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c.1961-3 Goya C-80

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Serial #: 825, stamped on inner back, inside treble soundhole

Body size at lower bout: 17 3/4" (450 mm) Scale length: 24 3/4" (630 mm) Nut width: 1 3/4" (45mm) Body depth: 3 1/8" (80 mm)

Materials: Handcarved bookmatched solid Alpine spruce top; ; handcarved bookmatched figured fiddleback maple back; solid maple sides; solid mahogany neck, ebony fingerboard with mother of pearl block fingerboard and peghead inlay; 5-ply body, neck, head and pickguard binding, triple bound f-holes, bone nut.

Hardware: All original gold hardware, including art-nouveau tailpiece, sealed Kolb tuners; adjustable compensated ebony bridge, bound tortoise pickguard.

Notes: We have often wondered why, out of the plethora of steel string guitar factories 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 1930. To serve the huge US market, the form created the Goya brand in the early 50's, which soon accounted for some 70% of the firm's output. As popular as the Goya flat tops became in the US however, archtops with the Goya name are now so rare that most are known only by catalog pictures. Which is a shame, because they are very fine instruments in every respect.

This wonderful example, designated C-80 in the Goya catalog, was known as the Levin model 315, and was the firm's top-of-the-line offering. A super jumbo orchestra guitar comparable to the Gibson Super 400 or Epiphone Emperor, the C-90 was carved of all solid European tonewoods, ornately inlaid, and fitted with all gold hardware. The soundboard is carved to exceptionally fine tolerances, and is beautifully bookmatched of solid Alpine spruce. At just 6 lb. 4 oz. (2.86 kg) the guitar is exceptionally lightweight for a super jumbo body, and particularly well balanced in the lap, due in part to its neck of solid mahogany, whose strength and light weight have long been preferred by builders such as Bob Benedetto.

Remarkably, the guitar shows no sign that a pickup was ever installed. Not that it needs one: the acoustic voice is deep, resonant and powerful in a way most '60's Gibsons could only dream of. The neck has a fine medium D profile, neither skinny nor clubby, with smooth low action over immaculate recent fretwork, and a generous 1 3/4" fingerboard. Maintained in superb condition, the instrument shows all original finish and hardware, including the rarely seen Kolb tuners, and a distinctive, elegantly designed gold trapeze tailpiece. Apart from a pair of hairline cracks near the bass soundhole soundly cleated long ago, the instrument shows no other signs of repair. Pearl cloud inlays in the solid ebony fingerboard are reminiscent of the Epiphone Deluxe, and the bound tortoise pickguard remains in perfect condition.

So rare a guitar is the Goya C-80 that even the invaluable Levin Information Pages of Stockholm (for whom we are indebted for much historical information above) lists only a single reported example of this vanishingly scarce model at this writing. And it's this one. An exceptional opportunity to own and play a stunning piece of transatlantic musical history.

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 arched velour lined hardshell case.








































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