O'Hagan Nightwatch Special Bass Blueburst USA 1980's

Jerry O'Hagan was born in 1942 in the west suburbs of Minneapolis.
He studied music at school and until 1971/1972 he earned his living teaching and playing music in music stores.

As a result of this work, in 1971/1972, he began working as a representative for the Chicago musical instrument distributor: Targ and Dinner, which notably distributed Guild brand guitars.

Cover of the 1965 Targ & Dinner catalog
(Source: www.gad.net)

He then worked at Meloway, notably distributor of a brand of Japanese acoustic guitars: Yamaki.

Brochure of the price list of Yamaki guitars distributed by Meloway dating from January 1974.
(Source: www.daion.com)

Following this employment at Meloway and after admiring the quality of Yamaki guitars, he decided to embark on the adventure of Japanese guitars too.

And it was in 1975 that Jerry O'Hagan created his own import company and began marketing Grande brand acoustic guitars from Japan. But he stopped these imports three years later in 1978.

And it was in 1978/1979 that he began manufacturing and marketing his own guitars and basses after developing the Shark model.

O'Hagan Guitars was born!

The Shark is a model in the style of the Gibson Explorer, but with a much narrower body, which makes it more practical to play, especially when seated.

Jerry O'Hagan with his Shark guitar model.

(Source: www.fretboardjournal.com)

These guitars were notably manufactured until 1981 by Roger Benedict before he opened his own guitar company.

But it was in Jeff Hill's store, Knut Koupée Music Store in Minneapolis, that one of the most wonderful stories concerning the O'Hagan brand took place.

Indeed, the story begins with a meeting between Jeff Hill, Prince, Dave Rusan luthier employed at Knut Koupée and an O'Hagan Shark guitar then Nightwatch.

These models are particularly interesting in the history of music of the 80's and even 90's since they are at the origin of the creation of Prince's Cloud Guitar, the first of which, original, was used in his film Purple Rain in 1984.

Here's what Dave Rusan says, in a Fret Board Journal article by John Woodland and Gerald Ronning from May 2020, on the occasion of the sale of Prince's original Cloud Guitar:

"The sides of the Shark were cut off of the maple neck-through body design and new sides were grafted on. The neck pickup humbucker cavity rout was filled with wood to be later routed from the back side of the guitar for the smaller, EMG neck pickup, while the existing bridge pickup rout already accommodated the EMG Prince used. The existing tuner holes were filled and a little wingtip part of the headstock was grafted on from a new piece of wood. Rusan notes that "only the first two were made from O'Hagan necks—after that, I did them all from scratch."

(Source: https://www.fretboardjournal.com/features/the-origin-of-princes-cloud-guitar/)

Dave Rusan in mid-1984, holding the second unfinished Cloud Guitar with the first Cloud Guitar behind him.

Note the hole in the neck pickup that has been filled in and the holes in the mechanical holes have also been filled in. The guitar he held in his hands was originally an O'Hagan Nightwatch.

(Source : https://www.fretboardjournal.com/features/the-origin-of-princes-cloud-guitar/)

In other words, Prince's first two Cloud Guitar(s) were made from an O'Hagan Shark, then an O'Hagan Nightwatch.

This indicates recognition of the quality of O'hagan guitars, but also the inspiration that they have generated among talented luthiers like Dave Rusan.

This is not a guitar, but a bass guitar!

Manufactured with such care and quality, this Nightwatch model from 1980 must surely have been built by Roger Benedict before he left O'Hagan in 1981 to set up on his own.

Recognized as indicated, O'Hagan is a rare brand on the guitar market since the guitars and basses were only produced for 4 years between 1979 and 1983.

All these instruments were made in United States and are of excellent quality.

Additionally, as the photos show, this O'Hagan Nightwatch bass here for sale is in excellent condition!

Technical characteristics :
  • Body: Mahogany
  • Neck: Neck certainly crossing 3 pieces: Maple / Mahogany / Maple
  • Fingerboard: Rosewood
  • Width at nut: 42mm
  • Radius: 9.5"
  • Frets: 21 frets
  • Scale: Long Scale 34" (864mm)
  • Profile: Slim C
  • Hardware: Gold
  • Pickups: Precision type + Dual bridge pickup
  • Controls: 2x Volume / Tone / Switch: Microphone selection / Switch: Phase / Out of phase
  • Country of manufacture: United States
  • Year: 1980's
  • Finish: Blueburst

Often compared to Alembic basses, O'Hagan basses have nothing to be ashamed of.

It's a very versatile bass, with great playing comfort and a very good sound that can be adapted to blues, jazz, rock or pop!

In short, here is a superb bass!

In its original case.

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