Hallmark 60 Custom guitar in Red-Silver-Blue Sparkle came just in time for July 4th! The paint work is top notch.
This guitar is signed by Bob Shade.
Hallmark Guitars founded in 1966 by Joe Hall, formerly of Mosrite with assistance of Bill Gruggett a guitar builder also from Mosrite. Hallmark Guitars unfortuantely was a short-lived company and like Mosrite at the time was operated in Bakersfield, CA. Hallmark Guitars is best known for a series of guitars called the “Swept-Wing” models. First appearing as a semi-solidbody guitar; later a solid-body model and a 12-string version were made, even a double neck. The company declared bankruptcy in 1968.
Bill Gruggett was working on some new ideas of his own, including the “Stradette” model when Joe Hall hired him at Hallmark. While he was at Hallmark he built the first “Stradette” 6-string guitar, which is now on display at the Kern County Museum in Bakersfield (along with several other historical instruments, such as Joe Maphis’ second Mosrite double neck guitar).
It was Bob Bogle of the Ventures, who showed Joe Hall a crude sketch of what would became the “Swept-Wing” guitar design. Bob Bogle, due to deals with Mosrite, remained a silent partner with Joe Hall.
Hallmark Guitars was restarted by Bob Shade, a skilled luthier and collector, who acquired the rights to the name from Joe Hall in the late 1990s. On an individual basis, he builds custom Hallmarks out of his shop in Greenbelt, Maryland; including the iconic Hallmark Swept Wing guitars and Mosrite inspired designs. Bob, had managed to track down four original Swept-Wings, which is remarkable as there was not that many made. He also collects rare Mosrite guitars. Bob has been doing Mosrite restorations for many years.
Bob felt the Swept-Wing was truly a wonderful guitar that had never had a proper chance, and wanted to bring them back as a modern reissue. After tracking down Joe Hall, who had been out of the guitar business since the the late sixties, he secured the rights to use the Hallmark name, and Joe gave his blessing for the reissues.
Bob Shade takes custom orders that are built in his Maryland shop. Most Hallmark guitars are partially manufactured in South Korea and finished with US made parts in Maryland by Bob Shade.
The Hallmark 60 Custom is a Mosrite inspired guitar originally designed by Semie Moseley and Joe Hall in 1960, this guitar has now become a classic. Bob Shade has re-designed and improved upon a few of the shortcomings of the original making this guitar very versatile. The original Mosrites had thin necks, close string spacing and low frets making the playability a acquired taste. So many players may find that the vintage models look and sound great, but are difficult to play, due to the tight string spacing.
The new Hallmark 60 Custom guitar has a 1 5/8″ width at the nut and zero fret, crowned fretwire, this guitar is made with playability in mind. Still retaining all of the key ingredients of the originals like pickups that have cast alnico magnets, custom hot wound coils, but are quiet and can be used in a high gain amplifier without feedback squeel and hum. The early Mosrite guitars used Carvin pickups that had a unique sound. The pickups used in the new Hallmark 60 Custom guitar are based on these pickups. Later Mosrites guitars featured pickups that Semie Mosley designed.
Calvin was one of the only companies then that sold guitar parts direct to the public – Semie Moseley used them until the early ’60s, when Mosrite could finally afford to tool their own pickups and hardware. Unfortunately, Calvin later stopped making these and even threw away the molds!
Bob Shade has designed the vibrato for better intonation that stays in tune. The vibrato has a great smooth operation and is fluid and musical. These guitars are manufactured in Korea and finished in the US by Bob Shade. They are high quality guitars that are reasonable in price. Comparing it to my Danelectro 64 Mosrite copy, the Hallmark 60 Custom is a more substantial guitar. I love the Danelectro 64, but it is totally outclassed by the Hallmark 60 Custom with its fit and finish, great Vibrato, set neck and site pickups which sound great. Much nicer than the weaker sounding Danelectro’s. The Hallmark 60 Custom has very similar dimensions as the Dano, but weighs a bit more at 9-lbs to the Dano’s 7-lbs 9-ozs.
This Hallmark 60 Custom is a beautiful guitar in most every way. The fretwork is excellent and the guitar plays and feels like a much more expensive instrument. The guitar came with a very nice brown alligator fitted hard shell case. It certainly will not be the last Hallmark guitar I will purchase. I purchased this guitar from a dealer, but Hallmark sells direct from their website and Bob Shade is a pleasure to work with.
- Scale length: 24 3/4
- Bob Shade Roller Bearing Vibrato
- Hallmark locking saddle roller bridge for better intonation
- Bob Shade Custom Wound High Fidelity Pickups
- Zero Fret for exact pitch return
- Custom finish in Red-Silver-Blue Sparkle
- Set Maple neck with bound Indian Rosewood fingerboard
- Alder Body with body binding
- Vintage style tuning keys
Awesome guitar and will not be the last Hallmark for my collection! Might be a Swept Wing, a Deke or a Stradette in my future purchases.
Some Hallmark Guitar Demos – Enjoy!