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From Feb 04 you can read Hagstrom's history based on Michael Wright's
1990's Vintage Guitar Magazine serialisation
(reproduced with permission)

(In the process some mysteries may be resolved, and amendments made to this page)

Hagstrom / Bjarton / España / Goya / Westbury / Rosetti / Matsumoko  Univox / Crucianelli et al...

Home Page   Hagstrom History Page   Main Acoustic Page   Other Brands
See also "Copies Copies Copies" - Some of the other wrangles buyouts, takeovers and copies!

I shall probably start a few tongues wagging with this little episode, but I can take it, at the least we should try and get some thoughts and ideas together on the different views about the title above!

Beyond the known mysteries surrounding the acoustic Hagstrom models discussed in other pages here, there have been quite a few enquiries passed my way which involve the Hagstrom connection with España.

Let’s consider España - part of the Buegeleisen & Jacobson of New York City story. B&J, founded around 1901, brought the España brand into the United States and Canada. They imported a variety of instruments from overseas made to B&J specifications, marketed through various wholesalers and distributors in North America. As a pure trader with a long established name focused on a few proprietary brand-names, they didn't need to worry about manufacturing or warranties - a trading basis still popular with many brands and industries today.

It is possible a guitar might have had a variety of names to choose from, as many had a name attached only on arrival in the country of sale, depending on the ultimate distribution company! Much the same happened with Hagstrom in Scandinavia, as Hagstrom acoustic Guitars were not made by Hagstrom, and many of us have seen very early models marked Hagstrom Made in Oslo!

(Feb 04) I have learned that Hagstrom did commission guitars from Norway in the '50s in quite large quantities. These were not necessarily to the high standard of construction that later came from Bjarton or that which would later be supplied as España from Landola. These were simply to fill the need in those early days of Hagstrom retail. [Nov 2004 - MORE ON THIS!]

< Left - A Finland made (Landola) España dreadnought acoustic.

Pics from Scott Jan 2006


And here's the proof of it being Landola.

Thanks to Derrick Frilund for the original photos, go see a larger version by clicking on this picture left.


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Enter Hagstrom with Buegeleisen & Jacobson. B&J and Hagstrom had been in relationship as early as 1932, as Hagstrom was already looking for opportunities to export it's production of accordions to the USA. Much later B&J electric guitars, were Japanese-made instruments sorted between the Winston entry level, and Kent medium to pretty good quality, regardless of the actual manufacturers Guyatone, Teisco, Kawai... then later, Hagstrom made Kent models for a while…

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So, B&J’s European guitars were often branded España, first appearing in 1961-1967 for Swedish-made classical guitars supplied by Hagström, and made by Bjarton and then longstanding Finnish manufacturer Landola (External Link).

The name España itself was B&J’s reply to Hershman’s acoustic guitars made in Sweden by Carlsson (Levin) and sold in the States under the Spanish sounding name Goya. B&J used the reputation Levin had established for Swedish guitars, and chose this equally Spanish sounding name!

B&J couldn’t get enough of these guitars, so instruments from Finland were sourced to develop the España brand for B&J. Hagstrom established this link as they distributed the guitars in their own retail stores throughout Scandinavia, putting a Hagstrom label inside. There is no secret in contracting out some production, everyone does it, its just interesting for owners so many years down the line... It's hardly a matter of 'trade secrets' or anything this far down the line?

It is thought that Bjarton's involvement was only a year or so, but an awful lot of "Made in Sweden" sticker-labels come my way in the pursuit of answers to questions by owners! Also not just classical models - (See above)

To back up this theory, here is an España classical guitar which is for sale at "More Music" Maple Street, Santa Cruz...

thanks to Ellen Kelly for the source of these pics.

(Feb 04) Terry Spurgeon has a great story concerning his España (identical to the above example) in Visitors stories

(Oct 04) View an España Catalogue from about 1965

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Now take a look at this Hagstrom Guitar from Belgium. Andre Dejonghe, the owner since 1965, contacted me for information, and I am very pleased he did...

An early Bjarton headstock note the distinctive shape
Click to view

The headstock on this is quite unlike any regular Bjarton Hagstrom model, normally coming to a point, or a fluted angle, or a double indented curved top. At the other end of the neck the fretboard is rounded into the soundhole on a Hagstrom made by Bjarton isn't it?
Well the small pic above proves there were early variations, and how about this...

So, unless someone went to the trouble of swapping an España neck onto a Bjarton body at some stage, I can only assume this neck was made or at least assembled at Bjarton! The bridge too, is identical in this Hagstrom branded model as the España brand above, and again this is different to the normal Bjarton acoustic bridge... and yet the Hagstrom labels: One is very small and just says "Made in Sweden". The other one is much bigger and says: "bjarton musikinstrumentfabrik bjarnum" "Hagstrom" "albin hagstrom inc. alvdalen" "made in sweden" and, in blue ink handwriting, "3499H".

Another FENDER Connection

Responsible for all Bjarton's exports, Hagstrom was the hub of a large transatlantic trade network. Acoustic guitars made by Bjarton were sold worldwide with the Hagstrom logo.

In the States Hagstrom sold thousands to Fender, who marketed them under the name Tarrega from 1962 until June -1966, stock was available in USA until around 1969. These models - a flat top (FT108), 2 Concert models (FT110 FT111), and 5 Grand Concert models (FT112-116)  were named after the famous Spanish classical composer Fransisco Tarrega who died in 1909. (Had to be Spanish didn't it...)

The other main export was to - yes - the B&J company who used – yes – the name España. Similarly, Crucianelli semi-acoustic guitars sold in the States and Canada with the España logo, and maybe back in Scandinavia with Hagstrom – or even no-name at all on them!

(Link Feb 04) There is another account of all the above, part of the re-published series of articles by Michael Wright in Vintage Guitar Magazine


OK, now lets consider Italy… In the second half of the 60's B&J also applied the España brand to ES-335 copies from Italy (made by Crucianelli) and Finland (maker unknown by me yet).

The Finnish ones had a glued-in neck and a crown logo. Other than that both ranges were virtually the same. Which ones arrived in the United States isn't certain.

The Finnish España electrics are more commonly shown in B&J catalogues and old adverts, but Crucianelli ones are more likely to be found on the vintage market from what I gather.

It also appears that the semi acoustics made to the same specifications can have be branded Elite, Crucianelli or Tonemaster!

Now back to Hagstrom… Crucianelli double cutaway guitars are quite common in Sweden. As I said earlier, Hagstrom, the big local guitar manufacturer, was also a leading distributor, running Sweden's largest chain of music shops, with subsidiaries in Norway and Denmark.

In the early days they offered (in addition to Hagstrom-made guitars and accordions) various instruments sourced from other makers. This included the whole Fender range (Hagstrom had exclusive distribution rights for Scandinavia).

Acoustic guitars made by the Bjärton company, and semi-acoustic guitars from Italy made by Crucianelli. Bjarton did make some early semi-acoustics – some even with Hagstrom’s 1958 patented “hi-fi chassis” module, but things had moved on since that idea, and they were not to be involved again until the Viking emerged.


España semi-acoustic pic courtesy of Ellen Kelly


...and here are some Italian example pictures (courtesy of  Kurt Arseneault, Nova Scotia Canada):

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Then there was James D'Aquisto... but that story is covered in many other places so I shall just leave you to digest, or spit out the bits you disagree with... and I look forward to your continued e-mails - preferably with pictures so we may sort a bit more of the puzzle if we can! (To be continued)...

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Westbury and Hagstrom, Univox and Matsumoko

Here’s a brief history…   There was a link between Westbury and Hagstrom – but only through another importer to USA and Canada at one time - Merson. Because of the amalgamations and takeovers in the 70’s/80’s that’s as close as I can get…   As for Univox guitars, from 1978 they were built by the Matsumoko factory in Japan.  Matsumoko were suppliers to Aria, Westbury, Westone, Epiphone, Fender Japan to name a few. Matsumoko closed in 1988 following a massive fire. Korea's Samick Musical Instruments then stepped in to absorb most of the former production models.

Try the website: http://www.univox.org/   to learn the whole story.

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Now, who was it who made those Japanese prototype Hagstroms before they decided to close up?

(Kwinn: time to tell the story please)

Oh yes... now who made the early Univox keyboards? 

Answer: Crucianelli of Italy!

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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!