Fender Swinger?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by Optimus Prime, Jun 16, 2005.


  1. Optimus Prime

    Optimus Prime Member

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    Does anybody know where I can buy a Fender Swinger?
     
  2. John Phillips

    John Phillips Member

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    eBay or one of the US vintage dealers. They're rare to the point you can't really go looking for one with the intention of buying right now. That said, I've owned two, which both came my way by accident. A well-known (and IMO untrustworthy) dealer in the UK had one a couple of years ago, but from an accurate description of it I believe it to have been a fake - I didn't actually see it in person, but someone who did was able to describe it, and it didn't match with either of mine (which I am absolutely certain were real) or any other infomation about the source of the parts which were used to make them.

    They are very cool and unique, but not really very valuable despite being the rarest Fender solidbody apart from the Marauder. There is a reason for that... they aren't actually that great as guitars. Not terrible, but extremely quirky and limited.
     
  3. Optimus Prime

    Optimus Prime Member

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    You've had two!? :eek: In what finish were they? Why did you sell them (I'm guessing that's what you did)? Are they primarily a players or collectors item?
     
  4. John Phillips

    John Phillips Member

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    The first one was refinished in black, although I think it probably had been black originally too. The second was stripped to the wood, and I think may have been red originally. Both had been severely hacked, I think by the same idiot - badly-fitted P90s in the bridge position, and a toggle switch on the lower horn. I've seen a third (also red) here in Scotland with identical damage too. The black one had been refretted very badly, but had the original tuners; the stripped one had the original frets but badly-fitted 70s 'F' tuners. Even though I owned both at the same time for a short period, there was no way of making 'one good one' out of all the bits, unfortunately.

    The black one sounded better, especially after I removed the P90 and fitted a Duncan '59 :). The stripped one was very interesting since it revealed exactly how they were made from cut-down Bass V bodies. The reason I think the one in the vintage-dealer shop was a fake is that it didn't have any Bass V routs at all, and knowing how and why they were originally put together, I don't think they would have made a new body for one.

    I did sell them, both to the same guy who is a good friend and the actual owner of "my" '64 Strat. They are really more of a collector's piece really I think. I did use my black one for some recording - it was exceptionally good at slightly-out-of-tune feedback - but when I tried gigging with it, it didn't really work. Too uneven-sounding and didn't play well enough in tune when it was supposed to.

    Here's the black one:

    [​IMG]

    It's on this song - For A Second - for the feedback stuff in the middle and at the end, although what you're hearing is the '59, not the original pickup.

    I did in fact restore it a lot before I sold it - filled the hole and made a new pickguard - but it wouldn't pass for original and I wouldn't have tried to.


    If you want the look, but not necessarily the originality or all of the quirks, I think Warmoth do a Swinger-style body that will take a Strat-scale neck. If you want it just for the tone, a mid-60s Musicmaster with the 22.5" scale will get extremely close - I had one of those too... but for some reason it actually performed much better than the Swingers, and I did in fact gig it with a band for a few months.
     
  5. Optimus Prime

    Optimus Prime Member

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    John, thank you very much for your very exhaustive reply, greatly appreciate it! I just love the over-all look of that guitar in all its original design. Especially the head-stock, and also, to add, the pearl picguards on that body on some pictures I've seen is just killer. It'd been cool to come over an original, or a fairly decent copy, and try to restore it to playing standards. I would've loved owning and playing one of those Swingers. I'm not a collector per se, but wouldn’t necessarily hack away just because I was playing it. Does Warmoth have the Swinger necks as well? Are the Warmoths Swinger's 3/4 scale or regular? How much experience is needed to assemble such a guitar, a Warmoth? Thanks again, John!
     
  6. daddyo

    daddyo Guest

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  7. slipbeer

    slipbeer Supporting Member

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    Is it just me or does the driver look like Saddam?

    Sorry to digress, back to our normally scheduled discussion.
     
  8. John Phillips

    John Phillips Member

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    As far as I know, Warmoth does the Swinger headstock as an option - I'm sure I've seen someone who'd done one on the FDP when I used to go there. You can make one in any case - it's just a cut-down CBS headstock. Yes, I know it looks bigger! It's an optical illusion caused by the small body and narrow neck width - but if you draw it out you can see how it's done. I believe the Warmoth necks are full Strat (25.5") scale. I did think of doing a 24" (Mustang) scale one - that would actually fit correctly on an original body, and be more in keeping with the spirit of the thing IMO - but I'm not sure it would fit on a Warmoth body. It does take a reasonable amount of experience to assemble something like this from scratch BTW, or at least a good knowledge of all the little tricks of how a guitar goes together. If you were buying a ready-made 'kit', it would be easier.

    I love that late-60s Fender pearl too BTW - the new stuff (even if it's really good) just isn't quite the same - it's somehow flatter and less 'crushed pearl' looking. The new plate I made for the black one wasn't even remotely close, unfortunately. The hacked original is pearl, it just doesn't show in the pics for some reason. But the guy that bought it didn't want the '59 (which is now in my PRS) or a great big hole :).
     
  9. Optimus Prime

    Optimus Prime Member

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    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Body info

    Neck info

    They've got the basic designs down, but there are a few major differences. No pickguard option for instance.

    Wouldn't a Swinger in 'shell pink' with a mint green or parchment pickguard look absolutely killer?

    Do you know of any good tutorial, books in PDF, reading material or what not, on building guitars from parts?

    Thanks!
     
  10. Motorhed

    Motorhed Member

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    never seen one of those before, i saw them on warmoth, but didnt think they were ever actually put into any kind of production by fender. i likes it, i love fender's offbeat stuff, i also would love to have a starcaster or a coranado someday.
     
  11. John Phillips

    John Phillips Member

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    They weren't. They were made by hand from scrap Bass V bodies, with short-scale 'A' width Musicmaster/Duo-Sonic/Mustang necks and Musicmaster hardware - basically a clever way of using up a couple of hundred pieces of scrap that Fender had lying around. Some guy realised that the guitar necks would fit on the bass bodies with a little modification... which once you work out what was done (look at a Bass V), the shape makes sense.

    The lower-bout 'scoop' cutaway is to remove the screw-holes and ground-wire recess from the Bass V body. This is where my stripped one was so interesting... you could see the filled ground-wire drill hole to the control cavity on the edge of the body. At the neck pocket, there was a small amount of filler in the outer bass-side corner where the old pocket (much wider of course) had just intruded into the shape, despite the cutaways being deepened and the guitar neck being set much further back. And under the pickguard (just in front of the guitar bridge) is the distinctive 'offset' Bass V pickup rout.

    You really wonder why though - given the amount of work needed to turn a Bass V into a Swinger... only marginally less than starting from scratch I would think. They only made about a hundred or so of them... which makes it even more frustrating that some moron over here should think it was a good idea to hack them about.


    I didn't realise the Warmoth body came pre-cut for Strat pickups... why does everything have to have Strat pickups? It would be far cooler with the original single 60s-style angled neck pickup (or two like a Mustang) IMO... in fact, I'm actually starting to wonder if a Mustang/Swinger hybrid might not be something I would like ;).
     
  12. Motorhed

    Motorhed Member

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    interesting. does seem like an awful lot of work for something that they probably knew wouldnt catch on to the general public, like mustangs or jaguars(which i also think are cool).

    i meant that i knew they were designed, but i never knew fender put any out, i thought maybe prototypes were made but never put out. 100 is alot more than i thought were made.

    i could see one with some p90's and a bigsby, its got that funky look that would suit a bigsby perfectly. great, all i need's another warmoth idea lol.
     
  13. Optimus Prime

    Optimus Prime Member

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    JIIIHAAAD!! :D
     
  14. Unburst

    Unburst Member

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    Me too!

    In fact a Swinger with a Strat trem would almost certainly rock!
     
  15. frankthomson

    frankthomson Member

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  16. daddyo

    daddyo Guest

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    I still love that Dodge Swinger I posted the link to. If Saddam would'be been the driver, he may have gotten away for a few days longer.
     

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