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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2010
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    Hagstrom Jazz Guitars?

    Hello,
    I can't claim to be highly appraised on the Hagstrom Guitar line. I recall Larry Coryell playing/endorsing a Hagstrom Les Paul copy in the 70's. But I heard a couple of clips recently of the current Jazz line (HJ 800, HlL 550 etc.) and they sound interesting to me. Their pricing suggests Asian manufacture (Not Sweden). I was wondering if anyone owns one, and could weigh-in with their thoughts? Best wishes, Jeff
    PS: Here are a couple of clips (in the first one, the signal is kind of processed).







  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
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    Shelbyville, Kentucky
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    Nice sounds. These are two excellent clips. Thanks for posting these. In my opinion, Hagstroms are excellent guitars no matter where they're made.

  3. #3
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    Jul 2009
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    Elgin, IL
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    I have an HL550 with the matte finish. I like it a lot. The neck is slightly thinner than my Eastman 810, Ibanez AF105 &75. The composite fret board is smooth and easy to play. I paid $600 new with a case about 5(?) years ago. Acoustically it does not work well except for playing on the couch. Amplified it sounds acoustic sounds are better than either of the of the Ibanezs. I believe that it has sound posts between the top and the back similar to a violin.

    The matte finish has much better sound qualities than the laminates. The guitar stays in tune very well. I primarily in church and this guitar has the versatility to handle hymns, blues shuffles and modern gospel (which is closer to jazz) very well. The only issue I have is I need to get a slight adjustment on the nut for the high e string since I put heavier strings on (10' sometimes 11's) and the string tends to pull off the board at times.

    The prices have gone up on these since i purchased mine and I don't see the matte version available anymore. I did not like any of the laminate finished versions of this model that i played. My Eastman stays in the house to avoid damage since the kids at church love to "play" my guitars. This is a good model for me when I need that more acoustic tone at church than I can get with other guitars. Again without an amp, you can't play this guitar with other musicians, but it reproduces the tone faithfully when amplified.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
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    The Wirral Peninsular, NW England
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    I tried a HJ 500 when they first came out as they were excellent value for money. I liked the sound, the neck pickup was nice sounding. I seem to remember there was a chunk of wood connecting the top and back of the guitar in the bridge area and not sound posts. This guitars top was laminate maple, I think the HJ800 is pressed spruce and it is slightly longer in scale length. I find that Hagstroms are engineered to the ninth degree. The fingerboard is some sort of composite veneer system which is really nice to the touch and feels not unlike Ebony. The truss rod is H section which makes it extremely stable and straight, but for my 9.25" span hands I found the neck too thin.

    But I bought a Viking/ES335 type guitar for my son. When I received it I was expecting to have to tweak it as it was manufactured in Asia. What I didn't expect was that they are QC'ed in the UK before shipping to dealers!

    Hagstrom Jazz Guitars?-img_0131-478x640-jpg

    It plays excellently straight out of the box and has not needed any neck adjustments in 4 years. It travels between University and home (all in Scotland) and only needs string changes and a bit of intonating. As I said, these guitars are, and always have been, over engineered!!

    So if you can cope with the thin neck and that Hagstrom USA do their own tweaking and customer service then I think you'll have to go some distance to find a better instrument in the same style and price range.

    Hagstrom Jazz Guitars?-img_0132-478x640-jpg
    (just love that harp shape tail piece!)
    “When a wise man points at the moon the fool considers the finger.”

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
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    Östersund, Sweden
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    158
    I have a Viking (and a Swede). They're made in China now, the brand was resurrected after the original Swedish manufacturing died in the eighties. I think for the prices they charge the quality is focused where it counts. Overall fit and finish is good as well as the alnico pickups which are Hagströms own design and sound great. Pots and switches seem cheaper, but are easier to replace if needed (I haven't). I did have to have the frets leveled on both of them to enable that low action Hagstrom boasts about. I think I was unlucky about that and I haven't found any complaints about this in general reading reviews.

    The Viking is my favorite guitar. Very versatile.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
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    Florida
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    Even in the 60's I didn't like Hagstroms, so you can take my opinion with a grain of salt. For the same money there are (IMO) far superior Korean Epiphones and Chinese Ibanez guitars. Sorry to those of you who have and like them no offense meant...

    Anyway, I played a used one last week in a used guitar shop (a Viking Deluxe) and it was very inexpensive I think ~$475 which I thought was an ambitious price. It was cherry burst and so "nitro" it shined like a cherry burst lightbulb. It didn't play very well.
    Regards,

    Gary

  7. #7
    I am thinking of getting a Viking deluxe LH. Have you guys tried this deluxe model? I am seeing mixed opinions about the viking, though generally it seems to get good reviews.

    My option at the moment, after about a weeks consideration is the Epiphone Sheraton 2. However, this particular model I can't find in LH anywhere in Europe, for some reason.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
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    It wasn't jazz, but my very first ever electric guitar when I was, maybe, 13, was a Hagstrom, this very model, except for some funky foil-like stuff between the pickups:
    Hagstrom Jazz Guitars?-richchamberlainfuturama163-2-jpg
    That and a Sears-Roebuck tube amp with a 12 inch speaker made me, for a while, one of the coolest kids in school.
    Last edited by lawson-stone; 03-30-2016 at 07:41 PM.
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
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    cali
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    now somewhat collectable by way of

    Hagstrom Jazz Guitars?-david-bowie-feb-13-1974-tv-show-amsterdam-holland-_photo-laurens-van-houten-_-frank-white-jpg


    can't really compare new mia hagstroms with the vintage swedish models...new hagstrom guitars are typical mia with some twists ie synthetic fretboard etc...really not much better or worse than the typical fare... ie. sheraton II, hofner verythin, budget yamaha and ibanez...and all the rest

    my advise is to go for the best deal...and the one that's most aesthetically pleasing to you

    personally i like the rather more unique look of the hagstroms, though i'd probably look for a nice new newark st guild starfire


    cheers

  10. #10
    I like the Hagstrom jazz models quite a lot - could even see myself getting one. But I must say, their website does not exactly inspire confidence.

  11. #11
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    I'm an old-model Hagstrom guy. I own a Hagstrom I and III like this:
    Hagstrom Jazz Guitars?-hagstrom-i-1965-original-jpg
    But I'd like one like this 70s Hagstrom Jimmy D'Aquisto:
    Hagstrom Jazz Guitars?-edconaty1976_hagstrom_jimmy_53_965069-jpg

  12. #12
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    Jul 2012
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    [QUOTE=Greentone;635461]I'm an old-model Hagstrom guy. I own a Hagstrom I and III like this:
    Hagstrom Jazz Guitars?-hagstrom-i-1965-original-jpg
    /QUOTE]

    Whoa! That H-1 is the one I had! The plastic front, foil stuff, it was really a cool guitar to own in the late 1960's. Wish I still had that one. And the Sears-Roebuck amp too.
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  13. #13
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    Apr 2013
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    Toronto Canada
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    If you're looking for some sound clips, Esmond Selwyn has a lot of videos on YouTube. I think he plays a Hagstrom. Not sure which model though.

    My teacher said "It's not working out. You might as well just go and buy yourself some jazz records and learn whatcha wanna know that way." [Smiling] "So that's what I did!" - Ed Bickert

  14. #14
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    Selwyn's guitar looks like either a HJ-500 or a HJ-600. It is a little difficult to tell if the top is maple or spruce, but it looks like maple, to me--which would make the guitar a 500.

    Those guitars take a lot of their design from the 70s "Jimmy" model. I haven't had a chance to play one of the newer HJ guitars, but they look good and the clips on the web suggest that they sound good.

    I'd like to get my hands on one of the old "Jimmy" models, though. IIRC, they were D'Aquisto's first foray into having an outside company license his design. Fender, Ibanez (without permission), and Sadowsky all followed in ensuing years.

    Oops! I left out Aria. They, of course, have been building D'Aquisto guitars in recent years.
    Last edited by Greentone; 03-31-2016 at 10:15 AM.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greentone View Post
    Selwyn's guitar looks like either a HJ-500 or a HJ-600. It is a little difficult to tell if the top is maple or spruce, but it looks like maple, to me--which would make the guitar a 500.

    Those guitars take a lot of their design from the 70s "Jimmy" model. I haven't had a chance to play one of the newer HJ guitars, but they look good and the clips on the web suggest that they sound good.

    I'd like to get my hands on one of the old "Jimmy" models, though. IIRC, they were D'Aquisto's first foray into having an outside company license his design. Fender, Ibanez (without permission), and Sadowsky all followed in ensuing years.

    Oops! I left out Aria. They, of course, have been building D'Aquisto guitars in recent years.

    They are the same guitar pretty much but the older 70's ones feel more like 50's 175's. Something about the laminates being light and very woody sounding. I've payed a few old 'Jimmy's' and they are nice but dont blow you away. I prefer the slightly deeper tone of the guild X175-500
    New Hag's sound generic but seem to be well built ish. I played an 800 and it was a little heavy, and the post inside didn't quite reach the back.

  16. #16
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    I defer to ArchtopHeaven on this matter. I was so "I drank the Kool-Aid" about Hagstrom guitars as a young man that I was not particularly objective when the Jimmy came out. The one I played really sent me, but I was already a believer. Check this one out that is on Reverb (Trouble is, you can get a PAF-equipped ES-175 for this money.):
    Hagstrom Jazz Guitars?-hagstrom-jimmy-jpg

  17. #17
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    Jul 2013
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    Like most other players here, I've been curious about the new Hagstom HJ's, mainly due to the D'Aquisto factor in the companies history.

    Something I've noticed though, on the companies website, all the HJ models are pictured with the same body shape (apart from the HL-550). However, when you look at dealer pics of actual guitars, there are 2 distinctly different body shapes, and I've seen this variation apply to different models in the HJ range. It may be there are different factories building the same model designated guitar to different shape.

    You'll notice the difference in the cutaway shape, and the top bout. I can't post the actual pics, due to image copyright, but here's a couple of links to photos.

    Sharp cutaway,
    Hagstrom HJ-500 Tremar Review | Chorder.com

    Round cutatway
    Hagstrom Jazz Model HJ-500 Semi-Hollow Electric Guitar Natural | Musician's Friend

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greentone View Post
    I defer to ArchtopHeaven on this matter. I was so "I drank the Kool-Aid" about Hagstrom guitars as a young man that I was not particularly objective when the Jimmy came out. The one I played really sent me, but I was already a believer. Check this one out that is on Reverb (Trouble is, you can get a PAF-equipped ES-175 for this money.):
    Hagstrom Jazz Guitars?-hagstrom-jimmy-jpg

    Wow that oval hole is nice. I know Bennedetto doesn't seem to think much of that design but I do :-)

    I would happily own a 70's Jimmy although you could call it a Borys in many ways I guess? 70's Jimmy's really dont go for that much. Pay about £1000 for a really nice example. Certainly a strong contender and as good as any.

  19. #19
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    Nov 2015
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    Funny this thread has come up again at this time. I ordered a HJ-800 months back and it is finally shipping to me on Monday of next week. Fingers crossed that I like it, but if not I will move onto something else. Hagstrom isn't well represented at dealers here in the USA, but I have heard mostly good things about them. Unfortunately all I got to play before I decided to order one were older solid body models, so I purchased mostly sight unseen. The body shape differences are intriguing. I know that the 800 is slightly different than the rest of the jazz models because the neck joint is at the 16th fret instead of the 14th. I believe that the online catalog is vastly out of date. The newer ones that I have seen don't have the Hagstrom brand name emblazoned on the pick guard like the catalog pics show. But I don't care. I may remove the pick guard anyway. I will report back when it arrives.

  20. #20
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    Oct 2009
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    Toronto, Ontario CANADA
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    I own an HJ500. Surprisingly good guitar, for very little money!
    That's her, on the left.
    Hagstrom Jazz Guitars?-imag0318-jpg

  21. #21
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    Jul 2013
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    Quote Originally Posted by ArchtopHeaven View Post
    Wow that oval hole is nice. I know Bennedetto doesn't seem to think much of that design but I do :-)

    I would happily own a 70's Jimmy although you could call it a Borys in many ways I guess? 70's Jimmy's really dont go for that much. Pay about £1000 for a really nice example. Certainly a strong contender and as good as any.
    Seller is asking ​over 4 and a half thousand quid for that one on reverb just now.

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