Hagström is perhaps the only well-known guitar company to come from Sweden. The manufacturer was started by Albin Hagstrom in the 1920s and imported German accordions, as electric guitars were not yet available. In 1932 they started making their own accordions. In 1958, the company produced its first electricity. All of these were covered with glittering celluloid, which was previously used in accordion.
Most of the original models were quite traditional in shape, either with an equally double-cutaway style or a rounded Les Paul shape. Most came with four single coils in a position that made them look like humbuckers. Some models also had a white pearl neck and a clear Perspex keyboard. Hagström-built vibrato units were optional on most models.
The guitars also used to have a dizzying range of rollers and push button selectors to split the pickups and change the sounds. The guitars were extravagant and did not meet with much success initially. Players preferred the simplicity of the relatively uncomplicated American instruments from Fender and Gibson, rather than the glorious finishes and complicated controls offered by European brands such as Hagstrom, Eko, Hofner and the huge range of Japanese manufacturers.
Hagström recognized this and introduced more traditional and more attractive guitars. These included the Swede, a Les Paul-shaped guitar, Viking, a semi-acoustic to be used by Frank Zappa and his son Dweezil, more than 30 years later, and the SG-inspired I, II and III models, to sales now as F-200.
Unfortunately, this was not enough to save the company, and in the wake of increased competition from the ever-growing Japanese manufacturers, Hagstrom closed in 1983.
In 2004, however, the company was opened by Tricor AB, which now also distributes the guitars. They are manufactured in a dedicated Chinese factory and sell for around 200-750 GBP. The reissues are based on the guitars made after Hagström stopped the production of lurid-finish in 1958 in the early 1960s, ie mainly the Swedish, F-200 and Viking, although with some new models introduced, and new versions of the classic design .
Original Hagström has a huge cult due to their rarity and originality, to the extent that there is a Hagström festival in Sweden for the first days of every June. For their dead hard fans, it’s great to see this old make back in action.