Price paid: € 354
Purchased from: www.thomann.de
Sound — 8
I play mostly blues and rock guitar. I use a Crate modelling amp. I own a Fender classic players 60s Stratocaster which comes with Custom Shop '69 singlecoil pickups. Obviously the pickups on Hagstrom don't sound as sweet tonally as these pickups. I somehow prefer the tone of a single coil compared to a humbucker. However, with a bit of fiddling around with the amp settings, I could achieve a tone that I would say was "somewhat similar" with coil tap. But definitely, its not a real Fender sound. So if you expect to get Fender and Les Paul in the same guitar, well, not really. Ultra Swede has loads of sustain. Great humbucker sound when you have some distortion thrown in. In clean sound, the humbuckers sound a bit bassy. But like I said, easily fixed with the amp settings. I used to own a Hamer SATF guitar some time back and this guitar sounds much better than the Hamer for sure which was in the same price range as the Hagstrom. A little quirk is that the pickup selector switch is a little (tiny bit) noisy. You can hear the change of pickups. Overall I would say, the guitar sounds good and I didn't feel disappointed at all. They have some good sound to offer and you can nail pretty much all the 70's and 80's blues and rock and todays heavy metal type of sounds.
Overall Impression — 8
Blues and rock. This guitar certainly suits this type of music very well. I have been playing for about 3 to 4 years now. I own a Fender CP 60s Strat and used to own Hamer SATF. If stolen I would be quite sad and buy the same one again but may be in the Absolute Vodka finish. I love love love the finish. It looks gorgeous! I don't really hate anything but just a little quirk with pickup selector being a tiny bit noisy when you switch pickups. My favourite feature in this guitar is definitely the coil tap. That really makes the guitar quite versatile. But of course don't think you will get a Fender Strat and a Les Paul in 1 guitar. I wanted to get the Super Swede but they are quite close in price to a Gibson Les Paul Studio faded. And they are heavy! This guitar is light, has a nice contour body and costs half the price of a Gibson Studio and just a little over half the price of the super swede. But I can say that ignoring the price equation, this guitar is still a good guitar to consider anyways. I am super happy with my buy!
Reliability & Durability — 8
The hardware seems like good quality ones. Strap button is solid. I am sure it will withstand live playing quite well. I would totally depend on this guitar without a backup. Although if a string breaks I will be screwed. Finish looks good but I have not thrown the guitar on the floor to see if it chips... Hehe. But I guess all scars on the guitar are like a badge of honour! More real beating on the guitar more is the real mojo!
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
This is where the guitar is absolutely fantastic! It looks stunning! Forget about the comments that say "for the price they look good". I think they look good for any price! The finish is great. The guitar that I received from Thomann was really well set up. Low action, straight neck, perfect intonation, correct pickup height. But I think that is Thomann who takes the effort to do it on all their orders. I have got other guitars from them and I have only positive things to say about Thomann. As mentioned above I play the CP 60's Strat. And I felt the neck dimensions and feel on the Hagstrom was quite similar to the Strat not much thinnner than the Strat anyways. I didn't feel the neck being different even though its a shorter scale. It is thin and fast. Unfortunately, I am not a fast player. The frets were nicely done. The pearl inlays are gorgeous! Certainly makes the guitar look very expensive. Adding the expensive feel is also the tuners which are different. All in all its a fantastically finished product. The finish easily compares or betters my 700 strat. I used to have a Hamer SATF guitar some time back and it is definately a lot better than that.
Features — 8
Not sure where the guitar is made however I guess from the serial number on the guitar it is manufactured in July 2011. Specs: Hagstrom Ultralux Series Ultra Swede CBB LP-Style - 2-piece basswood body, maple neck, resonator wood fretboard, 2x Hagstrom custom Thomann 62N-4 & 62B-4 humbucker pickups, 629mm scale, Hagstrom TOM bridge. Colour: Cosmic Black Burst. Only reason for a 8 is that a standard LP has dedicated volume and tone for each pickup. And pickup selector is on the top not behind the bridge. Pickup selector near the neck feels natural to my right hand.