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Hagstrom HJ-500 Review

My local music store, Music Centre Canada in Camrose, has one of these sweet Hagstrom guitars, the HJ-500 semi-hollow electric guitar. I have played the Swede and the Super Swede guitars too, and I really like them as well. Hagstrom puts out some really nice guitars these days.

The HJ-500 and HJ-600 guitars are nice-looking and nice-playing jazz guitars. The HJ-500 Semi-Hollow Electric Guitar features a contoured maple body and maple set neck. There is a patented H-Expander truss rod on these guitars, which provides tension at either end and runs the entire length of the neck. This lightweight alloy truss rod allows for very low action and the neck is very thin, without seeming fragile.

The resinator fretboard is a homogeneous wood composite which supposedly sounds similar to high quality ebony, but with more consistency and durability. This fretboard is smooth and silky, a joy to play. It's a little different feel than most fretboards. It's similar in sound to high quality ebony.

The HJ-500 has 2 Hagstrom HJ-50 humbuckers, each with volume and tone. I was impressed by thise pickups. Together with the hollowbody resonance, this gives the HJ-500 a wide range of tones, and they are all very impressive. I was quite surprised at how versatile this guitar really is.

The graphite composite nut is harder than bone or plastic, which should result in more string vibration through the neck. The long-travel tune-o-matic bridge and trapeze tailpiece works well, and is a part of the good tone, sustain, and intonation quality. The guitar stays in tune really well. The machine heads have 18:1 gear tatio.

The high-grade polyester finish is hard, smooth, and more dense than polyurethane. The finish on the HJ-500 looks amazing and provides excellent protection and sonic performance.

The tone from this guitar unplugged is beautiful - it's resonates well. It's fun to play it even without an amp. The sound plugged in is great for jazz, blues and rockabilly. It's got that fat, woody tone that is so cool.

I tried it through a small Orange combo amp. The clean tones were really fun to play with. I could easily go from jazz to rockabilly - no problem. The chord notes rang nice and clear. It's not a bright sounding guitar, but it's not muddy or unclear.

With some overdrive or distortion, you get blues tone to spare. I was afraid it might start squealing from too much feedback, but it didn't. I managed to play quite loud before I noticing any kind of feedback, and this was controllable feedback - lots of fun!

This is one happening guitar, and I highly recommend it. I like it best of all the Hagstroms I've played, and perhaps that is because I love this type of sound and feel from this type guitar so much. You don't need a Gibson 335 - this one will save money and you'll have just as fun with it!

Read more about the Hagstrom model on their web page for the Hagstrom HJ-500 model.

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All contents Copyright Robert Renman.
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New Course - Comping with Triads -

Learn 6 common chord progressions.
"You are simply the best teacher on the internet. Always cool, explain things well, and relevant stuff for beginners to advanced players. Even my kids are into your lessons now!"

I was chosen as the 2013 Next Top Guitar Instructor at Truefire!