Manchester Music Mill employs some of the biggest gear nerds you will ever meet. Even when we are not at work, we are reading, researching, and yearning for that next piece of gear! So we want to share some of our findings with you all, in hopes that you might find a unique guitar that you will want to search out for yourself! This is the first of a 4 part series (and maybe more!) so check in often to see them all!
O’Hagan Guitars – The Nightwatch
The Nightwatch isn’t even the most rare of O’Hagan guitars, but it is my personal favorite. Jerry O’Hagan, the founder, hailed from St. Louis Park, Minnesota. He was your typical musician who was living the dream, making his living by playing and teaching at local music stores. He soon though, found his way into the music product industry in the form of retail and sales positions, and after being impressed by a few Japanese import acoustic guitar brands, he decided that selling guitars may be a bit more lucrative.
Jerry O’Hagan first was involved in brief stint where he imported acoustic guitars from Japan under the “Grande” name. You can find these, well, actually, good luck finding one of these! Soon after though, he realized that times were changing and music was evolving, and just selling acoustic guitars was not going to cut it. Not to mention he did not want to be at the mercy of a foreign supplier. He had a vision that quality, USA made guitars could be had for reasonable prices.
The first O’Hagan designed and produced guitar was the Shark model – which hit the scene in 1979. Like most other O’Hagan guitars, it was made by hand and featured maple and walnut neck through construction. This type of guitar construction was very common at the time, not to mention the similar body shapes that also arriving on the scene during the early 1980s. The Shark was essentially an Explorer type guitar, but it was routed a bit differently to provide more comfort while sitting and playing. Many woods that found their way onto O’Hagan guitars were nicely figured and/or very unique looking.
After the Shark came the Nightwatch single and double cutaway model. These are the most common O’Hagan guitars, although still relatively rare. They pop up once every several months or so. The Nightwatch was your typical Les Paul / Hamer Special type guitar, not exactly a unique design but it had its own flare. Some of them had nice German carves, and they came in natural, burst, coffee, or black finishes. They had either Schaller or Badass bridges, and the pickups were either Schaller, Dimarzio, or Mighty Mite. Check them out!
A Nightwatch generally can be found in the $400 to $700 range depending on condition, options, and finish. There are a couple on the internet priced at a couple thousand dollars although these are not the most accurate representations of their market value. New, in 1981, a NIghtwatch was $479.
It is hard to beat these guitars when you talk quality to price ratio. Hand made, in the USA, with the best ingredients! We have seen 2 here at the store and they have both been treats to have around, however briefly!