|Albin Hagström, Karl-Erik Hagström, Jimmy D'Aquisto|
Acoustic and electric guitars
lap steel guitars
Hagström (Swedish pronunciation: ['h?:?stroem]) 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 1950s, 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). The company ceased production in 1983. In 2004 the brand was resurrected and is now in production in China. In 2008 Hagström expanded their line of products and launched their own line of basses including a re-issue of their famous Hagström H8, an 8 string bass.
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.
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 units, 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 US 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.
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.
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.
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 world's largest collection of Hagström guitars was previously owned by Arne Johansson in Östersund, Sweden and consisted of more than 80 Hagström guitars plus a number amplifiers and other instruments and Hagström products. The entire collection was bought by the publicly owned museum of the Dalarna province, that owned a smaller collection of instruments, on 4 May 2012. Their collection now consists of more than 100 Hagström guitars.
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.
The Guitar Collection features a rare Hagström Futurama Coronado automatic.
Media related to Hagström at Wikimedia Commons