Price paid: $ 549
Purchased from: Online shop
Features — 8
Honestly I don't know when it was made. I believe it was about 2005. When it comes to features I'd say it's standard LP guitar, nothing to write home about. It has 22 standard frets, rosewood fretboard, mahogany set-in neck, mahogany top, Hagstrom's Tune-O-Matic bridge, passive Hagstrom's custom pickups and Hagstrom's own tuners. It's pretty standard set of features, but I don't know what else could I need in this guitar.
As I'm obliged to write at least 500 characters here's feature list from website:
- Body: Mahogany Body with Mahogany Top
- Neck: Mahogany, set
- Fingerboard: Resinator Fretboard with Hagstrom Pearloid Block Position Marks
- Fretboard Radius: 15
- Trussrod: H-Expander
- Tuning Keys: Hagstrom 18:1 Die Cast
- Scale Length: 24,75" / 628 mm / Graph Tech Black Tusq XL 43mm nut
- Pickups: 2 x Hagstrom Custom 58
- Pickup Selector: 3-Way Toggle 3-Way Toggle Switch
- Bridge: Long Travel Tune-O-Matic w/ Hagstrom Stop Tail
- Controls: 2 x Volume 2 x Tone 3-Way Sound Filter Toggle switch (Hi-Mid Cut/ Center Bypass / Hi Cut)
- String Gauge (Factory): D'Addario EXP110 (10-46)
- Hagstrom Case: C-51 (Optional)
- Hag-Bag: E-20 (Optional)
Sound — 9
Ok, now most important thing. This guitar sounds... FAT. It's the only way I can describe it. Forget about playing RHCP or other funk. It's not Fender glass for sure. It sounds of course more like Gibson but also not exactly, it has much more bass and much cleaner sound. I play mostly hard rock, I'm not any kind of shredder but I know pretty much about guitars. I found that this guitar doesn't suit my playing style at all. Why? I love RATM, NIN, Limp Bizkit (:P), for each band I'd have to buy specific guitars to get their sound (Telecaster, some Schecter and some black guitar with EMGs). What I mean is, guitar that suits every style simply doesn't exist in nature, but what I was able to achieve with Swede left me very satisfied. I was able to play my favourite bands without feeling that it sounds bad. I hope You get what I'm saying :)
I found that Swede nails sound from bands like: Foo Fighters, Nirvana, Soundgarden, Nickelback (check "Where Do I Hide" from them - lot of gain, fat sound, just what Swede likes most), AC/DC, Slash's work. It's great for more fuzzy tones like ones that Black Keys and White Stripes/Jack White use. Also it's perfect for blues, but I wouldn't buy it if I was jazz player - too thick sound. As You can see, Swede feels most comfortable in hard rock genre and I believe it was meant to be played in this style. You can try to play RHCP, but you'll have cut down on bass on your amp. Cleans are pretty solid, but again - thick. It's not Fender, but distortion is top shelf on this one. If your favourite guitarists use Gibson, this is best alternative in nice price range.
And surprisingly it sounds decent unplugged, I know it's not important in electric, but You can play and feel like having acoustic for a while. And I used it with Fender Mustang II, some Line 6, Marshall and Peavey, I believe only Marshall was tube amp but I don't know their names as they were not mine when I played at some small gigs.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
When I received it, fret buzzing was disturbing my neighbours, after I corrected the neck it has been playing like a dream. Also, I had to correct jack output, because screw wasn't properly screwed. No other flaws I found.
Overall action, fit and finish were admirable, amazing, astonishing, awesome, brilliant, cool, enjoyable, excellent, fabulous, fantastic, fine, incredible, magnificent, marvelous, outstanding, phenomenal, pleasant, pleasing, remarkable, sensational, strange, superb, surprising, terrific, tremendous, wondrous, astounding, awe-inspiring.
Reliability & Durability — 10
This is one hell of a sturdy guitar, I played 3 concerts with it and it never let me down. I have hit in the wall with it's head few times and it doesn't have any scratches. The body also is still in mint condition. You only have to clean it from dust, because on black, elegant finish, it doesn't look really good.
Overall Impression — 8
I play for 2.5 years now, but I had contact with guitars much earlier, anyway, overall I like that guitar very much, it is not my dream machine, but that's because I'm not Les Paul type of guy and I hate upper fret access on them. I guess most people don't go over 17th fret but there were situations that I wanted to go on 24th fret and it wasn't there and reaching 22th is pretty hard. I love possibility to change each pickup volume as I can get killswitch without breaking my guitar, it should be on more instruments, it's nice if you play RATM.
If it was stolen I wouldn't buy a new one, in fact I'm just selling it, to buy some Superstrat or Telecaster, but again it's not because this guitar is bad - it's just not my type, but I really enjoyed every second I had it in my hands, despite that it's heavy as hell, but also gorgeously beautiful. If I could afford it, I would keep it just to look at it every time I sit in my room.