Claescaster

Tag: Made in China

Levin W32 NS

Levin W32 NS, Made in China, Svenska Levin AB, 2014Levin W32 NS, Made in China in 2014 by Svenska Levin AB

I finally got a chance to try one of the new Chinese made Levin guitars. Levin closed down the factory in Gothenburg, Sweden back in 1981 when Svenska Levin AB bought the name and the remaining stock. A small batch of classical guitars continued to be made in Sweden by Lugnås Gitarr AB, and are still made there today. During the 1990’s there were some electric guitars and amps being produced in the far east under the Levin name, my first amp that I bought around 1997 was Levin branded. It took another 10 years until we started to see some Levin steel string acoustic guitars, these being produced first in Korea, then Indonesia and later China. Of course it’s impossible to compare a Swedish made guitar from the 1960-70’s with something being produced nowadays in Asia but I’m still quite impressed with these new Levin guitars. I emailed the owner and he told me that they had some issues in the beginning to get the finish right and I have to admit that the build quality is far from a Swedish Levin but still, if you see it for what it is then it’s a pretty great guitar for the price.

Levin W32 NS, Made in China, Svenska Levin AB, 2014Levin W32 NS, Made in China, Svenska Levin AB, 2014Levin W32 NS, Made in China, Svenska Levin AB, 2014A modern Levin, built in China for Svenska Levin AB

Tanglewood TRP-73VSE

Tanglewood Rosewood Grand Reserve TRP-73VSE 2011
Tanglewood Rosewood Grand Reserve TRP-73VSE 2011

Tanglewood Grand Reserve TRP-73VSE, Parlour guitar 2011, 400€ 350€
Araceli and I have decided to put one of our Tanglewood’s up for sale and just keep her favourite Tanglewood Premier TW133. The Tanglewood Grand Reserve TRP-73VSE is a very beautiful and well sounding little parlour, especially plugged in, designed in the UK and hand built in China.  Solid Sitka spruce top and rosewood back and sides this model produces a great rich tone with brilliant resonance for a small bodied guitar especially with the superb onboard B-band A3 pickup system. Other features include quality gold Kluson style machine heads, maple and herringbone binding and a lovely vintage sunburst high gloss finish. TRP-73VSE RRP £399.00

Hagstrom Viking

Hagstrom Viking, Tobacco Sunburst 2008Hagstrom Viking, Tobacco Sunburst 2008

It’s with a heavy heart that I have decided to part with my Hagstrom Viking. I bought the guitar back in 2010 and have unfortunately not had time to play it as much as I wanted, some Japanese Telecasters got in the way. I had three semi-hollow bodied guitars at one point and kept this the longest, I sold the other two last year. I guess the more guitars you have the more you realise what feels good for you to play. For me, fat necked Telecasters feels really nice to play, I’m a bit gay for old Greco Telecasters from the 1970’s. If you are interested in inherit this Hagstrom Viking from the Claes Collection then get in touch. You can read more about it here for sale, or in Spanish here.

Update: April 4, 2014 The Hagstrom Viking is now sold to Rafa from Cobarde.

Hagstrom, or Hagström as we call it back home, was founded in 1925 by Albin Hagström in Älvdalen, Sweden. They made amazing electric guitars from 1958 to 1983, played by guys like Elvis Presley, Jimi Hendrix, Noel Redding, Joe Walsh, Dweezil and Frank Zappa to name a few. I have played on a lot of Hagstrom guitars and amps during my teenage years back in Sweden and learned to play bass on my stepdad Sten’s Hagstrom Jazz bass from 1976. I have an fairly mint Hagström HIIN OT from 1975 back in Sweden that I really like. I guess it was out of national pride that I got so excited and bought the Hagstrom Viking when they started to make them again in 2004. They have a few models that are made in the EU, but not in Sweden, and the rest is made in China. I have actually only played my Viking from 2008 so I can’t really comment on the quality of the Chinese Hagstroms today but mine is very well built for the price. I would say that they are better than Gretsch Electromatic, Epiphone and the Ibanez semi-hollow bodied, all in roughly the same price range.

Zappa plays Zappa, Hagstrom ad

Tanglewood Premier TW133

Tanglewood Premier TW133 2010
Tanglewood Premier TW133, designed in the UK and handcrafted in China in 2010

When I met my other half Araceli back in 2007 she already new the basic cowboy chords but never really played guitar, I had only heard her strum a handful of times. She told me that she didn’t really like to play on my guitars since I seemed to care so much about them so I thought the best way around that would be to get her a guitar of her own. I also felt that since I had experienced so much joy through music in my life that would be the least I could give to the woman I love. I talked to her family and we agreed to put in 50 Euro each and get her a guitar for her birthday in September 2010. It was down to me to find a suitable guitar within our budget so I started to do some research. I knew that a parlour guitar would be best option, she is pretty small so I thought that a small bodied guitar would be easier for her to handle. I already had an inexpensive parlour a Vintage V880N that I liked but didn’t love so I thought I would try another brand this time and started to read about Tanglewood. People seemed to really like them, especially in the UK, and they had quite a few parlour sized models so it felt like a good start. Since you can’t just walk in to a guitar shop here in Barcelona and try what you are looking for, the shops here are useless and have nothing in stock, I had to rely on reviews and then order the guitar online. In the end I went for the Tanglewood Premier TW133, since I thought she would really like the look of it, or at least I loved the dark wood and the simplicity of it. I also felt that a solid mahogany top and back would give a bit more warmth and body to it compared to most new made parlour guitars which I feel normally lack that. She was really happy with her birthday present and started to play almost daily and soon after we even started a band together called Chest Fever.

© Claes Gellerbrink, photographs can't be used without permission. Araceli and Claes Chest Fever session, Barcelona 29-04-2012
Araceli, Chest Fever session, Barcelona 29-04-2012

Tanglewood Premier Historic TW133 ASM
SHAPE: Parlour, TOP: Solid Mahogany, BACK: Solid Mahogany
SIDES; Mahogany, NECK: One Piece Mahogany
FINGERBOARD: Rosewood, BRIDGE: Rosewood
SADDLE: PPS, Compensated, 72mm, NUT: PPS (43mm)
SCALE LENGTH: 650mm, BRIDGE PINS: Black with White Dots
MACHINE HEADS: Chrome open geared (changed to gold Grovers)
FINISH Natural Satin, STRINGS: D’Addario EXP11, 12-53, RRP: £269.95