Hagström

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For other uses, see Hagström (disambiguation).
Hagström
Type Music Company
Industry Musical instruments
Founded 1925
Founders Albin Hagström
Headquarters Älvdalen, Sweden
Area served Global
Key people Albin Hagström, Karl-Erik Hagström, Jimmy D'Aquisto
Products accordions, guitars, bass guitars, mandolins, banjos, lap steel guitars, guitar amplifiers, guitar strings, mixing consoles, effects units
Parent U.S. Music Corporation
Website http://www.hagstromguitars.eu

Hagström [ˈhɑːɡstrœm] is a musical instrument manufacturer in Älvdalen, Dalecarlia, Sweden. Their original products were accordions that they initially imported from Germany and then Italy before opening their own facility in 1932. During the late fifties, the company started making electric guitars and later amplifiers. The early guitars were heavily influenced by the accordion production and had a special look and feel. Hagström were the first company to mass-produce 8 string bass guitars as well as the first to build a guitar/synthesizer hybrid (Swede Patch 2000). In 2004 the brand was resurrected and is now in production in China. In 2008 Hagström expanded their line of products and will launch their own line of basses including a re-issue of their famous Hagström H8, an 8 string bass later this year.[when?]

Accordions 1925 to 1970[edit]

Albin Hagström began importing accordions from Germany and Italy in 1925 and founded Firma Albin Hagström. Albin expanded his business with shops in Sweden, Norway and Denmark and in 1932 he started manufacturing accordions himself in Älvdalen. In 1936, Hagström hired two Italian accordion builders who helped to update and streamline the manufacturing process. In 1939 Hagström started to establish themselves in USA by opening Hagstrom Music Company Inc in Rockefeller Center in New York as well as Albin Hagstrom Inc in Jamestown. However in 1940 the launch was canceled due to World War II and the people hired to run the company disappeared with the company's funds. In 1946 Sven Hillring was sent over from Sweden to oversee a new launch of the new accordion factory in Jamestown, which was in business until 1949.

Back in Sweden the brand continued to grow throughout the 1940s and 1950s and at one time had a total of forty-eight shops in northern Europe. In 1953 the accordion production reached its peak with 15,000 units being built. At this time the company also started a number of accordion schools; it is estimated that over 70,000 people have attended these schools. Founder Albin Hagström died in 1952 at the age 47 and was succeeded by Erik Wisén. In 1968 the Super Cromatic was introduced which came to be the last accordion built, with the last one made in 1970.

In 1984 the company returned to its roots by once again importing accordions from Germany and Italy. The shops were sold, and employees were encouraged to venture out on their own, which resulted in two new companies in Älvdalen. Musitech was started by Hagstrom and sold to Rolf Lindhamn, who was the official Swedish retailer of Aria and Guild guitars. Per-Åke Olsson who participated in the development of the Super Swede founded Amtech which is producing PA-systems and light rigs as well as computer equipment. The original AB Albin Hagström company still exists to this day and still owns many of the facilities in Sweden, Norway and Denmark.

Hagströms Accordions[edit]

  • 1930s
    • Excellent - The first accordions manufactured by Hagström..
    • Granesso
  • 1940s
    • 389-31
    • Granesso 70
    • Accordia Superior and Extra
  • 1950s
    • Castello and Minor - Built in Italy.
    • Skandia
    • 773 and 813
    • Constellation, Marita and Rosella
    • Master 4/5
    • Rigoletto I, II and III
    • Rosita and Rosita II
    • Consul Maestro and Consul Maestoso
    • Constella II and Estrella
    • Accordia Royal
  • 1960s
    • Walter Special 40 - Named after Andrew Walter, well-known contemporary accordionist.
    • Super Cromatic - The last accordion manufactured, widely considered to be one of the best accordions available.

Guitars: 1958 to 1983[edit]

Three generations of Hagström guitars: A Standard 80 made in 1960, a Kent II made in 1964 and a HIIN OT made in 1975.

In 1958, Swedish-based Hagström started manufacturing electric guitars, being one of the first to produce the instrument professionally outside of the United States. The early Hagström Deluxe solid body guitars featured a distinctive sparkle and pearloid celluloid finish that was previously used on their line of accordions. Soon Hagström expanded their line-up of guitars to include hollow bodies like the Viking and the Jimmy. In 1961 the first line of Hagström basses was available to the public, this eventually came to include the groundbreaking 8 string bass.

Models of electric guitar included the Hagström 1, the H series (h II, h III, h II N), the Swede (Originally called The Hagström LP, or Les Paul, due to the instrument's resemblance to the popular Les Paul manufactured by Gibson Guitars), the Super Swede, the Impala, the Corvette (called the Condor in the US), the Viking, the Swede Patch 2000 (one of the first synthesizer guitars) and the Jimmy (named for Jimmy D'Aquisto, a respected New York luthier brought in by Hagström to design the guitar). Basses include The Swede Bass and the Hagström H8 - the first ever mass-produced eight stringed bass guitar, which found fame when used by the likes of Noel Redding, Jimi Hendrix, Mike Rutherford, and others. Another innovation was the H-Expander Truss Rod, which gives the neck extra strength and allows it to be extra thin as well as allows the action to be set extra low.

Beside their line of instruments Hagström also produced amplifiers, speakers, effects, guitar strings and mixing consoles, which were used by ABBA on their first world tour. A very small run of lap steels, banjos and mandolins were also built but are rare to come across. In 1962 Albin's son, Karl-Erik Hagström returned from working five years in the USA with establishing their Line O guitars. In 1967 he took over as CEO of the company. In their native Sweden, the company became well known not only for selling music hardware, but also for "teach-yourself" books and mail courses on electric guitar, bass, keyboards etc., learning tools that deliberately took in a rock and pop repertory, chord analysis and tuning apart from teaching how to read music. By recognizing the electric guitar as an instrument in its own right, and not just an amped-up version of the acoustic and by accepting the new repertory, Hagström popularized the instrumental skills of the new music outside of the networks associated with rock clubs, and record shops, and at a time when rock music was barely ever being written about from a musical perspective.

Production ended for Swedish-made Hagströms in 1983 as the company were outpriced by other major guitar brands that had moved their stock production lines to Asia. Hagström did make some Japanese prototypes; however, they were not pleased with the workmanship and would rather close down the company than cheapen the brand. The interest in the original Hagström brand still has a cult following around the world and a Hagström Festival takes place in Älvdalen, Sweden around the first week of June every year since 2006.

Hagström Guitars[edit]

A vintage Hagström leaning against a Hagström amplifier combo.
  • Standard, DeLuxe and DeLuxe A, 1958–1962 - Sold in America under the name Goya. Equipped with the Hagströms Speed-O-Matic fretboard, look similar to the Gibson Les Paul. Sometimes called The Glitter Guitars. DeLuxe A was nicknamed the Batman because of its unusual look.
  • Kent, Kent I och Kent II, 1962–1966 - Sold in America as Hagström F-11, F-200 or F-300, and in England as Futurama. The first Hagström guitar with the "Tremar" tremolo system as standard. Inspired by the Fender Stratocaster.
  • Hagström Futurama Coronado Automatic, 1963. 200 built specially by Hagström to the requirements of Ben Davis - owner of the Selmer company in London.
  • Automatic, Impala and Corvette, 1963–1967 - Automatic was a cross between the Impala and the Corvette. The Corvette was named the Condor in America. All models had a glued neck.
  • Hagström I, II and III, 1964–1976 - Gibson SG-inspired body with a Fenderheadstock. Hagström II and III were sold in America as the F-200 and F-300.
  • Hagström Jimmy, 1969–1979 - Semihollow guitar designed by Jimmy D´Aquisto, available with a regular or oval F-hole.
  • Swede and Super Swede, 1970–1983 - Last model to be manufactured in Älvdalen. Inspired by the Gibson Les Paul. Super Swede was originally named Swede DeLuxe, but the name was changed after being called the Super Swede in a music magazine.
  • Scandi, 1976–1980 - Stratocaster-inspired model with three single coil pickups. Also called Hagström III and built in a small run for left-handed players.
  • Swede Patch 2000, 1976–1979 - A hybrid between a guitar and a synthesizer, required a special technique to play and was very hard to play.
  • Partner, 1979 - A Hagström II under a different name.
  • Ultra Swede, 1983 - Produced in Japan to cut costs but didn't live up to Hagströms standards.

Hagström Bass Guitars[edit]

  • Hagström Standard and DeLuxe Bass, 1961 - Hagströms first bass. Based on the designs of their guitars and equipped with Hagström's Speed-O-Matic fretboard.
  • Kent, 1962 - Sold in America as the Hagström FB.
  • Coronado IV and VI, 1963 - available with 4 or 6 strings. also fitted with the Hagströms Speed-O-Matic fretboard.
  • Concorde and Concorde DeLuxe, 1965 – semi-hollow bass.
  • Hagström II B, 1965
  • Hagström H8, 1967 - The world's first 8 string bass.
  • Hagström Jazz Bass, 1973–1977
  • Hagström Scanbass, 1979 - Fretless bass.
  • Super Swede Bass, 1980 - Last bass built by Hagström in Sweden.

Guitars: 2004 to present day[edit]

The Viking is one of the classic Hagström guitars that are currently being reproduced.

As of 2004, Hagström has been reopened for the international market being distributed by "Tricor AB". They are marketing new versions of a great number of the more famous models from Sweden. The official Hagström design team have taken certain liberties with the designs and made some improvements and other deviations from the original Swedish designs. Hagström has again started the production of more exclusive Hagstrom guitars within Europe, which have been specially developed to reproduce the sounds of the originals .These models are called the Northen Series.

Current Hagström Guitars[edit]

  • Deuce and Deuce-F. The Deuce models come with two humbuckers and are dual cutaway guitars, where Hagstrom claims that these are siblings based upon the Super Swede model. Both guitars have independent push/pull tone pots for coil splitting each individual pickup.
  • UltraLux Series XL-5 and Ultralux Series XL-2. The XL-5 comes with two humbuckers and one single coil pickup, the XL-2 is identical except it lacks the single coil pickup. Equipped with the FCS-2 bridge system.
  • UltraLux Series Ultra Swede. Comes with a coil tap switch that gives the humbucker pickups a single coil sound when tapped. Also includes "Custom 62" pickups being considered a more aggressive and hot set of pickups. Two Special Edition models were manufactured. One was for the Nitro company who manufactures snowboards and the other for Absolut vodka.
  • Select Super Swede, Select Swede and Select Ultra Swede. Identical except for the Select Super Swede's longer neck (25,5" compared to 24,75") and the Select Ultra Swede is available with Custom 58 uncovered pickups.
  • Super Swede - Also offered as Tremar Super Swede, and Tremar Super Swede P-90 (equipped with 3 H-90-S pickups (N/RW/N)(S- Stands for "Spiced" which are specially voiced to provide more of an excentuated Single coil sound)) and a 6-way rotary switch. Hagstrom's "Tremar unit" is Hagstrom's special designed vintage "Tremar" tremolo system which is known to be one of the best "Vintage" type of tremolo units on the market.
  • Swede . Also offered as Tremar Swede, and Swede-SE using Hagstrom's unique H-90-S pickups.
  • F-20 and the F-200. The F-200 lacks the tremolo that comes with the F-20 as well as having a set mahogany neck compared to the maple bolt-on neck of the F-20.

The F-20 has a one piece 45mm basswood body and uses the FCS-1 tremolo system. The F-200 has a 40mm contoured Mahogany body.

  • F200P . Available with two H-90 Single coils and FCS-1 tremolo as standard.
  • Viking, Viking II and Viking IIP. A reissue of the Hagström Viking, the Viking and the Deluxe are identical except for the Deluxe having a flamed top, different inlays on the fingerboard and a different F-hole. The Viking II is a model which uses a bolt-on neck opposed to the Viking which uses a set neck.
  • HJ-500 and the HJ-600 . A reissue of the original Hagström Jimmy. Tremar HJ-500 using Hagstrom's special designed vintage "Tremar" tremolo system on this model, being a popular choice for Rocabilly guitarists, looking for a dependable tremolo unit.
  • HL-550. Semi-hollow body with a single floating humbucker pickup.
  • HJ-800 . A reissue of the original Hagström Jimmy, equipped with a Solid Spruce top, Custom 58 pickups, and a 25" scale length.

Current Hagström Bass guitars[edit]

  • HB-8. Re-issue of the original 8 string bass.
  • HB-4.
  • Viking Bass.
  • FXB-200, -210, -220, -520, and -530
  • Beluga II, IIF, III, and IIIF

Hagströms as collectibles[edit]

Ever since 1983, when original production stopped, Hagströms have been sought-after collectors' items. Pat Smear is known for having one of the largest Hagström collections in America and reportedly claimed that Hagströms are the most roadworthy guitars he's ever used. The red Viking II that Elvis Presley used on Elvis Presley's '68 Comeback Special was sold in the early nineties for more than $50,000 and was on display at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. A 1981 Super Swede with custom blue and yellow graphics was sold for 60,100 Swedish kronor (approx. $8,850 USD), making it one of the most expensive Hagströms ever sold.

Notable users[edit]

For a more comprehensive list, see List of Hagström users.

Media[edit]

  • Hagström - Allt i musik. Swedish documentary film, first broadcast in 2004 by the K Special television show on SVT2 in Sweden.

References[edit]

External links[edit]