Ultra Swede review by Hagstrom

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  • Sound: 10
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 9
  • Features: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 9.8 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.9 (116 votes)
Hagstrom: Ultra Swede

Price paid: € 385

Purchased from: Musik Kraus Buchbach

Sound — 10
As I was going to the music shop back in the time, I didn't want to buy any guitar, but I was playing this one and... GREAT! I'm playing a big variety of styles, and it fits very well. I'm playing nearly everything: country, blues(rock), classic rock, hard rock, heavy metal, black metal, sometimes jazz and many more. I play several amps, a Kustom 100W with a Marshall 1960A (distortion: DigiTech TL2; some other effects) cab and a Hughes & Kettner 25th Anniversary Edition Tube. The Hagstrom has a Les Paul style of sound, but the basswood body and maple neck give it a bit more of freshness, it's a really versatile guitar, with coil tap you can go to a Fender-style sound, with a bit of overdrive and a delay it sounds like SRV. The pickups are not buzzing or squealing. It's a really versatile guitar, more versatile than my coil-tapped Seymour Duncan equipped Gibson Explorer.

Overall Impression — 10
The guitar fits nearly every style of music, it is really versatile because of the coil-tap function. I'm playing the guitar since nearly 10 years, I also have a 2006 Gibson Explorer which is completely customized, a Martin DX1R with a Fishman Natural II piezo installed by a luthier and a 2002 Hfner classical guitar. Not to forget: an Ibanez GRG with a Floyd Rose and 2x EMG 81. I would buy the guitar again without thinking about it! I love the great looking finish and the extraordinary Hagstrom headstock and Hagstrom machine heads, just the whole Hagstrom design, because they do not just copy, they have their own style. Actually I wanted a Gibson Les Paul next to my Gibson Explorer, but I played two Les Paul Standards last year and I was disappointed, the myth Les Paul is just a guitar: expensive and it's playability wasn't that nice. I think Gibson have too big tolerances in their production, some years ago I played the Les Paul Custom of a friend, it was great. Hagstrom >>>>>>> Epiphone... The playability of the Hagstrom is just like butter, I love this guitar and play it even more than my 1.700 EUR worth Explorer. I sat in that shop and wanted to test some EQ-pedals and took this guitar. The pedals were uninteresting, I was just playing and playing and than I bought the guitar and forgot the EQ. A true lovestory.

Reliability & Durability — 10
I had some live gigs with the guitar and it works perfectly. The hardware is great, the tuning is staying, it's a real working horse, not as bitchy as some Floyd Rose guitars I played. I changed the strap buttons to Schaller security locks, but there is always the same problem: the screws. I made a mush of wood glue and sawdust and darned it into the holes of the strap buttons, after 3 days I put the screws back in it and now the Security Locks are bomb proof. The finish seems like it doesn't wear off that fast, but I can not say it exactly now, because I own the guitar since March '10. Seems to be a PU-finish or something like that.

Action, Fit & Finish — 9
I bought the guitar in a small music store near my hometown, in a village in Upper Franconia - the Boss of the store just buys good and flawless guitars. The setup was great, it was checked by the German importer of Hagstrom - perfect height of the pickups and strings, exactly cut nut etc. (As I bought my Gibson 4 years ago, the setup was horrible: extremely high strings, you could play bottleneck with it, the bridge saddles were not right, so the octaves were not right etc... Gibson oh Gibson...) The only thing is after a half year, that the volume pot is a bit rough running half way, but it's not that bad.

Features — 10
In March 2010 I bought this beautiful guitar. It's made 2009 in China I think. It is a LP-style guitar that has a 2-piece basswood body with a flame maple cap and a set-in 24,75" mapleneck with the typical Hagstrom resonator fingerboard, which looks a bit like ebony. The neck is not as fat as some older Gibson ones and not so thin as Ibanez necks, it's just somewhere inbetween, the inlays are made of Abalone. The top has the typical Les Paul shaping and a wonderful finish, it's called "Golden Eagle", it looks a bit like the Gibson "Root Beer" finish. The machine heads are working perfectly (15:1), there's no need to Switch to some Grover, Gotoh or whatever. The keys of the machine heads are in the typical ART Dco Hagstrom style, very unique and great looking. It's got nice bindings around the body, neck and headstock. The trussrod is the Trademark Hagstrom H-Expander, it's got the shape of an H. It has a Tune-O-Matic with the Hagstrom-tailpiece, which has 6 solid brass string blocks and a big chrome cover, reminds me of Rickenbacker basses. The Hagstrom Ultra Swede is equipped with 2 Humbuckers, the Hagstrom 58 or 62 model, I don't know which ones exactly, but they sound vers nice, can be coil tapped with a mini toggle and we have a tone + a volume pot.

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