re-intonate this guitar after i received it and it is really staying in tune and is very playable. i once had one of the fat tele fender pro-tone series, with ash body that is very similar to this guitar. it cost a bit more, had very very muddy pickups and lesser quality hardware, that i had to replace. this guitar wins out over them hands down. the body on this guitar is flawless. i am very impressed for t aguitar under 500$.

Reliability/Durability: N/A
this is not a 1000 dollar guitar. i had thought about ordering one of the new reverend guitars for a few more bucks. i already have one of those, and, thought they are great guitars for the money also, the ash body of this guitar makes a difference. there is some lightness and "not enough bottom" with the reverends. this is a gig-able solid guitar.

Customer Support: N/A
i just kinda cringe here. your mileage may vay.

Overall Rating: N/A
i have owned over 25 amps over the last 6 years, finally settled on a dr z maz 38, and a harry joyce custom 100 watter, and a 70 fender super reverb. i have about 6 guitars. this one is a perfect compliment, i needed a good tele that sounds like a tele, and i didnt want to spend a thousand bucks for it. great value overall.

Submitted by James at 03/27/2004 08:34

Price Paid: N/A

Purchased from: N/A
aampselectricstore.com

Features: 5
This is a swamp ash tele w maple neck and the black vintage pickups. A three-way switch has the usual combinations between the two single coil units.

Sound: 10
I use a mesa studio preamp w a 20/20 tube power amp. The sound is full, yet bright. Tone and volume pots give a linear impression of adjustment. Very usable. The guitar is silent like a humbucking guitar (I also use a Les Paul).


It arrived with 009 gauge strings and a matching setup. I have yet to try it, but 010 would probably give a fuller sound. I love the action so I will keep 009 on it. It has a good balance between strings so why change it?


Excellent clean sounds and I would use it in any country, blues or rock situation, maybe even in the occational jazz tune. Metal fans should look elsewhere even though the output level in p-ups seem usable since they're reasonably quiet.

Action, Fit, & Finish: 9
Setup was fine and string action was lower than I'm used to. Some acoustic buzz is audible but plugged in everything is fine. Intonation was good straight out of the box.

Reliability/Durability: 10
A no frills guitar which will become the workhorse. I own quite a few guitars and for live situations this is guaranteed to be practical and stand out in a mix.


The build quality and materials match guitars with tree times the price, at least where I live.

Customer Support: 5
Bought it from bruce@aamps.us. There were'nt any in stock and delivery took a few months. I doubt this is Bruce's fault though. Also sent an e-mail to the manufacturer, but I have yet to see a reply.

Overall Rating: 10
I own a 52-reissue telecaster. It is much more noisy and can't be treated as a modern guitar, but somehow retains a different character and is unbeatable for rock sounds. I also play a studio Les Paul and a Blade Texas strat. They are all good working guitars. This one however, stands out even though I paid more for some of th others.

Submitted by Ola at 01/21/2004 10:58

Price Paid: N/A

Purchased from: N/A
bruce at aampselectricguitarstore.com

Features: 9
First let me say that i have been playing guitar over 30 years, and i used to own a vintage guitar store in NE Ohio. I recently bought a *Bill Lawrence Swampkaster T because a friend of mine picked one up at a guitar show and brought it over for me to check out. Needless to say, i was impressed. This American made guitar has a gorgeous Looo...sianna Swamp Ash Body (i opted for the natural finish),and a hard rock maple neck of equal quality.It is double bound with creme color binding. It came equipped with T1 and T2 Black Label single coil pickups(ever hear Roy Buchanan?) A standard 3 way tele switch, as well as individual saddles, and string thru body setup. It has a 12"radius maple board and the neck reminds me of a 70's C neck, but has a superb graduation down to the higher registers,medium frets,and import tuners.

Sound: 9
This is a great rock,or country guitar, but especially suited for da blooze. I play this guitar thru a variety of amps.. 64 super reverb, 72 Super lead,Dr Z,and Dean Markley T-100 signature series. What is especially interesting is the Volume/Tone interaction. I dont think i ever rolled off highs on a tele, but believe you me this guitar has spank. There is a variety of great tone by rolling off highs, as well as rolling off volume. The sound remains articulate and soulfull by varying degrees. The single coils as most single coils are a little noisy, but not inordinately so when using high gain amps. With single ended amps this is not a problem at all

Action, Fit, & Finish: 9
I do all my own set ups and neck alignments preferring to use .010"s on this guitar. It played easy from the factory, but i have my own preferences and adjustments that i like to make. The 12"radius fretboard is a big plus for me (by eliminating a lot of string buzz when bending notes on low action) The finishing on the neck and frets is great as well as the neck route..really solid. Strung up with .010's This guitar feels energized,ready to pop.

Reliability/Durability: 10
As i have already stated this American made guitar is made with high quality wood, and it looks it.

Customer Support: 10
I havent had the need to deal with the *Bill Lawrence company, but i purchased the guitar from Bruce at aampselectricguitarstore.com and he was friendly,well informed, and took care of bizzness when it came to shipping the guitar to me.

Overall Rating: 10
I find it hard to believe that a guitar of this quality is selling for $650.00 List......sheesh. I have already ordered a Swampkaster Strat

Submitted by Carl Craft at 03/07/2003 05:26

Summary
Features 7 (3 responses)
Sound 9.5 (3 responses)
Action, Fit, & Finish 9 (3 responses)
Reliability/Durability 10 (3 responses)
Customer Support 7.5 (3 responses)
Overall Rating 10 (3 responses)
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Bill Lawrence USA
SwampKaster 'S'
Electric Guitars

 

Manufacturer: *Bill Lawrence USA
Model: SwampKaster 'S'
Category: Electric Guitars

Purchase: I bought this from the Recycler for $450.00. I saw a real hot guitarist at a local jam session play one and went on a hunt for my own because, I was very impressed with its sound and looks.

Likes: This is "sweet"! Natural high-gloss finish with a swamp ash body. One of the most impressive finishes I have ever seen. Mine has a maple on maple neck with a 12" radius. This is a Strat style guitar. The pickups are the original *Bill Lawrence Black Label and really have that true vintage sound and that Straty quack in position 2 and 4. The pickups have much less noise than Fender Strat pickups and capture the nuances of your playing style. I am not sure, but I think the SwampKasters come standard with the tortie pickguard which is normally extra with other brands. The neck is true from top to bottom and has great action. I can really smoke on this guitar and it always gets looks from other guitarists.

Dislikes: No dislikes, but I will change out the bridge for a Wilkinson because it is the best non-locking bridge around.

Quality: It is a solid built guitar with a bolt-on neck. I have examined it closely for flaws but can't find any.

Summary: If you want to look good and sound hot, this is a great guitar and it should be selling for the price of an American Strat or more!

Rating: 5

Author: Hrblues

Date: 2003-03-05

Usefulness Rating: 4.44444 out of 5.
9 reader(s) voted.

Please give us your opinion..

 

We sent Michael Coulon and Kenny Corso on a mission while they were at NAMM: to find a good all-around electric guitar that was a step above the usual flood of imports, but was still highly affordable. The *Bill Lawrence Swampkaster, shown here, uses U.S.-made pickups in a Tele-style swamp ash body.

 We added the Telecaster Deluxe-style solidbody electrics SwampKaster  by  *Bill Lawrence Guitar pickup Co. California USA to the Gryphon shopping cart., using genuine U.S. swamp ash for the bodies, and the pickups are the same *Bill Lawrence originals that have been used to soup up American electric guitars for years. These new “Swampkasters” are available in either two or three pickup versions, in classic white and black and also in cool colors. Ask Michael Coulon or Kenny Corso to show you how much guitar you can get for a great price.

 

 

 

 

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* Disclaimer: Jzchak Wajcman dba “Bill Lawrence USA“, is not associated with the designer Bill Lawrence since 1984.