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Hagstrom Viking Baritone review in drop C

Hi guys, for those of you that know our band you would be familiar with our love for ESP’s and Gibson’s. Having said that I have had a Viking Baritone in my collection since Xmas ’14 but have never managed to incorporate it into our setup as we are in drop C and Baritone guitars are usually set for B and lower.

The guitar came with a .16-.64 setup and was tuned to B standard. I had to tune the guitar up, I could feel it scratch internally as I pressed it to it’s limits. As you’d expect it wasn’t to play, the action as crazy and you’d need the forearm of popeye to play a set with it. As it was though, it had an amazing tone and resonance, so much so it still managed to feature on our track BURNING of our album MMXV

It also was the guitar I wrote CENTRE OF THE UNIVERSE ON in the very first minute of the very first rehearsal. The overtone of the guitar was insane, but never really used it after that and it has been hanging on the wall since. That is also keeping in mind that I tried selling it twice since too. The action was just insane.

Life brought me back looking at the Hagstrom having played an ES 335 recently and fell in love with the body again. To get the kind of one I’d like to have for recording it would be a few grand so it wasn’t an immediate thought. I found a new model (that I wasn’t aware of which was the “Gibson Midtown Deluxe RB Limited Run Root Beer” which is a snip of the price but having not played it and it not really being the shape I wanted, I was unsure what to do.

Thankfully I decided to bring the Viking to a local guitar tech and discuss what gauge we may be able to get away with to make it playable and more sustainable

I usually use a light/heavy set with .10-.52 (given the drop tuning) but was entertaining trying a .12-.52. We agreed that would be crazy and settled in the end on .14-.56

I picked the guitar up on Tuesday and it looks an sounds amazing. It’s now the kind of guitar we will gig with given it’s beautiful rich tone.

If you had asked us over the past few years if it is a guitar you can use for drop C we would have advised against, the new strings have given this baby a new lease of life and can’t wait to hear in our next rehearsal, will update with some videos when we do 🙂

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