Swede SE P-90 review by Hagstrom

logo Ultimate Guitar
  • Sound: 8
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reliability & Durability: 8
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 9
  • Features: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 8.2 Superb
  • Users' score: 8 (4 votes)
Hagstrom: Swede SE P-90

Price paid: $ 585

Purchased from: ebay vendor

Sound — 8
The pups are a little noisy (single coil) compared to various Gibson and Seymour Duncan humbuckers, but well balanced between neck and bridge played through a Line 6 Alchemist and a Fender Hod Rod Deville. Not too warm, not too bright. The 'spicing' of the P90's is for real... As it has plenty of growl when amp is overdriven. Very nice sound. I like the fact that I can get single-coil sound and near-humbucker crunch in a single guitar. I also enjoy the clarity of the neck pickup... Not too warm (like 490R's on an SG).

Overall Impression — 8
I play rock, blues and some 70/80's progressive (e.g., Pink Floyd, Rush). I've been playing off/on for 40 years but still a hobbyist (with too many guitars). It's not a Lexus or Mercedes-like guitar (Gibson, PRS)... But it's equivalent to a Honda in terms of very good quality and value. I bought it new and sight unseen (as a lefty, my selection of guitars is limited, thank God for eBay). No case. I have 25 more days to decide whether or not to keep it... I plan to. It's a beautiful addition to my small herd. If lost or stolen, I'd definitely replace it.

YouTube preview picture

Reliability & Durability — 8
I don't gig but my son does so I'm familiar with the wear and tear involved. The selector switch does not appear to be as hearty as what I see on higher-end guitars. It's a new guitar... So reliability/durability is a big TBD. It does seem to be very solidly built guitar consistent with Hagstrom's reputation. As for needing a backup - you should always have a backup! I replaced strap buttons with Schallers. The holes were large and very deep. I had to use toothpicks and glue to install smaller/thinner Schaller screws.

Action, Fit & Finish — 9
I lowered the bridge, tweaked the truss and it plays great... Fast. There are a few tiny undiscernable imperfections where the neck meets the body between fretboard and neck pickup (something you'd never see on a Gibson)... But it's not noticeable. Overall quality is very good, binding and all. Neck frets are smooth with binding near flawless as well. The 'resinator' fret board is smooth, hard and appears to add clarity between strings (I also have a Viking with similar tonal qualities). The tobacco-sunburst flaming is comparable to that of my "plus" topped Gibson LP Traditional. Gorgeous. It's weight is similar to an SG Standard... Light. But I'm told mine was a limited run which may have been 'weight relieved'. I'd ask before you buy.

Features — 8
This is a 2010 Swede SE with P90's (spiced) for extra punch made in China. It has a 24.75 inch scale length with 22 frets on a set neck. A mahogany body and flamed top on a single-cut body style. Tune-o-matic bridge with an interesting covered tail piece. 3-way selector switch (on bottom, not on top like LPs), two volume and two tone pots controlling two P90s that are overwound for added punch. Tuners are Hagstrom diecast with 18:1 ratio. The neck is very thin made possible by a proprietary 'H-expander' truss rod. The fingerboard is a wood-resin composite similar to Corian. The tusq nut is a nice tough to reduce string binding/catching. The pots are not particularly good... On/off for the most part.

1 comment sorted by best / new / date