Hagstrom Electric Guitars

Instruments manufactured by Hagstrom of Sweden

1960s and 70s Hagstrom guitars - from left to right: HIII, H12, Coronado IV, Concord bass, H8 bass, HIIBN, HIIN-OT

1960s and 70s Hagstrom guitars - from left to right: HIII, H12, Coronado IV, Concord bass, H8 bass, HIIBN, HIIN-OT

1966 Hagstrom HIII 1967 Hagstrom H12 1966 Hagstrom Coronado IV Bass 1967 Hagstrom Concord Bass 1967 Hagstrom H8 1974 Hagstrom HIIBN 1972 Hagstrom HIIN-OT
Hagstrom guitar information on this site is sorted into categories:
Hagstrom electric guitars
Hagstrom bass guitars
Hagstrom guitar catalogues

Swedish musical instrument company Hagstrom produced guitars from the late 1950s and for the best part of three decades. Like so many other classic guitar makers, their current product line is very much based on the innovative designs the company first developed in the 1960s and 1970s. Guitars like the Swede, Viking bass, and solid body H-series, though clearly influenced by better known American designs, were great guitars in themselves, and did much to earn the brand the reputation for high-quality, highly playable instruments. One important innovation by Hagstrom, and arguably one of the key reasons for their sucess, was the low-action "fastest playing neck in the world" produced by their patented H-shaped "expander-stretcher" truss rod (rail).

Hagstrom was founded by Albin Hagström in 1925, largely dealing in imported accordions. By 1932 he had expanded into their manufacture, at a plant in a Swedish town, Älvdalen. In the second half of the 20th century, however, accordion sales were declining; but Hagstrom were there at the beginning of the new guitar boom, producing their first electric, the Hagstrom De Luxe in 1958. By this time, Albin had died (later to be replaced by his son Karl-Erik), but the company's many years experience of accordion manufacture massively influenced the early guitars, with the use of pearloid sparkle finishes and a preference for push-switches over potentiometers more widely used in American guitars. Over the next two decades, Hagstrom produced a number of interesting and commercially sucessful guitars, many with a nod towards, Gibson and Fender, but some quite unique designs of their own.

Re-badged Hagstrom guitars

In the early sixties, Hagstrom produced a number of solid bodies that were distributed by different companies worldwide, often given alternate model names and even different brands; for example Hershman in the US labelled some Hagstrom guitars as Goya, whilst Selmer in the UK used the marque Futurama. Guitars like the Corvette and Impala helped cemment Hagstrom's reputation as a quality builder, and by 1965 alternate branding was no longer necessary.

In the latter half of the decade solid bodies were selling well, particularly the Hagstrom II and III, as were the semi-acoustic Viking, finally appearing in the hands of Elvis Presley in 1968. Other famous users included Frank Zappa who appeared in Hagstrom advertisements with a 12 string guitar, David Bowie, and Jimi Hendrix, with the legendary Eight-stringed bass. But the Les Paul-style Swede debuting in 1970 was the guitar that really grabbed guitar players attention, selling well right through the seventies and into the eighties.

Hagstrom pickups and tailpieces were, at times, also used by other manufacturers, most notably Guild, who widely fitted their mid/late 1960s guitars and basses with Hagstrom parts.

Hagstrom guitars of the 1970s did conform somewhat to an establishing consensus (admittedly Gibson's) of what a guitar should be.. i.e. potentiometers controlling tone and volume, a three-way pickup selector switch and humbucking pickups. But this was largely beneficial, the Les Paul-style Swede was, and still is, a very highly regarded guitar, perhaps the pinnacle of vintage Hagstrom guitars. But in true late seventies style, Hagstrom fused a guitar with the growing electronic innovation of the time to create the Patch 2000. But of course fashions change, and in many ways it was this electronic innovation that dealt the death blow to much of the guitar industry worldwide in the early 1980s. Hagstrom stopped producing guitars in 1983.

It is estimated that Hagstrom produced 130,000 guitars in the period 1958-1983. They were by no means the biggest guitar manufacturer of the 20th century, but still very significant. In the year 1965, Hagstrom produced between 10 and 11 thousand guitars and basses compared to almost 84 thousand produced by Gibson.

Hagstrom reissue guitars

After a 20 year gap, Hagstrom once again started producing guitars. Some models were direct reissues of older designs, others altogether new. Most of these guitars were manufactured in Asia rather than Sweden, however the new Northern series instruments are produced in Europe. Some rather good reissues of the classic Hagstrom models are now available

Vintage Hagstrom index

Semi acoustic guitars

Hagstrom Viking
Jimmy D'Aquisto

Acoustic guitars

H-11
H-22
H-33
H-33E
H-45
H-45E
HC2
HC3
HC4
HC5
'The Classic'



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Jim Franklin Comment left 9th June 2017 10:10:15 reply
Just found a 1967 HC-25 Classical that is in amazing condition. Anyone out there have any info on this Guitar? It is a quality build. Beautiful Spruce top. Solid. The back and sides look to be solid also, Brazilian Rosewood. Sounds and plays great.
Mike Lahr Comment left 14th October 2016 21:09:38 reply
Anyone know where to get some pickup surrounds for a 1975 Swede Bass? Thanks
Robert wiseman Comment left 11th February 2016 16:04:34 reply
Hi My name is Robert and I would like to know how to date my semi hollow which I have been led to believe is a 1963.
Gary Vermeire Comment left 28th January 2015 20:08:50 reply
Hello, I am seeking a thumb screw for a wammy bar on a Hagstrom III (#601636) guitar, color red; Kings Neck with Hagstrom Expander Stretcher. Is this something you can help me locate? My father bought this guitar for me when I was a boy, and I would like to restore it in his memory. Thank you for any assistance you can provide. Gary Vermeire geeeveee@comcast.net 267-994-4697 (cell)
weirdskwid Comment left 26th February 2013 16:04:38 reply
Great site. i see lots of talk of hagstrom guitar dating through serial numbers using batch numbers. How does this work please. it isn't clear. Is the year embedded in the batch number? I have a couple Hagstroms to date, so help gratefully received
Vintage Guitar and Bass Comment left 20th January 2017 10:10:42 reply
The serial number is typically six digits - the first three digits are the batch number, the second three the instrument number within the batch. There is a book with batch number dates available - this is how Hagstrom's are dated. There is no date or code representing the date within the digits of the serial number.

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