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Tag: adjustable trussrod

Levin model 65

Levin Model 65 parlour guitar Made in Sweden 1942
Levin Model 65 parlour guitar Made in Sweden 1942

Last weekend I decided to try to improve the playability a bit on my little parlour Levin model 65 from 1942. It doesn’t have an adjustable trussrod, few guitars did before the 1960’s, and would probably benefit from a neck reset but I thought I should start with the easy things first. Like making a new bridge that is a bit lower and that way get the action down and it worked really well. The easiest would have been to just file down the original bridge but I felt I rather make a new one than mess with the old one.

Update: July 31, 2014
I actually carved a new bridge from scratch, you can read about it here: How to… carve a bridge, that worked out ten times better.

Levin Model 65 parlour guitar Made in Sweden 1942

Levin Model 65
Body width: 315 mm
Spruce top, birch back and sides.
Unbound top, back and headstock.
Unbound walnut fingerboard with mother-of-pearl dot inlay
Rosewood bridge, brass tuners, nickel plated tailpiece
Dark brown finished neck, back & sides.
Sunburst finished top and one year warranty

Levin Model 65 parlour guitar Made in Sweden 1942
Since the strings were off I thought I mights as well even out the fretboard a bit and polish the frets. I cleaned the edges of the frets with a toothbrush and then oiled up the fretboard with lemon oil. I managed to cut through the old glue with a razor blade and that way get the old bridge off.

Levin Model 65 parlour guitar Made in Sweden 1942
I think this bridge has been re-glued a couple of times since 1942 and that’s why some of the nitro lacquer came off. It’s hard to tell, it might have looked like that for 60 years under the bridge, who knows. Either way there isn’t much to do about it so I will just try to ignore it for now. If I can’t stand it I can always put the original bridge back. I got a cheap replacement rosewood bridge from eBay, straight from China for 3.50€. Now I just had to get the angle right, Levin always has their floating bridges in an angle, maybe it’s the same for all floating bridges. I copied the old bridge to get the angle right and started to make it as low as possible. Of course I cut my thumb after about 12 sec and had to rethink my methods of getting the bridge lower. In the end it was a combination of knife, a Swedish Morakniv of course, and sandpaper before I oiled it up with lemon oil to get it dark and nice. I read on Swedish forum that a great trick to get this parlour guitars to sound less jangly or rattly is to mute the tail piece. Apparently the main reason why these small bodied guitars sound like they do is because of the rattling tail piece. I muted mine with half a black sock that I tucked in so you can’t see it and it really made wonders to the sound. It’s a lot warmer and more woody now.

Levin Model 65 parlour guitar Made in Sweden 1942
I copied the string spacing from the old bridge, made a notch with a knife and then filed it down with folded fine sandpaper and a round file. I also realised that since I had to take so much off in the bottom on the high E side, the bridge looked really unbalanced so I cut of a chunk on the other side and rounded off all the edges to try to create a nice looking bridge.

 

Levin LT-16

Levin LT-16 Made in Sweden 1966Levin LT-16 Made in Sweden 1966

When I grew up back in Sweden we always had this old acoustic guitar standing in a corner. It was from my father and I never knew what make it was or how old it could be, my mum just told me that my dad bought it second hand in the early Seventies. Someone had sanded off the name on the headstock and taken off the sticker inside before my dad had bought it. I learned to play on this guitar and it’s still one of my favourites because of the thin neck and slightly smaller body. I recently had an epiphany and found out what guitar it is. About a month ago my girlfriend and I was watching a film and suddenly I got this weird feeling that I actually knew what make my dad’s acoustic guitar is, I recognised the head shape.  I was convinced, it’s an old Levin. I have always thought that it was a Japanese guitar since the pickup looks like one of those Japanese gold foil pickups from the Sixties. I stopped the film and started to search for Sixties Levin guitars and managed to find a very similar one in a vintage guitar shop in Stockholm. I found some more info on the model and now even the serial number on top of the head made sense. It is a Levin LT-16 made in Göteborg, Sweden in 1966. The nickel plated individual Van Gent tuners with metal buttons can be found on Hagström guitars from this time as well. I wish that we would have taken better care of it over the years and that I wouldn’t have been so hard with the pic when I first learned to play but at least now after more than four decades of family confusion we know what it is. It’s a Swedish Levin.

Levin LT-16 Made in Sweden 1966

Levin LT-16 / Goya T-16
Grand Concert size: Body width: 380 mm, body length: 480 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
Single-bound rosewood fingerboard with bass side pearloid dot inlay.
Rosewood bridge, nickel plated individual Van Gent tuners with metal buttons
Matte natural finish and ten year warranty