1964 Hagstrom Coronado

Solid-body electric bass guitar

1964 Hagstrom Coronado bass
Model: 1964 Hagstrom Coronado
Serial number: 550100
Pickups: Two Hagstrom Bi-Sonic
Scale: Medium, 32 1/4"
Body: Solid mahogany body. 20 1/2" long, 14" wide, 1 3/8" thick. Total body length 46 1/2"
Neck: Mahogany bolt-on neck. Rosewood fingerboard. Adjustable truss rod. 20 frets. Width at nut 1 1/2"
Hardware: 4 'touch tab' on/off switches, master volume slider. Open gear individual tuners. Hagstrom adjustable bass bridge.
Weight: 4.1kg
Finish: Mahogany Sunburst polyester finish

A fine early example of the Hagstrom Coronado electric bass, in Mahogany Sunburst finish. This bass is equipped with Hagstrom's early 1960s bass pickup, the Bi-Sonic. The Coronado was launched in 1963, with production of the first batch (batch 550) spanning 1963 and 1964. The instrument shown is the 100th Coronado (of 149) of that first batch, most likely shipping in 1964. For further information on Hagstrom Coronado production and batch numbers, please see the main Hagstrom Coronado page. Like all Hagstrom's, this bass is fitted with Hagstrom's 'fast' neck. It is a simple two piece mahogany design, but with Hagstrom's expander-stretcher truss rod. As described in contemporary literature: "highly-stable, adjustable neck, reinforced by a longitudinal patented H-profile made of special airplane material. Smooth fingerboard with speed-o-matic frets."

The batches had some variation between them, with some significant changes in pickups and hardware. This Coronado bass has a selection of early features: the Bi-sonic pickups, as mentioned, but also a single ply scratchplate with embedded output jack, 'bar' hand rest, and buttons numbered 1-4. Have a look at the larger images below for more details on this features.

Bi-sonic pickups installed in a 1964 Hagstrom Coronado bass

Hagstrom Bi-sonic pickups

The first batches of Hagstrom Coronado basses were equipped with these distinctive Bi-sonic pickups. Note each pickup has a column of pole pieces, and next to it a column of screws, each a height-adjustment for the polepiece it is in line with. The metal 'bar' fingerrest spans the entire scratchplate, allowing the player to support their hand in any position. But note also the slider lever below this bar - this is the guitar's volume control, and is a slider (as opposed to a typical rotary control) "for fast adjustments".
Hagstrom Coronado bass

Coronado bass control consul

The controls of early Hagstrom guitars very much underline the companies history as an accordion manufacturer. Generally instruments are fitted with push-button controls rather than rotary potentiometers. The Coronado was no exception, having a four switch control consul, switches numbered 1-4. The first two buttons are pickup selectors: 1 = neck pickup, 2 = bridge pickup, 31 + 2 = both pickups. Switches 3 and 4 are a "filter system" designed "to be adjusted to match input of connected amplifier". In practise, these represent a tone control, with switch 3 providing a bassier tone, and switch 4 producing more treble. Note, later examples had these buttons labelled 1, 2, L, H - (L = low, H = high) compare with a 1966 Coronado IV. The output jack on these early and mid-period examples is an integral part of the scratchplate; later this would be replaced by a surface-mounted output.
Hagstrom Coronado bass bridge

Hagstrom bass bridge

The adjustable compensating bridge fitted to the Coronado bass series was Hagstrom's own design, produced in Sweden. Unlike the (rather similar looking) bridges fitted to entry and intermediate level Hagstrom basses, this bridge had seperate saddles, allowing individual intonation of each string, though without individual height adjustment for each string. The saddles on this example are plastic (bakelite).
1964 Coronado bass headstock front view
1964 Coronado bass headstock reverse view

Hagstrom Coronado bass headstock

The neck of the Coronado bass was manufactured from two pieces of mahogany, with a rosewood fretboard. Note the 'Kings Neck' truss rod cover - a feature of the first Coronados. The truss rod is accessible from both the headstock, and the body end of the neck; a feature of the first batches only. By 1965, this 'expander/stretcher' rod was only accessible from the body end. Note the lack of headstock markings on this bass. The Hagstrom logo, of course, is attached to the top horn of the guitar's body.
Coronado bass neckplate with serial number

Coronado bass neckplate / serial number

The neck is held in place with three bolts. The serial number resides on the neck plate on the body reverse. In this case, the number 550100, tells us that this is instrument #100 from batch number 550. For more details on Hagstrom Coronado batch numbers, see the Coronado main page.
1964 Coronado bass body with scratchplate removed

Hagstrom Coronado bass body

With all parts removed, the levels Hagstrom went to to electrically shield this bass is obvious. Aswell as shielding the pickup and volume control routes, copper earthing wire connects the bridge, the underside of the scratchplate, pickup shielding and through to the neckplate on the reverse of the guitar. Note the raised plastic Hagstrom logo on the top horn of the body.

Hagstrom Coronado bass video clips

The Hagstrom Coronado is one of the most unique basses of the 1960s, having a medium (32") scale, all-mahogany bolt-on neck construction, and a pair of Bi-Sonic single coil pickups. It's also one of my favourite players... This video features the bass through a 1964 Ampeg B15 - it goes from moderately bright to serious dub. Recorded here with an Electrovoice RE-20 (left channel) and Shure SM57 (right), through a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 interface - all highly recommended gear!

Subscribe to our youtube channel for more vintage guitar and bass demos. Also, check out the longer, high definition demo of this guitar/amp here

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