Learn even more about the great new features of the new Swede and Super Swede generation in this insightful Q&A with Guitar Magazine.
In the context of testing the two new variants of Hagstrom guitars, the Swede and the Super Swede, we have Hagstrom specialist Thomas Türling joining us for our "Q&A Hagstrom 2023" session.
Thomas, the Super Swede and the Swede have undergone some changes. Stainless steel frets, pickups... What else have you modified?
TT: It's not said lightly that only truly creative minds dare to embark on a reinterpretation of classics without completely going astray. The goal was to preserve the beloved characteristics, the unmistakable look, etc., and complement them with meaningful innovations. Compared to other representatives in this segment, both the Swede and the Super Swede have always had a tonal orientation that was slightly different for single cuts, sounding "more open and lively" rather than just a "full-on assault," a term often associated with this body style.
That applies to the pickups...
TT: Exactly, to bring out the best in the new guitars, we have worked together with pickup guru Johan Lundgren over the years to continuously refine the recipe, ensuring that the acoustic qualities of both guitars are transferred optimally by the now installed and appropriately calibrated humbucker pair - AlNiCo-2 Duo for the Swede, and a modified combination of AlNiCo-2 at the neck and AlNiCo-5 at the bridge for the Super Swede.
In addition to the mentioned stainless steel frets, special attention was given to the neck, the neck-body joint, and especially the angled headstock joint. To protect this vulnerable area and prepare it for the demands of professional touring, we have employed not only the visible volute but also internal reinforcements to prevent fractures.
You've also made changes in terms of electronics and wood...
For those familiar with the history of Hagstrom, they may have noticed that the Swede no longer has the tone filter toggle switch, and the pure mahogany construction has been replaced by a combination of a maple top and a mahogany body. The tone filter has always been a matter of personal taste and, to be honest, sometimes caused more confusion than expanding the tonal spectrum. Instead, the Swede now features the individual coil split of the Super Swede, which can be selected for each pickup separately using the push-pull function on the tone controls, significantly expanding the tonal potential.
An optical treat is the use of the Hagstrom lion, the family crest, as fingerboard inlays. It's a tribute to the Hagstrom family and their remarkable achievements since the company's founding in 1925 and the introduction of the first guitars in 1958. The list of innovations is completed with the addition of slightly higher (19:1) ratio locking tuners, enabling even faster and more secure string changes. It's worth mentioning that a molded case is now included as part of the offer for the Swede and Super Swede.
Most definitely. Let's talk about the ergonomic neck-body joint. It's not a "normal" set neck...
Here, Hagstrom's long-standing and proven long mortise and tenon joint technique comes into play. In my opinion, it's an upgrade with a significant impact for set necks. With this construction, which is often reserved for much more expensive custom shop instruments and extends below the neck pickup, a cost-effective and commonly used drop-in method cannot be applied. Each neck needs to be manually fitted and adjusted. Additionally, with the nape tenon, the sculpting, or tapering, is also done by hand. This way, we make no compromises in either the construction or the comfortable access.