Emil Hagström

Hagström

Hagström ['hɑ:gstrøm], or Hagstrom as the name is sometimes spelled, was 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 sixties, 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 massproduce 8 string bass guitars as well as the first to build a guitar/kyboard hybrid (Swede Patch 2000). In 2004 the brand was resurrected and is now in production in China. In 2008 Hagstrom 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.

Accordions 1925 to 1970

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 Finland and in 1932 he started manufacturing accordions himself in Älvdalen. In 1936, Hagstrom hired two Italian accordion builders who helped to update and streamline the manufacturing process. In 1939 Hagstrom started to establish themselves in USA by opening the 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 being built in 1970.

In 1984 the company returned to its roots by once again importing accordions 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 Rolf Lindhamn, who is the currently is 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, one of which Musitech is located in.

Hagströms Accordions

  • 1930s
    • Excellent - The first accordions manufactured by Hagstrom..
    • 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

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

Models of electric guitar included the Hagstrom 1, the H series (h II, h III, h II N), the Swede (Originally called The Hagstrom 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 (designed by Jimmy D'Aquisto, a respected New York luthier brought in by Hagstrom to design the Jimmy). Basses include The Swede Bass and the Hagström H8 - the first ever massproduced 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 Hagstrom also produced amplifiers, speakers, effects, guitar strings and mixing consoles, which was used by ABBA on their first world tour. A very small run of lap steels, banjos and mandolins were also built but are were rare to come across. In 1962 Albin's son, Karl-Erik Hagström returned from working 5 years in the USA with establishing their Line O guitars. In 1967 he took over as CEO of the company.

Production ended for Swedish-made Hagstroms in 1983 due to the inability to keep up with the competition using labour from Asia to make guitars. Hagstrom 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 Hagstrom brand still has a cult following around the world and a Hagstrom Festival has taken place in Älvdalen, Sweden around the first week of June every year since 2006.

Hagström Guitars

  • Standard, DeLuxe and DeLuxe A, 1958-1962 - Sold in America under the name Goya. Equipped with the Hagströms Speed-O-Matic fretboard, similar lock 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 asHagström F-11, F-200 och F-300, and in England as Futurama. The first Hagstrom guitar with the "Tremar" tremolo system as standard. Inspired by the Fender Stratocaster.
  • Hagstrom Futurama Coronado Automatic, 1963. 200 built specially by Hagstrom to the requirements of Ben Davis - owner of the Selmer company in London.
  • Automatic, Impala and Corvette, 1963-1967 - Automatic was a cross beetween 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 in America as the F-200 and F-300.
  • Viking, Viking 1, Viking II, Viking DeLuxe and Viking I N, 1965-1979 - Hagstroms first semi-hollow guitar. With the Viking I N he pickups were changed from single-coils to humbuckers.
  • Hagström Jimmy, 1969-1979 - Semihollow guitar deigned by Jimmy D´Aquisto, available with a regular or oval F-hole.
  • Swede and Super Swede, 1970-1982 - 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 theSuper 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 Japan to cut costs but didn't live up to Hagstroms standards.

Hagström Bass Guitars

  • Hagström Standard and DeLuxe Bass, 1961 - Hagstroms first bass. Based on the designs of their guitars and equpped with Hagstrom'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, 1965 - The worlds first 8 string bass.
  • Hagström Jazz Bass, 1973 - 1977
  • Hagström Scanbass, 1979 - Fretless bass.
  • Super Swede Bass, 1980 - Last bass built by Hagstrom in Sweden.

Guitars: 2004 to present day

As of 2004, Hagstrom has been reopened for the international market being internationally distributed by "Tricor AB" in Sweden, and is marketing new versions of a great number of the more famous models from Sweden, being manufactured at a dedicated Hagstrom factory in China. The official Hagstrom design team have taken certain liberties with the designs, made some improvements and other deviations from the original Swedish designs. There was a custom USA shop making master luthier versions of Hagstrom models but activity of this since 2006 is uncertain. Hagstrom is currently in the process of launching a new line bass guitars based on the old designs including a re-issue of their original 8 string bass. According to head-designer of the Hagstrom design team, there might be a limited production of Hagstrom guitars from Sweden, but solid plans for native Swedish production has yet to solidify as of 2008.

Current Hagström Guitars

  • UltraLux Series XL-5 and Ultralux Series XL2. The XL-3 comes with two humbuckers and one single coil pickup, the XL-2 is identical except it lacks the single coil pickup.
  • UltraLux Series Ultra Swede. Come with a coil tap switch that gives the humbucker pickups a single coil sound.
  • 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 Swede is available with another pickup configuration.
  • Super Swede VSB and Super Swede BLK.
  • Swede GOT and Swede WCT.
  • Deluxe CSB and Deluxe BLS. Come with an optional flamed maple veneer.
  • Deluxe-F GOS and Deluxe-F ASB. Also available with the coil tap switch.
  • 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.
  • F200P CRE and F200P BLK. Available with two H90 Single coils and tremolo as standard.
  • F300 SBL and F301 TSB. The SBL is fitted with three single coil pickups, the TBS is identical except for a Custom 58 humbucker in its bridge position.
  • 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. The Viking II is a model which uses a bolt-on neck opposed to the Viking which uses a set neck.
  • HJ-500 NAT and the HJ-600 VSB. A reissue of the original Hagström Jimmy.
  • HL-550. Semihollow body with a single floating humbucker pickup.

Current Hagström Bass guitars

  • HB-8. Re-issue of the original 8 string bass.
  • HB-4. Available with various different pickup options.

Hagströms as a collectable

Ever since 1983 when the original production stopped, Hagstroms have been sought after collector items. Pat Smear is known for having one of the largest Hagstrom collections in America and is known for claiming it to be 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 then $50,000 and has even been displayed in the Museum of Modern Art in New York. A 1981 Super Swede with custom blue and yellow graphics were sold for 60,100 Swedish Krones (approx. $8,850 USD), making it likely to be the second most expensive Hagstrom sold.

Notable users

Media

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

References

External links

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