1958 Levin-made Goya G-20 Classical Guitar





I actually took the pictures for this on Saturday and, finally, here I am on Wednesday with a small bit of time to post about it. 

My favorite old classical guitars have all been Swedish, Levin-made Goyas from the '50s and '60s. This '58 is also my favorite model -- the understated G-20. Compared to the more mass-market birch-backed G-10s -- which can be found everywhere -- the G-20 is simply on another level. It's built an inch wider on the lower bout, sports much-lighter bracing and solid, flamed maple for the back and sides. Like all Goya/Levin classicals, the neck is slim and comfortable front-to-back and has aluminum reinforcement inside. It has a professional feel, to put it plainly.

Sound-wise, these maple-backed models recall your average quality classicals but have less muddy boom to their low-end, record more easily, and have a lot of clear, top-end sparkle that's lost in many other makes. They sound more hi-fi, thought the bass is not removed -- it's strong but defined. A local folksinger-fingerpicker uses one of these at events around here to great effect and his grandson plays a fancier maple-backed Goya/Levin as the rhythm element of a gypsy-jazz duo. It's an interesting sound because the tone borders on flamenco but has more of the depth of a good classical.


This guitar has survived in excellent condition due to its having its original hard case. There are no cracks, the bridge didn't need regluing, and it looks clean as heck -- save for the usual weather-check  to the finish throughout.

Work included some modification to the bridge, a fret level/dress, and setup with Hannabach strings.


The necks are 3-piece -- mahogany/maple/mahogany. The nut and saddle are the original, yellowed, synthetic stuff.


The fretboard and bridge are both Brazilian rosewood.



One of the best design elements of these Swedish guitars are their restrained rosettes and trim.


So, what's going on over here? The bridge saddle area got a shave and the saddle, too. While it strung-up fine with balled-ends behinds the "tie block" in top-loader fashion, I decided I wanted to drive it a little more and so I made "stealth holes" for mounting through the top.

I drilled pinhole-size holes that allow the string to be passed through the top, yanked out the soundhole, and knotted-up to keep them in place. This gave the guitar a bit more guts and a cleaner sound while also avoiding a neck reset to do the same job.





Isn't that maple lovely?











The original case is in tip-top shape and...


...it came with its original sales card.

Comments

Dave said…
$225 in 1958 was a pretty painful sum. That surprised me.
Jake Wildwood said…
Yeah, which is why it's totally absurd that these Levin/Goyas are so devalued today. That's like dropping $1800+ on a new classical. It's a pro guitar.
JGF said…
I had a G20 from the 60's, and it got stolen a few years ago. I've been looking to replace it ever since. Any help would be appreciated.

Jim
Steve C said…
I have a Goya G-20 from the 1960s that would like to sell if I can get an accurate estimate of its value.