With a shift in the family shareholding around 2000, Karl-Eric Hagstrom Junior now has a controlling stake in the company. Many people had wanted to revive the brand in the preceding 20 years or so, this was the likely time for things to start happening.
We were first aware of the Tricor Project to license the Hagström brand name in December 2003. The Swedish state TV were making a non-commercial documentary on the Hagström history at the time, and Tricor were concerned that if the reissue plans were public knowledge, the documentary would be cancelled due to concerns about being seen as commercial promotion. Also it was very early in the development stages, so we were asked to keep it quiet until after the documentary was aired. Which we did...
We helped with artwork for the new headstock from the SuperSwede... notice all the original blurb featured a SuperSwede with "Zero Fret" in place despite the new company saying it was now an unnecessary feature with new nut materials (still a popular talking point).
I also received communications from David Lee concerning the
different model features. For example the original plans for the Swede and
For a long while the original pdf specs did not match the prototypes that started to appear around the shows and occasionally on eBay. But by the end of 2005, following many false starts the models looked like pretty good generic guitars even if most of them didn't resemble a Hagström.
There were still concerns about accuracy of the models, and a lot of expected scrutiny took place over those first few months. Karl-Eric Senior also kept a close eye on proceedings via communications and photos supplied by many interested watchers. There was also a lot of speculation about the new models' quality, being supplied by Chinese factories instead of the original Swedish craftsman.
Unless a model resembled something still in existence today it was unlikely to re-appear in the original form due to the amount of investment required in jigging up and the such like, so many of the early defining models were destined to remain history.
It is also a bit unfortunate that some of the initial market testing was through small sellers on the eBay circuit. This gave rise to all kinds of misinformation such as "back by permission of the Royal family of Sweden". A complimentary promotion for the Hagström family maybe, but totally wrong of course! There were similar gaffs and made up things appearing all over the place, but it all adds up to promotion, so Tricor didn't seem bothered by it, after all, the project was now over two years old, and no volume production had yet been achieved.
To say this is not a criticism in itself. It was a sign of getting things right before committing to it. David Lee told me in 2005 that he had been spending nearly half his life in China getting things right, which is the way of these kind of partnerships all too often. Once the specs are right, then they should remain so, until then almost anything is likely to appear as a potential prototype!
All through this period there was a recognition of the part that the original models and their followers had played in making this project do-able. Without the consistent interest in the old models and the interest shown around the world there would be no brand left to exploit, and so, for the first 18 months all the old web-links and well known connections were heralded as the "torchbearers". Phase two saw the confidence grow by Tricor and Jam Industries (AM&S in USA) and there are links to artist endorsements, and the new models often make appearances at conventions and festivals where the old Hagström history is being celebrated. Interestingly we still have positive email communications from the new company contacts in USA and Canada even if the links have gone, although the holding company in Europe is still very shy beyond saying they are not ready to talk, and have not talked to anyone about the UK... it all starts to sound a bit flaky after a while...
We tried to remain positive, and tried to keep an open mind here at Hagstrom UK, but updating the story in mid 2006...
were asked to wait, until May 2004 to break the news to you
Read some news on Lynn Martin
The man behind NAPA
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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