The Hagstrom Viking Deluxe is a semi-hollow body electric designed in Sweden and manufactured in Chinawith timbers sourced from Canada and every component of the guitar made by the company themselves.
Obviously the iconic Gibson 335 is the primary inspiration for this guitar, but Hagstrom have added a few design twists of their own. The asymmetrical headstock design with the Hagstrom logo makes a strong visual statement, as does the 3-ply binding and the proprietary tuners that add an art-deco vibe to the instrument. The look is tied together by the trapeze tailpiece with a coat of arms sporting 2 lions on it.
For the demo I recorded I used a Mesa Boogie Mk V 25 amp on the fat channel setting with a Tim pedal pushing the front end every so slightly. Instant blues or Larry Carlton heaven! The twin humbuckers (Hagstrom design) are dark but with plenty of detail and when pushed add some nice bite to the note. I personally never use these style of guitars for anything with a lot of gain as the extreme feedback issues can be a challenge, but lovely musical feedback can be coaxed from the instrument for great effect. The guitar offers a lot of sustain and the tone controls are voiced well for great variety. The neck feels particularly good, being quite thin which is common for these guitars, and is very easy to fly around on.
My only gripe is the strings it came fitted with. It was a struggle keep the guitar in tune initially when I started recording. I had to stretch the strings out several times and even then it was a challenge. It is nothing that a new set of strings won’t fix, but it can be a little frustrating if you buy a new guitar and the strings are not able to hold pitch as expected. Might be worth getting the shop to include some new strings in the sale.
Comparing this to a much more expensive Gibson, it certainly holds up well in the value stakes. A Gibson or equivalent 335 will offer a bit more in terms of tonal depth, but the price is also considerably more!
Overall this is a great semi-hollow boy instrument and well worth considering.