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Hagstrom Acoustics           

"REAL OLDIES" ARE NOW HERE
go back as far as the 1940's!
The Hagstrom Hub
an attempt to unpick a story!
SEE A NECK TO BODY CONSTRUCTION
FOR A BJARTON HAGSTROM J-45 OR H-33
The Hagstrom UK steel strings together (2002)

Three 12 strings and one of the J-45 6's
The Hagström Acoustic Pick-up unit
The Retail stores would fit this as an option

Read on and below for the main models...
(NOTE: - Some Visitor Links have moved to the specific model page)

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Hagström Guitars sites often concentrate on Electric and Bass Electric Guitars, leaving the acoustics almost as an afterthought. Always remembering the appealing Scandinavian images of the late 60's early 70's, here we see a typical advertising photo

There were NO records of serial numbers kept when Bjarton the manufacturer closed. I have contacted many people and local companies. Karl Eric Hagstrom Jr confirmed this to me a while back. Some time later in 2007 Tobbe started Bjarton.com and has pieced together good sections of the serials so that people can now get a better idea of some dates.

More recently I was honoured to hear from Torgil Hagman the joint Managing Director in the 70's. He confirmed the Bjarton connection. "Concerning Bjärton - Hagström had the exclusive right to export these fine guitars and for export ,these guitars had the name Hagström. In the Hagström retail-stores the guitars were sold under the name Bjärton. As responsible for the retail-stores in Scandinavia I visited regularly all stores. Many of these stores were sold to the store-managers and still one person could tell you very much of the Hagström/Bjärton story - the former Store-manager in Växjö, Sweden - Mr Sven Magnusson. I will try to reach him and put you in touch with him.

I know of course very well the producer of Bjärton guitars in Bjärnum - Mr Kurt Nilsson but I don't know for sure if he is still alive. What I know however is that unfortunately the company Bjärton Guitars closed..."

My own first Hagström acoustic was (and still is) a Goliath sized Bj-12, built like a tank, and sounds like a full orchestra using the thinnest plectrum or the lightest touch with thumb and fingers. I am lucky enough to now have two, a BJ12 and a blonde faced H33 (both branded Hagstrom) and a beautiful near mint Hagstrom Bjarton J45 six string, as well as two classical models the La Rita and the Isabella (both branded Bjarton). You'll see small pictures on this page, and links to their dedicated pages with more detail.

With the then patented adjustable 'H' truss bar right through all the steel strung necks you could pull the action so low, you can't feel the strings pushing against the chords. The thinnest fastest necks Hagström boasted. Many were worried by this, but if you get the chance to try it, your fears soon disappear.

The above catalogue can be viewed in more detail by clicking the photo here, see the 12 string model CAT STEVENS once played, and oh yes, that cover, I reveal  the identity of the leggy lady herself:
"...who's the lady, which part of Sweden did she come from?"
Rob from Canada asked me..." where is she now?" he enquired... click the pic to find out... maybe...!

 

If you care to go back a little further to the time of the First Semi-acoustic Viking models, the acoustics did not enjoy the chromed tailpiece or adjustable bridges of 1967/8 production models. So Like Gordon Giltrap, Davy Jones (David Bowie) and many others your Hagstrom acoustic looked like the ones found in the 1966-7 catalogue. In fact The iconic Bowie song "Space Oddity" was played using a BJ12 Hagstrom!

 

You will find the model names quite confusing at times. Beyond Bjarton or Hagstrom, the model names also trade places at times (eg BJ12 Hagstrom instead of H33 etc).

I have also seen the Isabella or HC-4 listed as an HC-15 and even the Victoria - but unless anyone can tell me the difference - on photo, they looked the same to me... likewise derivatives of the La Rita. Then we received a copy of the 1967 Unicord Hagstrom Classics catalogue in May 2004!

Every level of spec and combination of woods all explained with stunning illustrations. (courtesy of Manfred Graeder)

 Below you will find the main family models, and links to visitors pages with pictures and text.

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BJ12 / H33 / RIO GRANDE

With such a balanced neck you tend to forget the obvious. They hardly ever need much tuning up. I replaced the strings on my old 60's BJ12 in 2001 for the first time in years, (shame on me) but when someone suggested it, I did, and I thought they'd put new bells in Big Ben!  To see more, choose one of the following links: UK Acoustics or H33/BJ12 or Hagstrom and Me or Western or Rio Grande 

Another name for the H33 or BJ12 is "Rio Grande". Another version called the B120, which had all the same construction and sound, but less ornate finish. In the metal tail version this meant a Gibson like thin bar tail rather than the Chrome Harp shape with Hagstrom logo. The difference between the Standard and Deluxe is very small on the pegbridge versions.

The Rio Grande had a more ornate headstock, and was from around 1978 as part of the revised marking as the "Western" offering of six string pegbridge J-45 and this 12 string model. It has rectangular pearl fret inlays instead of dots, fully bound headstock with Fleur de Lys, and a plain black pick-guard on a blonde body front.

 

Yet another variation came to our notice in May 2005.

The BJ-12-M. This model was a smaller more shaped body, yet with all the depth of the standard model.

I've only ever seen one of these... this one!

From the serial number, this example is from the mid sixties.

Courtesy of House of Guitars, Salt Lake City, Utah USA, who I thank for the photos.

<< Click these pics for larger versions,

...or HERE and scroll down to see more photos.

 

 CLICK > SEE THE VISITORS PICTURES FOR THE H33 / BJ12 / B120 FAMILY

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 J45 / H45 / MISSOURI

The six string J45 or H45 also received some variety along the years - most notably the peg bridge version versus the chrome tail. Again a revised version called "Missouri" was marketed under the Hagstrom Western range sporting the distinctive later Hagstrom headstock shape, rectangular pearl fret inlays, thread through bridge and tailpiece, and again plain black pick-guard on a blonde body front. Click the picture to see the Hagstrom UK examples. Finally, the standard finish version version of this model is the B60 (Confusing eh?), well there's the logic... B60 is half a B120, well, half the number of strings!

CLICK > SEE THE VISITORS PICTURES FOR THE J45 / H45 / B60 FAMILY

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HC-4 / ISABELLA / HC-15 / VICTORIA

The guitar on the front of the 1971 catalogue (top of page) is an Isabella or HC-4, again by Bjarton, with ornate marquetry around the sound-hole and distinctive and delicate fretwork infill to the sound-hole.
Click the picture to see the Hagstrom UK example
A beautiful guitar with a tone that matches it's looks!

Imagine Jose Feliciano singing "Light my Fire"
then filter out the voice (sorry)..... yes you got it now.   

CLICK > SEE THE VISITORS PICTURES FOR THE ISABELLA / HC4 FAMILY

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HC-5 / LA RITA / SENORITA

Hagstrom La Rita - made by Bjarton
This La Rita used to belong to Gordon Giltrap.
See more info on the Hagstrom Fans Page and a link to Gordon Giltrap's own site.
You can find out who bought it by clicking HERE
And see the Hagstrom UK La Rita HERE
See Anders Hagstrom Story for a major project on a La Rita too!

CLICK > SEE THE VISITORS PICTURES FOR THE LA RITA / HC5 FAMILY

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HC-2 / ROSITA

Mr Kim Andreassen writes (May 2002)
 

Hello David,
Well all I can tell you about my
Bjarton Rosita is, that I have had it for about 25 years It was new when I bought it. The Nr. is 54202129 I have attached Pics. Regards Mr. Kim Andreassen

Thanks Kim, time for a couple of strings.... why not send it over to the UK for a checkup!

Click the advert Icon here to see a Hagstrom Rosita Advert (Groovy eh)

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H22 / SAMMY - IN AUSTRALIA ANYWAY

I had never heard of the name Sammy until I was contacted by Alan Dawson from Australia

This model is shallower in the body than a standard folk guitar. Sported regularly by Guy Davis (See also Hagstrom Fans).

CLICK > SEE THE VISITORS PICTURES FOR THE H22 / SAMMY MODEL

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The Classic - A very rare sight...
First up:

Merideth Jones from Dallas was kind enough to take these shots at the end of November 03 This Maple and Spruce beauty with Gold plated machines had a lifetime guarantee...

Subject: Classical Hagstrom Hi, I have a classical Hagstrom I bought in 1974. It has a hand carve head and bridge. I was wondering what the value of it might be. I know that Hagstrom only made their classical for a very few years. Thanks for any information you might be able to give me. Merideth in Dallas, TX USA...

"David, Here is my friend. Merideth"

<<< Hand Carved detail on the Headstock and bridge.

From the 1971 Merson Catalogue:
A large Spanish model in luxury style with back and sides of lovely flame-grained maple. Top of old good spruce, best quality.

Beautiful mosaic decor around the sound-hole. Jacaranda bands around the top and white strips as decor on the sides. Neck of mahogany and with head-piece artistically carved.

Fingerboard made of ebony and gold plated machine heads. The instrument is stained in a brown colour and lacquered in a satin-etched finish.

Unlimited guarantee for the first owner. An instrument that improves with age.
(GO TO THE CATALOGUES PAGE)
 

Thanks for taking the time Merideth from Dallas, maybe Kwinn can take a look for me sometime...

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December 2005
- Pär Lindner sent some great pictures of his Classic - which he is finally selling on the auction site...

So, next up, his pictures:
Click on the small picture to see the full size version

^
Hand-Carved detail and Gold-Plated hardware

^

Original Case too

FACTS:

 

* Gold plated machine heads.

* Ebony Fingerboard

* Neck of mahogany

* Easy to play (perfect action).

* Top made of old TOP quality alpine spruce

* Hand carved head stock and bridge( jacaranda)

* Back and sides of lovely flame-grained maple

* Beautiful mosaic decor around the sound hole

* Jacaranda bands around the top

* Ebony nut

 

* Model: Classic 54

* Serial no: 192968

 

"Very warm and rich tone. At the same time it can be very responsive and loud. This guitar can easily make its voice heard."

"...the light weight and the crisp sound when you lift it up. You feel the tension of energy in the rare alpine spruce top."


 

Thanks Pär from Gothenburg, Sweden
 for the great pictures!

 

 

 

Less well Known Models

The Other Jimmy!      (3/4 size)

The above models followed the shape and form of many popular models, distinguished by the sheer quality of construction and ornate finishes. Here we find a model called "Jimmy". No it isn't the semi-acoustic oval or 'f' hole, but a straight acoustic model, proportioned slightly differently to the mainstream models found in the catalogues on the site. In fact it's a three quarter size model, often found nylon strung despite the headstock design usually indicating steel strings. I estimate this around 1968-9.

Then Bill Langlands from Canada confirms our estimates in October 2003, and much improved pictures show it off well:
Do take the time to click on the icon picture below for a larger view of the quality finish...

My name is Bill Langlands and I live in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada.

I bought a Hagstrom Jimmy in 1969.

I can't remember the month.

The serial number is 116912.


 

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Mike Thomas sent this beautiful set of pictures!

Hi!
I just found the site and was very pleased to see someone else with Hagstroms. I bought a Hagstrom classical guitar in Beaumont, Texas in 1962 or '63. It was the first money I ever earned - three months hard work in a lumber yard when I was 14.

It cost $100 US dollars and was the most beautiful thing I ever saw (still ranks right up there). I only earned $90 that summer, but my dad chipped in the other ten.

It has a spruce (?) top and the most gorgeous burl walnut (I'm guessing) back and sides. The wood has a rich, dark swirling grain. There is a red and black circular decoration around the sound hole and it has white piping where the top and back join the sides.

I believe there is a steel reinforced rosewood neck and an ebony fingerboard. The frets have mother of pearl inlays and the tuning pegs are chrome with white onyx looking grips There is no name on the head. The strings wind around pegs that are in cut-outs.

The label is a shiny red and gold oval and just says Hagstrom, I don't believe there is a model name or number. I'll be happy to send pictures when I can take some
Cheers Mike.

This is indeed one of the most beautiful finishes I've seen come out of Bjarton for Hagstrom. Given the information - it's condition belies it's age of forty years or more, what a wonderful piece of history... I know it's repeating myself, but can't get over the condition!!!      Thank you Mike for your time in sharing these with us.

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TAKE US BACK TO THE TIME AFTER PARLOUR GUITARS, AND THE DAWN OF MODERN POP / BLUES,
AND YOU FIND GUITARS LIKE THIS EMERGING FROM THE DEPTHS OF... SWEDEN?

YES A BJARTON MODEL FROM AROUND 1960

Actually it looks like it should be nylon strung,
but with a sunburst like that, it's an interesting identity!

"This guitar is a gift from my grandmother. No one in my family knows how old it is, my mum says it's about 40 years or older.
Do you know anything about it just by seeing the picture? history,age, etc.
If you can take the time to write me back, i'd be very thankful. Hans Christian Lange P.S. It sounds really good too.. :)"

Of course we write back - it's the food of this site!

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Laura gives us a Bjarton / Hohner twist
- what might have been...

I am the owner of a pre-Hagstrom Bjarton and thought you'd like to know that before Hagstrom picked up the line here in the U.S. it was under consideration by Hohner.

My father, who represented Hohner in the east coast at the time, was asked to stress-test a sample. It rode in the trunk of his car in the cold of Michigan winters and the heat of Florida summers.

There was a problem with glue separation and Hohner, not wanting to get into the guitar repair business here, decided not to import these beautiful guitars.

My father, however, kept the guitar, had it repaired by a fine Swiss repairman, and I have it still.

I'm trying to tie the appearance of this instrument in our home to some external event, and the best I can come up with is complete assurance that I was playing the thing in 1962.

As I recollect the story, Hohner was thinking about importing these as a line extension.

My father kept this instrument in the trunk of his car for a year. Oh, he took it out to play around with in motel rooms of an evening, but for the most part it fried in Florida (which I am confident is lots hotter than Sweden!) in the summer, and then froze in Michigan in the winter.

The purfling down the center front below the rosette was put in to mask the glue separation. We always thought it looked rather nice. Only recently did it occur to me to go looking for Bjarton on the web to see whether I had a museum piece, a clunker, or something in between.

I've always loved the action and the tone, but then it's like a family member to me. So far as I can tell, it's several cuts above a student guitar.

Several cuts above indeed. You've heard that tone. It's a hand crafted guitar made with quality woods, by guys who loved their work.

You you are just the kind of person who deserves to own one - someone who appreciates it!


If Bjarton had been successful in this association it would have been a hat-trick for them. Through Hagstrom's export initiatives they made for Espana at this time, also for Fender, the Hagstrom brand was them too, it would have been great to have added Hohner to the list too!

This example looks in superb condition despite it's ordeal. The centre line looks quite acceptable - especially when you know what it went through!

Thanks for taking the time to let us know your twist on the story, and for the pictures that do justice to this little piece of classical history.

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The popularity of Hagstrom Guitars (electric and acoustic) was not restricted to a narrow band of nations. Australia, South Africa, Croatia, Switzerland, Germany, Brazil, all the Scandinavian countries of course, Israel, Iraq (yes), Netherlands, France, Belgium, Spain (where do I stop without offending someone??) well, suffice to say it wasn't just USA Canada and UK by ANY means... But in continental Europe especially the Names rather than numbers (originating from Bjarton) were the norm, so HC4 might just be greeted with "que?")...

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In USA in the 1960's
you would see thousands of Bjärton guitars
as "Fender Classical guitars" - yes, really...
Read the story in The Hagstrom Hub

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Are you interested in what all these woods are?
See the Woods Page

 

Below we see in an advert the ornate and hand carved "CLASSIC" model
Lifetime guaranteed - now that's confidence
10 year guarantees on all other models here too!

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PLEASE NOTE "REAL OLDIES" ARE NOW HERE
See also: The Hagstrom Hub

CATALOGUES | HOME

ALSO CHECK OUT THE NEWER SITE BJARTON.COM FROM SWEDEN.
TOBBE HAS PUT TOGETHER A SUPERB PRESENTATION
(HOWEVER BEWARE POP-UPS - AT THE TIME OF WRITING - UNLESS YOU ARE INTO ONLINE CASINOS)

Anyone with Hagstrom photo's is very welcome.
Send them to me for posting. There's an e-mail link on virtually every page of the site!
A story isn't absolutely necessary, but adds a little bit of what we like to add to this site
- Appreciation and the appreciators!
So bung a pic of you too along with it.... Hell, past and present...
stage photo's...you, the dog and the Hag... It's up to you!

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There's nothing like a REAL original Swedish made Hagstrom (and there are loads around), but if it 'floats your boat', or you can't find an original then who are we to say?

Plenty has been said already and
will be said forever forward probably.
Only you know what's right for you!