Road Trip

This weekend I went on a quick road trip for family reasons. On the way, we stopped at Boogie Man Music in Ellensburg, WA. I almost got a used BBE Sonic Stomp, but decided to save my pennies.

More importantly, I saw (and played) something that really blew me away. It was a vintage Hagstrom sunburst Viking semi-hollow body.

These pictures aren’t the actual guitar. The one I played was much more worn and beat up. And if I remember correctly, had dot fret markers. The neck was so comfortable. And the guitar itself was so light weight. I’ve mentioned that I’ve been looking at a 1992 Epiphone Sheraton VSB, but even though it is a “semi” hollow body, they are completely different guitars. The Viking body was almost completely hollow (only a small block under the bridge) and smaller than the Epiphone Sheraton VSB body (which has a solid block running through it).

I was worried as I played it that the Viking would break. It felt much more fragile compared to the Epiphone. I worried that if I took it home, one bump would break something. It played well, but I just didn’t know if I could trust it. But I liked it. It fit really well. Maybe it is just the weight difference I was feeling and not really about it being fragile. I even plugged it into an old Fender Super Champ amp to try out the single coil pick ups, which were surprisingly responsive. However, it is nowhere near my price range ability. But it was good enough for Elvis.

Click here for more stories and pics of this guitar. Here’s a red one in current use.

VikingIISamHare

A little online searching shows that Hagstrom has re-released the Viking, but I have to admit that I am 97% positive without even trying that I will prefer the old one to a new one.

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7 thoughts on “Road Trip

  1. Original Swedish Hagstroms are lovely guitars – a couple of friends both owned “Swedes” back in the day (Hagstroms LP a like) both were really good guitars and in Europe in the 70s/80s a better value bet to a Gibson, they were about half the price but a long way from half as good – and that is if you could find a real Gibson, they were rarer than rocking horse dung where we lived.

    One guy had a white Swede – that was a 24 3/4″ scale, so like a Gibson – it had a funny extra three position tone switch on the lower horn but if I remember he never used it. Other friend had a Super Swede – slightly upmarket version but interestingly main difference was a 25 1/2″ scale, like a Fender – it did feel very different to other LP like guitars around then. Both I know were sold on, I also know one of them really regretted that departure some time later…

    BTW – Elvis uses a Hagstrom Viking on a live tv gig at some point in the 70s they used it as a big selling point.

    I’m told the new ones are good guitars but not as idiosyncratic as the originals just good Korean output

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