Claescaster

Month: January, 2015

Mossman Guitars

1979 Mossman Catalog - Great Plains Mossman 1979
1979 Mossman Catalogue, taken from David Hylander Guitar Works

I have recently come across another American guitar maker that was previously unknown to me. I mentioned Grammer guitars earlier, this time it’s Mossman guitars that I’ve fallen in love with. One of the guitar builders that I follow on Instagram, kawvalleyguitars in Kansas, kept posting images of Mossman guitars he had done neck resets on, which awoke my curiosity. After a bit of Googleing I realised that quite a few artists liked Mossman guitars, including John Denver, Eric Clapton, Albert Lee, Doc Watson, Hank Snow, Cat Stevens and Merle Travis. Stuart Mossman got fed up with all the plywood guitars that was pumped out of the big factories in the 1960-70’s and decided to start building his own guitars with real tone woods and proper craftsmanship, and so S.L Mossman Guitars were born in Winfield, Kansas.

Stuart Mossman at work, S.L Mossman Guitars
S.L Mossman Guitars 2
Stuart Mossman in Winfield, Kansas. Here you can read more about the Mossman story

1979 Mossman Catalog - Flint Hills Mossman 1979 1979 Mossman Catalog - Great Plains Mossman 19791979 Mossman Catalog - Timber Creek Mossman 19791979 Mossman Catalog - Golden Era Mossman 1979
This could be the most awesome guitar brochure ever printed, the 1979 Mossman Catalogue, taken from David Hylander Guitar Works

Video of the day

Levin LT-14

Levin LT-14 / Goya T-14 Made in Sweden 1965 Levin LT-14 Made in Sweden in 1965

It has been an extremely good Christmas, not only did I manage to find a 1979 Fender Stratocaster, I also received a little Levin LT-14 from 1965. It’s the smallest of the 1960’s Levin guitars and is roughly like a Martin 00 in size. I bought it about two weeks ago from a guy in Heidelberg, Germany and then it got stuck in some warehouse over Christmas until the Spanish post service could be asked to deliver it. It’s an awesome guitar, pretty much like my dad’s old Levin LT-16 but a tiny bit smaller and with a bit less bass but with more clarity in the upper register. It’s also ladder braced instead of X braced which is not necessarily a bad thing in this case, it gives it a pretty great sound. The weirdest thing is that it’s so well kept for being 50 years old, close to mint and it can’t have been played much in it’s life. Well that’s going to change now because I really like it, especially for finger picking and I’m sure it will mature and sound better and better the more it gets played. This is my 10th Levin, or 11th if you count a Levin LS-16 that I have waiting for me in Sweden. Perhaps it’s time to stop buying old Levin guitars but I can’t, they are just too good to turn down. I have liked some of my Levin guitars less and then one day they surprise you and just sound amazing. I guess the more you play them, the better they sound.

Levin LT-14 / Goya T-14 Made in Sweden 1965 It’s the first time I get a 50 years old guitar home and I have to do nothing to it. There are actually no scratches to the top, that’s just in the grain of the spruce.

Levin LT-14 / Goya T-14
Grand Concert size: Body width: 360 mm, body length: 465 mm, body depth: 98 mm
Fingerboard width: 43 mm, scale length: 630 mm
Spruce top, mahogany back and sides, 4-ply bound top, single-bound back
Mahogany bolt-on neck with adjustable truss rod
Unbound rosewood fingerboard with bass side dot inlay
Nickel plated individual Van Gent tuners with metal buttons
Rosewood bridge, matte natural finish and one year warranty

Western gitarrer, Levin / Goya catalogue 1965 Now I actually have all three, the Levin LT-18, well it’s a Goya T-18 but close enough, my dad’s old Levin LT-16 and this new little Levin LT-14. Taken from a 1965 Levin catalogue. Thanks to Vintage Guitars Sweden

Goya GG-172 (1970), Levin Model 13 (1950), Goya Model 163 (1968), Levin Model 174 (1972), Levin Royal (1951), Levin LM-26 (1959), Levin Model 65 (1942), Goya T-18 (1966), Levin LT-14 (1965), Levin LT-16 (1966) The Levin family at the moment, from left to right: Goya GG-172 (1970), Levin Model 13 (1950), Goya Model 163 (1968),  Levin Model 174 (1972), Levin Royal (1951), Levin LM-26 (1959), Levin Model 65 (1942), Goya T-18 (1966),  Levin LT-14 (1965), Levin LT-16 (1966)

How to… get your acoustic to open up

Levin Goya 172 Made in Sweden 1970 Goya GG-172 Made in Sweden by Levin in 1970

A great way to improve the tone of your acoustic guitar and to get it to open up is to use a normal air pump from a fish tank to give the top a massage. I got an old one, I think the older they are the more they vibrate, that I use on guitars that I buy that hasn’t been played for years. It works great and seems to add both bass, volume and clarity to the guitar. A day or two with the pump is like months of actually playing.