Hagstrom bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by jock, Jul 12, 2001.

  1. jock


    Jun 7, 2000
    Stockholm, Sweden
  2. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    jock - Hagstroms were one of the makes we would drool over as kids. They were what you bought back then, in the late 60;s, if you couldn't afford a Fender, Gretsch, Gibson, or Hofner, but still wanted a quality instrument.

    Their "big deal" is their neck. It was advertised as the "world's fastest neck." I don't doubt it one bit, even compared to today's instruments. I don't think the bass you are looking at is 34" scale.

    In one of my first bands, our rhythm guitarist bought the 12-string guitar version of the identical bass you are looking at. One of the most popular bassists in town, (the late 1960's) had one of the same model you are looking at. Well built, the switches don't do all that much on either the bass or the 12, and a neck that is incredibly thin. The passive pickups don't compare to today's, higher end, passive pickups, but they're not bad by any means.

    Hagstrom recognized neck warpage was a major problem with import basses, so they went to Saab to come up with a sort of truss rod that would take care of the problem, based on one of their wing designs.

    A word of advice on this model - use light gauge strings on it. Thicker gauge seem to just be too large for the thin neck and the feel is wobbly.

    Hagstrom was hurt by the introduction of Japanese knockoffs and had instruments made in Japan according to their spec's under the Hagstrom name later on. The Japanese company that was making them wanted to buy all the Hagstrom rights/designs and introduce their own models. To Hagstrom/s credit, they saw that these instruments would be inferior and declined the offer rather than disgrace the Hagstrom name.

    I saw several of this same model bass going for $125 about 10 years ago. Since then, they have gone up in price, especially since the Japanese went crazy collecting vintage instruments, and I've seen Hagstroms in mint condition going for up to $400 in the US. Being in Sweden, I would think they would be cheaper.

    If you try it out, please let me know what you thought.
  3. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    It's a shorter scale, about 30".

    If all the parts are original in the US it would go for $250-400.
  4. agyeman

    agyeman Member

    Mar 6, 2001
    Thats a very nice looking bass!
  5. DaveB


    Mar 29, 2000
    Toronto Ontario
    I had a late '60's Hagstrom "Swede" for quite a few years. It mostly sat in the basement. But it was kind of fun to pull out once in awhile. The neck was very quick but I never liked the small scale. It was like playing a guitar. It sounded OK but not great.

    Your picture is not a "Swede" but a lower end model.
  6. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    For a period in the 70's my main and only bass was a Swede. Very heavy, very much like a Les Paul Bass, which I could never find at the "right" time.
  7. Thornton Davis

    Thornton Davis Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 1999
    This is a Hagstrom-IIB. Made from 1965 through to 1969. The scale of it is medium (31.5") length. D'Addarrio Medium gauge EXL-170M bass strings sound great on these basses.
    In North America as in many parts of the world the Hagstrom importers would change the factorys model name and market the imports under their own name or model. In the US these were marketed as F-400.
    This particular bass appears to be in close to mint condition and I would think that it would sell for between $300-$400.00 dollars if it is mint and has its original softshell case with it.
    All Hagstrom basses featured their ultra fast playing neck which make them very comfortable to play, however the bridges on these instruments were merly a block of wood that was movable to set the intonation on the instrument. This was not rocket science by any means. But the next generation of Hagstrom basses the HIIB-N featured a fully intonatable bridge along with humbucking pickups which were a great step forward and sound great, even today!
    I think that the vintage world is starting to wake up to these underdogs from Sweden. No the early models were not Gibsons or Fenders, just wannabees. They have, and still do have their place in the guitar market. Hagstrom guitar and bass designs of the 70's and early 80's were equal to any other manufacturer at the time IMHO. Viking I-N's, Swede's were and still are excellent instruments, there's no need to be ashamed if you own a Hagstom. You might even consider buying one or two while the prices of them are still relativily low if you can find a nice clean one that hasn't been abused.
    PS - Even though all production ceased in 1983 and Hagstrom closed their doors forever as a manufacturer or guitars and basses the company still does exist today. They just keep a very low profile and are into other things.
  8. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Yeah, the bridges looked like they came out of someone's basement. I think they were a rosewood.

    But, nobody was investing much in bass technology at the time, nor was much known. The "Wild Dog" control position on Baldwins was high-tech to me at the time.
  9. I own a robin egg blue F400, The only thing I don't like is the bridge. I'm thinking of spending $75 for my local luthier to create a permanent one.

    This is a funky bass with a pretty good variety of tones. The one you posted looks mint.

    I paid $350 for mine this past April.

    They are indeed lovely.
  10. nanook


    Feb 9, 2000
    Most hollow body basses are 30" scale but there are a few longer ones around.

    Good ones sound every bit as good as a good 35" solid body bass.
  11. Thornton Davis

    Thornton Davis Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 1999
    The only Semi-Acoustic hollow body bass that Hagstrom ever made was called the Concord. It's scale is 30.5" It's interesting that even though the scale of the Concord is the same as a Hofner 500/1 the Concord has a very different sound than that of the Hofner. The Hofner tends to have the thumpy sound (the Gibson EB and EB-2 with the single neck mounted humbucker pick-up, now there's serious thump) where the Concord has a very solid brighter sound to it.
    Both basses use single coil passive pick-ups and basic electronics. Only the bodies are substantially different, and i'm sure this must have a impact on the sound produced by each one. If you love or like the playability of the Hofner, I suggest you try a Concord if you can find one, as they are so comfortable and easy to play and sound great.
    I own both of these basses (from the 60's), and both have the appropriate roundwound strings on them, this is what my comments and observations are based upon.

    PS - I will post a picture of my Hagstrom Concord and Hofner 500/1 together for all that are interested to see shortly on this thread.
  12. steinbergerxp2

    steinbergerxp2 Guest

    Jul 11, 2001
    The first bass I ever owned was one of these (mine was red). The slide switches were noisy and the neck wasn't very sturdy (kind of felt like a modern Ibanez). I agree the bridge was junk; I ended up making an arched one out of wood and tried a bow on it once.

    It's a piece of history, but like my Ampeg Fliptop, I sold mine for something that worked better and never looked back.
  13. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    That's right an interesting curiosity but I woudn't want to play one!

    Actually the one in the original post looks like a copy of one of the Burns basses I've seen; Burns have just re-issued their Bison and this was truly an awesome bass with huge bottom end, but this was long scale.

    The Bass Centre in London had a lot of Burns basses last time I was in.

    Try this link :

  14. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    This is what the original Burns Bison looked like :


    The bass player in Tindersticks uses one of these and gets an awesome sound!!
  15. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    That was the bass I was referring to when I made the comment about the Wild Dog tone/pickup control position.

    The one I used to stare at every time I went to lessons carried the Baldwin name on the headstock with some tiny plexiglass piece and the pickup covers which looked like rubber had "Burns of London" imprinted on them.

    Evidently, a timeless design, to many of us.
  16. hujo


    Apr 18, 2001
    Stockholm, Sweden
    hey, this is really interesting.. i live in the same town as hagström himself did, I even know some of his ancestors... they used to own a music store called Hagströms, it has changed it name since then though...

    The band Ekseption (if anyone remembers them) once came here, but the bassist broke his bass - a burns, as shown earlier in the thread, and bought a hagstrom for the gig here. there's a nice picture of him playing it down at the store... man, i can feel the vibes of history here, cool!
  17. dawgawd


    Mar 23, 2000
    My friend has a hagstrom, he got it used from somebody who got it used from somebody else who won it in a pokergame sometime in the early 80's. We have been trying to find information on it, but we have been unable to place what model HIS is. It's got a sunburst paint job on it, and it's not too dissimilar from the one in the picture, with a few differences. The pick guard I believe was shaped different. It didn't have those four white things (whatever those are) near the knob... and it had 2 knobs. The weird thing about his bass that sets it apart from any other i've seen was the pickup, which was really fat and closely resembled some sort of electric razor. It sounded like crud when I played it, but I attribute this to the 20 year old flatwound strings that were on it. A little work and I bet it would be nice.
  18. Thornton Davis

    Thornton Davis Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 1999
    dawgawd - Ask your friend with the Hagstrom bass to give you the serial number off the back steel plate located at the neck/body joint. Then email me the number and I will tell you what the model of the bass is, it's date of manufacture and how many were made of that model.
    Then you guys will know exactly what it is, and the mystery will be solved!
  19. dawgawd


    Mar 23, 2000
    if I see him in the near future, I'll try to get said information from him. His is in pretty good condition considering, but you can tell it's got some age on it. It's missing the little... you know, thingamabob... the thing on the headstock that holds the strings down, damnit, what are those called again? sorry, it's too early for me to be attempting to talk. String tree? is that a word? anywho, whatever it is, it's gone. Also, the pickguard looks as though it's seen better days. One of the cool things about it is that it seems to be pretty small, which makes everything easy to get to. He nicknamed it the "hogtied" bass. Perhaps I can eventually get a picture of it. By that time, I expect this thread will be long dead, I'll just start a new one if i feel like it.