The Hagstrom Swede was very much influenced by the Gibson Les Paul; not just the obvious body shape similarity, but also the choice of mahogany body and neck, humbucking pickups and separate volume and tone controls for each pickup, rather than the series of on/off switches so widely used by Hagstrom previously. It was very much Hagstrom's flagship model, existing as a six string guitar and a companion Swede bass. But the Swede was not just another 1970s Les Paul copy - it's a really great guitar: have you heard the term "Les Paul Killer"?
Of course, Hagstrom guitars were always well-regarded, but despite it's single cutaway body shape, this is not a Les Paul. There is no maple top over the mahogany body, and the neck is bolted to the body rather than glued in (set). And then there's the uniquely-shaped Fleur-de-Lys headstock. There is a tonal impact from this method of construction, and the Swede does not have the 'thickness' of tone of the Les Paul. But the Swede truly is a great playing, sweet sounding, and not too heavy guitar.
In the early seventies Hagstrom guitars were distributed by Arc Musical Instruments in the US, however from 1974 Ampeg took over this role. The 1975 Hagstrom catalogue allocates the Swede with a model number HG803, although this designation is not seen in the majority of mid seventies advertising.
The truss rod in the Swede is the typical H expander truss rod, patented, and used exclusively in Hagstrom guitar and bass necks.
At least 26 batches of Hagstrom Swede were shipped between 1970 and 1979, which equated to just over 7500 instruments. A further 336 Swede Patch guitars were produced between 1976 and 1977, 518 Swede De Luxe between 1977-80, 1316 Super Swede 1980-81 and 250 Ultra Swedes in 1983.
Electric guitar advertisements originally published from 1973 onwards. Click on the images for larger copies. Check out other vintage Hagstrom advertisements
Hagstrom Swede - The Swede ...it took us a long time to make (1973)
Like most things that come out of Sweden, Hagstrom guitars are painstakingly engineered and designed with one thing in mind; perfection. For two years we have dedicated ourselves to quality and cra...
Hagstrom Swede - The Swede - for the select few (1973)
Early seventies for the Hagstrom Swede featuring Domenic Troiano (Mandala, Bush, James Gang)
Hagstrom Swede - Now thats a good ad. (1974)
Black and white advert for the Hagstrom Swede guitar and bass
Hagstrom Swede - The difference between a rod and a rail (1975)
Advert not just for the Swede, but for Hagstom guitars in general. It highlights the famous Hagstrom rail truss rod that is responsible for their low neck actions, and easy playability, but also fo...
Hagstrom Swede - What Ampeg is bringing to America isnt just another guitar (1975)
One of the few full-colour Hagstrom offerings; this mid 1970s advertisement for the Hagstrom Swede was placed in the US, by American distributor Ampeg. It shows a nice Swede in natural finish.