Soloway Swan revisited

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by jzucker, Jun 4, 2006.

  1. jzucker

    jzucker Supporting Member

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    I bought a Swan from Jim a few months back. However, I've been playing more bass than guitar the last couple months and put his guitar away for a while. I have been eyeing an Elrick that's a pretty penny in price and since the Soloway has been on ice for a while, I thought I might sell it and help fund the Elrick.

    However, I got the Soloway out and after playing it for a half hour, I realized it just sounds so incredible I can't get rid of it.

    So...I'm mad at Jim for making such an incredible instrument. Now it's going to cost me $1600 to make up for not being able to sell my swan... :AOK
     
  2. Glowing Tubes

    Glowing Tubes Gold Supporting Member

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    Got to play several of Jim's guitars at the Philly show. Man they were great! Had my favorite but my wallet denied me ownership.
    Jim is a great guy BTW.


    Richard
     
  3. John Bell

    John Bell Member

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    I love the look of his guitars and I'm sure they sound great,but the longer scale scares me.Guess I gotta check one out someday.
     
  4. jzucker

    jzucker Supporting Member

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    No need to let it scare you. I was a devoted 24.75" player for years but the soloway is very easy to play.
     
  5. Chris Rice

    Chris Rice Member

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    I'd really like to play a Swan. They are all beautiful instruments and the long scale intrigues me. Do you have a pic of yours?

    His Fargen amp has me slightly interested too, although I've been playing a bit dirtier lately.
     
  6. bluesdoc

    bluesdoc Gold Supporting Member Gold Supporting Member

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    John, the Soloway IS easy to play, UNLESS you're doing the 5 fret spread FMaj7 first position. There's no way around the increased length down low but for most everything else, there's a shift, but it's easily doable. Getting used to all the extra real estate up high is a change, but for me, all the better. (and I need all the help I can get :eek: )

    jon
     
  7. JoeB63

    JoeB63 Supporting Member

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    I did 3 gigs over the past 2 weekends on my newly acquired Swan. Prior to the gigs it did take a few days for my fingertips to toughen up a bit more to handle the increased bending tension -- I got some new calouses after a few days and then all was well. Now it feels no different than any of my other guitars (on the same .010's strings).

    Anyway, back to the gigs: At two of the 3 gigs I had the exact same conversation with guitar players in the audience during breaks:

    Guitar player dude: What kind of guitar is that? I've never seen that before, it looks nice.

    Joe: It's a Soloway Swan. Small company. It's got a 27" scale.

    Guitar player dude: So it's a Baritone.

    Joe: No, standard tuning. Regular strings.

    Guitar player dude: Really?!?!

    Joe: Yes!

    Guitar player dude: Sounds really nice!

    One of the two guys said "27 inch scale - is that the new thing?"

    The gig this Saturday was a wedding. So I got to play an hour of Jazz Standards (hacking my way through) and 3 hours of motown and dance music on the Swan. It works well for all that stuff.
     
  8. wodka

    wodka Member

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    I played one at the Philly. It was the rosewood/TV Jones model. Honestly, I couldn't feel a scale difference at all. Jim said most people don't notice it. Great sounding/playing guitar.
     
  9. JoeB63

    JoeB63 Supporting Member

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    A few more things about my Swan:

    It has a very clear tone. The middle position gives a nice almost-single coil tone that's great for rhythm playing on dance/funk tunes. I used this position almost all night (except for the jazz stuff).

    Strapped-on, it's the nicest looking guitar I own - I love the look of the rosewood top. I'm 6' 1" tall and some guitars look too small on me. This one doesn't.

    The build and finish quality can only be described as perfect - as good or better than any Anderson or Suhr that I've had.

    The hard/soft case (with backpack straps) is fantastic. Nice & light but better protection than any gig bag.

    My one complaint is that, like others, I wish the neck had a bit more girth. It's fine the way it is, but I would like it better if it were a little chunkier.

    If anyone in the Austin area wants to check it out, shoot me a message.
     
  10. dwes

    dwes Member

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    I have a buginga topped, swamp ash backed Swan. It's a striking instrument. I almost sold it a few months ago, but no one offered the $1600 I asked...lucky me!

    I've been plunking away on it and it is a fine guitar. I don't notice the bending/string tension thing. I do notice, to a slight degree, the scale length effects on the lower frets. At the same time, it seems less cramped higher up. Sweet tone, very resonant/articulate, and built with great attention to detail.

    Thanks,
    Dave
     
  11. Jim Soloway

    Jim Soloway Supporting Member

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    Jack, given the number of guitars that I've seen pass through your hands, I consider it an incredible honor that you remain committed to your Swan. I've always believed that Swan to be a really rewarding instrument for a great player and you certainly qualify in that class.

    And to the rest of you...it's wonderful to hear from happy owners. It's been a real trip to me to see the family grow. I never intended these guitars to be for everyone. All I really wanted when I designed these guitars was the right guitar for me. They have their own sound and their own feel and while they work perfectly for me as a player, I'm honestly still a little shocked (and more than a little thrilled) to hear how well they're working for other players. So thanks to all of you for the sense of adventure and the vote of confidence.
     
  12. jzucker

    jzucker Supporting Member

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    I wish you'd break down and make a bass.

    Also, tour guitar is particularly interesting to me since I've been working the last 6 months on slap, tap and fingerstyle techniques. It turns out that the increased articulation on your guitars (along with the spacing) makes it ideal. I'd also like to get a version with the Dimarzio VV single coil pickups at some point. I think it'd be a killer blues guitar.
     
  13. DestroyAllGuitars

    DestroyAllGuitars Member

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    Jack,

    My newest Swan has a Flame Ash Top on a Swamp Ash back with a DiMarzio Air Paf in the bridge and two Lollar Blackface single coil pickups. It went toe to toe with the 2 best sounding Strats that I know of. With the benefits that the Swan has to offer in regard to upper register fret spacing and the tuning staying in order without the use of a system that can rob it's beautiful high end harmonic content, I now have a Swan that has taken over the recording chores of my Strats. The next frontier is the Tele and then I will be using Swans for all guitar parts with the exception of 12 string, acoustic and bass.
    The Flame Ash Swan is a fabulous blues guitar, my favorite to date. It has replaced a '57 parts Strat and an original '67 Strat in my studio. It was so noticeably better that I have since sold both Strats and have not had 1 regret. As soon as Jim builds me a Swan that covers the ground currently filled by my Teles, I'd then be most happy to join you on a crusade to get him to develop a bass guitar.
     
  14. Chris Rice

    Chris Rice Member

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    Has anyone tried a Swan in Nashville tuning? Might be hell on the G string, but I bet it would sound great.
     

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