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Ultra Vegetable
(This is not one of the UK collection*)

Well we've heard about those Japanese missing links "The Ultra Swede" - well here's one...
...and anyway who'd call a guitar "Ultra" - but then it was 1983...

Kind of suits being shown in grey eh?

This is what finally finished the original story, intended to be a means to continue the Hagström Guitar line in spite of competition from the Far East, if fact it came from Japan itself - just 250 were listed and few see the light of day. So why the mixed story?

They are rarely seen. I don't suppose they buried them or anything**, but how many stood the test of time let alone the test of playing seriously? I have it on good authority that they are just as heavy as their predecessors, maybe more "just to make a point" (!), but most of all this rendition does not come up to speed at all. Lets delve further, as the intention was probably well meant... by someone!

It is believed to have been facilitated by the Canadian distributor at the time. Sure the Japanese company wanted to buy into the  Hagstrom brand name - that was the first mistake.  Karl Erik Hagström Senior never wanted to see Hagstrom used as someone else's brand. Hagström was a living institution in Sweden - quite literally part of the education system for example, and other aspects of Hagström were still in business anyway. Respect and pride lies under the cool exterior of the good Swedish people, and despite the respectful offer, it wasn't worth damaging the reputation of the company.

This model did have a zero fret, there was even a coil tapping switch (although pretty cheap by the looks), the distinctive sharp lower horn of the SuperSwede was there too, but then there was the introduction of the "Dual Rocker". No this wasn't the guy who played it... it just worked against anyone who tried! Despite marrying it up with an garish  locking nut system, this baby just wailed it's way out of tune far too easily.

 

 

Add some very average Gotoh machines with oversized ferrules that covered the headstock binding, and somehow it got the name ULTRA!


Getting a close up on this little lot should have told you something, but I suppose when you'd experienced the predecessor SuperSwede you'd simply expect a bit more without checking too hard...

That "Dual Rocker" just didn't look the part on a Hagstrom - far too "close but not nearly" Floyd Rose, the name "Ultra" just oozed Japanese of the time, and just look at that locking nut, they'd have Fender selector switches on them next!

The Swedish attention to detail had been lost. This shape was there but the subtle identity and designs were lost.
Even the dials were bland, and that switch might have been left over from a cheap disco console assembly...
almost a waste of good wood and binding eh?

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No wonder Mr Karl Erik Hagström senior said "No thanks". It wasn't a
real Hagström Guitar after all. He'd rather close the company than go down this route.

So what's all the fuss about then?

It's rare,

It's the missing link between then and now,

so if you collect...

OK, so let's be kind now, it still looks quite good really...

Lets just hope it never gets resurrected!

Heh Heh Heh as Rob would say!

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Before you go...
Something else that didn't make it to a production line!

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Read the story of Hagstrom

(* These photos above were kindly donated by Graham the original webmaster at AM&S/Jam The USA&Canada license holders for
the then anticipated range of guitars sanctioned by Karl Erik Hagström Junior.)

** Hagstrom did
bury perfectly good finished quality accordions to balance out production and demand
and to stop price dumping when the tide turned away from the mainstay of the original business,
and to protect the quality craftsmen resource employed by the company.
The area is now a concreted-over parking lot at a Swedish Supermarket !!!
Imagine the look on the archaeologist's face in a 1000 years!
(I can't imagine that kind of care for the workforce happening these days either!)
 

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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!