Hagstrom Corvette

Hagstrom Corvette

Guitar Gavel podcast with Laurence Carpenter of Rock Solid Investments

In this episode I have a wonderful conversation with Laurence Carpenter of Rock Solid Investments. Laurence is a broker of high-end music memorabilia and artifacts based in Dublin, Ireland.

To give you an example of the type of memorabilia that Laurence brokers some of his current offerings include: Kirk Hammett’s 1969 Fretless Wonder Les Paul used to record “The God That Failed Me”, Bono’s handwritten lyrics to U2’s “When Love Comes To Town”, and a John Lennon stage used Fender Bandstand amplifier.

Laurence’s career began when he flipped a limited edition Michael Jackson print and made $3,000. The next three pieces were Michael Jackson stage worn hats that collectively netted well north of $100,000.

Our conversation covers how Laurence got his start in the business, his affinity for collecting Noel Gallagher’s guitars, and the detective work he deploys to find and authenticate memorabilia. We also get to see Johnny Marr’s personal Flying V that he loaned to Noel Gallagher of Oasis. The guitar was used by Noel to record “Cigarettes And Alcohol” and “Slide Away”. Then Laurence brings out a Jimmy Page autographed and played Yamaha acoustic that he donated to a charity 20 years ago.


Hagstrom Corvette

Headquartered in Alvdalen, Sweden Hagstrom began manufacturing their own accordions in 1932 and slowly diversified into the acoustic/classical guitar category in the 1940s.

Hopping on the electric guitar bandwagon in 1958 Hagstrom unveiled their first solid body electrics, the Deluxe and Original.  Very ORIGINAL names :-).  The body styles resembled a Les Paul and Stratocaster, but had their own integrity. Furthermore, Hagstrom claimed to have the “Fastest Necks in the World” thanks to their H-Expander Stretcher truss rod system. A debatable statement, but their necks were thin. 

In 1963, Hagstrom introduced a uniquely original body, though once again the names weren’t very original, the Impala and Corvette. 

It wasn’t General Motors that was upset with the use of the names, it was Gretsch and their Corvette guitar.  That conversation resulted in the name being changed to “Condor” for U.S. distribution.   

The Corvette was a three pickup version of the Impala, and borrowing from the accordion style of building guitars both had a plethora of switches.  

For the Corvette, the black switches were pickup selectors, reds were dark, mid or bright tone controls, and the two blue switches were solo or accompaniment modes. 

The Hagstrom catalog described these functions as the “crowd-pleasing guitar gives you the wide range of 27 tonal effects”.

The master volume is a slider on the pickguard instead of a control knob and the little silver pot is the solo/accompaniment volume control.  

Hagstrom’s very own Tremar vibrato graced this model and was also seen on several Guild and Harmony models in the 1960s as well.  

I couldn’t spec the type of wood used for the body and Hagstrom advertised it as a “hardwood”.  Nonetheless, production quality from Hagstrom was very high given their rich history of building accordions and the Corvette was a fancy, set neck offering that lasted from 1963-1967. In fact, the Corvette and Impala were the only set neck guitars Hagstrom produced with the Corvette having a retail price of approximately $320 USD.

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