Swedish/Spanish Castle Magic… – Hagstrom Electric Guitars (Part 2)

by Rik Mercaldi on May 17, 2013

The  first series of Kent model solid bodies introduced by Hagstrom in 1962, gradually morphed into the numbered series. The Hagstrom I, II, and III, basically sported the same features as their earlier counterparts with some differences, a new slightly narrower neck and adjustable pickups.

A version of the Hagstrom II model was also sold through The Selmer company in the UK from 1962- 1965 and rebranded as the Futurama. Futurama was a brand name used by Selmer who imported instruments from other countries around Europe. Beatle gear nuts will probably recognize the name Futurama as a model that a young George Harrison purchased because it looked similar to the much coveted Fender Stratocaster. These guitars were actually Czech made, and had nothing to do with Hagstrom.


Jimi Hendrix playing a Hagstrom H8 Bass

Around 1965 the Hagstrom II got a bit of a makeover, the horns were shortened to be less ‘Strat’ like and more like an “SG”.  Mounting rings for the pickups were also added. These have a more traditional, look and feel to them, and due to their size, shape, and small necks, are great instruments for players with small hands. When I started out, my hands were too small for the guitar I found in my parent’s attic and I gave up and tried again a couple of years later. If only it had been a Hagstrom up there in that attic…

An electric 12 string model was also produced (essentially a Hagstrom II with 12 strings) as well as 4 string and 8 string basses. The 8 string bass, or model H8, was used by Jimi Hendrix and Noel Redding in the Jimi Hendrix Experience. It was used on the recording of Spanish Castle Magic and other tracks from Axis: Bold As Love.

The colors offered were, black, red, light blue, and white.  Sunburst was also available on just the all-wood bodied models. These all remained in production until around 1972.

Anyone ever come across a Hagstrom in a rare, original, custom color? Tell us about it!

Next up, Hagstrom goes futuristic. Stay tuned for Part 3…

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