Hagstrom Guitars Ha gström Gitar


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Hagstrom Stories.   
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Anders Karlsson already features on the Visitor Contributions Page, and owns a beautiful Red (Elvis) Viking1. It is also featured at Michael Tenney's site (Hag City West Fame), and this e-mail sparked off the stories page idea...

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28th July 2001 - Anders Karlsson to Michael Tenney:

Hi Michael,

I have been communicating a great deal with David Cox and it is a lot of fun. He also shares my deep interest for motorsport so we can go on for ages I guess.

Yesterday he told me that you also had put my Viking on display and I was of course very happy about that. However I was unable to find it at Hag West, so David was kind enough to inform me of where to find the new site you are building. Hope it is okay.

La Rita.jpg (47240 bytes)I copy this to David and also send a snapshot of my current project which is my fist guitar, a Bjarton la Rita. Abroad (from a Swedish point of view) it was marked Hagstrom la Rita, but it was the same guitar I believe. Oddly enough the same model that David tried to buy a while back. This guitar was given to me by my parents 1962 after having attended two night semesters at the Hagstrom music school where I grew up. This was farming land and I was a farmer boy trying to play drums on anything that could emit sounds. My parents obviously hoped for me to orient myself towards something a little less cumbersome and definitely less noisy. My father already suffered from hearing damage from rifle shooting and the noise from a local sheet metal mill where he worked on top of being a farmer. This came true by the hands of a Mr Sven  Magnusson who ran a Hagstrom shop in the nearby town and also organized night educations throughout the country for those who wanted to learn how to play the accordion or the guitar.(I would say this guy alone was responsible for the incredible interest in the accordion that came and increased through the sixties in La Rita work2.jpg (14739 bytes)Sweden and some other countries.) He himself took care of the accordion bit where I went and the drummer/trumpet player of a local dans-hall band took care of the guitar bit.La Rita work1.jpg (36314 bytes)

During the education real hard to play guitars were lent to us, so when some of us were given proper Bjarton guitars these were like sent from heaven. The odd thing was that all these guitars were designed for nylon strings, but were delivered to us with steel strings which very quickly killed the tuners as I continued buying the only strings I knew of at the time, steel strings. 1997 my the 15-year old son borrowed this guitar, forgot about it and sat down on it the way teenagers sit down... They just seem to lift their legs two feet and down they come. The soundboard is now put together again (it came apart into 14 pieces) and I am now slowly putting it all together again. I had to cut down the sides 1/4" so it will come out a bit lower. There will also be a florentine cutaway, a new lower fretboard and new frets in due course.

I also own a Hagstrom 310 combo for which I am presently waiting for a new power tube. Once this is put together agian I will send pictures to you and David. Kwinn already has a 310, so he wont need any pictures. (SEE UPDATE BELOW)

The sunburst in the other image is a typical Hagstrom guitar school lender, a Bjarton studio, that I bought used almost 30 years ago for the fun of it. It is now also in desperate need of care and love, but this example is still good player which most of them never were as I recall it.

The guitar guy was Gert Blom, one of three brothers Blom that formed the core of Leif Bloms orkester. This band is still active and I would guess is among the five top dance hall bands in Sweden and has been for all these years although recently they don't appear so much. This is not my music, so things may happen without my noticing it. The Blom brothers grew up in a village 2 miles from our farm, so everybody knew about these guys and their musicality.

Anders anders-electro.karlsson@telia.com  

Webmaster: Wow Anders, this is real dedication.
See the 310 Amp Pictures Here
See the Anders "General Pics" Here

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April 2003 - Anders is back - and I do mean Back!

It's one of the really rewarding things in life to have followed Anders' progress since last year when he came all too close to saying goodbye to us... And one of his many methods of therapy has been continuing to restore Hagstrom guitars. Here is an HIIN, a great player as he says. Much underrated, until you own one!

Hi again, thought I´d share my HIIN with you. No need to publish it -you do as you please. It is one of the wine red mahoganys that seems to be the most common colour apart from the birch sun-bursts that of course are the most common ones. I feel that these are overlooked as players by people favouring the Swedes and the Vikings or even the Jimmys. This is a 1971 and was exported to Denmark.

I traded it for my almost mint Gibson three-pickup Nighthawk and some Danish kronor that I got. Most people would call me plaín stupid as the HIIN was a shambles and the case rusty and dirty almost beyond salvage while my Gibson was from 1997, its case absolutely mint and some wear of the gold the only marks on the guitar. Still I had found it hard to find an HIIN mahogany for some time and strongly also felt that this one desperately needed a new family. As the Nighthawk found instant love in the Danish semi-professional that wanted it everybody was happy. It was a joy to watch him play the Nighthawk so I was sure that that one found a good home as well. He had actually been given the HIIN by friend whose brother, the original owner, had passed away.

You should have seen the face of my wife when I instantly picked the HIIN to pieces and started cleaning parts and trying to sort out the electronics! Ther fretboard had come loose for a few inches at the nut, so a re-glue here was necessary along with removing the varnish someone had applied to the fingerboard. A fret levelling to make it possible to play it unplugged became a necessity as well. Many screws were loose due to too much fiddling so the holes needed some attention, especially important for the tuners. The correct, very hard to find, screws for the string tree were found at the standby-switch and some Philips screws were replaced by correct Hagstrom screws for the pick-guard. A new outlet jack finalized the complete rewire of the pickups. If I ever get some surplus energy I might use that to fix up as many of the blemishes as possible, but this one is intended as a player, so I really don´t care that much.

I play it almost every night and really enjoy the sweet tone from the neck pickup and the wild, but crystal clear output from the bridge pickup. With both on it sounds a little like a good single-coil Telecaster. My good friend Kwinn tells the same story and I know that another Hagstrom lover I know, one of the world´s most avid collectors, feels the same. These are really good players for general use. His is not wine red, it is natural mahogany, but it sounds the same. Eventually I will change frets to a little bit higher ones as the fret levelling made the original ones so low that I sometimes feel that bending is hampered. So I´ve got one of the better Hagstrom players now although not in at all as good a condition as you would require being a true collector.

- I haven't added one of these to the UK collection yet although it's "on the list" - so far when they come up, the timing has never been right... but time is something we always hope is on our side!  So, thanks Anders for your continued interest, and - hey - of course I want your pics on site!

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September 2006...

No, you are ok, you actually see two black HIIN OT from the same 954 series in the same picture! How often does that happen? They were made 31 years ago!

The one to the left is not mine. I had it in my workshop yesterday in order to restore it into a working guitar. Yes David, the workshop is finally in operation and sorted with a sound system able to inflict injury by moving air hitting your structure too hard, all the tools where I can find them and the garbage gone!

This one is nice but has seen a lot more of life than mine. There were several issues like loose tuners, missing PU-rims, broken bridge and so forth that are now all sorted. It was made from birch as opposed to mine that is a mahogany guitar. If you look carefully the glue-joints of the three body pieces can be seen on the left-hand birch guitar. It was great fun fixing it up. A colleague at work had seen Arne´s poster at my door, so he asked if I was interested in guitars. He had something somewhere, he was not actually sure exactly where, looking like this and that. Could I take a look? Who can resist what seemed to be another black OT? Not yours truly anyway. Now it works and sounds quite nice, so both the owner and I are pleased.


Look at this!
71HIIN versus much later Scandi.
Clearly two different H-profiles.


I've put together a page specifically on the H-Expander Stretcher system
following this additional piece of information from our good friend Anders.


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Not being sure where to add this next notation, I decided as it comes from Anders, it should be next notation on his page. Here are a few excerpts from a recent communication following my receipt of a wonderful red Viking II... Having foolishly turned down Anders own Viking Deluxe (See Viking Visitors Page) in 2001.

What a Viking Family!
like I said, I'd like to know who designed all the Hagströms!  ...That person must have been a genius with the pen.

Every single model is better looking than anything comparable! It is my honest opinion that no guitar designer can surpass the balance in line and colour that we get from every single vintage Hagström model.

The Vikings are of course in a class of their own with the Viking II clearly on top of the elegance pyramid. Nothing out there looks better than a red Viking-II. All of a sudden a 335 is ugly! The same with the SG compared with the HIIN OT and on.

This is also a major difference between some of the new and the old models as I see it. The new redesigned ones lack in lines where the old ones excel. Anyone can spot the difference.

My friend Janne the guitar-dealer is actively selling the new Hagstrom line, so he offered me to evaluate the new version of the OT. Instead I brought mine and asked him to compare. What sounded really ok in the shop alone compared to other medium-priced guitars was killed by my black OT when they appeared together!

So much richer sound unplugged which also followed suit when plugged in. A mahogany HIIN OT or a regular HIIN is a darned good instrument for R&B.

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There must be loads of stories (and pics) around from the last forty years, why not share them with us!



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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!