Hallmark History

Bob Shade
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Hallmark History

Postby Bob Shade » Mon Nov 23, 2009 9:24 am

Hello all,

Thought I should chime in to shed some light on what Hallmark Guitars does and is all about. Firstly, this company was born between 1965 and 1966 by Joe Hall and Bob Bogle. Joe had worked at Mosrite since the late 50's and wanted to branch out on his own as he was not making any money working for Mosrite in the early days, but did become a brilliant luthier.

Bob Bogle came to Joe shortly after the Hallmark company was founded and asked Joe if he could help him with a guitar design to compliment Bob's new amplifier line "Encore". Bob brought a crude body and told Joe that he was not sure he liked the symetrical shape. Joe said that he refined it and gave it more of an off set cutaway. Bob Bogle came to Joe almost immediately thereafter and told Joe he could not go through with the guitar line as planned. The man who was in charge of the Encore buisiness office took all of the money that Encore had earned from pre-orders from merchants and took off nowhere to be found. Bob had no choice but to declare the company bankrupt and told Joe he could have the design and to take the ball and run with it. Joe sid he respected Bob and always got along great with him and felt very bad for him and his loss. Well, in steps Andy Moseley.

Andy was a silent partner in Hallmark as he told me himself, if Semie knew I was working for Hallmark he would have had a fit! But Andy liked Joe and felt he could be of service, so they drew up a contract and Joe and Andy would be 50% partners. Joe would handle manufacturing and Andy would handle promotion and sales. I have seen this contract myself. Andy still has it. It was great to have gotten Andy and Joe back together at summer NAMM a few years ago, they were talking about old times and it was great to see. Lot's of Mosrite employees worked for Hallmark, Bill Gruggett, Bob and Don Stanley, Carl Moore etc. It was tough in the later 60's and the company was short lived. Remember lot's of companies dried up including Mosrite, even Fender was having problems and sold to CBS. I decided to re-start Hallmark Guitars in the 90's and pick up where they left off.

I studied guitar building and luthery with Bill Loveless and acoustic builder in his 80's. He showed me intense woodworking and acoustical repair from completely re-building acoustics, bending woods, carving bracing replacing tops, you name it. Bill got too old and we had to part ways. My favorite guitar was the Mosrite Ventures Model and I had been collecting them and also restoring the bad ones over the years from re-finishing, re-binding, re-winding pickups, re-fretting, just about anything that needed done to make them right again.

I got an interest in the Hallmark Swept-Wing viewing it as the rarest of the rare Bakersfield modern guitar. A 58 Gibson Flying V to the Mosrite collector if you will. I was fortunate to find a few originals and decided when I needed a direction, to call Joe Hall and Bill Gruggett and have a discussion about re-starting the company. Joe and Bill were all for it. So Hallmark Guitars was born again! ( History Comes Alive?)

The first guitarsthat were produced were by myself and Bill Gruggett. We had no parts being made for us yet and everything was done by hand. I was building the Swept-Wings and Bill was building the Stradette's. I built Buddy Dughi a double neck Swept-Wing 6/and 6 octave neck model as well as a matching bass. I built a Swept-Wing double neck for Deke Dickerson with a baratone twin 6 config. complete with inlays in the fingerboard that light up and do a little Las Vegas light show. I built a Swept-Wing single neck that was given to Vintage Guitar magazine for a giveaway, and the guitar was featured on the cover as well as a full page in the magazine. These are just a few examples of what I was up to at the beginning of the re-birth. So, to answer any questions about building, yes I hand build guitars from raw materials regularly. Bill Grugget is still handbuilding guitars for Hallmark today in Bakersfield. The tradition continues.

Yes we make our own pickups AND we also own the remainder of vintage magnets that were created for Mosrite in the 60's and 70's. Once these are gone there are no more, but we still have alot of them. We also have alot of vintage parts in stock for restorations. We have collected these over the years. We are the leading Mosrite restoration shop that I am aware of. We worked on 3 1963 Ventures models this year, and also Damons 1963 doubleneck, lots of 65's and such. We are currently working on Lorrie Collins Mosrite/Martin made in the mid 50's as it is falling apart and needs alot of restoration to insure it makes it into the next decade. Terry was going to take the job but opted out. It is in horrid shape. I have a rounded background in acoustical repair and building so Terry sent it to us.

Speaking of the Collins Kids myeslf and John Lackey just handbuilt Larry Collins a Fireball 500 doubleneck guitar 6/octave with a killer pearl white to gold to candy red bursted paint job with a fireball on the back. So I guess my point here is YES, we still handbuild guitars from the ground up, and make pickups as close or closer than anyone to the originals including the Carvin AP6 style pickups. We have been making these for Terry's guitars for years.

Production models: yes we offer a hybrid USA/South Korea production guitar that you are all familiar with. In order to get guitars to the general public at a cost that is affordable to the average musician, with the quality demanded by professionals, this is what we do. In regards to the comment about legitimate or real, I believe you should buy what you like and judge for yourself. I love my old Mosrite guitars and have alot of them from pre-Ventures to 63's, 64's and 65's etc. My question to myself alway's was......why doesn't anyone ever play these guitars today live on stage? Why are most of these either wall hangers or in the closet? By the way, it was Semie Moseley and Joe Hall that created this guitar. It was Bob Crooks suggestion to make a double cutaway, but Joe's idea to flip a guitar over and trace it out. Joe had built a guitar that if flipped over looks EXACTLY like the Mosrite shape.

So it was my decision to not really offer what once had been in the 60's exactly, but in regards to the 60 Custom, take the designs that Semie and Joe employed, and improve on them to make guitar people WANT to play onstage today. We have improved the neck so it is silky smooth the most comfortable neck you would ever want to play. This was a very important first step. The reason most guitar players do not like Mosrites is the necks. I am fine with them but most are not.

We also decided we needed to make a pickup that is not microphonic and prone to squeel if the amp is cranked up. So we now double pot our pickups and put a metal frame on them for stability and no vibration to cause feedback. We also handbuild pickups with the foam backing and various methods that were used at Mosrite from the 50's through to 90's. There were several different designs under the covers though the years. We know all of them and can build any of them upon request with original magnets from that period.

We have been offerring our guitars from us direct to the customer so YOU do not pay the middleman fee. These guitars should cost more. Take the Deke Dickerson model. This guitar is a replica of the work that Semie Moseley took all of his time for months to build one guitar at a time, and would charge the customer about the price of a car for it. We found a little shop in South Korea who also builds for D'Angelico etc. and worked with them for over a year to get this right. This guitar should sell for over 3K. This guitars quality is second to none with our pickups and parts and has all of the custom features you would never find on a plywood Gretsch for three times the money.

We still handbuild in America, Are an American company, offer hybrids of the highest quality for a very reasonable price, and still have the same guy's from the old day's involved in the company. In conclusion, we have always strived to offer the best guitars possible both in the USA handbuilt here in Maryland and Bakersfield Ca. as well as the ultra high quality hybrid production models.The fact that Deke Dickerson and Larry and Lorrie Collins play Hallmark Guitars to this day says something about our products. Larry even took his Carvin AP6 pickups out of his 80's doubleneck that Semie built him and installed ours. He even tried Seymore Duncans handwounds but liked our pickup tone best and has left them in. I hope this clears up any questions about who we are and what we do. Thank you for your time and interest.

Bob Shade/ Hallmark Guitars

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marsman
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Re: Hallmark History

Postby marsman » Mon Nov 23, 2009 3:42 pm

Thanks for the info, you got me sold, I will be ordering a 60C as soon as I can find
a way to explain to wife why I need another guitar. ( Xmas present is a good excuse )
I emailed you a few weeks ago and you mentioned that you will have a new batch of
60C in early December. I take it, that is still the case?

Anybody else out there have a better way to explain to wife??????

Again, Thanks for the info and I will be ordering soon.

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Re: Hallmark History

Postby thunderhead » Mon Nov 23, 2009 4:02 pm

Tell her this is a Historically Significant Guitar like no other. It can become a Family Center Piece to be handed down thru the ages.............. o.k. tell Her this is the "End All" Guitars in your quest for Superior Tone and Playability and will be your last Guitar purchase..........o.k tell Her this is just like the Guitar you started on and have been regretting not having since your Youth, it would complete you and thus make both your Lives happier..........o.k. tell her it is ....oh what the heck just tell her you want the thing!!!!!!!! :lol:
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LOSTVENTURE
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Re: Hallmark History

Postby LOSTVENTURE » Mon Nov 23, 2009 5:54 pm

Tell your wife that she can use tha alligator case as a purse.
Don

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Dennisthe Menace
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Re: Hallmark History

Postby Dennisthe Menace » Mon Nov 23, 2009 5:59 pm

LOSTVENTURE wrote:Tell your wife that she can use tha alligator case as a purse.
Don

....and the purse has candy too!! :mrgreen: ......
make the Mos' of it, choose the 'rite stuff.
.........Owner of 9 Mosrites...
.....proud owner and documented:
1963 "the Ventures" Model s/n #0038
http://www.thevintagerockproject.com/

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Desert Surfer
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Re: Hallmark History

Postby Desert Surfer » Mon Nov 23, 2009 6:10 pm

If your wife is a Stock broker, tell her Hallmark guitars are going to appreciate in value in a few years....

If your wife is an accountant, tell her Japanese dollar is so strong now, better buy the Korean made goods before it goes up....(sorry, Artie)

If your wife works in hospital, tell her playing Hallmark guitar is a very good exercise for your fingers, this can prevent arthritis...

If your wife is your boss at home and at office like mine, keep it quiet and sneak in with the Hallmark from the back door...

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Re: Hallmark History

Postby vjf1968 » Tue Nov 24, 2009 3:45 am

marsman wrote:Thanks for the info, you got me sold, I will be ordering a 60C as soon as I can find
a way to explain to wife why I need another guitar. ( Xmas present is a good excuse )
I emailed you a few weeks ago and you mentioned that you will have a new batch of
60C in early December. I take it, that is still the case?

Anybody else out there have a better way to explain to wife??????

Again, Thanks for the info and I will be ordering soon.


As another satisfied customer, you will not be disappointed. These are very high quality guitars, a lot better than those Eastwood Mosrite copies and Eastwood has some decent stuff.

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Re: Hallmark History

Postby Desert Surfer » Tue Nov 24, 2009 7:54 am

Getting back to the serious subject....

Bob, thank for sharing the Hallmark History, I am always fascinated with American guitar history.

From my research and study on the internet, (thanks to many articles by Deke Dickerson) I learned that Joe Hall worked at Semie's factory to exchange his money he paid for the undelivered custom guitar. Later he worked with Bob Crooks at Standel. They had tried to put together a Mosrite like guitar line for a trade show and an Ad in Downbeat Magazine in the 60's. Here is the actual Ad:

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I was very fortunate to acquire one of the guitars made by them (see photo)

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The case was hand made. The handle should not be placed right in the middle.

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According to the seller, he purchased this guitar from a collector in Spain. The guitar was also featured in a Japanese Vintage guitar magazine. The guitar seemed to be around the world. I am glad that it is back at her home in the US.

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Guitar had a few problems when I got it, the neck was loose and it was not aligned correctly, the high E-string was too close to the edge of the fret, the neck pickup was too weak compared to the bridge PU. It looks like Joe had to make the guitar and case by hand. I have seen a lot Mosrite inspiration and influences. I had my guitar luthier restored it the playable condition. The neck PU was set a little higher, but in general these PU's are not as hot as my other vintage Mosrites.

I understand that the Standel guitar show wasn't successful and Joe parted with Bob and formed his own company; Hallmark. Joe took some left over parts and assembled some guitars at the new company. (the so called double logo guitars; with Hallmark logo on headstock and Standel's "S" logo on the body)

I hope my description of the history is correct. If not, Bob and Deke, would you kindly correct me and add your input so that I won't mislead anyone here.

Best,
Vincent

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JimPage
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Re: Hallmark History

Postby JimPage » Tue Nov 24, 2009 8:02 am

Hey, VIncent--

VERY cool guitar and one with an astonishing history.

Thanks for sharing. That kind of stuff is fascinating.

--Jim
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• '99 Martin D-41
• '67 Mosrite Celebrity II
• '72 Mosrite Celebrity III
• '83 Tokai TST56
• '10 Hallmark Barris Krest
• '10 Hallmark 60 Custom
• '10 Hallmark Stradette
• '50s Tele Clone
• Basses: Ashbory, Hofner, 51RI Precision, 5-string, fretless

Bob Shade
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Re: Hallmark History

Postby Bob Shade » Tue Nov 24, 2009 8:32 am

Hello Vincent,

Yes you have an original Standel made by Joe Hall! Your information here in your essay is corrrect. Joe made about 20 guitars just like this one for Bob Crooks as a test to see if guitarists would like them as a compliment to the already popular amplifier line. Based on the body shape that Joe and Semie worked on for the Ventures model Joe thought he would reverse engineer the body style and it could lead to be popular as the Ventures were in full tilt boogie in 1965. Unfiortunately, the deal did not work out just like prior test with Mosrite that Semie had tried with Bob Crooks, and as a result Joe was never paid for his work. Yes you will find a few rare examples of leftover parts that were assembled when Joe decided to start Hallmark Guitars. Deke has one, Artie does too, and Johnny Semonetta also has one. These were dated in the neck pocket as 65's. The headstocks sported the Hallmark trade name for the very first time and some had differrent Hallmark artwork to them and were branded as the "Mark IV"
There is a gold sparkle one out there somewhere as well that I saw a picture of in VG Magazine. This would have been what Joe was up to prior to Bob Bogle getting in touch with Joe as a possible manufacturer for his Encore guitars. This was exactly when Hallmark Guitars was born.

Bob


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