Hagstrom H-8 8-String Bass Solid Body Electric Bass Guitar (1968)

Hagstrom  H-8 8-String Bass Solid Body Electric Bass Guitar  (1968)
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Item # 12118
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Hagstrom H-8 8-String Bass Model Solid Body Electric Bass Guitar (1968), made in Sweden, serial # 748005, sunburst lacquer finish, Baltic birch body and neck, rosewood fingerboard, black hard shell case.

One of the more endearing oddball electric basses of the 1960s, the Hagstrom H-8 was the only production 8-string bass of the decade (Rickenbacker made a very few on custom order) and remains one of the few of its type ever attempted as a standard catalog instrument. Essentially the bass version of a 12-string guitar, the H-8 is strung in octaves with a higher string above each bass string. The sound is similar to a bass and guitar playing in unison and creates a very rich tonal effect.

The features and fittings are typical for period Hagstrom basses. The sculpted double-cutaway solid body is mated to a very slim neck, amazingly so for an 8-string instrument. It mounts two excellent-sounding single coil pickups and a bank of slide switches for controlling them, with a single volume pot. Despite its imposing appearance it's very easy to play, with a standard 30 1/2" short scale fingerboard, low action and Hagstrom adjustable bridge. Perhaps the oddest feature visually is the mix of large and small Van Ghent tuners on the headstock. The body is finished in a muted dark sunburst, one of two color options available.

The H-8 enjoyed a brief burst of popularity when new in the late '60s, being the only instrument of its kind generally available in that musically adventurous era. It is notable in retrospect mostly for appearing on several Jimi Hendrix cuts played by both Noel Redding and Hendrix himself. The admittedly specialist bass saw some success for a while but slipped out of production by the beginning of the '70s and is fairly rare today.

The sound is unique and often underappreciated. It makes an excellent addition to any studio arsenal, perhaps more as an overdub/accent piece than a standard bass. In the late '70s, Cheap Trick took the idea to further extremes with Tom Petersson's 12-string basses, which created a sort of bass-and-rhythm-guitar wall of sound onstage. The Hagstrom H-8 remains one of those under-utilized sonic gems, still waiting to be fully exploited and appreciated!
Overall length is 43 in. (109.2 cm.), 14 1/8 in. (35.9 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 1 1/4 in. (3.2 cm.) in depth, measured at side of rim. Scale length is 30 1/2 in. (775 mm.). Width of nut is 1 3/4 in. (44 mm.).

This is a nice example of this medium-rare overall, an excellent player with some fairly minor wear but all original except for a replaced volume knob. The finish shows some wear from play with scattered dings and dents to the lacquer but no major loss or damage. The back of the body has the most scratching and dings, and there is a small chip off the upper corner of the headstock. The laminate seam on the back of the neck has been re-sealed over the heel and is completely solid.

The hardware shows some minor plating loss, mostly to the pickup poles but remains original and complete except for a period but not stock volume knob. Everything works as intended and the bass sounds excellent. The pickguard has some scuffing and scratching and a previous owner's name is etched in small letters on bottom rim of the guard, which is not particularly conspicuous.

The neck has been refretted with wire a bit larger than the original and the nut is replaced as well. The neck is nice and straight -- the Hagstrom aluminum-core neck with an adjustable steel truss rod is one of their best features -- the newer frets show minimal wear. The instrument is set up wit flatwound strings, which mellows the sound out compared to roundwound stringing. It the bass plays very well and is housed in a modern hardshelll case. Overall Excellent - Condition.