There is also new information since the original publication, [which will be added in brackets] to indicate an update note by Hagstrom UK.
Note: We will not be replicating the batch
history listings, as this detracts from the sale of the Hagström Gittarer Blue
Book, donated to Bälgdraget by Hagström in order to finance their activities in
association with former Hagström employees. The link to the site to your order
[THE ORIGINAL SEQUENCE OF THIS ARTICLE HAS BEEN CHANGED TO HELP CHRONOLOGY]
More Bjarton-made acoustics
These were again probably made by Bjarton, the factory Hagstrom had used a couple years earlier in the decade.
Acoustic Hagstroms offered in the ’66 Merson catalog included a concert and grand concert-sized folk, two jumbos, and two 12-string dreadnoughts.
The glued-in necks all had the patented Hagstrom “H” expander rod. All had rosewood fingerboards, rosewood-pin bridges and line rosettes.
The H-11 Concert Folk Guitar (141/8”) had a natural spruce top, mahogany body, an open book headstock, dots and large tortoise guard.
The round-shouldered jumbo H-45 Country Western Guitar (16”) was spruce and mahogany in sunburst, with bound fingerboard, block inlays, a wide center-peaked three-and-three headstock, and smaller tortoise guard.
The H-45E was the same guitar with a Kent pickup at the end of the fingerboard, with a volume and tone down on the lower bout. H-33 12 String “Folk Singer’s Favorite” dreadnought came in spruce and mahogany, with open book head and dots.
The H-33E was the same with a Kent pickup tucked up under the end of the fingerboard. In ’67, the great Frank Zappa appeared in an ad with H-33E 12-string acoustic/electric.
[Both 6 and 12 string models were available with either peg bridge or harp tail, and the model names often showed with the Bjarton model names H-33/BJ-12 and H-45/J-45.
There were different versions of finish, and levels of decoration. Many other Acoustic models mentioned here plus others - including a 3/4 size model called a Jimmy(!) - can be found by clicking the link to open the Acoustics page.
Many Famous players played these guitars including Cat Stevens, David Bowie, Mike Rutherford, some like Gordon Giltrap and Guy Davis own at least one Hagstrom acoustic to this day! ]
Here we see an extract of one of the U.K. leaflets dated 1978:
[You will read in the original article below that
Bjärton closed in 1968. This is not correct. Bjärton were still producing
guitars until around 1980. These examples come from 1978, produced exclusively
Earlier examples - like further above, could be purchased in the Hagström Scandinavian Retail Stores as true Bjärton models, elsewhere they were branded Hagström. Very confusing I know, but essentially either brand name is the same model, but the Bjärton branded model may well be rarer than the Hagstrom brand in some models!]
By that time Merson/Unicord was more interested in its line of Japanese-made Univox guitars. A press notice for the ill-fated first D’Aquisto [Next Item] from December ’71 listed DAQ Musical Distributors, Inc., of Huntington Station, New York, as the source for information. However, between ’70 and ’73, the majority of Hagstrom II and III guitars were exported to Arc in Canada. Beginning in ’73, exportation mainly shifted to the Selmer Company in Elkhart, Indiana, then the owner of Ampeg.
The Ampeg and Hagstrom names would be joined in advertising from this point on. Ampeg began an aggressive promotion campaign which focused on the Swede, [Further down this page] positioning it as a high-quality, low-production Swedish instrument. Fairly accurate, I’d say. During this latter period, a fair number of Hagstrom guitars also went to DEMUSA in East Germany.
In ’69, 480 Hagstrom Jimmy guitars were produced. These first Jimmies were the f-hole [or even 'S' hole] archtops. They were very similar to later models, with an arched spruce top, bound f-holes, birch body and neck, and bound ebony fingerboard. This had the asymmetrical D’Aquisto head, large pearl inlay, block fingerboard inlays (double line at the octave), twin pickups, and large cast trapeze. The principal difference with later versions seems to be a smaller, more Florentine pickguard. Half of these were produced in blonde and half in sunburst. The serial number on these ’69 Jimmies was [removed respecting the Bälgdraget booklet.]
[The 1970 Hagstrom leaflet referred to above also describes the first Jimmy as a Jimmy H N Custom - indicating the 'N' stands for the new pickups or pu's - what were these ones? They had standard adjustable bridges. Go see!]
[It is interesting to read about Bjärton's demise so early on often quoted, but considering there were new versions of the folk-rock acoustics in 1978 (See comment above) it never seemed feasible that re-jigging would have taken place on all the different models. It is certain that the later Jimmies were produced by Hagström, but other acoustic models did still came from Bjärton...
At this point we should also expand on the early
Jimmy story -
In July 2005 my son and I were treated to the
Many thanks to Ulf Zandhers for this rare treat (read
the story of our amazing visit to Sweden
This seems to be true, and if you find a production model with the double toggle switch on the body - then the acoustic tone will be superior to the later models.
This wood was specially selected for the originals, then, due to a marketing issue, the model didn't initially sell very well.
So the locally marketed Jimmy HN Custom models were made, to finish up these bodies. When the model reappeared in the late 1970's completely made at Hagstrom's factory you'll see a laminate birch ply body instead.
To complicate things further there appears to be two types of body from this initial 480 run (recorded qty). Another mystery still, yet they are definitely different. The very early ones are spruce topped, and the later of this initial quantity are a high grade ply. The finishes are different too, with the early ones being a fine - almost classical - finish (Bjarton's old speciality) and the latter more like the 1970's Hagström Älvdalen high gloss production. This second type of the original bodies produce a dry unique tone which is extremely attractive. The 1970's models capture most of this latter style, and in addition some special ones had bound 'F' holes instead of the plain 'S' hole.
The leaflet from Sweden (1970/1) shows this HN Custom production version complete with second (tone) toggle switch, but plain headstock and a non-jazz Hagstrom metal and rosewood micro-adjustable bridge.
can not verify or guarantee the continuity or safety of any external links
Beginning in ’69, the logs start showing the H II N guitar and
So the Hagstrom or H II N and
Another model is listed as being made from ’71-75 was the H II N OT, which I suspect were models made with an optional vibrato (i.e., “optional tremolo”), thus the “OT.” The H II N lasted through ’76 after 4,016 were made. It appears that these guitars were called the HG800 in the U.S. There were 863 of the vibrato versions. [OT actually indicated WITHOUT tremolo so this was the stop tail version, the other way around. Also notice the damper unit on the tail of the first run of new basses - yes, originally sent to Canada - see the visitors page to see examples of 'OT' and damper unit basses, or go to Manfred Graeder's page for fuller details on the damper unit.]
The Hagstrom IIBN
Between ’74 and ’75, ten H II B NV basses were also made. I’ve no idea what these were, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the NV had to do with fretless, but that’s just a guess. [My guess would be Hagstrom 2pu Bass New and Five String - going on other conventions, but yes I haven't seen one either!]
The neck was also made of ash, with a 20-fret maple fingerboard inlaid with black dots. The headstock, too, was very Stratish, but a bit exaggerated.
The headstock decal [on the later run] read
“Hagstrom Scandi” along the lower curvature. The three single-coil pickups were
mounted on a black laminated pickguard in Strat arrangement. Controls included
[Extract from a catalogue: "Take a close look at any Hagstrom instrument and you will find the difference between our handmade guitar and their highly machine produced guitar. When you buy a Hagstrom you get your money's worth".. which leads us nicely into the next section...]
An elegant single cutaway solidbody in a Les Paul mode, the first 505 Swedes built in ’70-’71 were actually called the Hagstrom L.P. By ’71, however, going counter to the prevailing contemporary trend toward copying American guitars even down to the name, the Hagstrom L.P. had officially become the Swede. [The LP had a different - smaller - neck attachment evident from the reverse - see example, but there is an interesting story that it was the Canadian distributor at the time who coined the name "Swede", referring to the model when they first saw it, and the name stuck... and became adopted. Hearsay maybe, but it is documented in a Hagstrom Swedish 1970 leaflet - yes that same one... oh-boy, am I glad to have that specific piece of paper!!!). There is no similar naming claim for "The Scandi" above, but then that model was not exported to USA and Canada as we read above. So, you make your mind up about the naming conventions, but it gives an individuality to these mature models.]
The Hagstrom Swede was a single-cutaway solidbody made of mahogany. It had a bound top and a bolt-on mahogany neck. The head, as mentioned, was pure D’Aquisto. It had a fleur-de-lis inlay. The 22-fret neck was unbound ebony with celluloid block inlays. This had an elevated pickguard like a Les Paul, with two metal-covered humbuckers mounted on plastic surrounds, a finetune bridge, and covered stoptail. Controls were a three-way select on the treble horn, two volume and two tone controls, and what seems to be a three-way tone switch on the bass shoulder. Color options were natural, cherry, white, or black. In addition to the L.P.s, some 7,041 Swedes were made until the end of the run in ’82. [As shown in the cherry version above the later version of the Swede had an upgraded bridge as well, allowing perfect intonation through individual adjustment. The upgraded tail-piece for better set-up, and to segregate the cross-over from one string to another - a design used on a number of the later Hagstrom models close up detail can be seen HERE. The Swede is based on the Gibson scale; we meet the SuperSwede - which adopted the longer Fender scale - later. Both models ran right at the end of production.]
Introduced along with the Swede guitar was a bass version. As seen in ads from the time, these were pretty similar to the guitars, including the block inlays. The Swede bass was available from ’71 to ’76, during which time 1,479 were made.
From ’77 to ’78 Hagstrom made 373 basses called the Scanbass. It’s not known what this is, but the ’77 Ampeg catalog showed a Swede-style bass, so I suspect this is yet more name game and they are one and the same. [The Scanbass was based on the Scandi model, and was originally named the Jazzbass. It was also available as a fretless version, - we meet it on the next page...]
Next Time: New Vikings, Jazzbass/Scanbass, Patch 2000 series, D'Aquisto Jimmy part two!
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Plenty has been said already and