'70 Hagstrom LP/Swede - Refinish?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by THRobinson, May 23, 2020.

  1. THRobinson

    THRobinson Member

    Jun 11, 2018
    So, grabbed a 1970 Hagstrom Swede, technically a Hagstrom LP... first year it was an LP and for obvious legal reasons, switched to Swede. Looks to be the 3rd one made of the LP/Swede series, but, pickups, pickups rings, knobs, pickplate and original tuners have gone bye-bye. Body binding is in one piece but shrinking and pulling from the body on the inside curves, and about 80% of the neck binding is missing.

    Originally, I wanted to restore it... track down original parts, but, because this LP model was built only 1 year, then changed slightly, those parts are impossible to find. '70s parts in general are difficult to get and very costly. The tuners look to have been replaced 2-3x and now have modern Hagstrom tuners, so, not original but do at least look correct.

    The previous owner had it 30yrs and was very open about all that was done to it that he knew about, but, looks like a 50/50 chance the finish was sanded down, or removed and refinished. Details on this are a bit sparse, so not sure if in 1970 did the natural finish have a thick glossy Gibson-like finish? or maybe after 50yrs it just wore down? or from factory did it just have a thin coat to keep it natural looking?

    Frets are in nice shape, but small... also trying to find info about original fret size. Maybe they've been filed/dressed numerous times, or maybe just came with spaghetti sized frets? There is very little binding on the neck, it's thinner than what on a Les Paul, but, can see very very small nibs at the ends of the frets like a Les Paul.

    So... Kinda looking for 'what would you do' feedback.

    Part of me wants to fix the binding, and for what I can't get that's original, at least use Hagstrom parts. Like their '58 classic pickups, and knobs... though gotta say even new/used parts seem sparse for Hagstroms. Leave the tiny frets as-is. Basically fix the basics, and get new Hagstrom parts.

    Part of me wants to pull the frets, replace with Les Paul size, new binding. Fix the body binding, sand it all down (minus the headstock face) and refinish it all in nitro. Grab some nice nickel covered pickups and polish it up like brand new.

    Basically... either leave as much as-is and just fix what's broke or missing/wrong... versus.... strip it down and make it new again.

    At what point is the value ruined... is it sacrilege... or it it where it's kinda 50/50 and doesn't matter?


Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice