Documenting history as well as my experiences with repairing and restoring vintage guitars.

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My First Large Restoration This guitar is well known for being the instrument that Elvis played in his comeback tour And the...

1968 Hagstrom Viking II DeLuxe Restoration

My First Large Restoration

This guitar is well known for being the instrument that Elvis played in his comeback tour

And then


The restoration

It was my first big restoration and so far one of the largest I've taken on. I learned a whole lot and would definitely do it again given the chance. For ease, I'll just quote what I put on the Reverb listing

I've restored this in my free time which involved a lot of work (the second to last picture shows the condition I received it in). From the top of the guitar working down; two silver OEM Van Ghent tuners to replace the original gold ones which were missing, new bone nut, new mother of pearl inlays, new 3 ply around the fretboard, new vintage sized nickel/steel frets, and all new wiring. The guitar does not have a pickguard however. NOS ones are fairly expensive. Most all of the brass hardware has been polished to bring out its original shine which makes this guitar look a whole lot better in my opinion. I am also looking to source two gold tuning machines for the guitar so it will have a complete set
The original parts in this guitar are, but not limited to, the body and neck, the pickups, toggle switch, input jack, tailpiece, string tree, Hagstrom logo, and "Micro-matic" bridge. These guitars are incredibly hard to find parts for but this is one mostly complete with the hardware which is definitely where it counts. The scale is 24 5/8" and the guitar comes with a Stratocaster style headstock which was only seen in the late 1960s before they changed it, likely to prevent legal issues. The neck is super slim, as advertised as "The fastest playing neck in the world" but still comfortable. The guitar has a flamed maple top and back
This guitar is a beauty and the definition of a player's grade guitar. Its not a museum piece by any stretch of the imagination yet it is still one of my favorites. I'd be surprised if you'll see another one of these for a while, they really don't pop up that often
I actually ended up contacting one of the descendants of the company's founder and emailing him to see what he knew about my particular guitar
You have a Viking made in Älvdalen Sweden 24th of January 1968.
And sent to Unicord our importer to the US on 26th of January 1968.
What they have done with it is impossible to say.
Kind regards

Serial number 732211, my baby! My only gripe was my fear of damaging it since the finish was crumbling due to age and climate and the fact that it didn't really suit any of my styles of playing. I couldn't get into playing it like I could get into just staring at it. It ended up selling for a very pretty penny to a fellow in Japan who said he had been looking for one for quite a while.

It might be one of my gear regrets to sell it but I think I'd like to buy an ES335 kit and build a guitar in tribute to it. An ES-335 body with a Strat-style headstock is now my new favorite thing thanks to this guitar

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