Price paid: $ 199
Purchased from: MusiciansFriend.com
Sound — 8
I play a wide range of music, but mostly what I use my acoustic guitar for is outlaw country, some acoustic rock fingerstyle songs, and as a tool when songwriting. This specific model is purely acoustic and not acoustic-electric. I went with this option because I didn't want to be paying for electronics when I don't ever plug my acoustic in. Hagstrom does offer several Acoustic-Electric models in the Siljan series this guitar came from. The sound is slightly warmer and more mid-y than the acoustics I used to use, which is a cheap Takamine Jasmine (still a great instrument) and an Ibanez Talman. The projection is great for the size of this instrument. Really, being a dreadnought with a mahogany body and neck with a spruce top and decent medium sized strings on it, it just sounds like a dreadnought. It sustains well and sounds warm and dark, is the best way I can describe it's individual characteristics.
Overall Impression — 7
As I stated earlier in the review, I play mainly electric guitar and when I use acoustic it is usually for outlaw country, classic rock fingerstyle, and as a songwriting tool. I've ended up spending a lot of time with this Hagstrom since I purchased it, however, and I've been really impressed with it. If this guitar was lost or stolen, I might buy the same model again, but I would definitely go with the natural finish. I love the fact that this guitar sounds really decent but it cost little enough that I'm not super worried about it so I can lay it around the house and pick it up and play and lay it back down when I finish instead of feeling like I need to be careful and put it back in its case when I finish with it. I love the fact that the action is really seriously low for an acoustic with no buzz. I hate about it the same thing I hate about all acoustics they are uncomfortable to play because of the depth of the body, and they are awkward to strap because you have to strap them at the headstock. The only other thing I hate is how easy the black finish (that I picked out) picks up fingerprints. Overall, I'm happy with my purchase and would recommend this guitar to people who are beginners to intermediate, or those who need a beater acoustic laying around.
Reliability & Durability — 7
This guitar is well made, and should last a long time. Of course, I don't have any plans to gig with this specific model seeing as it is completely acoustic unless something drastic changes and I decide to carry my solo Folk songwriter act to the coffee shop circuit. Don't hold your breath. Really, the instrument is put together really well, and I expect it will prove itself to be very dependable. As it is the neck is straight as an arrow and the tuning is super stable I check the tuning every time I pick it up, and it is proving it can hold tune. The finish looks like it will last. If I did decide to gig with this acoustic, then I would trust it to perform and wouldn't really worry about a back up (just a back up set of strings). I've really been surprised by this instrument because my acoustic guitar to me has always been more of an afterthought as I play mainly and almost exclusively electric guitar. It was just a stroke of luck that I encountered and chose this Hagstrom Siljan.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
Okay, I have to really brag on this guitar in this area we are talking about how a guitar I purchased new for under 200 bucks arrived set up. To start with, out of the box the guitar was mostly in tune just slightly flat. The action was really good out of the box and didn't take any set up. The finish I went with was the black, and it was immaculate. If I had thought about it then I would have went with the natural finish, but at the time I wasn't thinking about how easy black gloss picks up fingerprints. Because the action is so low it is easier to play faster and to get good sustain on hammer ons and trills. My only gripe in this area isn't with the guitar itself, but with dreadnought's in general. The depth of the body of dreadnoughts and most other acoustic guitars is just too deep and I just can't get over it. I know that you lose tone and projection with less depth but it doesn't change the fact that most acoustics are at least a little bit of a pain to play.
Features — 7
This guitar was made in 2012 in China what did you expect for under 200 bucks? The body is made from mahogany and the front is made from solid sitka spruce. The neck is mahogany with a dove tail set neck, a trademarked material that Hagstrom calls "Resinator" makes up the fretboard, and it looks and feels a little bit like ebony. The "Resinator" material is the same stuff used for the fretboards on their Viking and Swede models. The inlays are abalone and pearl and are shoped like little elongated capsules. The tuners are Hagstrom tuners with their unique tuning key shape. There are 20 frets with a 12" neck radius. As you may have gathered from the name, the guitar has the iconic dreadnought shape. The neck is fairly thin for an acoustic guitar, and feels pretty comfortable. The nut is a NuBone nut made by Graphtech and the saddle is made from the same material. The strings are either D'Addario or DR to be honest I don't remember but they sound great and stay in tune so no complaints. The only accessories included was an allen wrench for the truss rod in a little pouch inside the packaging. Although I paid $199 for this guitar, the MSRP is listed as over $500 and a musician friend of mine told me he thinks this same model used to be priced at $399 I'm not sure because I never saw this price myself, but maybe I lucked out and just caught them when the price had been reduced.