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Epiphone Emperor Swingster Hollowbody Electric Guitar 

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The Epiphone Emperor Swingster features archtop jazz guitar styling and updated electronics including SwingBucker pickups with push/pull tone control...Click To Read More About This Product

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OVERVIEW

A serious twangin', rockabilly-slingin', country-flingin' machine!

The Epiphone Emperor Swingster features archtop jazz guitar styling and updated electronics including SwingBucker pickups with push/pull tone controls that allows a choice of standard series or parallel pickup wiring for a brighter tone. The Swingster guitar has a shorter 24-3/4" scale that helps facilitate challenging jazz chord inversions. The body features a spruce top, a laminated birch/maple body and a 3-piece maple neck topped with a rosewood fingerboard.

Other vintage features of this hollowbody electric guitar include chrome hardware, Grover Rotomatic 16:1 tuners, bound f-holes, thumbnail fingerboard Inlays, and a Bigsby licensed vibrato tailpiece with wire arm along with a "pinned"(non-floating) Tune-O-matic bridge with roller saddles for smooth operation and accurate return to pitch which is preferred when using the vibrato. Case sold separately.

Check the drop-down menu to the right to select colors and/or other options.

FEATURES
  • Style: Single-cutaway archtop
  • Body: Laminated maple/birch
  • Top: Select spruce
  • Neck: Set 3-piece hard maple
  • Scale length: 24-3/4"
  • Neck profile: Slim-tapered
  • Fingerboard: Rosewood
  • Fingerboard radius: 14"
  • No. of frets: 20
  • Fingerboard inlays: Thumbnail Inlays
  • Nut width: 1-11/16"
  • Neck pickup: SwingBucker
  • Bridge Pickup: SwingBucker
  • Controls: 1-Neck Volume, 1-Neck Tone (push/pull - series/parallel), 1-Bridge Volume, 1-Bridge Tone (push/pull - series/parallel), 3-way toggle pickup selector
  • Hardware: Chrome
  • Tuners: Grover Rotomatic 16:1 tuners
  • Bridge: Rosewood bridge (Pinned)
  • Tailpiece: Bigsby vibrato with wire arm
  • Finish: Polyurethane
  • Case sold separately

An archtop jazz guitar that you can afford!

Reviews
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Review Snapshot

by PowerReviews
EpiphoneEmperor Swingster Hollowbody Electric Guitar
 
4.6

(based on 40 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (29)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (9)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (1)

100%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Good feel (21)
  • Good tone (19)
  • Fun to play (18)
  • Good pick up (15)
  • Solid electronics (13)

Cons

No Cons

Best Uses

  • Practicing (18)
  • Jamming (17)
  • Recording (14)
  • Small venues (11)
  • Rock concerts (7)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Experienced (15), Novice (3), Professional musician (3)

Most Liked Positive Review

 

I love this Epiphone Swingster Emperor Guitar madly

I have got my Swingster for a little over a year ago by now, and have made some minor improvements to it I believe. Firstly I bought a rollerbridge, which helped it stay...Read complete review

I have got my Swingster for a little over a year ago by now, and have made some minor improvements to it I believe. Firstly I bought a rollerbridge, which helped it stay perfectly in tune. next I had to buy 11/48 gauge strings in order for especially the low E string not to come off the sledge of the bridge. I also bought white chicken head knobs for better orientation on where volume and tone controls stands, as it can be difficult to see on the black knobs. I also had to exchange the three position switch to a new and better one, as it was malfunctioning. But otherwise I am madly satisfied with the Swingster. It plays like a dream, and it has a lot of tone possibilities by lifting the tone control knobs for either single mode or humbucker sounds. I like the variety it gives. The build quality is impressing, the neck is perfect for me, I really like the C shape it has. I have adjusted the strings to be quite low, and I praise the fretboard for being totally straight and perfectly aligned, to make this low height of the strings possible. I had to screw the magnets on both the PU`s down a little for the high E and H string, as they were dominating the chords a little, soundwise ... but all these small adjustments only has made it my personal favourite guitar by now. Using a Carl Martin Red repeat slap back pedal, and an old Vox V15 Combo from the eighties, makes the Swingster a perfect Rockabilly guitar for me. I do recommend the Epi Swingster highly. It is a beautiful guitar to look at - especially in Orange colour I think ;O) and it plays wonderfully. Don`t hesitate, just go for it!

VS

Most Liked Negative Review

 

Depending upon playing style

I recommend this guitar with one major reservation, depending upon your playing style...

This is a gorgeous guitar -- earning compliments whenever I bring it out. The tone and...Read complete review

I recommend this guitar with one major reservation, depending upon your playing style...

This is a gorgeous guitar -- earning compliments whenever I bring it out. The tone and playability are great, with one exception: the bridge can cause problems. If I play this gently, I have no problems. However, if I start rockin', it's rather easy to displace strings from the guides in the bridge, especially the low E. I've gone to heavier strings (11s) with some improvement, indeed only the low E usually causes trouble now. [I've also taken it in for consultation more than once, but the repair people say there's little to be done beyond strings, without getting radical.] But because the low E is unstable when my playing becomes more intense, I've been reluctant to use the Swingster for rock gigs. If/when I have a mellower gig, I will certainly employ the Swingster because of its striking looks. But until then, it will stay home or appear only for some jams. Too bad because it looks and sounds so pretty!

Reviewed by 40 customers

Displaying reviews 1-10

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(2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

I love this Epiphone Swingster Emperor Guitar madly

By Al the Undertaker

from Denmark Copenhagen

About Me Experienced

Pros

  • Good Feel
  • Good Pick Up
  • Good Tone

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Recording
    • Rock Concerts

    Comments about Epiphone Emperor Swingster Hollowbody Electric Guitar:

    I have got my Swingster for a little over a year ago by now, and have made some minor improvements to it I believe. Firstly I bought a rollerbridge, which helped it stay perfectly in tune. next I had to buy 11/48 gauge strings in order for especially the low E string not to come off the sledge of the bridge. I also bought white chicken head knobs for better orientation on where volume and tone controls stands, as it can be difficult to see on the black knobs. I also had to exchange the three position switch to a new and better one, as it was malfunctioning. But otherwise I am madly satisfied with the Swingster. It plays like a dream, and it has a lot of tone possibilities by lifting the tone control knobs for either single mode or humbucker sounds. I like the variety it gives. The build quality is impressing, the neck is perfect for me, I really like the C shape it has. I have adjusted the strings to be quite low, and I praise the fretboard for being totally straight and perfectly aligned, to make this low height of the strings possible. I had to screw the magnets on both the PU`s down a little for the high E and H string, as they were dominating the chords a little, soundwise ... but all these small adjustments only has made it my personal favourite guitar by now. Using a Carl Martin Red repeat slap back pedal, and an old Vox V15 Combo from the eighties, makes the Swingster a perfect Rockabilly guitar for me. I do recommend the Epi Swingster highly. It is a beautiful guitar to look at - especially in Orange colour I think ;O) and it plays wonderfully. Don`t hesitate, just go for it!

    (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

     
    4.0

    Very nice guitar with lots of sonic options

    By patcasey

    from chicago

    About Me Experienced

    Pros

    • Fun To Play
    • Good Feel
    • Good Tone

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • Jamming
      • Practicing
      • Small Venues

      Comments about Epiphone Emperor Swingster Hollowbody Electric Guitar:

      Very nice guitar. I bought one of the "open box" guitars at a discount because of a blemish in the finish and scratch on the side. It took me forever to find the blemish (had to get the light just right) and I still haven't found the scratch after a week. Give me another couple weeks and I'll undoubtedly add my own.

      The guitar came nearly perfectly set up. Stays in tune very well even with the bigsby (though I admit I am as very light user of the bigsby).

       
      5.0

      This is a real bargain

      By friendly Henry

      from Caldwell Idaho

      About Me Professional Musician

      See all my reviews

      Ask me a question

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Fun To Play
      • Good Feel
      • Good Pick Up
      • Good Tone
      • Solid Electronics

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • Jamming
        • Practicing
        • Small Venues

        Comments about Epiphone Emperor Swingster Hollowbody Electric Guitar:

        This guitar is a blem. It has a finish flaw on the top. Otherwise it is gorgeous. It's just as nice or nicer than my other Swingsters.

        (3 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

         
        3.0

        Depending upon playing style

        By Dave

        from Chicago

        About Me Experienced

        Verified Reviewer

        Pros

        • Fun To Play
        • Good Feel
        • Good Pick Up
        • Good Tone
        • Solid Electronics

        Cons

        • Bridge issue

        Best Uses

        • Jamming
        • Practicing
        • Recording
        • Small Venues

        Comments about Epiphone Emperor Swingster Hollowbody Electric Guitar:

        I recommend this guitar with one major reservation, depending upon your playing style...

        This is a gorgeous guitar -- earning compliments whenever I bring it out. The tone and playability are great, with one exception: the bridge can cause problems. If I play this gently, I have no problems. However, if I start rockin', it's rather easy to displace strings from the guides in the bridge, especially the low E. I've gone to heavier strings (11s) with some improvement, indeed only the low E usually causes trouble now. [I've also taken it in for consultation more than once, but the repair people say there's little to be done beyond strings, without getting radical.] But because the low E is unstable when my playing becomes more intense, I've been reluctant to use the Swingster for rock gigs. If/when I have a mellower gig, I will certainly employ the Swingster because of its striking looks. But until then, it will stay home or appear only for some jams. Too bad because it looks and sounds so pretty!

        (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

         
        5.0

        Amazing Rockabilly Tone yet Shocking Versatility

        By natsteel

        from New Haven, CT

        About Me Experienced

        Pros

        • Fun To Play
        • Good Feel
        • Good Pick Up
        • Good Tone
        • Solid Electronics

        Cons

          Best Uses

          • Jamming
          • Practicing
          • Recording
          • Small Venues

          Comments about Epiphone Emperor Swingster Hollowbody Electric Guitar:

          I bought a factory 2nd version of the orange Swingster a few years ago. I wanted a Gretsch 6120 but that was well beyond my budget and at the time the only corresponding Electromatic model was the 5120. So I chose the Swingster over the Gretsch 5120.

          I bought the guitar to play rockabilly though I also play blues, jump blues, and jazz (mostly swing). As others have noted, this guitar does all of them handily. The Swingbucker in series (humbucker) mode has a huge output that will let you drive an amp the way a humbucker should. But, for me, it's the parallel mode that really makes the Swingbuckers shine. Mixing the neck and bridge pickups in parallel mode and adding your standard rockabilly delay and slapback gives you a very classic, Gretsch-like, Gallup-ish tone. Though the output of the parallel mode is significantly lower, the bridge pickup can give you enough drive to get into more recent-type rockabilly tones.

          In fact, I love the parallel mode so much that I use it even when playing jump blues and jazz, though that is not intended to be a statement about the series mode. I have a number of Epiphone guitars in this price range––including a Broadway and a Sheraton––as well as a 1950 Gibson ES-150. If I could only play one guitar, though, for the rest of my life, the Swingster would be the smartest choice because of its versatility and the quality with which it handles a range of genres.

          All that is to say, I can't recommend the Swingster highly enough for anyone who plays multiple genres similar to the ones I mentioned. The neck on mine is among the most comfortable I've played. The fretwork was solid. Mine has the roller bridge and I used a little Nut Sauce and never have any problems either with tuning or slippage, even when leaning on the Bigsby. The only caveat I can offer is that after a year or so the Bigsby arm became loose and eventually came off, but it's an easy fix during a routine setup.

          (0 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

           
          5.0

          Gets out of tune a lot using the Bigbsy..

          By Cowgirl

          from Santa Fe

          About Me Experienced

          Pros

          • Fun To Play
          • Good Feel
          • Solid Electronics

          Cons

          • Flat Sound
          • Fret Buzz
          • hard to keep in tune
          • Hard to keep tuned

          Best Uses

          • Jamming
          • Practicing
          • Rock Concerts

          Comments about Epiphone Emperor Swingster Hollowbody Electric Guitar:

          I love this guitar but gets out of tune a lot.. and while using Bigsby...Would you recommend a 3.3 locking tuner? Would that solve the problem/

          (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

           
          5.0

          Very nice playing guitar

          By Old Guitar Dude

          from Florida

          About Me Experienced

          See all my reviews

          Pros

          • Fun To Play
          • Good Feel
          • Good Pick Up
          • Good Tone
          • Solid Electronics

          Cons

            Best Uses

            • Jamming
            • Practicing
            • Rock Concerts
            • Small Venues

            Comments about Epiphone Emperor Swingster Hollowbody Electric Guitar:

            I bought one after trying several at stores. Some are definitely better than others. I love the one I bought and it plays smoothly and has very good tone. The fret work is good, but not as finished on the ends as my old Sheraton. The pick ups are nice and deliver a wide variety of tones.
            The Bigsby works smoothly and the guitar stays in tune. Mine has the traditional tune-o-matic bridge. Others I have played that had the roller bridge were not as nice and the strings would come out of the rollers. If you buy one, I recommend getting the later models that have the traditional bridge or converting the roller bridge. The tuners work smoothly and feel like good quality. I love the red finish and think this is one of the nicest looking guitars available. The guitar is very versatile and can be used for rockabilly, country, blues, jazz and almost any type of music. Since it is a hollow body, you will get feedback of you play loudly or stand in front of your amp. The feed back seems less with this guitar than with others I have tried. Overall, this is an extremely nice guitar that is well made and plays great.

            (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

             
            4.0

            EMPEROR SWINGSTER HOLLOWBODY ELECTRIC GU

            By Walt

            from Newmarket, Canada

            About Me Experienced

            Pros

            • Fun To Play
            • Good Feel
            • Good Pick Up
            • Good Tone

            Cons

              Best Uses

              • Jamming
              • Practicing
              • Rock Concerts
              • Small Venues

              Comments about Epiphone Emperor Swingster Hollowbody Electric Guitar:

              I recently purchased a gently used Swingster, put some new strings on it and haven't put it down! It's a fun guitar to play and with the pickup configurations it has a variety of swinging sounds and tones! Pump up the reverb or some slap back delay and let 'er rip!

              (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

               
              4.0

              Fantastic Guitar Does it ALL

              By Commish

              from Nashua, New Hampshire

              About Me Experienced

              See all my reviews

              Ask me a question

              Pros

              • Fun To Play
              • Good Feel
              • Good Pick Up
              • Good Tone
              • Holds The Tuning

              Cons

                Best Uses

                • Jamming
                • Practicing
                • Recording
                • Rock Concerts
                • School Bands
                • Small Venues

                Comments about Epiphone Emperor Swingster Hollowbody Electric Guitar:

                PROS: drop-dead gorgeous piece of work from the vibrant orange paint to the headstock - everyone comments on it; audience and fellow musicians alike - they love it. The humbucker warmth and power is better than any Gibson Les Paul I've played on. I can't get over the tone of these pickups. The single coils (push/pull tone knobs) are OK, but don't expect a Strat. It holds the tuning beautifully - the Grover machine heads are first class. The Bigsby "wire" tremolo/whammy bar is really cool and the end of it fits in the pocket of my hand for great control. Great fingerboard, neck, and action. My guitar came set up in absolutely perfect shape. The Epiphone luthiers know what they're doing. I was immediately impressed.

                CONS: change the strings - they're awful. The "Rhythm/Treble" toggle switch isn't great... it emits a lot of static when I have to switch between the three modes, and this is pretty annoying (hence only the 4 stars).

                For the price I paid for this guitar, I cannot believe I could find a better one designed to do EVERYTHING! Though I still prefer my high-end single coil guitars, this Swingster is better than any of the much more expensive Gibson's I own or have tried out. I can play anything on this guitar - hard rock, blues (my main reason for loving it so much), jazz, rockabilly... it's just a great all-'round guitar with an emphasis on Blues. As a side note, of all my guitars, only this one is able to produce the Jimmy Page Les Paul humbucker brilliance of the Led Zeppelin era, and the Peter Green tone he achieved during his tenure with John Mayall. What a bonus...

                (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

                 
                4.0

                Essentially Jazz but Rather Flexible...

                By Nathan Naberezny

                from Ashtabula, OH

                About Me Experienced

                See all my reviews

                Pros

                • Good Feel
                • Good Tone

                Cons

                • Poor Pick Up
                • Poor Quality Craftsmanship

                Best Uses

                • Recording

                Comments about Epiphone Emperor Swingster Hollowbody Electric Guitar:

                This is a great guitar for the price. If you are expecting a Gretsch, look elsewhere. If you are searching for a D'Angelico, save your money. If you are looking for a good hollowbody that will not destroy the bank account and add versatility to your studio, this is a great selection. The tones range from thick and bass-centric to thin and treble crazy. My two gripes are the flimsy pots and the noisy pickups. The pickups do not have a noisy signal but they feed back easily and have a strange reverberation issue caused by the metal casing on each humbucker. With a few modifications and a good setup, this guitar can be made into something great. At the price, its a great addition to a studio collection and will offer a lot for a low admission rate.

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