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Hagstrom Viking I pickup adventures 17th May 2008

Above: Viking I bridge pickup and mystery 'student' and 'program' knobs. Those aren't polepieces, they're just for show. The stunning new bridge (info likely coming soon on Ant's luthiery blog and I don't want to spoil the surprise!) isn't glued-on, so is absent, its position marked by masking tape. As well as sanding the bridge base to the top contour of the guitar, he sorted out a loose neck pocket and expertly shimmed the neck to match the new bridge. Thanks Ant!
Below: Centreline of the Viking ruled in pencil. There's no spine or central block like on 335s etc, it's totally hollow except for a little block under the bridge. Thankfully the pickups aren't pussy like those on a Coronado, but this does mean the thing feeds back gregariously.
Inside a Hagstrom Viking I pickup. It's essentially a blade pickup with a single bar magnet, and there's tons more space in the pickup cover. These things are a little microphonic, but sound very nice. If you have a broken Viking I pickup, please get in touch as I'd be interested in trying a few things and maybe getting something interesting wound by the one of those cool guys who do work on old pups.
As an experiment I installed a cheap Artec (the company who make the GFS pickups) mini humbucker in the Viking to see what sort of sound it'd produce. The humbucker is a little loose in the mounting ring, but not a terrible fit. Unfortunately once everything was back together and strung-up the thing didn't sound great. Much more clarity and control with distortion and fuzz, but that's not what I'm after at the moment, and clean the bridge position just sounded anaemic and characterless whereas before it was warm and dirty round the edges. So anyway, swapped it back quicksmart, but if you never try these things you'll never learn :-)


Images - Doing something with this, not sure yet.