HJ600 review by Hagstrom

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  • Sound: 8
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 9
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 9
  • Features: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 8.6 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.8 (17 votes)
Hagstrom: HJ600

Price paid: A$ 900

Purchased from: Guitar World

Sound — 8
I like to play an eclectic mix of music, from heavy rock to 50's rock, country and Jazz style rhythms. I'm currently running it through an old Fender Twin Reverb 70's something, sounds sweet, I like running a little cheap swamp Od1 set to high tone and a little o/d witht the gain mid range. The p/ups are humbuckers, they really warm the tones and it has that traditional hollow resonance of the early Gretsch's you hear in Brian Zetser play.

Overall Impression — 9
This is a great guitar, sexy like a woman, easy to play neck, reliable electronics, 3 way toogle, that really gives a variety of tones. I would have to replace it if it were stolen, it has allowed me to develop my playing style by being so versatile. I have a 90's SG Gibson and I like its neck for access to the top 6-8 frets, the HJ600 frets are harder to access because of where the neck meets the body, your thumb hits a speed-hump, you have to realy roll the wrist to get that access.

Reliability & Durability — 9
Relaible, yes, I replaced the strap buttons with locking ones. If you drop this solid mumma, she might ding badly. Although the tough exterior finish is thick and luxurious, everything seems as it should for a working guitar. I'd also wished I had gone for a model with a Tremar set to it. I really like hte idea of bending with a tremar, but I don't know how the Hagstrom ones compare, although I've heard they are as good as bigsby's but that Bigsby's are crap, so go figure.

Action, Fit & Finish — 9
Action is very low for an archtop, it has a fast neck with playability, and I have ham hocks for hands, so it makes life easy for a big fella. I had it setup at the shop on purchase, so it has had one reservice to get the action lowered a little more and I have no fret buzzes and it has never gone out of tune once since I bought it. I case it, I rack it, I leaveit leaning against the couch, and it never goes out of tune, and I have 2 kids bolting around the building. One flaw, I noticed in the construction was the excess glue inside the body, the supporting posts require sopme glue to place them and the excess was not wiped clean in some, I made sure mine was tidy before I took it from the shop. The whole unit is a dream to play I love it.

Features — 8
Body: Ply Spruce Top, Contoured Ply Flamed Maple Back and Sides Neck: Canadian Hard Maple, set Fingerboard: Resinator Wood with Hagstrom Pearl Block Position Marks Truss Rod: H-Expander Tuning Keys: Hagstrom 18:1 Die Cast Scale Length: 24,75 / 628 mm Pickups: 2 x Hagstrom HJ-50 Pickup Selector: 3-Way Toggle Bridge: Ebony Jimmy Bridge w/ Hagstrom Trapeze Tail Piece, Controls: 2 x Volume / 2 x Tone

17 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I'm not sure who this "Brian Zetser" is but it's awfully convenient he plays a Gretsch just like the legendary Brian Setzer But seriously, Hagstroms are gorgeous guitars, especially their hollow body models.
    sg4ever wrote: So what's the comparison between this and the Viking? I like the look of the double cutaway and neck joint of the Viking. It seems like it would be a little easier to reach the higher registers more comfortably.
    As far as I know the HJ top is spruce and the Viking is maple you nailed the differences there on shape. they have different bridges, the Viking has a tuno-matic and the HJ has an ebony bridge. I've played them both in the shop, and the HJ doesn't produce the attack of tone of the edgier Viking, but I still love my HJ for her warmth. Hope this helps. Plus I still want to get a Viking, but my inner guilty glutton says, "one archtop is enough. Get a Super Swede!" So I'm torn. All this said, I might advise a few tests on the high E string. I have found recently that when I'm running up to a bend about the 5th to 7th fret on my HJ (I don't know if this is because I have a bad technique) but the string leaves the fretboard ever so slightly, I think it's because I may be placing pressure on the string around the previous two frets with my first finger, and it puts the string at a wierd angle for my ring finger to bend? Or it could be fret wear or the nut position is wrong. Just check before you buy, play some fast scales along the High E, bend that baby.
    Isn't this Hagstrom's attempt at the Gibson ES-335? Looks like they did a good job copying it. I think I've heard this guitar on YouTube.
    So what's the comparison between this and the Viking? I like the look of the double cutaway and neck joint of the Viking. It seems like it would be a little easier to reach the higher registers more comfortably.