Hagstrom III / F-300

Solid body three-pickup electric guitar

1965 Hagstrom HIII (F-300) electric guitar
1966 Hagstrom catalogue - Hagstrom guitars and basses move people

From the 1966 Hagstrom catalogue

Superb styling and performance is yours. This three-pickup model gives you a wider variety of tonal effects and added brilliance

1968 Hagstrom catalogue - The fastest playing neck in the world

From the 1968 Hagstrom catalogue

This models gives a wider variety of tonal effects and added brilliance. Has all the features of the F-200 plus two extra switches for third pickup and to accentuate high and low frequencies

The Hagstrom III (or F-300 in the United States) was a Swedish-built solid body electric guitar available in the mid-late 1960s. It was a three-pickup version of the Hagstrom II (F-200). Clearly the design of this guitar was influenced by the Fender Stratocaster, and Gibson SG, but this is no mere copy. The HIII is well equipped with three single-coil Hagstrom pickups. And with the easy-action Hagstrom neck, and very useable vibrato you get a really nice playing guitar. Listen to the sound clips below to hear how great these sound.

The Hagstrom HIII descended from the very similar Hagstrom De Luxe III, and was first shipped in 1965. The vast majority of production seems to have ocurred cira 1966-67, although shipping data suggests examples were leaving the factory as late as 1972. According to the Hagstrom blue book of shipping data, there were at least 18 batches typically containing between 100 and 1000 guitars, totaling almost 11200 guitars, shipped in 6 years.

The guitar has a birch body and bolt-on neck, with rosewood fretboard, with Fender-style headstock and dot position markers. Hardware (other than the Van Ghent machine heads) is also produced by Hagstrom.

Similar Models

Hagstrom II (F-200)
Hagstrom 12 (F-12S)
Hagstrom HIIN (F-200N)

Hagstrom serial numbers have no in-built dates, but there is a look-up book: 677*** tells us that this guitar was from batch 677: 999 HIIIs built in 1966. By 1969 Hagstrom moved from single-coil pickups to humbuckers, and a more traditional 2-volume/2-tone control layout, with the Hagstrom HIIN or F-200N

This guitar, of course, features Hagstom's patented H-expander truss rod, that allows a low action, and prevents neck twists / warpage. It is no wonder that Hagstrom guitars have a reputation for easy playability.

1966 Hagstrom HIII pickup detail
These Hagstrom single coil pickups are bright and punchy. The Hagstrom III has three of these pickups, each with an on/off switch. Listen to the Hagstrom 3 sound clips
1966 Hagstrom HIII vibrato detail
Hagstrom components were held in high regard; this vibrato unit was also fitted to various Guild electric guitars in the mid 1960s
1966 Hagstrom control switches
The controls consist a master volume control and six switches: the first three (marked L M H, low/mid/high/) are on/off switches for the neck, middle and bridge pickups respectively. The following three switches: tone, mute, and top (bass boost / volume dampening / treble boost) are quite subtle in their effect - at least compared to choice of pickup.
1966 Hagstrom HIII standby switch detail
A useful feature of most 1960s Hagstrom guitars, is the standby switch that allows the guitar to be turned on/off without adjusting any of the other controls.
1966 Hagstrom HIII headstock decal detail
The Hagstrom headstock logo is a decal: "Hagstom III", and then beneath that, "MADE BY A.B. ALBIN HAGSTROM ALVDALEN SWEDEN". Finally two patent numbers: 171469 (pickup arrangement) and 190125 (H expander truss rod)
1966 Hagstrom HIII tuning key detail
The tuning keys of the Hagstrom III (and numerous other vintage Hagstrom guitars) are closed-gear type, made by Van Ghent.
1966 Hagstrom body reverse
Hagstrom solid bodies were typically made of birch, with a birch neck bolted on via three bolts. A black plug covers a small hole at the bottom end of the body - this serves no function beyond the manufacturing process.
1966 Hagstrom HIII neck plate
The serial number on vintage Hagstrom guitars is typical stamped into the 'triangluar' neckplate. The first three digits (677 in this case) give the batch number, the second three give the number within that batch. batch 677 was a batch of 999 guitars produced in 1966.

Sound Clips

Marshall Mercury 2060

The Hagstrom H3 is a versatile guitar, with a lot of tones, although most on the bright side; I do miss the tone control The following clips were recorded with a vintage Marshall Mercury 2060 amplifier.

Through a cranked up Marshall Mercury 2060 (volume 10/10, tone 5/10)

Hagstrom III neck pickup only. Not dissimilar from a strat

Hagstrom III middle pickup only. The vibrato is just so playable

Hagstrom III bridge pickup only. Searing lead sound superbly crunchy chords

Hagstrom III bridge pickup with top boost. This is a great for dirty funk

Hagstrom III all three pickups with bass boost

Marshall Mercury 2060 again, but a cleaner sound (volume 5/10, tone 5/10)

Hagstrom III neck pickup with bass boost

Hagstrom III middle pickup only

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Robert Edwards Sr Comment left 26th July 2018 08:08:42 reply
the hagstrom 3 serial number is 699465 and in really good shape, what would it be valued at
Vintage Guitar and Bass Comment left 26th July 2018 08:08:35 reply
A Hagstrom III for sale on ebay would typically sell for somewhere between $500 and $900 depending on condition, completeness, case, location - and of course luck on the day. In a guitar dealers probably closer to that top end.
Jim Knowles Comment left 15th August 2017 10:10:20 reply
I have an H3 i bought when i was 14 years old. I am now 65 and wanted to know what year my H3 was made #s 169669 any information would be appreciated thanks a lot Jim Knowles
Vintage Guitar and Bass Comment left 9th January 2018 17:05:12 reply
Hi Jim, the batch number is the first three digits of the serial. Your number 169 seems incorrect. Batches of HIIIs pre-1967 were: 1965 - 653 ; 1965-66 - 656 ; 1966 - 659, 675, 676, 677 ; 1966-69 - 685 ; 1966-68 - 699. Is your guitar one of these?
Pablo Comment left 27th September 2012 08:08:24 reply
que precio tiene una guitarra hagstrom iii, sueca de 1969, en buen estado
AnthonyP Comment left 21st July 2012 07:07:35 reply
You have a very informative website. Good work. I have a question. I see the first three digits of a Hagstrom serial number are the batch code and can be used for dating purposes. I picked up a nice Hagstom III project, batch 699. Would you be able to give me a date for this please? Thanks AP
Vintage Guitar and Bass Comment left 21st July 2012 19:07:49 reply
Anthony, your Hagstrom is one of a batch of 1000 HIIIs produced between 1966 and 1968