HAGSTROM Of Sweden The CONDOR Electric Guitar Aka The CORVETTE 1967 3 Pickups | Musical Instruments & Gear, Guitars & Basses, Electric Guitars | eBay!
HAGSTROM GUITARS in the 1960’s: The CONDOR aka The CORVETTE.
Eager to join the pop music explosion of the 1960’s, which was heavily dependent on guitars that had “style”, were “cool”, and were “feature loaded” (like the competing, and now iconic, styles of the Gibson Firebird, the Fender Jaguar, and Mosrites Ventures), Hagstrom’s incredibly talented design staff came up with the “pop design styles” of the CORVETTE and the IMPALA.
These were totally unique and stylish design styles original to HAGSTROM. They featured flowing body shapes, lots of buttons, and chrome. They were, and remain, some of Hagstrom’s coolest guitars. The two-pickup Impala and three-pickup Corvette, both named for popular Chevrolets in the USA but the Corvette Model name was changed to “Condor” after objections from Gretsch Guitar Company who was already manufacturing a “Corvette” model guitar. These were fairly sophisticated guitars, with wider maple bodies, an arm contour, more flared horns and a little peak down on the lower bout, giving the butt a little S-curve. More importantly, these were neck-through-body guitars with natty colored pushbutton controls mounted on a metal plate on the lower bout. The heads had a slightly more pointed throat than the Strat-styles. These had deluxe covered Van Ghent tuners. Plastic logos were on the body. Fingerboards were Brazilian Rosewood with dot inlays. Pickups were the black oval single-coils on metal surrounds screwed into the top, although at some point after ’65 these changed to the newer rectangular black single-coils. A little black laminated pickguard sat under the strings, but had the cool feature of a lever volume control plus a volume knob for presetting an accompaniment level.
Controls were the same for both guitars, with 0=standby, 1=neck pickup, 2=bridge pickup, Hi, Mid, Low, Solo, and Accompaniment. Both had a finetune bridge and Hagstrom vibrato, and were available in mahogany sunburst or red sunburst. The Impala and Corvette were made until ’67, by which time 1,123 and 1,078 were made of each, respectively
The Corvette/Condor six string electric guitar was produced at the Hagstrom plant in Alvdalen, Sweden between 1963 and 1967. It was a well-built guitar, with set neck, and interesting body styling and controls – the eight-switch push-button tone controls give “18 tonal effects” as described in the 1966 Hagstrom Catalogue, whilst the sliding volume control allows for “fast adjustments”. Visually stunning in Red Sunburst and Mahogany Sunburst polyester finishes, they certainly do capture the essence of mid 1960s guitar design.
Although there were eight push switches, only seven were really needed, but this allowed the Impala to share the same body routing and components as the Corvette, reducing production costs. The controls were as follows: 3 pickup selectors – none, neck and bridge (black buttons), a tone – dark, mid or bright (red buttons), and mode – solo or accompaniment (blue buttons).
Built in batches typically 100-250 in size, a total of 1058 instruments left the factory, distributed in the United States first by Merson, then Unichord. Each of these batches also included similar numbers of the two-pickup sibling the Hagstrom Impala, 1963-1967.