I purchased an old Cromwell 12 string as a project guitar. The back and sides appear to be laminated rosewood, top is solid spruce. I would like to find the age of the guitar, but I've had no luck with online searches. I did find out that Gibson made some depression era guitars in Chicago under the Cromwell name, but no mention of Cromwell Sweden. I have removed the fingerboard and so included a photo of the truss rod assembly if that might help date guitar.
I was hoping someone here might know of a web site for dating odd guitars like this one. I really don't think the guitar is worth a lot of money, I just thought it would be nice to know the history behind it, if any.
Made in Sweden
Our friend Roger Haggstrom is the regular correspondent from Sweden and usually jumps in with information on things from his neck of the woods. Perhaps he is off for Scandinavian holidays at the moment. You could try sending him a pm.
Without knowing anything, which is my strong suit, I would say this is mid to late 60s.The guitar itself bears a striking resemblance to the Gibson B45-12 (introduced 1961). But the label looks just like a Guild label and the truss rod looks like what Hagstrom used.
Guild and Hagstrom (a source of good bass pickups and questionable bass bridges) had a relationship in the 60s. I wouldn't be surprised if this guitar was made by Hagstrom.
Great information. Thanks for the reply.
Good to know. I'm in no hurry, so I'll contact him after the holidays.
It's a Hagström built 12-string guitar. Looks like Guild sold Hagström guitars under the name Cromwell. Can't seem to find the exact 12 string model, but David Bowie had one like that 1970!
That's it! Same odd bridge setup and truss rod cover. Once I started looking for Hagstrom guitars, l found this vintage Hagstrom/Bjarton web site in Sweden.
Appreciate all your help.
Aha. Bjärton made it and Hagström sold it to the USA. Hagström was the biggest factory in Sweden when it came to electrical guitars, Bjärton is the second largest acoustic guitar maker in Sweden, second to Levin.
The big difference between the two acoustic guitar makers is that Levin always used solid woods, Bjärton almost always used plywood (thin "airplane plywood") in the sides and bottom. Some early or high end Bjärton was also made with solid woods.
Found a catalog with the guitar from 1966.
Joshua & Roger were correct. Hagstrom made Cromwell for Guild, circa 1960's,
I conversed via email with Rikard at Vintage Guitars, Sweden. He confirmed this is a Bjarton made guitar, Bjarton serial number - built in 1965. He doesn't have full history of Bjarton/Cromwell connection, but suggests it may have been Guild who ordered them through Hagstrom.This is only the second Bjarton made C-112 he has encountered.