“When I dreamed up these guitars I knew they had to have vintage vibe and familiarity along with modern player features to deliver the most tonally diverse guitars possible on stage and in the studio. I basically took elements from my six favorite Hagstroms and proposed something I’ve always wanted… the ability to cut muddy bass with the turn of a knob. I use it to clean up a neck pickup or give my bridge a little retro bite. It really opens up new tones I’ve never experienced before from a semi-hollowbody, and I couldn’t be happier with how these guitars turned out.”
– Justin York
In 2012 Justin York purchased a Hagstrom Viking to use on tour with Paramore, and the rest of the story is history. He has since become a true partner and friend to Hagstrom. When Paramore was preparing for extensive international touring to support their recent album, we began discussions about what an ideal set of touring guitars might be for him. After more than one year of collaboration, the result is a pair of Vikings that Hagstrom is proud to introduce to guitarists worldwide.
As primary touring guitarist for Paramore, Justin’s role is to provide the supporting foundation of the band’s guitar sounds for each song. A band with a rich history like Paramore requires a broad range of guitar styles and textures. So, one of our main objectives was to create instruments with a broad tonal range easily accessible during a stage performance, a task Hagstrom is more than equal to.
Justin’s Viking Gold Top starts with our classic Viking semi-hollow platform to which a classic vintage-style gold finish is applied. Justin loves Hagstrom’s thinner neck profiles, so we developed our “Ultra-Thin”, 17mm neck profile for his guitars. Vintage-style “witch hat” knobs, same as used on our RetroScape models, complete the “vintage vibe” this guitar oozes. A Hagstrom Custom 58 humbucking pickup in the bridge position provides classic rock tones, and when Justin wants to go slightly softer the HJ-50 humbucker in the neck position gets him there in smooth, elegant style. Individual coil-split is available via push/pull tone controls providing an expansive sonic palette.
The tone control is often a source of frustration for guitarists. This is because the design has historically been based on a passive treble-cut concept. The complete tonal spectrum is passed through the circuit when the control is fully open, and as it’s dialed down treble frequencies are eliminated. Many guitarists find this approach unusable, since the tone often becomes muddy and excessively “dark” as the treble component is eliminated. Working with Justin we have developed a tone control which does the exact opposite.
Instead of filtering treble frequencies, we filter the bass as the control is cut. The full treble spectrum is always available, and the tone control performs a bass-cut function. Justin finds this is much more useable on stage, and we think all Hagstrom guitarists will too.
All Hagstrom electric guitars and basses include our patented H-Expander truss rod. Providing tension at both ends and running the entire length of the neck, the rigid yet light-weight alloy truss rod allows for a very low action and thin neck, two factors that were instrumental in earning Hagstrom its reputation as the world’s fastest playing guitar. The H-Expander truss rod not only provides ultimate neck stability, but it also contributes to Hagstrom’s unique tone. Longer sustain and a round attack are some of the sonic characteristics the H-Expander adds to the tonal essence of Hagstrom.
Hagstrom uses a variety of different neck joints throughout our range. Our set-neck recipe is the classic and time-tested Mortise and Tenon joint, a design that most efficiently transfers string energy from neck to body, and can often only be found on more expensive custom-built guitars. A team of experienced and dedicated craftsmen hand carves every neck joint, insuring perfect execution of this traditional technique preferred by luthiers for generations.
Resinator wood is a wood composite material that is both more uniform in density and more stable than any standard wood product. These characteristics eliminate dead spots or “wolf tones” sometimes associated with conventional wood fingerboards. Resinator wood has an articulate sound similar to high quality ebony, but without any of the problems associated with ebony. It provides a stable and clear tone, and also adds higher overtones and harmonics which uniquely detail each note. Like our H-Expander truss rod, Resinator wood is a major contributor to the distinctive “Hagstrom tone”.
Hagstrom Machine Heads
Hagstrom models use 18:1 or 15:1 gear ratio machine heads based on our own designs to insure accurate tuning. Viking and HB series basses feature machine heads with a 17:1 gear ratio.