Real Oldies! HAGSTROM ACOUSTICS
I have decided to keep them all together on one page, as I am now getting a few turn up from visitors. Many pre-date the association with Bjarton. In February 2004, I was advised on 'a very good authority' that Hagström's first guitars sold in their retail stores were sourced from Norway. This was also to ease the import / export restrictions that arose after World War Two. These were very different to the quality they went on to distribute once the transition into guitars became the main focus for the company. With the production still concentrating on Accordions, the mainstay of the business. (Owners send your pictures please). Indeed accordion manufacturing spread around the world to ease the export situation too, with the ill-fated Hagstrom factory at Jamestown New York, and the Darlington England factory which operated well into the late forties. The old Darlington company has many secrets still, but one point of interest is that it was here that the famous guitar lacquering technique was formulated and recorded by Nils E Larsson, who came back to Sweden with his English bride, and went on to spray or supervise virtually every guitar produced by Hagström. His formulae remained a close secret until the books were shown to me in 2005 by Karl Erik Hagström senior.
Meanwhile the demand for guitars was still young, It wasn't until Hagström responded to the growth of interest in guitars, and the slowing of accordion demand that other manufacturers such as Bjärton in Sweden became heavily involved in acoustic production. Karl Erik sr approached Bjärton - a small Swedish classical instrument maker - and convinced them this was the way to go.
We know (from Anders Karlsson below) that the musical interests of the Hagström company extended into schools, and this is a dual benefit, as students become familiar with the brand of Hagström, as well as the life long interest it may provide for the students themselves.
Anyone care to comment? Anyone's grand-parents have any more info (PLEASE?)
We could broaden the subject matter on this page to anything from the fifties backwards... then maybe split that out too if we get enough subject matter! So, surprise me with what you can find with a Hagström Musical connection, and send me the details!
Then in November 2004 Asgaut Steinnes from
Norway passed me this info...
From an essay on /AB Albin Hagstrøm/ by Magnus Nilsson, student at School of Music and Music Education, Göteborg University (2000) I have learned this about the Norwegian Hagstrøm history:
The first Hagstrøm shop outside Swedish Alvdalen was established in Oslo in 1928. A/S A. Hagstrøm imported and had exclusive rights to sell Hagstrøm products in Norway. Due to import-prohibition after the Second World War there were no musical instruments to get hold of. So in 1946 A/S A. Hagstrøm started to make acoustic guitars.
The guitar-factory in Oslo had about 35 employees, and produced about 15.000 guitars. Magnus Nilsson has not documented when this production ended.
(Many thanks to Asgaut for this info, it has puzzled a lot of people up to now).
< This example comes from Bill Marriott, who has his own page on this site, and part of it includes this fabulous beauty from the Oslo production...
There are more from this era further down this page, but before we move on here's a (temporary picture) of a Rosita model of this time and from this same production facility in Oslo. It was retrieved from a landfill site in Norway! It sports a higher spec neck and a shaped headstock. (New picture awaited):
Hello, my name is Anders Nilsen, and I live in Drammen, Norway. I am a happy owner of a very old Hagstrom guitar. I actually haven't seen any other Hagstrom that is similar to the one I own. The picture I attached is not a very good one, so I will take some better pictures in the not too distant future. (I'll try to explain as thoroughly as I can concerning the smaller attributes of this guitar.)
Unfortunately it's history is rather short, since I got it from my uncle who works at landfill about 4 years ago. He actually found it there, I am sorry to say. Where this guitar has been before it came to me, (or even better, who has this guitar been played by?) is an impossible question. But I certainly remember all the good times I've had with, before becoming aware of the fact that it's an antique that should be treated carefully.
Now, on the the guitar's appearance and soul: It looks very much like Bill Marriott's H15, except for the headstock, bridge, other small details and the actual colour of the the guitar. As you can see on the picture, mine has a asymmetrical cut that looks like the kind you would find on Rickenbacker guitars. The serial number 53707 is stamped on the top. It also has a label which says "Rosita". The tuners are not exceptionally functional, the G-tuner is bent and is hardly working at all, so I recently changed the old ones to some relatively new tuners I got from an Epiphone Les Paul, keeping the old set, of course. I can send pictures of them too, they are pretty unusual tuners for a steel stringed acoustic.
As we go down to the neck, which unfortunately has had its binding beat off, we see the inlays, which are layed horizontally. I'm not sure of the material, I'm guessing mother of pearl, but they are in contrast to Bill Marriott's, which has dots. The frets are made of brass, and the neck meets the at the 12th fret. The neck has no truss rod, by the way. The body itself has signs of heavy use, and the years have not been kind to it. There are some dents and scratches. The colour resembles Marriott's, except that mine is more brown than black, and the burst is brighter than Marriott's. The coat laquer (correct term?) has started to crack like an old Leonardo da Vinci paiting. It also has the typical cream binding around the edges. The bridge also differs, and I also think the body itself is somewhat smaller than Marriott's. But it is remarkably heavy for such a small guitar.
Inside of the body, there is a sticker, identical to Marriott's. It says: "Hagstrom Oslo Gitar" with the name "Rosita" and the serial number 53707, written with a pencil. Well, that's the features. Playingwise, from a guitarists point of view, it's.....well, original. It has a very striking sound, sometimes it almost sounds like a piano. I love the sound it projects, this hard and chimey "old" sound, especially with brand new strings. The neck has a distinctive V-shape, which I'm not that used to. When it comes to age of the guitar, I'm not too sure, but I'm guessing it's at least 50 years old, judging from the sticker inside the body and the overall feel of the guitar. By the way, do you have the slightest idea how much a guitar like this is worth? Not that I'm planning to sell it, but it's interesting to know. Besides, my mother is a antique lunatic, worshipping very old things. I'm sorry I don't have more pictures, but I will send some as fast as I can get my hands on a digital camera.
Thanks to Anders Nilsen for the mail and info
Rosita, serial number 53460 - slightly older than the one above...
P.S. I use nylon strings on this guitar, as I'm a little afraid it won't stand the tension of heavy steel strings. The nylon strings make the sound, ahem, interesting. The tuning forks should probably be replaced if the guitar is to be put in regular use, as the guitar won't stay in tune for more than 10 minutes...
Hagstrom (Bjarton) Studio, an acoustic used at the Hagstrom Music School in the early 1960's, (courtesy of Anders Karlsson). See the stories page...
??? IS THIS
THE OLDEST SURVIVING BJARTON ACOUSTIC GUITAR ???
Ari from Sweden also shows us his old 'mini model'
Olof from Sweden sent me this extremely coool picture of a Bjarton Jazz acoustic!
I have just bought a guitar that I know little about and I wonder I you could help. It is a Bjarton arch-top (see the picture). Inside the body it is printed "Bjärton musikinstrument Bjärnum Sweden" and than on the same note there is a handwritten number "21820".
On the back of the headstock there's a number marked in the wood "366". As you can see on the picture the bridge is missing...
This is the coolest thing I’ve seen in a few years – and it looks in great condition too. I know I’m biased by these things, but I love it! However I can not give you a precise answer, so I shall give you what info I can… Now, it 'so happens' there is a variation on this model hidden away on this website.
It was converted to take the old hi-fi pickup unit used on the very first Hagström electrics Although the tail piece is different on this, it is the same principle based on the same model, and so the bridge would be appropriate too.
Karl-Erik Hagström told me (this other example) came from 1962 as a prototype when they were deciding on something before the Hagström Viking model. So yours is clearly of the same era. The bridge there looks to be bone over rosewood, and a fixed position. However I can not place it with any other model.
I am pleased Olaf contacted me, as I love this old piece of history. I'm so glad he shared it with us!
Notice also the headstock shape here... then think about the J/H-45 and H33 or BJ12 models - all little signs of things to come, yet this is itself a fabulous looking instrument! An almost James D'Aquisto ('ish) looking body... hmmm...
Hello. I send you a couple of pictures of an real old Hagstrom guitar. It was produced in; A.Hagstrøm Musikkinstrument fabrikk Oslo. It was bought in Oslo, Norway the year 1950. It's a Hagstrøm modell Perfekt with serial number: 16647 The pickup isn't original I guess. I have search on the internet about this modell, but came up with nothing, so I guess it's rare. If anybody knows anything more about it so please send an email to me firstname.lastname@example.org
And the strange thing about this guitar is that when we spoke with a guitar salesman he had the same modell but that was made in Sweden, and he had never heard about this model been made in Norway, so he was rather surprised. You asked about the pickup, and yes everything works but the volume control is replaced, I also have (go see) an old Hagstrøm tube amplifier model:TGF 10 / C serial: 720,70W And this was made in: Telrad, radiofabrikk, barliveien 14, Oslo, Norway. This also works. Best regards from Jan Snedsbøl in Sweden.
The headstock reads "Perfekt". The tail looks familiar, and the bridge similar to the Jimmy jazz model much later, also in 1950 there wouldn't have been such guitar pickups - so definitely some modification as Jan says. How much modification we don't know, and it didn't appear in the 1952 catalogue - so if anyone can tell us more - please do!
Hagström wasn't adverse to using highly coloured finishes. Many of the electrics sported bright colours, and this was part of the heritage from the days of accordion making up to the sixties. However there are some examples of acoustics that received similar treatment [Link] or see the picture on the History page on this site.
From: Dustin Dobbs (Craig)
ED: Dustin has some other glitter too...
The guitar above first featured on my site on the History page
UPDATE JANUARY 2003:
Bill did obtain a scan of the brochure, however the printer used to output the copy was running low on some ink colours, and the very aspect we've all mused over since Craig sent the pictures to me in March 2002, is not clear, but believe me, the original brochure sheet shows it clearly!
This old lady below shows another more traditional early Hagstrom finish. Irrespective of the colour above, this was found in The Isle of Wight (offshore mid south UK.... about 50 miles from where I'm sitting)...
Click on the pictures to see larger versions and more detail.
Hagstrom Logo in Headstock, "A.Hagstrom" and does that say OSLO, on the label? Now how about that... NORWAY??? Does this question the other acoustic theories about the origins of some of the "Espana" guitars too?? (Another story, another time!) I do know Hagstrom had chains of stores throughout Scandinavia at one time. The plot is already thick enough thank you!!!
It certainly looks VERY early (mid fifties?), timing lent to the theory that the "Green Demon" above was a prototype, coming out of the transition from glitter accordions to glitter guitars.
Jon Ivar Kolstad www.kolstad.no/jonivar homepage with morten abel tabs, music & songs < CHECK IT OUT!
ED: Now for the next tale or should I say NECK and TAIL the two previous (above) were peg or through bridge models, yet this one has a tailpiece, and the neck comes to a rounded end almost flush with the sound-hole. (The shame is all these variation records are likely to be lost in the mist of time if it wasn't for the likes of Ivar, and the guys above... (Thanks all, and one day maybe some old records will re-appear)
Asgaut Steinnes from Norway provides some subtle differences on the theme, and some more information passed down the line...
Thank you for this important web site. I collect Norwegian manufactured acoustic guitars (see: www.steinnes.net/gitar ), and I am the lucky owner of this Hagstrøm .
It has a different label than the one from Isle of Wight and the Kolstad-guitar on your site. My Hagstrøm is Model 15, serialnr. 3419....
I also show you the picture of another Hagstrøm . This is not my guitar and the owner tells me that his grandfather told him that this guitar was bought before the war (in 1939?). I don't know if this can be true, but it sure looks old (se the end of the neck near the sound-hole). It has the same label as the IoW and Kolstad-guitar, and it says: Modell 15-34 serialnr: 4134. Feel free to use the pictures on the Hagstrom-site and perhaps you can comment on these two guitars regarded to age and so on. ragards Asgaut Steinnes near Stavanger, Norway
Thanks to Asgaut Steinnes for his pictures and information. Interesting to hear about the pre-war story. Look closely at the neck shape where it comes toward the sound-hole, apart from that it looks very similar to the one from Jon Ivar Kolstad. Above you see similar guitar bodies with three different neck endings! Now there was me thinking nothing much changed for about forty years in guitar design eh?
March 2004 Asgaut returns to show us the trio (yes another example has arrived). There is another point of interest with this example, as it is branded ROSITA - a later model name from Bjarton!
Hello again, I now am the lucky owner of 3 Hagstroms - see pictures. A few
days ago I got hold of the one in the middle. I got it from a flea-market so I
unfortunately don't know anything about it. It has a label like the
Kolstad-guitar on your site, and it is special in the way that the labels is
< Here's the Hagstrom Logo from around 1945.
I understood the long line across the "t" was something
for European markets.
The ( ö ) survived in labels but became ( o ) on logos a long time ago...
From: Jan Ove Juliussen -
Hi! Here's a few pics of my old Hagstrøm. Feel free to post them on your website. Here's what I know about it:
The label inside says "Modell 1606 a/s A. Hagström Musikkinstrument- fabrikk, Oslo, nummer 1406", which means something like "Model 1606. A/S A. Hagstrom musical instrument factory, Serial no. 1406".
Everything on the guitar is made of wood, the bridge, the nut, even the string pins. As you can see from the pics, it's been used a lot, but it plays like a dream, and i still use it.
I hope this helps you in determining the ages of the different guitars.
Judging from the model numbers, the second Steinnes guitar is probably older than this one, that is, pre 1945.
Jan Oscar Juliussen
Thanks Jan, I'm always really interested in clues to the story of Hagstrom from any angle... thanks for taking the time to send the pictures and info!
Then Gerben Wedekind picks one up for 'next to nothing' in The Netherlands (April 2004).
Hello, today ive bought an acoustic hagstrom ( for 30 euro's so i guess quite a steal!) but I havent got a clue which type it is and in which year its build. My hagstrom seems to have all the characteristics that the hagstroms on you 'real oldie' page have. can you help me out to solve the identity problem? Thanks in regard!
Looks like a model 15 to me, but then even I spend all my time guessing what's around the corner, and without a label it's even more difficult to get a rough date even!
True, these are not professional or expensive models, but to find something in such bright and clean condition that may well be well over 50 years old is a great piece of history - for absolutely nothing in investment!
Sure if you're not into the story, then there's not so much to get excited about, but thankfully there are people around who enjoy taking part in the project, so many thanks to Gerben for the information and pictures!
I have received many graphic accounts of these great old guitars in the last couple of years. Nothing is more appealing than to put a story behind a particular instrument, especially if it comes from a personal or family account. I would like to share with you one such account from Bob who comes from Norway, his memories of his grandfather...
From: BJONASSEN Sent: Sunday, August 22, 2004 6:00 PM
...As for your question. These models were indeed strung with steel strings. They were not meant to be classical music models, more the parlour guitar which led to the rise of blues, then early rock and roll. Similar models were often student guitars supplied into the education system when Hagström developed this side of their business. It was both a benefit to the education system, and of course the future business for Hagström! Many of these have been strung with nylon to ease the tension on the neck and body after all these years, and that may be no bad thing… although not correct as far as I know.
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Plenty has been said already and