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BJ12HEAD.jpg (25472 bytes) Hey "BJ" meet your nephew "H" H33HEADa.jpg (30405 bytes)
(CLICK PICS TO VIEW FULL SIZE VERSIONS)
THE BLONDE GUITAR IS FOR SALE

This opportunity came all the way from near the "West Coast"* and finally made it's way to the "Deep South"*

I remember getting my Old BJ12 in 1974, it was an unknown age, and I paid £40 for it. It paid me back a thousand times over in pleasure and beauty (but then I am biased).H33BODY.jpg (46159 bytes)

H33incase.jpg (154836 bytes)I'd seen pictures of the Blonde faced H33 on the web, then Andrew posted a 'for sale' on my site classified ads... 

After seeing some pictures it turns out this H33 was new in 1974 and just a perfect pairing for the BJ12, and anyway why the change of name? Well, BJ stands for Bjarton - who made them, and H for Hagstrom who sold them. If it was intended as a Hagstrom export sale then the body would have H-33 in it. If it was possibly going to have a Bjarton headstock then BJ12. If sold in Scandinavia it would have said Bjarton even if sold in a Hagstrom shop, all exports went out under the Hagstrom brand.BJ12BODY.jpg (42024 bytes) But in the end, they would take which ever body was in stock and attach the necks "per order" and it makes no other difference in the end...

H33+BJ12a.jpg (29840 bytes) Key differences: Some apparent here, some only when you touch.

 There is mother of pearl binding round the head, 
 The familiar m.o.p. floral motif found on some Hag Electric heads
 The bridge is facing the other way - which one was the mistake I wonder ?

Well it turns out the blonde is the correct configuration, and despite the higher spec finish, I still have a preference for the sunburst example. After all, it was my first Hagstrom guitar!

H33BJ12BACK.jpg (47037 bytes) But the biggest difference is to-the-touch. 
 The H33 body has a 'modern' feel. An 'open-grained' texture, 
 - quite unlike the lighter reddish varnish smooth finish on the BJ12.

You can see the difference more in the pictures of the back and sides shown here. 

All this gives them a slightly different sound. The BJ12 has a wider range from bass to treble, the H33 a slightly deeper resonance over all. Both in isolation have the fullness and volume of a mini-string-orchestra all in one, and I wish I didn't have to compare them, as they are wonderful pieces of craftsmanship.

I love both of them, but the BJ12 sound is something special, (and it was my first Hagström). Like any acoustic they improve with age, but every one that I've owned has had a full and distinct identity by then - already giving out as much as you put in...

Work undertaken:
The guitar appeared to have been stored some time. 
A whitish light 'blush' on the base at the back, and some tarnish on the chrome tailpiece. 
        - Chrome cleaner, Jim Dunlop wood cleaner, then natural bees-wax polish. H33BJ12BKANGLE.jpg (41102 bytes)

Action was too high for me, and compared to the BJ12 (you can't get a pound coin edge between the strings and the 12th fret), and of course it's as straight as the Oklahoma Freewa..... (sorry Michael, got carried away there)

So off with the neck to check and adjust the joint position. Then out with the Hagstrom Toolkit - a quality allen wrench that won't simply rip under pressure, then down came the action to where I'm used to. New set of D'Addario 85*15 strings and we were away strummin' again by midnight!

No pressure to play, no fret buzz, no fret wear, no plans to sell, but there were THREE of them now!
I did in the end relent to selling one of the 12's - partly to placate the wife, but also because it was getting a bit over-the-top, and anyway so much more was arriving to fill my little Hagstrom world!

Strange really, I'd pull these big proud beauties to pieces to check 'em and adjust 'em; give me an electric or semi acoustic and I was scared 'itless to take anything apart for many years. Clearly I started out with an acoustic heart... SEE ANOTHER ACOUSTIC VIEW

UPDATE FEBRUARY 2002 - GUESS WHO ELSE PLAYED A BJ12

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There's nothing like a REAL original Swedish made Hagstrom (and there are loads around), but if it 'floats your boat', or you can't find an original then who are we to say?

Plenty has been said already and
will be said forever forward probably.
Only you know what's right for you!