Space Age Bachelor Pad… Guitars! – Hagstrom Electric Guitars (Part 3)

by Rik Mercaldi on February 20, 2014

In the1950’s, futuristic designs were being introduced into popular culture, gradually picking up steam in the later half of the decade and into the 1960’s. Influenced by the latest developments in space exploration and the popular science fiction craze, “Space Age” designs were popping up everywhere.

Cars, furniture, and of course, guitars were heavily influenced by this trend. Music of the time was being transformed by futuristic sounds and sonic experiments by artists like Esquivel, Martin Denny, and Les Baxter and is affectionately referred to now as Space Age Bachelor Pad Music and Exotica, but I digress…

In 1963, Hagstrom introduced a unique line of guitars that would not have looked out of place on the set of the original Star Trek. First up was the Corvette (renamed the Condor for models shipped to the U.S. Possibly to avoid any issues with General Motors). The Corvette/Condor had an offset double cutaway body, slightly wider on the lower treble side, with a distinctive, soft “S” shaped curve on the bottom, three single coils, multiple push-button switches and a spring vibrato. Far out!  Watch Cordell Jackson rockin’ out on a Condor above.

Next was the Impala (another U.S automobile model, but I guess they weren’t worried about Chevrolet) which shared the same body style with the Corvette/Condor but with two pickups.  And continuing on with yet another automotive name, we have the Automatic, is there a pattern here? These had smooth body contours, two pickups, and were clearly influenced by the Fender Jazzmaster & Jaguar guitars popularized by bands like The Ventures and The Beach Boys. In this series were the standard Automatic, the Futurama Automatic (sold by Selmer in the UK) and the Automatic Corvette with three pickups.

In production from 1963- 1967, these models were not a huge commercial success at the time and not many were imported in the U.S, so they’re pretty rare birds here.

Does anyone out there have one of these?

Coming up… Here comes the 70’s, Swedes, etc…

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