- acoustic guitars
- bass guitars
- classical guitars
- electric guitars
The Levin company was established by Herman Carlson Levin in 1900 in Goethenburg Sweden. At its peak during the 1960s the Levin factory had 130 workers making around 16000 guitars each year for the US market alone. A feature of Levin guitars was their well seasoned wood - some of the spruce used for their sound boards was 300 years old!
In 1973 C.F. Martin bought the family owned Levin company and many Martin D-18s were subsequently made at the Gothenburg factory. You can tell a Levin made Martin by a stamp on the label which says "C.F. Martin Sweden". However, when Martin started using the Goya brandname on lower quality Korean acoustics, the Levin made guitars suffered in sales. The Levin luthiers were unhappy with the way Martin ran the company and many left. By 1979 guitar production in Gothenburg had stopped. Martin used the Levin brand on even cheaper guitars, diluting it further until operations finally ceased in 1982.
The most sought after Levins these days are the archtops made between the 1930s and 1960s. These were top of the Levin line and included models like the De Luxe, the Solist and the Royal.
The Goya brand name was used on acoustic and electric guitars distributed in the USA, including some made by Levin. You can tell Levin-made Goyas by the interior paper label which reads "Made by AB Herman Carlson Levin - Gothenburg, Sweden. The last Levin made Goyas were produced in 1979. There were later Goya brand guitars but these were lower quality East Asian made instruments. C.F. Martin retired the Goya brand in 1996.
The Levin brand was active until at least 2009: former Levin sub-contractor Hans Persson bought the remaining Levin stock from Martin in 1981, and continued with production on a small scale in a guitar factory outside Mariestad.
Source: Acoustic Guitars: The Illustrated Encyclopedia. Editor Dave Hunter. 2003