Levin archtop guitar, bought in 1952

yesterday I bought a Levin archtop guitar.
Bought in 1952 and all this time remained with the same guy.

He told me it was bought in Brussels in 1952 in "La maison du swing". The guy of the shop removed all internal labels because he wanted to sell it as a US Swing Master ( but the import taxes where too high at that moment ).

It's in great condition, but I'd love to find more about this instrument.

I have no idea which model, type this is ...

Serial number is 6202.

You can find some pictures on my site : http://www.embase.be/levin

Thanks for your kind help.

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Nice guitar!!!!

Did you read this?

"This guitar has a history: it was sold by “the House of Swing”, of Stalingrad avenue in the centrum of Brussels, as an American guitar, model “Swing Master”… (but in those times the import taxes were high…) in reality, it was manufactured by LEVIN in Sweden.

Therefore, the importer carefully scraped the interior Swedish labels.
But in this specimen, one can always read some Swedish words between the claws of scraping. One recognizes also the characteristic tuners Levin was using.

Those who know the history of the guitar in Europe know Levin: founded in 1900 (acquired in the Seventies by Martin), their top-of-range was imported in France by Major Conn, then copied by Jacobacci).
This model was really exclusive for Belgium and simpler than Levin Royal, for example (the store used to tell that it had made the design of it) and one sees 2 “connections” on the headstock, in order to lower the cost..., but there is no compromise on sound quality: the table is in carved spurce, and the back and sides are of massive walnut.

The neck is not armed, but it is straight, on the other hand the action is set for a rythm playing (5mm with the 17th hoop). It would be necessary to lower ot for fast soli. The neck joints the case at the 12th fret. The fingerboard is of the same color as the table, but the wood is hard (I don't think it's rosewood - it's too blond, I was told it's probably alder). It has simple dots m-o-p inlays.

The visual effect, blond all over, is superb. The body and soundholes are simply yet elegantly black and white bound. The pickguard has same the binding. The varnish is nicely crackeled and became a bit darker than at the origin.
It has a remarkable sound: very well balanced between bass-middle-high tones, round but with gipsy accents. It's quite powerful for its size (16 1/4 inches at the bottom and 12 at the top of the body and the sides are 3 1/4 inches thick). The scale is 24 3/4 inches. No cutaway.

Definitely a rhythmic jazz box, very European, which holds a place in the history of guitar in Belgium"

I'm in touch with a Swedish guitar player and Levin expert, named "Bottleneck John".
He doubts it's a Swedish guitar, although the text inside is in swedish ...

The quest goes on ..

embee wrote:
I'm in touch with a Swedish guitar player and Levin expert, named "Bottleneck John".
He doubts it's a Swedish guitar, although the text inside is in swedish ...

The quest goes on ..

Search no further....

I agree with "Bottleneck John", at least as far as that this guitar is not manufactured by Levin. There are no typical "Levinesque" signs on it.

It may very well be manufactured or more likely, distributed by a swedish company. In another forum, dealing with Antiquities, there is a discussion on instruments. This guitar was discussed a few weeks ago and one of the guys showed pictures of two guitars in his possession, very simlar to this one. One of the guitars was marked "Bella".

Look in:
(in swedish, but anyway)


Great work lending a hand guys.

My final comment would be that the Levin archtops in the 50:s were far more classy than this one.

The lowest priced of the archtops in 1953, "The Dansant", was still an extremely well built instrument which they sold with a 10 year warranty.
The top of the line, "De Luxe", is a real monster guitar, see the Django picture below...

Django in 1946:

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