Early HAGSTROM Bass rundown...
A reply to a query from Joe McKasty about his Bass - rescued from the dustbin/Garbage/Sop|tunna
From: David Cox at Home
To: 'Joe McKasty'
Sent: Thursday, November 13, 2003 6:14 PM
Subject: RE: Hagstrom bass
Right, so far I have made some comparisons with other batches and offer the following:
Hagstrom Basses evolved through the origins of glitter (58-62) and the first thin body basses still had features or transitions found in these models. Early “Kent” branded models had a plastic covering, and a raised plastic pickguard with integral raised jack plug.
These also appeared as Hagstrom and Futurama brands through a range of modifications before the style settled into the mid/late sixties.
This model (PB-24-G) is almost a solid version of the
original glitter models, arriving in 1962. No longer the
plug-in pu unit, but still the looks and
yet was still being produced up to around 1966 under
various brands (Kent, Hagstrom, Selmer etc)
In 1965 this version of a Futurama arrived
no centre grill that seemed to mimic a
sound-hole as before. Hagstrom produced under the
Futurama brand for a while while
building it’s own reputation.
ny = new a = ?
Yours although still called Futurama is what
the HIIB was in a slightly modified form.
Here is another Futurama (later batch).
It had rounded pickups within the squared
Pickup rings, and a plate covering the switches
After this came squared pickups which stood
quite proud of the surrounds.
Which ran until after 1967
This remained mostly unchanged until the “new” models with humbucking pickups around 1969, when for a while both versions were available.
So, yours is the first of the “modern” generation basses the first of the Futuramas with a pickguard of similar construction to those used still today. To a collector quite an interesting vintage batch number.
Thanks for sending the pictures, which will feature on the site soon. If I find out anything more specific about this batch then I’ll let you know, meantime it’s certainly NOT a model for the trash can!
Output: These can be hiked up by placing a magnet under the single coil poles. I don’t know the exact details, but I think they are special magnets of some kind. However, don’t forget these pu’s are an old design by today’s standards. For example comparing a late 90's Peavey bass and a early 70's Hagstrom bass is like comparing apples and oranges, They just aren't he same! Take it back to mid sixties and you’re looking at technology from the late fifties just being tweaked a bit!
Anyway to the cleaning:
I have not had the need to take off layers myself (!), but I can see your point with the marks showing on the back. These guitars were originally finished with a polyester spray lacquer in a number of wet coats. If you feel courageous and adept with a screwdriver you could remove the hardware / pickguard assembly and pickups in one piece, then happily restore a sheen to this bodywork after continuing (carefully with your original process. Normally I would not suggest this route, but as you’ve started, and kept a solid coat of colour then you could continue. The original finish would have had quite a depth of gloss, quite unlike most makers who had quite a flat gloss. It feels quite solid and tactile when in good condition. Hagstrom were renowned for the quality of finish, with translucent wood into colour bursts which were not simply a flat colour sunburst, more a three dimensional view through the colour which was wet sprayed amongst the polyester layers (up to 20 coats). Fortunately, yours is plain white! However white is quite popular especially in good condition.
See this one: [LINK] to be found on the John Casselman “Story page” on the website. This is what yours should be like – at least! (This one has not been restored)
I would highly recommend this, as although it’s not a “highest prized” model, if it works, then it’s getting rare. As time goes by, all Hagstrom electrics are gaining in collectability. Snobbery about Gibson and Fender means it will be some while before it becomes a US$1000+ model, but certainly a few hundred already, and cleaned and shining it makes a good value player with a historical rarity that will be appreciated in the future.
I hope I haven’t bored you with detail, but as you realise I find the history quite interesting!!!
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