Viking Deluxe Baritone
jasonSG, on august 01, 2013 2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Price paid: $ 600
Purchased from: Music Farm (ebay store)
Features: I purchased my Hagstrom Viking Baritone in March 2013 I can only assume it was either made early this year or in 2012, and it was made in China. The Viking Baritone comes tuned to standard B which is the normal tuning for this particular guitar. This is achieved by having a longer scale than normal guitars and by using much thicker strings. Yes while it is possible to tune a normal guitar from standard E down to standard B tuning it takes quite a bit of work however and depending on the quality of the guitar you may never get it hold quite right. Having a Baritone the just waiting for you is convenient and was great excuse to justify buying another guitar to my wife. The Viking Baritone has 28inch scale set neck, has 22 jumbo (I believe) frets, the neck it rather thick being a Baritone guitar but it is surprisingly comfortable to play the fretboard itself is made from Hagstroms own resonator "wood" which is a composite material which represents ebony. However DO NOT try and clean it with a weak alcohol solution or normal fretboard cleaner or it will strip the colour out of.
The guitar itself is made from semi hollowed contoured ply flamed maple the neck is Canadian hard maple and has block pearl inlays down the neck. This is all finished I a beautiful high gloss. The strings it comes with are light Baritone string which I have decided to stay with they are .013, .017, .026, .036, .046 and .062. The guitar itself is a double cut away semi hollowed body electric however it is somewhat larger in the body very similar the bass model. Mine is the tobacco sunburst finish and has all chrome hardware and Hagstroms own brand of machine heads. The bridge is a fixed long travel tunomatic bridge with stop tail piece. It comes with two pick ups a Hagstrom custom 58c humbucker in the bridge position and P-urified P90 humbucker in the neck each with a volume and tone and a 3 way selector. This guitar came with no accessories. // 8
Sound: Before I bought this guitar I looked into several different Baritone guitars. While they are not as available as a standard guitar quite a few manufactures make them. However some companies such as Epiphone and Gibson start and stop manufacture and at the moment neither of these two companies make them. As I researched I found that most not all but most Baritone guitars on the market today are geared solely for metal, while I love metal I wanted something which gave me more variety. As far as I'm concerned I found it with the Viking baritone. I play a variety of music from Slayer, Metallica, The Sword, Zeppelin, Sabbath, Clapton through to classical arrangements for guitar. While not many of these particular artists play anything close to standard B some of there songs sound great in it.
The Sword (which play in standard C) sounds great in standard B and songs like "Sad But True" sound awesome. However yes some songs do not sound great B ramble on by Zeppelin is one such song. Another thing you can do is grab a capo and place it on the first fret now the guitar from there on is in standard C tuning move the capo up again and you have standard C# tuning and so on. While this is not perfect it's a handy and very easy to be able to practice different songs in different tuning all on the one guitar. As for the sound of the guitar itself acoustically it's pretty good has a beautiful low end sound to it. Plugged in you can get just about any sound you want out of it. I have several amps but primarily use a Roland Cube 15XL and have not been disappointed by the sound of this guitar yet. The one complaint I have is that acoustically it is a little whizzy while this is just a small problem and not there at all while plugged it I believe it is worth mentioning. // 8
Action, Fit & Finish: The guitar came with a quality control tester card with all the usual things you would expect on it all with a nice tick in the little boxes. However I was skeptical and plugged it in and started testing the intonation and as I expected it was way out. This is nothing unusual I've never seen a guitar out of the box from any manufacturer set up perfectly Gibson ESP Fender none of them get it 100%. While starting to set things up I noticed a rather extreme bow in the neck pushing the middle frets up and the frets at either end of the neck down. This was easily fixed with a few turns of the truss rod and is something else that can be forgiven seeing as I have no idea of what level of humidity it was exposed to before I received it. While still trying to set it up I noticed the final problem I found with this guitar.
The frets were not level. While the fret work looks pristine which I have to say it is in every aspect other than actually being level. This was very disappointing and was beyond my skill level to fix. After my luthier friend leveled the frets everything was perfect. The guitar setup like a dream and staying in tune better than just about any guitar I've used. The quality of the build of the guitar is perfect and I cannot fault the construction the wiring or the hardware used... Except for the nut and the volume and tone controls while not being terrible they are not as high quality as the rest of the guitar. The finish on the guitar is immaculate however and the creme binding is flawless. However I am still unhappy about the fret leveling issue and believe it is not an issue that should have made it past quality control. // 7
Reliability & Durability: Look despite the initial few problems I had, this guitar is awesome. It's built solid and looks great the chrome hardware on the tobacco sunburst finish I believe always gives a great look to a hollow body electric. I can see this guitar lasting for decades before I would run into any serious problems with it and I strongly believe it would last very well with someone using it to gig with. As for the strap buttons they are extremely solid but I would still invest in strap locks. The finish also appears to be of high quality and after months of playing mine it has not a single blemish. // 9
Overall Impression: In the end I love this guitar it suits what I use it for perfectly and I love the deep sounds you can get out of it. If it was stolen or befell a serious accident I would purchase another one to replace it. I do however wish it came with a case. I live in Australia and it is notoriously hard to find anything Hagstrom here and to import the case it fits in will be rather costly but hey nothings perfect. As for anyone looking for a Baritone all I can say is do your homework look around and don't just get the first one you see because it looks cool there are plenty out there you just have to look a bit harder than normal. For me personally though the Hagstrom Viking Baritone fits my needs perfectly and I would recommend anyone looking at purchasing a Baritone to take a look at it.