Hagstrom Guitars Ha gström Gitar

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>>> UPDATES: FRANKFURT 2005 - HAGSTROM UK REPORT ON THE SHOW...
     2005         - AND THE GUITARS!                                                                       

                       - Compare Old and New Tuners                                                               

The AM&S Generation Hagstrom Guitars...
My personal first impressions appear in the following pages. It would be silly to fall head over heels in love without comment, equally I shall be objective; trying to raise questions I believe others may have. Yes, objective not just critical just as every reader is going to be... (OH YEAH)... Actually, all politics aside, I like this first view a lot. Some detail to be sorted in my mind still, and some confusion in places. However I'd enjoy the opportunity to become part of this new chapter of the story...when they get some over to the UK for me!

Well, take your pick, there's a new breed of Hag on the block, and irrespective of your views, they're going to coax and coax till you take a try... Not a complete reissue story, not even an exact one in many ways, but a serious attempt to bring back the flavour of what we all go crazy for on eBay these days.

There's no rush job here, they've taken a year or more to develop based on original specs supplied by the Hagstrom family (third generation), and the trade shows were all over them by some accounts, so lets take a look, then pass you on to the vendors!

Don't get too excited just yet (August 2004), but USA volume shipping is quoted as pre-Christmas 2004, so if you just can't get a Swede or a Viking, you're not a purist of the story, then read on...

I won't replicate the details found on the new website (I'd hate it if they did that to me), but simply provide what I can see.

When the samples arrive I'll tell you what you can feel and hear too!

First off there seems to be two thrusts in the launch of these models.

One: Find out what's important in the guitar, and try to get it right.
Two: What can be done, and what can be done without

It's never going to be the original guitar, but sometimes that might just be a good thing. However there are a few indisputable must-have's, some like-to-have's, and some plain old used-to-have-but-can't-have-now...

So where do we start. Let's be obvious shall we?
THE NECK
We see the return of the H expander-stretcher in it's original style, and a slim fast neck.

THE 10 YEAR WARRANTY
It's back!

THE FINISH

That secret recipe that Fender wanted may or may not be out in the open, but polyester is the order of the day instead of the modern thin finish, so Nils, the Master Lacquerer may not have approved, but again the intention is there.

THE TUNERS

Well they ain't round and they ain't quite the real D'Aquisto, but they're going to give a good impression to the newbie, and at 18:1 ratio they're good quality (darn it, said I wasn't going to do that)!

THE LOOKS

Well, this is where the purist may run a mile, but then I'd rather play a reissue 90% of the time and leave the real SuperSwede in store until that Sony Awards show or the Brit Awards... (oh yes?) Anyhow, as I can't tell you what they sound like yet, I'll leave that one open ended. (Anyone care to comment on the forum?)

There's a good attention to some of the key details. I mentioned the Tuners above, but the tailpiece on the stop tail models employs the same system as used on the late Swede and SuperSwede models (See base of page). Alternatives according to model used a fair rendition of the harp shape although as yet without that splendid lion crest from what I've seen.

This same tail appears on the traditional style Jazz model which sets it apart from the original Jimmy F. After this there is a departure. We all know the well loved Hagstrom Tremelo unit was more suited to the Shadows than Van Halen (to paraphrase Michael Wright yet again), well hopefully a leap forward without the issues of the Ultra Swede, we now see a modern full contact bridge tremelo system which is claimed to "outperform all others" - a bold claim that I would be foolish to write off without trying.

THE MODELS

This is 1) where it may not be finalised yet?
2) where it may be better not be able to have 'that one' as it was before
3) there's room for more for the cult buyer to come hopefully - and hopefully a few great basses.
4) The acoustics were never Hagstrom they were Bjarton anyway, and the line up so far doesn't emulate my gorgeous babies at all for looks. Again, once there is final info we'll be back with info on my pet area of comparing my mature resonant acoustics! Hopefully if it isn't a viable model (acoustics are such a competitive market these days) it won't simply be a poor compromise in a modern form, rather a new model and proud of it... dare I say that here? Anyhow, we'll concentrate on the electrics for now.

Maybe there's an argument for reviving all that was different about Hagstrom. But that would be very expensive. I don't even have confirmation of the manufacturing route yet, but even if they're 'USA made' for some of the models it won't be quite what it seems. Likely we'll see USA woods from someone like Court that makes it's way to China, Korea, or wherever, gets shaped finished and packed back via Sammick before final assembly in USA... just like some Ibanez et al were. When we have courageous marketing info then I'll let you know for sure. Meantime, however they arrive with us, it will be the sound, feel, and finish quality that's important. There are times I've heard people whisper they'd rather  have an Epi to a Gib just for finish quality these days!

The one thing that hits me in the face I'm afraid is those dials. Maybe the closest available now, but they remind me more of a disco console than a 70's guitar. Hopefully when these guitar sales take off, there'll be the opportunity to source something a bit more subtle. Yes, OK they're the prototypes I know... sorry but years of looking at old ones makes you picky!

It is a NEW CHAPTER in the brand, and be precious about our original hand crafted Swedish examples till they outlive us all. Meantime until we've played this generation it may be wise to pluck before we speak, especially if we're inclined to write it off as as simply opportunistic - it may well be what we've wanted as well - and that headstock still looks the business!

We had One and Two above... there is one more of course:
Three: What shall we do to present Hagstrom in century 21...

Speaking with others who've seen them "in the flesh" they CAN turn the hardest critic around. What can be achieved today from whatever route is used, can be very impressive. I truly hope that will be the case... and not just compared with history...

TO SEE PICTURES OF THE PROTOTYPE MODELS FOLLOW THE SMALL LINKS HERE, TO GET MORE DETAILS FOLLOW LINKS TO THE MAIN AM&S SITE - THROUGH THE PICTURE BELOW AND OTHER LINKS AROUND THIS SITE.

 VIKING - SWEDE - HJ600 - HL550 - F200 - F200P- F300 -  SUPERSWEDE - DELUXE

THE FULL HAGSTROM HISTORY (REVISED VINTAGE GUITAR MAGAZINE ACCOUNT)
THE AM&S NEW HAGSTROM PRESS RELEASES
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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!