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Goya and Levin Guitar Owners

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Goya and Levin Guitar Owners

A group for those of us who own and appreciate or don't own and just appreciate Goya and Levin Guitars made in Goteborg Sweden for over 70 years!

Members: 72
Latest Activity: Oct 10

Discussion Forum

Goya TS-4 1964 Vintage 7 Replies

Just joined group so I thought  this might be of interest. I was recently looking for an inexpensive 12 string and was close to buying an Epiphone but the seller didn't return my call. So I checked…Continue

Started by jack stepick. Last reply by Rob Griffiths Sep 17.

RENT A GOYA URGENT 3 Replies

Hello My name is Erin Finnegan and I am a Prop master for a theatre in Fort Worth. We are doing The Sound of Music. I know this sounds like an odd question, but do any of you know of any place or…Continue

Tags: help, rent, goya

Started by Erin Finnegan. Last reply by Rob Griffiths Sep 14.

RENT A GOYA

Hello My name is Erin Finnegan and I am a Prop master for a theatre in Fort Worth. We are doing The Sound of Music. I know this sounds like an odd question, but do any of you know of any place or…Continue

Tags: help, rent, goya

Started by Erin Finnegan Aug 28.

Bert Berns 1 Reply

The early 1960s minor hit for Gene Pitney: "If I Didn't Have A Dime".  Remember it?https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3-4PzVp_yK8The reason I'm…Continue

Started by norman druker. Last reply by Ben Hershman Jun 27.

Comment Wall

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Comment by Ted Hechtman on May 2, 2012 at 9:10am

Comment by Ted Hechtman on May 2, 2012 at 9:10am

Hi everyone..sorry for my intermittent participation but HEALTH is becoming an issue. I have just purchased a Martin/Goya or Goya?Martin G305. It is a small dread shape. Adjustable bridge. Laminate top and sides. Dandy shaped headstock. Rode hard and put away wet till I got it. I have a question. There seems to be little info out there. I found a page in an old Goya/Martin catalog but little else. I am quite surprised at the tone. The low end is splendid. Anyone out there have any info?

Comment by Magnus Hultin on February 21, 2012 at 12:10pm

Dave,

Go to the Moon site, click on News and scroll halfway down the page down to the Thomas Fraser Commerorative section, click the Thomas Fraser link and from that site click on images. There are some beautiful pictures of the piece.

Here is one....

And I am pretty shure it is shown on the moon pages, here in the hands of the migthy Peter Rowan, who apparently owns a Moon guitar.

Comment by Dave G on February 20, 2012 at 6:47pm

Hello Magnus...I checked out the 'Moon" site, looking for the aforementioned 'Thomas Frazer' commemorative.  I have regrets for selling my old M26 and would like to check out this 'reincarnation'.  Do you know if there is a corresponding model # in Jimmy's catalog?  Thanks.

Comment by Mike Raeburn on February 20, 2012 at 4:31pm

Hi Magnus,

Thanks for the information, very interesting. The history of Levin would make a great business management study. What would you have done when Goya cancelled the order?

I got my LT-18 back from Jimmy this week. Somebody had fitted it with a replacement nut that was about 4mm too narrow. The strings were far too close together and it was virtually unplayable. Jimmy fitted a new nut and spaced the strings out as far as possible, what a difference! I did some comparisons with my LN-26 as I have now fitted them both with Elixir strings. (.011 - .052) The tone is markedly different between the two guitars, hard to describe but different. First time I have tried Elixir on my 6 strings, I use them all the time on my Taylor W55 12string, so the jury is out as they say. Years ago I used to use LaBella silk and steel 10s which were excellent and held tone for ages so we'll see how the Elixir compare. I usually use 10s as I don't like over stressing old guitars with loads of tension so hopefully the 11s will not pull the necks up and remove the bridges! Will let you know how I get on.

Comment by norman druker on February 20, 2012 at 1:33pm

Thanks Magnus.  Great post!

Comment by Magnus Hultin on February 20, 2012 at 12:12pm

Mike,

I think Your story is partly true. Goya Guitar Inc.(formerly Hershman Music of NY) had placed a huge order (120.000 guitars over a 10 year period). The contract was signed late 1967 and by then the LEssebo factory was already in operation since approximately 2 years.

Less than a year later Goya changed owner and the new owner wanted out of the contract. The new owner was Avnet who already owned Guild at the time.

Here is an article from a Swedish export paper in April 1968

By christmas the same year the contract was broken. Levin had to let 50 % of the workforce, 30 (out of 60) persons in Gothenburg and 10 (out og 20) in Lessebo. Levin management processed ofcourse but what could they do against a huge corporation like Avnet. They would have lasted for years in such a process. Levins attorneys adviced for a settlement.

 

As for the Martin purchase, this was in 1973 and by then the Goya rights had been overtaken by Kustom (in 1969) and by Dude Inc (aprox 1972). I know for a fact that the Levin main owner, who was also the president of the company, wese searching for a new invester, and in those years Mr Frank Martin had his "spending trousers" on. In 1973 it was declared that Martin had purchased 100% of the company, and that Levin was to becom Head Office for Martins European operations.

 

The original Thomas Frazer Goliath (template for the commemorative Moon-Guitar) was a 1960 LM-26 and I do believe they were a bit rough on the inside, but not very much differrent from Your LT-18.

And most I hear is that they still sounded great. I know I like mine, and I don´t spend to much time looking inside. I can tell You this, compared with the inside of a typical Ovation, these Levins look like furniture.

 

 

Comment by Mike Raeburn on February 18, 2012 at 7:27pm

Hi Magnus,

As I understand Levin got a huge order for Goya branded guitars and set up another factory to cope. Then the order was cancelled. Levin went bust after that and was bought out by Martin. Is this correct?

By the way when I was chatting to Jimmy he told me the commemorative that he makes looks like a Levin on the outside but the interior arrangements are as he put it, "More up to date." I got the distinct impression he was not too taken with the interiors of Levins.

Ted, I keep temperature and humidity gauges in the two rooms that have my guitars stored in. It is amazing the differences in humidity that appear from day to day. All my guitars are in hard cases so that helps to even out the changes without shocking the wood too much. Wood gets more brittle the older it gets and makes splitting more likely. Be careful of making the guitar too wet as taking it out of its box will immediately start it drying out again and add stress to the wood. Remember wood shrinks/expands mainly across the grain and along the line of the annual rings. The latter is usually not a problem with guitar fronts as they are quarter sawn at right angles to the annual rings. However they will expand and contract across the grain. If the rest of the body does not move with it then the wood split or buckle. It can also move enough to detach the braces. A couple of mine need new tops as they are too far gone to fix. I'm not too fussed about replacing parts of guitars, they are made to be played and they wear out, so unless it's a museum piece where originality is everything then it deserves to be fixed. My 12 string LTS5 (s/n 461343) is so badly split I will have to replace the top. Looks like someone over tensioned it and collapsed the neck and neck block into the body. It's a real mess, it appears on the Vintage site but has obviously had a hard time since then. I have a nice bit of AAA grade spruce to repair it with so hopefully it will end up as good or better than it was originally.

Comment by Ted Hechtman on February 18, 2012 at 9:40am

Hi all. I just got an old Goya classical, The top is cracked along the grain in a few places. I'm humidifying the thing at the present in hopes of getting the top to close up a bit. I have info on how I'm supposed to fix it but anyone out there have any helpful insight??? One crack seems to sink one side of the fissure. What the best way to raise it up and seal it?

Comment by Magnus Hultin on February 2, 2012 at 4:06pm

Mike,

It is interresting to read that Your LT-18 is cared for by Jimmy Moon. He makes a nice replica of the original "Levin Goliath", the LM-26, as a "Thomas Frazer commemorative" guitar.

I own a Goya model 163 which is the last version of the sunburst Goliath. I also have a Levin LT-18, a very fine instrument.

 

As much as I like Levin instruments, and as much as I would have loved for them to have survived, I don´t think we can blame Martin very much. They struggled with Levin for 9 years and I doubt that they ever got their money back. The asian competition simply became to tough in the end and that hurt also on the American mainland. In the end I think it became a matter of saving Martin and they closed down parts making insufficient profit outside US. I have read in books about Martin that Chris Martin had comitted to not have to start layoffs in the Nazareth operation.

No one, including Martin people, denies Levin highspec instruments were of good quality, they simply were to expensive to manufacture.

 

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