Claescaster

Tag: China

Tanglewood TRP-73VSE

Tanglewood Rosewood Grand Reserve TRP-73VSE 2011
Tanglewood Rosewood Grand Reserve TRP-73VSE 2011

Tanglewood Grand Reserve TRP-73VSE, Parlour guitar 2011, 400€ 350€
Araceli and I have decided to put one of our Tanglewood’s up for sale and just keep her favourite Tanglewood Premier TW133. The Tanglewood Grand Reserve TRP-73VSE is a very beautiful and well sounding little parlour, especially plugged in, designed in the UK and hand built in China.  Solid Sitka spruce top and rosewood back and sides this model produces a great rich tone with brilliant resonance for a small bodied guitar especially with the superb onboard B-band A3 pickup system. Other features include quality gold Kluson style machine heads, maple and herringbone binding and a lovely vintage sunburst high gloss finish. TRP-73VSE RRP £399.00

Hagstrom Viking

Hagstrom Viking, Tobacco Sunburst 2008Hagstrom Viking, Tobacco Sunburst 2008

It’s with a heavy heart that I have decided to part with my Hagstrom Viking. I bought the guitar back in 2010 and have unfortunately not had time to play it as much as I wanted, some Japanese Telecasters got in the way. I had three semi-hollow bodied guitars at one point and kept this the longest, I sold the other two last year. I guess the more guitars you have the more you realise what feels good for you to play. For me, fat necked Telecasters feels really nice to play, I’m a bit gay for old Greco Telecasters from the 1970’s. If you are interested in inherit this Hagstrom Viking from the Claes Collection then get in touch. You can read more about it here for sale, or in Spanish here.

Update: April 4, 2014 The Hagstrom Viking is now sold to Rafa from Cobarde.

Hagstrom, or Hagström as we call it back home, was founded in 1925 by Albin Hagström in Älvdalen, Sweden. They made amazing electric guitars from 1958 to 1983, played by guys like Elvis Presley, Jimi Hendrix, Noel Redding, Joe Walsh, Dweezil and Frank Zappa to name a few. I have played on a lot of Hagstrom guitars and amps during my teenage years back in Sweden and learned to play bass on my stepdad Sten’s Hagstrom Jazz bass from 1976. I have an fairly mint Hagström HIIN OT from 1975 back in Sweden that I really like. I guess it was out of national pride that I got so excited and bought the Hagstrom Viking when they started to make them again in 2004. They have a few models that are made in the EU, but not in Sweden, and the rest is made in China. I have actually only played my Viking from 2008 so I can’t really comment on the quality of the Chinese Hagstroms today but mine is very well built for the price. I would say that they are better than Gretsch Electromatic, Epiphone and the Ibanez semi-hollow bodied, all in roughly the same price range.

Zappa plays Zappa, Hagstrom ad

Tanglewood Premier TW133

Tanglewood Premier TW133 2010
Tanglewood Premier TW133, designed in the UK and handcrafted in China in 2010

When I met my other half Araceli back in 2007 she already new the basic cowboy chords but never really played guitar, I had only heard her strum a handful of times. She told me that she didn’t really like to play on my guitars since I seemed to care so much about them so I thought the best way around that would be to get her a guitar of her own. I also felt that since I had experienced so much joy through music in my life that would be the least I could give to the woman I love. I talked to her family and we agreed to put in 50 Euro each and get her a guitar for her birthday in September 2010. It was down to me to find a suitable guitar within our budget so I started to do some research. I knew that a parlour guitar would be best option, she is pretty small so I thought that a small bodied guitar would be easier for her to handle. I already had an inexpensive parlour a Vintage V880N that I liked but didn’t love so I thought I would try another brand this time and started to read about Tanglewood. People seemed to really like them, especially in the UK, and they had quite a few parlour sized models so it felt like a good start. Since you can’t just walk in to a guitar shop here in Barcelona and try what you are looking for, the shops here are useless and have nothing in stock, I had to rely on reviews and then order the guitar online. In the end I went for the Tanglewood Premier TW133, since I thought she would really like the look of it, or at least I loved the dark wood and the simplicity of it. I also felt that a solid mahogany top and back would give a bit more warmth and body to it compared to most new made parlour guitars which I feel normally lack that. She was really happy with her birthday present and started to play almost daily and soon after we even started a band together called Chest Fever.

© Claes Gellerbrink, photographs can't be used without permission. Araceli and Claes Chest Fever session, Barcelona 29-04-2012
Araceli, Chest Fever session, Barcelona 29-04-2012

Tanglewood Premier Historic TW133 ASM
SHAPE: Parlour, TOP: Solid Mahogany, BACK: Solid Mahogany
SIDES; Mahogany, NECK: One Piece Mahogany
FINGERBOARD: Rosewood, BRIDGE: Rosewood
SADDLE: PPS, Compensated, 72mm, NUT: PPS (43mm)
SCALE LENGTH: 650mm, BRIDGE PINS: Black with White Dots
MACHINE HEADS: Chrome open geared (changed to gold Grovers)
FINISH Natural Satin, STRINGS: D’Addario EXP11, 12-53, RRP: £269.95

EY Guitars

EY Guitars

I just received my package from Hong Kong, the guitar parts I ordered from EY Guitars for the old Claescaster. How cute is this, they have packed it in a lunch box to keep it safe. I wonder if that something they always do or if it was just a really considerate worker that thought that Spain was really far away and it might be a bumpy ride so he or she better pack it in a Tupperware. They were pretty quick too, I placed the order on the 6th, sent out on the 8th and here on the 25th, just two work weeks. It was holidays here in Catalonia this weekend so I bet no one was working on Friday or Monday, it might have been lying around here in the post depot since the middle of last week, it has happened before.

The Old Claescaster

I have just ordered a new set of pickups for the old Claescaster. Since the new Claescaster is done I felt I needed another project so what could be better than giving some love to the old Claescaster. I went for some cheap Artec ones, just regular Alnico V pickups but with a bit of luck they could be good. They only cost  $24.00 for both so I don’t expect too much. I bought them from a Hong Kong site called EY Guitars, I didn’t want to order things from USA since I had so much trouble with the customs last time. I also ordered a Wilkinson vintage bridge in gold since I took the old one and put on the new Claescaster. Let’s see how it goes, how long it takes and if I get charged any extra custom fees.

cropped-claescaster3.jpg The old faithful Claescaster

These are the Artec Hot Ceramic Telecaster Pickups, a bit fancier then the ones I bought but they were sold out in gold so I had to go for something else.

China vs Korea

Buy American! The electric guitar was invented in the USA so there is no surprise that they used to produce the finest guitars in the world. However, in the Seventies as competition grew stronger Fender and the big boys started to focus more on market shares and suddenly quantity became more important than quality. At the same time the Japanese factories really stared to get a hang on building amazing copies of American instruments with more eye for details than the Americans themselves in some cases. Epiphone, Gibson, Fender and Grestch all moved part of their production to Japan for the amazing quality offered to a lower price. The list of world domination on the guitar building market used to be USA, Europe, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, China etc. Now things started to change and Japan took over a big part of both USA and Europe’s production. Japan was never really that cheap, well they did produce super cheap instruments too, but the top brands was still quite expensive so in order to increase their profit most of the Japanese manufacturers moved parts of the production to Korea in the Eighties. Suddenly a Japanese copy of and American guitar was now being produced in Korea. As the Eighties became the Nighties even the Korean workers started to feel expensive and production was moved to Taiwan, China or in some cases even Singapore, Indonesia or India. Japan is still the best guitar builders in the Far East but as their prices increased more and more people settled for number two, which used to be Korea but things have changed, again. The Koreans have become sloppy, and expensive so now Tokai and other companies have moved their production to China instead. China is the new Korea. I have to say that the two Tanglewood parlour guitars that my girlfriend and I have are amazingly built for the price. They are hand built in China and I doubt that anything built in Korea today could match that. Korean built instruments from the Eighties are still really good so I believe this change happened in the last 5-10 years. It’s going to be interesting to see what happens when the Chinese built instruments gets the recognition they deserve on the second hand market. Today sellers just push for guitars being MIJ, Made in Japan, or MIK, Made in Korea. When will the MIC arrive and how much will they be worth?

Barnes & Mullins BJ500m 5 String Banjo

My Barnes & Mullins BJ500m 5 String Banjo built in China and set up in the UK