Swan Song Guitars: We Love Building Guitars That People Love to Play

Swan Song's mission is to craft brilliantly engineered musical instruments that are accessible to anyone and everyone.

I’m Nelson Joyce and I make electric bass guitars. I was 12 years old when I got my first guitar. It was a Sears Silver Tone. I liked to play it, but I loved to take it apart. So when I put the Silver Tone back together, I realized I wanted to improve it. And that’s when my love of building started. I’ve always been fascinated with the build process; taking an idea that’s in my head and turning it into reality. That’s why I started Swan Song Guitars. I’ve been playing with the formula for the perfect bass for over ten years. With each rebuild, the end result gets better and better. All the pieces came together and the sound that was in my head started coming out of the speakers. When you buy a Swan Song Guitar, you get a finely crafted instrument made just for you. Now that I have the bass that I always wanted, I’d like to share it with you.

Tim Lee of Babybrutha performing "Startled" on a Swan Song Bass @ House Pub in St Charles, IL

Babybrutha was formed by founding member T.LEE (bass, keys and vocals) . The current line up includes Savino Izzi on guitar, Keith King on drums and vocals . The sound is definitely soulful with a rock approach. Babybrutha's live performances have been described as HIGH ENERGY FUNK! Some have said that their sound is a combination of Jimi Hendrix, Curtis Mayfield and Sly and the Family Stone. Babybrutha has performed behind many local Chicago artists, as well as writing and producing. The Wild Hare, Morseland, Darkroom, The Hothouse, The Congress Theater are just a few of the Chicago area venues that have featured these musicians. TLEE says the name Babybrutha comes from a Richard Pryor routine where Pryor is speaking to Jim Brown. Jim Brown says to Pryor "What's happening Babybrutha?" Pryor responds with "Ain't nuthin to it." These guys have a fierce approach to music. They list Outkast, Raphael Saadiq, P-Funk, The Beatles, Lenny Kravitz and Prince as major influences. The sound is fresh and very melodic. Now Go Wiggle!

Summer NAMM '14 - Swan Song Guitars 4Directions Bass Demo

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Gear Editor Charles Saufley is a career writer and editor from San Francisco. Before joining Premier Guitar he served as Associate Editor at Acoustic Guitar magazine (where his predecessor was esteemed PG Editor in Chief Shawn Hammond.) He became music obsessed not long after birth—thanks in no small part to older siblings who ‘babysat’ him with a set of headphones, Revolver, and Sticky Fingers. Charles still spends a lot of time listening to records. And his many git-fiddle heroes include Roger McGuinn, Pete Townshend, Tom Verlaine, Eddie Phillips, Nokie Edwards, Gabor Szabo, John Cippolina, Randy Holden, Erkin Koray, Greg Ginn, and Sonic Youth.

Vail Johnson & T.Lee of Babybrutha @ SummerNAMM 2014 Swan Song Guitars

Published on Jul 21, 2014

At Summer NAMM in Nashville and legendary Bass player Vail Johnson invited me to sit in with him. time of my life, really. We were at the Swan Song guitar booth. great guitars by the way. Now Go wiggle!

T.Lee of Babybrutha Louis Johnson "Get on the floor" Swan Song guitar

Born and raised on the west side of Chicago Timothy Lee (he is known by friends as TLee) started his music training early. His father loved the blues and that’s all he listened to. “Howlin wolf’s voice was so powerful that it scared me at the age of 6 or 7.” Tlee is the youngest of 7 so he was constantly being forced to listen to the music of his siblings. Rufus, Stevie Wonder, Jackson 5, Parliament were played as well as The Beatles, Kiss, The Eagles and Steely Dan. At the age of 10 Tlee remembers traveling with his older sister Deborah as she went to audition for a soul band. This audition was mesmerizing for him. “That was the first time I was in front of real guitars and drums and amps and it was amazing. These were heroes to me because they made music.” Tlee’s world would never be the same after that. After messing around with toy guitars he finally got a real one at 12. Read the rest of his bio here.