View Full Version : Review: Hagström Deuce F

Doc Rorick
03-27-2012, 03:11 AM
Right out of the gates I've got to give Hagström some love for offering so many of their guitars in lefty models. So many, in fact, that I managed to mistakenly order the (non-F-holed) Deuce and had to return it and wait another week before the Deuce F arrived. Apparently I’m not accustomed to so many options in the left-handed category!

So – on to the guitar.


Body: Mahogany with 10mm carved maple top
Neck: Mahogany, set
Fingerboard: Resinator fretboard with Hagström pearl block position marks, 15in radius
Trussrod: H-Expander
Tuners: Hagström 18:1 die cast
Scale length: 25.5”; Graph Tech Black Tusq XL 43mm nut
Pickups: 2 x Hagström Custom 58 (humbuckers)
Pickup selector: 3-way toggle
Bridge: Long Travel Tune-O-Matic with stop tail piece
Controls: 2 x Vol, 2 x Tone push/pull tone knobs (for independent coil splits)

The LH version is currently available only in Tobacco Sunburst – thank you, thank you for giving us an option other than black!

Images of the guitar can be found on my NGD post:


My initial interest in this model was sparked after reading this review of the guitar by musicradar.com:


After having a chance to give it a good workout over the past couple weeks, I largely agree with the reviewer. It’s a substantial axe – mine weighed in at around 8.3 lbs – but it’s well balanced and feels more solid than heavy, if that makes any sense.


The signature Hagström headstock has mother-of-pearl inlays and that up-do Deco shape; the die cast tuners are deco as well and are a great touch stylistically. The vintage-toned cream-colored binding around the body and neck match the pickup rings and contrasts well with both the Tobacco Sunburst top and oxblood stained mahogany of the body.


Here’s where I run into a mixed bag with the Deuce F.

On the big big positive side: the Resinator fretboard feels amazing. I’ve never played an ebony fretboard (which the Resinator material is designed to emulate), but if this is what ebony feels like then I’m pretty sure it rocks too. I’m not a fast player, but this stuff makes me feel like I’m flying. And with a thin yet super-stiff neck (a combination due to the unique H-Expander truss rod, the Hag website tells me) the playability of this guitar is awesome.

Also a huge positive: the mind-boggling amount of sustain that this guitar generates. The MusicRadar.com reviewer suggests that perhaps it’s the oversized headstock, plus the chambered mahogany body, plus the 10mm maple cap, plus the crazy Hag tailpiece (each string is threaded through it’s own brass block, which is then anchored to the aforementioned thick cap via a piece of acrylic), which gives the Deuce F sustain for days. I’m inclined to think he’s right, but whatever it is that keeps the notes ringing out of this guitar, I’m glad of it. It sounds great… and just keeps on sounding.

The Classic 58 humbuckers are perfectly serviceable, with full-on in-your-face nastiness from the bridge and a clean bright tone (with just a touch of smokiness) out of the neck. Combined, they’re quite appealing as well – in all, there’s a lot of tonal territory to cover with those three toggle-selected options. And I’m glad for that, because here’s where we start to run into the other side of the mixed bag.

I should indicate here that this guitar was built in China and finished at the Hag plant in Sweden. Knowing this going in, I was curious to see what kind of quality I’d end up with (particularly after watching Jesse’s positive review of the Chinese-built Dean Dime From Hell). And as you’ve read above, there’s a lot to like about what Hagström has delivered in the final package. The big stuff – body design and finish, neck setting, playability, ease of tuning (and holding tune – the machine heads aren’t just pretty to look at, they feel solid and smooth and keep things tight as a tiger) and intonation – they nailed. But when it came to the knobs they apparently decided to cut some corners. The three-way pickup toggle works just fine, but feels cheap as chips (and the small plastic covering on the end of the toggle fell off when I took the guitar out of the box: that’s a fine how-do-you-do). The volume and tone knobs are pretty damn cheezy too; they look all right but are slightly warped and so appear to wobble around as you run them through their full range of motion. A little disconcerting, but has no effect on the tone or playability of the guitar – and, admittedly, these are small details, but this next bit I’m plenty frustrated by. The MusicRadar reviewer had mentioned that the push-pull tone knobs were tough to get your fingers under, and that he wished they were a little easier to operate – suggesting that perhaps chunkier knobs instead of the stock witch-hat covers might be easier to use. Well, I dug my fingers under there and all I could manage to do was pop the witch hat off, again and again. Finally I opened up the back cover and had a look; in fact there are no push-pull pots in my guitar at all. I’ve sent an inquiry to Hagström for clarification and at the time of writing this review I’m still waiting for a response; I will update this review when it arrives. I’m expecting to hear something along the lines of “oops yeah no coil-splitting pots on the lefty model”, but who knows. Hope springs eternal. Maybe it was a factory error and they’ll forward me some push-pulls.

Even still, though, those knob issues can’t take away from what for me is the bottom line: playability. This guitar seems to want to jump into my hand – seriously, it feels so good to play I have a hard time walking past it without picking it up. It’s killing me on my work-from-home days ‘cos I’m not getting much work done… The versatility of tone is great (and will take on a whole new dimension once I install those damn push pull pots that were supposed to be stock), and it’s plenty good looking. Ask it to wail? It wails. Ask it to weep? No problem. Ask it to kick you in the teeth with all the dirt and grit you can handle? Done (and can someone give me a ride to the dentist?).

Hagström has done well with their Deuce F. Minor problems and all, I’m extremely happy with the guitar and look forward to getting my hands on their other LH models in the near future.

MusicRadar.com wrapped their review with this:

For the money, you'll struggle to find a better guitar than this. A real winner.

MusicRadar rating:
5 of 5 stars

Doc says: +1 to that.

03-27-2012, 07:03 AM
The good Doctor has written a great review. I now want to go out and find another Haggy!!!! I knew deep in my heart that I should not have sold my Super Swede.

Thank you for the GAS!!!! :beer:

03-27-2012, 12:45 PM
Great review Doc! You set a new standard.

03-27-2012, 12:58 PM
Thanks for the in depth reView! ... As for the push/pulls I don't think anyone is making reverse taper push/pull pots for leftys

Doc Rorick
03-28-2012, 12:33 PM
Just got a response from the U.S. Hagström rep via email; looks like we'll get to the bottom of this push/pull pot problem. Details to follow soon -- and I'll be curious to hear what y'all think...

03-28-2012, 11:15 PM
Hey man, mind if I use this review on the main page? You did a GREAT job

Doc Rorick
03-29-2012, 01:26 AM
Jesse - thanks for the thumbs up on the review!

I'd be more than happy for you to post it on the main page, but please give me a couple of days to get a bit more clarification from Hagström... my guitar "may or may not" be the same as what is being produced and sold as a "Deuce F"; they're running down the serial number history for me now.

If the guitar turns out to be significantly different the review may end up being not very useful to folks considering purchasing this model, but even if it's essentially similar the review is going to need an asterisk at the end.

Stay tuned!

03-29-2012, 09:24 AM
ok let me know and I'll throw it up there

Doc Rorick
03-29-2012, 05:03 PM
All right, here's an update on my Deuce F.

Turns out that the guitar that I've ended up with is a spec model that was produced as a prototype for trade shows etc. before the main run began, and for whatever reason it wasn't fitted out with push/pull tone pots. The U.S. Hagström rep (from U.S. Music Corp) that responded to my inquiry via the "contact us" page on the Hag website has offered to swap the guitar out for a newer model if I'm interested. Of course, I'll have to ship the thing back to The Music Farm in OH myself (I'm sure the folks at The Music Farm will be overjoyed to have to deal with another return from me on the same order), and since there are no Deuces or Deuce Fs of even wrongy construction anywhere near me I can't go check them out and see what the difference in quality/build/feel/features might be, if any.

I thought that perhaps Hagström might just want to send me some push/pull tone pots (and Allroy, I'll have to ask if they're actually lefty -- if so, the Hag folks may be making the only ones on the planet) that I can install myself, and suggested this to the rep via email. But then I got to thinking... what if this weren't the only difference? What if there are significant structural variations? Are the rest of the electronics the same? I just tried to call him directly to see if he's got any insight on this but he's out of the office until Tuesday. Looks like I've got a few days to mull this over.

So, these are my quandaries:

1. Most importantly -- do I swap out the guitar I have, which may either be better or worse than a main run instrument, with no way of knowing? I'm somewhat inclined to keep the 'prototype' I have, since I like the feel and playability, plus it's a bit of a rare bird. But is this just romanticism? Would I be better off with an instrument made after the kinks had been worked out of the design and process?

2. How to annotate the main review to indicate that the instrument I reviewed 'might' be similar to the Deuce F any other reader would be able to find? Or is it even necessary? I may get more information on what else might be non-standard on my guitar when I talk to the rep next week and could update my review with it, but then again he may not be able to tell me anything else about how they differ.

What do y'all think, LGTf?

03-29-2012, 05:29 PM
How did you find these in the first place? Nobody shows them being in stock, not even Music Farm!

Doc Rorick
03-29-2012, 07:25 PM
How did you find these in the first place? Nobody shows them being in stock, not even Music Farm!

I think it might have been a case of just wanting the thing so damn badly I made it real... looking back on my internet history, I don't think that Music Farm ever actually stocked it. Jennings Music in Georgia now has it here:

http://www.jenningsmusiconline.com/Hagstrom_Deuce_F_Hole_2xCustom58_Lefty_p/ducf-l-tsb.htm (the picture shows a black model, but their code indicates it is Tobacco Sunburst)

but when I bought mine I don't think there were any in the U.S. yet. So here's what I figure happened: I pulled up the Music Farm website, saw the lefty Deuce (but mistakenly thought it was the Deuce F), clicked on Make an Offer and threw out a number I never thought would be accepted... but it was!

So, then, the Deuce arrived. I promptly returned it and told them that I actually wanted the Deuce F, and the guy who was helping me at Music Farm just said "oh, ok -- no worries, I'll sort it out". He must have called Hagström and asked if he could get a Deuce F for some rockhead who ordered something that wasn't yet distributed in the U.S. But between The Music Farm and Hagström U.S., they made it happen... with the *mystery spec model* I now have.

I just found this review of the guitar (admittedly, a wrongy) by a shop up in PDX. It's what I would have done for my review if I could play like that for y'all. It gives a good indication of the tone etc., and makes me jones for the coil-split pots even more. It also gave me my first look at a main-run model, and it looks like everything is the same save for the push-pull tone pots (of course), the 3-way toggle, and the finish on the back of the guitar. Thad dude's is black -- mine is a dark cherry/mahogany stain that shows the grain and is more to my liking:


ch willie
03-29-2012, 09:25 PM
That guitar sounds and looks great. Looks like the price is pretty good too.

03-30-2012, 07:34 AM
let me know when u figure out how you want to go with the final review. If they will give you the guitar you WANT I think you should go for it. Although at the same time, it is kinda cool to have a prototype.

Doc Rorick
04-01-2012, 12:35 AM
Jesse -- I think maybe I'm freakin' out about this more than I should. Hagström shipped my guitar to a distributor, so they must feel that it's representative of the model. Let's call the review valid.

If you want me to tweak it at all, shoot me a pm. Otherwise, rock it.

Now, about having a prototype vs. main production model... tough choice!

04-01-2012, 11:18 AM
its up, thanks dude...great job on it

04-01-2012, 06:59 PM
I want this guitar so bad...

Doc Rorick
04-02-2012, 01:20 AM
I want this guitar so bad...

Looks like a retailer has one up on the Bay- I just posted a link in the "keeping an eye out" section. Man, I love this guitar!

Doc Rorick
05-03-2012, 06:45 PM
So, I've been going back and forth with a rep from US Music (Hagström's US distributor) about my spec Deuce F. I suggested that he send me a set of push/pull tone pots that I could install myself instead of shipping the whole guitar back to him for a newer model, as I kinda enjoyed having a one-off guitar and probably one of the first if not the very first of that model ever made. Trouble is, I'd have to sink more $$ into the guitar to get it up to speed: the pups were not wired for push/pull because evidently it wasn't in the plans at the time to do coil tapping on that model. Well, it was fun playing that one-off, but I've just shipped the Deuce F back to US Music for a main-run version.

I'll be really interested to see what the newer model plays like, and in the meantime my other guitars will get some attention as when that Hagström is around it's tough for me to pick up anything else...

05-04-2012, 09:22 AM
Interesting twist of events ....

Doc Rorick
06-29-2012, 02:22 AM
Semi-thread resurrection!

It's taken me a while to get this update together (something about building a countercaster in the meantime), but here it is in any case.

U.S. Music came through like champs and swapped out the spec Deuce F for a 'real' model. I've had a fair amount of time to spend with it and have noticed a few significant differences, which are worth making note of as addenda to the review at the start of this thread.

The first is strictly cosmetic. The spec model was fitted with cream pickup rings and oxblood sides and back. Shockingly, I didn't take a picture of the back of that original spec guitar for my own archives nor for this axe's NGD posting, but the color of the side of the guitar as well as the cream pickup rings can be seen either in my album entitled "Deuce F - SPEC" or on the NGD post here (third pic down):

http://www.leftyguitartrader.com/forum/showthread.php?3210-NGD-Hagstrom-Deuce-F! (http://www.leftyguitartrader.com/forum/showthread.php?3210-NGD-Hagstrom-Deuce-F!)

The 'real' or main-run production model features black pickup rings, black sides, and a black back. It's still a sharp looking guitar, but I have to say I was partial to the cream and oxblood. Anyway, it's all rock and roll. Check it out:


back in black


detail of the top and pickup rings


(sorry for the dark image; sun was going down and the natural light was leaving fast)


The up-do headstock is still the same, though with one added detail: the truss rod plate now reads DEUCE - F. On the spec it was blank.

So, some cosmetic changes. Big deal, yeah? I mean, the black looks fine.

What really grabbed me were the next two differences. First, of course, were the coil tapping tone pots. The humbuckers on this baby have plenty of growl and rumble, but I was suitably impressed with the tone I could get out of both the bridge and the neck individually with the pups split as single-coils. And drive them a little bit? Holy sh!t! I was in rock and roll heaven with these babies. Tasty, meaty, but with single-coil definition and the bark you get from pushing dem mild-mannered low-output halves harder than they thought they wanted to go. Yep, mighty tasty. And there are so many tone options to choose from: straight up buckers, which sound pretty damn good on their own (though I'm tempted to take the metal covers off 'em for a go), and splitting the coils on both neck and bridge together opens up a whole new dimension. All of this on top of the craaaaaazy sustain that this guitar pumps out, and I can tell you that it's freakishly enjoyable to play.

But wait, it gets better! Because it turns out that the neck and fretboard on this main-run model are even better than what I called "sweet as" on the previous review. There was a bit of fret buzz on the bass strings of the spec model -- nothing that came through the amp, but I could definitely feel it while I was playing -- that my guitar doctor told me was just going to be a part of that guitar's personality after leveling the frets and spending a week with it on his own. Vagary of the neck. I figured what the hell, it doesn't affect the sound of the guitar and while I notice it, it doesn't really bother me.

Well, actually, now having played the same model that has ZERO fret buzz and feels even more dialed in than the previous guitar right out of the box, I realize that it did in fact bother me. It was just a bit of behavior that annoyed, even if it I couldn't hear it coming out of the amp. Not worth the time. But this new guitar? It was like going on a date with an 8.5 and being really damn happy with that, and then the next day getting hit on by a 9.5 -- basically, going from "great" to :thrasher:

So, you can put Doc down for another round of high praise of what Hagström is doing -- both in general terms of their QPR, as well as the fact that they take care of us lefties. And they've been doing it for five decades: I've recently picked up a '66 Hagström III that will make an appearance in the Lefty Showroom someday soon (it's in need of a good cleaning and re-fretting first). So, tack Sverige! And thank you Hagström. Keep doin' what you're doin'. This Deuce F gets top marks from me for looks, features, playability, value, and tone. :first: I'm freakin' happy.

06-29-2012, 02:40 AM
Pup rings should be an easy fix.
Hagström are very good to us lefties and have apparently been like that for a while. You picked up a '66? I'm forever trying to convince a guy on another forum to sell me his '67 Hag. I'd write him a big-ass check but he won't bite. Still he keeps on mentioning the Hag to be his least favorit... (C'moooon Mickey, I'd be so good to it)
Congrats on the new guitar, make it sing!