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1944 Levin Model 22

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Serial #: 144953, stamped on top edge of headstock

Body size at lower bout: 17 3/8" (440 mm) Scale length: 24 3/4" (630 mm) Nut width: 1 10/16" (42mm) Body depth: 3 3/8" (85 mm)

Materials: Handcarved bookmatched solid Romanian spruce top; solid bookmatched curly black walnut back and sides; solid mahogany neck; ebony fingerboard with scribed mother of pearl block fingerboard and peghead inlay; 5-ply body, neck, head and pickguard binding, triple bound f-holes; solid bone nut.

Hardware: Original nickel hardware includes trapeze tailpiece, open back Grover Sta-Tite style tuners. Vintage correct aged bound tortoise pickguard, adjustable compensated rosewood bridge.

Notes: We have often wondered why, out of the plethora of steel string guitar builders in postwar Europe, the instruments produced by the Levin company of Sweden stand out head and shoulders in terms of quality, construction and design. Now we know. Seems that late in the 19th century, company founder Herman Levin spent a number of years perfecting his craft in the US, eventually opening his own factory in New York. But unlike his fellow countrymen, the Strombergs and the Larsons, Levin returned home in 1900, bringing his New World instrument designs and production methods with him.

By the end of WWII, the Levin company offered a full line of fretted instruments, including at least ten different models of archtop guitars, which they had been building as early as 1929. By the time the company officially closed a half century later, Levin had produced over 30 different archtop models, establishing themselves as the premier European builder of orchestra guitars.

This rare example is the Levin Model 22, which made its debut circa 1940. A full size orchestra guitar, the Model 22 was initially built with a maple back and sides, which were upgraded in 1942 to solid black walnut. A hard, dense tonewood particularly noted for its brilliance and clarity, black walnut is similar in tonal response to Brazilian rosewood. Costly and challenging to work, black walnut was used on prewar Epiphone Broadway and Spartan models, both famed for their exceptional projection and headroom.

At a phenomenal 4 lb. 15oz. (2.26 kg) the guitar is one of the lightest full size archtops we've ever played, with a neck of solid mahogany, whose strength and lighter weight have long been preferred by builders such as Bob Benedetto. The parallel braced soundboard is carved to exceptionally fine tolerances, and is beautifully bookmatched of solid Romanian spruce. The neck has a fine full C profile, solid in the hand, with fine original frets, smooth low action over a fresh high precision setup, and a solid Brazilian rosewood fingerboard with diamond pattern position markers.

Maintained in wonderful condition, the instrument is remarkably free of pick, buckle, thumb or fingerboard wear. The deep sunburst finish is all original, and the original nickel hardware includes a vintage correct bound tortoise pickguard, fabricated from an original template. A single tight grainline crack on the treble side has been soundly reglued, and the top centerseam resealed in the tailpiece area. The voice is exceptionally lively as well, with clear, even bass, excellent balance, and brilliant highs with sparkling natural reverb. And volume and projection to burn: a true horn killer.

A rare opportunity to own and play one of Scandinavia's best kept secrets. One only: call now.

Setup: This instrument is strung with medium gauge nickel strings (.013-.056). The guitar will accommodate lighter or heavier gauge strings, according to preference. String action is set at 5/64" to 6/64" at the 12th fret, with moderate relief for acoustic playing with medium strings. The action may be lowered or raised to your requirements with the adjustable bridge.

Case: Deluxe black plush lined hardshell case.








































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