Month: October, 2015

Hagström B-60

Hagström B-60 Made in Sweden 1975Hagström B-60, made in Sweden by Bjärton in 1975

I guess people might have noticed that I’m quite obsessed with Levin guitars, but there are actually other Swedish guitar brands that I care about too, like Hagström Crafton, Bjärton and Lugnås. I recently found my first steel string Bjärton, I have had a nylon string since my mid teens but never actually played on a steel string Bjärton until now. This is an awesome looking Hagström B-60 or Bjärton B-60 as it was called in Sweden, it’s the same guitar but since Hagström was more famous abroad they used that name for the export models. They were built by Bjärton in Bjärnum in the south of Sweden. It’s a pretty great guitar, loosely modelled on a Gibson J-50, Bjärton made a legendary Gibson J-45 copy in the Sixties called Hagström H-45 or Bjärton J-45 which was used by David Bowie and a lot of others. That model came with or without factory installed pickup and they even made a 12-string version. This Hagström B-60 is slightly more modest and looks pretty basic. It’s a nice sounding guitar, even though it has a bolt-on neck which should kill the tone completely, I guess the solid woods and massive neck block is helping with the sound.

Hagström B-60 Made in Sweden 1975Hagström B-60 Made in Sweden 1975

Hagström B-60 / Bjärton B-60
Body width: 410 mm, body length: 510 mm, body depth: 120 mm
Spruce top with X-bracing, mahogany back and sides
Mahogany bolt-on neck, unbound rosewood fingerboard
Single-bound top and back, rosewood pin bridge
Van Gent machine heads, natural finish and 10 year warranty
Introduced: ca 1972, available for export under the Hagström brand

Hagström B-60 Made in Sweden 1975The guitar was in pretty good shape when it arrived. I did the normal cleaning, polished frets and oiled the fretboard and then installed a bone saddle and ebony bridge pins to improve the sound

Van Gent tuners, Hagström B-60 Made in Sweden 1975My main challenge was to try to get the Van Gent machine heads clean. The guitar smells like it has spent the past 40 years in the company of an old pipe smoker so I assume that’s actually tar and nicotine that has built up over the years. I’m an old ex-smoker myself so to me it smells like pure heaven.

Guitar Moves

I’ve mentioned before that I really enjoy watching Guitar Moves, but this episode is really hard to beat, freaking Keith Richards!

Harmony Monterey

Harmony Monterey, Made in USA 1950's 784H1325A late 1950’s Harmony Monterey H1325, made in USA

A couple of weeks ago I came across a really nice looking Harmony Monterey H1325. The only way to date these guitars is by the second stamp inside, if you can find it, giving the year and month. Unfortunately I can just see 784H1325 and the second stamp JAN in mine. I assume it’s from the late 1950’s judging by the head logo and the lack of trussrod since that was introduced in 1964. It’s a really nice playing and sounding guitar, not as loud as my Levin archtops, the 1951 Levin Royal or 1946 Levin Model 32, but still a very nice guitar. Harmony guitars were mass produced in Chicago during this time and even though they are made from solid woods they feel a bit low budget, in a good way, I guess that’s why they are so damn awesome and look so rock n’ roll.

Harmony Monterey, Made in USA 1950's 784H1325Harmony Monterey, Made in USA 1950's 784H1325

Harmony H1325 – Monterey
Acoustic archtop – Brown shaded
Production years: 1952-1972 (other years possible, not verified)
Spruce top, birch body – Grand Auditorium 16 1/2 in. Unusual sunburst pattern in bands. Neck has a trussrod from 1964.

Harmony Monterey, Made in USA 1950's 784H1325There was a lot of cleaning to do and two cracks that needed to be glued. One large on the upper bout and a smaller one on the top and then I glued down the heel a bit better which got the action down. Except for that it was in pretty good shape for being around 60-years old and all original.

Harmony Monterey, Made in USA 1950's 784H1325The original case has these awesome looking shipping stickers on it, I presume from when the guitar left America for Germany by boat in the 1950’s carried by the first owner.

Harmony Monterey, 1959 Harmony catalogueThe top left looks very much like my Harmony Monterey, having said that, the model number inside mine is H1325 which match the bottom left. Taken from a 1959 Harmony catalogue

Harmony H162, 1959 Harmony catalogueI also got myself two late 1960’s H162 from the US that I need to restore. First of all they need a neck reset but then I was actually thinking of removing the back and X-brace at least one of them. Taken from a 1959 Harmony catalogue.


Cherry & Wolf

Cherry & Wolf - La Sonora de Gràcia 10 Oct 2015Cherry & Wolf with me on guitar, La Sonora de Gràcia 10 Oct 2015. © Araceli Perez

Last Saturday I got a chance to play with my friends Cherry & Wolf again. It turned out to be great fun and it seems like I have a few more gigs lined up with them this autumn. Now you can see where the Luxor Dove copy went, it’s Wolf’s main guitar and I’m playing on my beloved Morris W-50.