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Hagstrom Viking Deluxe Baritone review

The rumble for your jungle

  • £699
  • €695

Our Verdict

The Hagstrom Viking Deluxe really surprised us with its raucous and animalistic appetite for lashings and lashings of gain.

Pros

  • Great for metal, alt-rock and grunge.

Cons

  • Very few major flaws to speak of.

First impressions of Hagstrom's demure semi-hollow Viking are that it's a straight jazz and rock 'n' roller, and that's certainly half-true.

The P-90-esque P-Urified single coil in the neck has enough teeth to bite through those low frequencies and articulate jazzy chords with a fair degree of separation, while with a breaking-up amp, the Viking can handle bluesy rock 'n' roll as easily as warm, sonorous jazz tones.

Read more: Hagstrom Super Swede

The neck, meanwhile, is thick but comfortable, while the Resinator fretboard, unique to all Hagstrom guitars, is a composite material that's designed as a more tonally reliable alternative to ebony. Although string-bending with a set of 0.013s is an Olympian chore and access to the upper frets is like getting a work visa for North Korea, there's a litheness to the Viking.

The Custom 58B humbucker in the bridge is bright and resonant, capable of dishing out a subterranean country vibe a la Lee Hazlewood, and chewy, sinewy classic-rock tones - albeit rendered in sphincter-troubling registers.

Indeed, the more you crank up the gain, the more the Viking Deluxe reveals itself as a surprisingly good option for metal, certainly alternative rock and grunge, with full-blown fuzz pedal action bringing out a harmonically rich and throaty roar, underpinned with the authority of its lower tuning.

Whether you love its Dr Jekyll cleans or succumb to its Mister Hyde alter-ego, the Viking Deluxe is sure to appeal to traditionalists and iconoclasts alike.