In this new series, each month we showcase special instruments submitted by readers from around the world.
Name: Charlie Johnson
Location: Lusby, Maryland
Guitar: Hallmark Swept-Wing
Charlie Johnson acquired his Hallmark Swept-Wing—which he nicknamed “Ginger” after the Gilligan’s Island redhead—via Craigslist in 2013. “The story starts with an MIJ Fender Jaguar that made its way through a couple of my friends who couldn’t get past the troublesome bridge,” Johnson shares. “I received it as a birthday present and I fixed the bridge issue, but it just never grew on me. I decided to put it on Craigslist for sale/trade to see what I could get.”
Johnson received a response proposing a trade for this futuristic-looking axe. “I had to have it,” he says. “The guitar had a string missing, but I knew there was some mojo there. I took it home, set it up correctly, and voila! I played it at my band Don’t Call Me Shirley’s gig that night!”
The story gets deeper: The guitar’s former owner had previously found a beat-up, unplayable 1960s Swept-Wing at a yard sale. “He contacted Bob Shade—who resurrected the brand— in Greenbelt, Maryland, which is about 1.5 hours from where I live,” Johnson says. “Bob traded him this new one for the old one.”
Johnson says his guitar is one of a limited run of 10 that Hallmark made in orange sparkle. The 25.5"-scale guitar has 23 frets and features a mahogany body, maple neck, rosewood fretboard, and custom Bob Shade hardware. “It’s meant to be a ‘surf’ guitar, but I’ve played just about every style of music with it. The custom pickups cut through any mix and the neck is as comfortable as it gets. Great craftsmanship from Hallmark all around!”
Send your guitar story to firstname.lastname@example.org.