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Here is a lovely 1958-vintage Swedish-made Levin 335 acoustic archtop guitar, retrofitted with a quality PAF-style humbucker pickup (I can't identify the brand, but a close-up pic can be seen in the 'more pictures' link below) to make it a truly grouse jazzbox. This has effectively converted it to a 335/M1 model - Levin offered the 335 archtop as a straight acoustic, or with one (M1) or two (M2) pickups. Levin fitted single-coil DeArmond® pickups, whereas this is much more jazz-oriented with its Gibson® PAF® style humbucker pickup.

The Levin company of Sweden was founded by luthier Herman Karlsson Levin in 1900, and the first guitar and mandolin factory was set up in Gothenburg, Sweden. Prior to establishing the factory, Levin had a shop in Manhattan. Levin was purchased in the early 1970s by the Martin Guitar company. The last Levin guitars were made in 1977.

This model is a 'grand auditorium' size, with a 17" lower bout, and has a hand-carved solid Alp Spruce top, while the body (with its arched back) is of Maple. The neck is Mahogany (with an Ebony centre lamination) and the fretboard is a luscious dark Rosewood. Headstock inlays and the fretboard position markers are genuine mother-of-pearl. The finish is original factory "Cremona Brown", with a "Yellow Sunburst" front.

Serial number is 367895 (see detailed pic of the top of the headstock in the 'more pictures' link below), which would put production in early 1958. Levin's serial numbers in '58 ranged from 366296 to 384905. The serial number range shows an average of 51 guitars were made per day through the year, and on that basis the guitar would have been made around January 31 in 1958; 9 days after I was born!

The guitar is in fantastic condition. Tuners have been changed for quality Gotoh units at some stage (the originals would have been open-geared and prone to slippage). The guitar comes with its original plush-lined hard case, which is in worn but very serviceable condition. There is one stable crack in the solid top which can be seen emanating from the bottom of the F-hole on the treble bout, but it does not affect playability or sound in the slightest. There are some handling marks over the guitar from its 50-something years of existence, but overall it's in surprisingly good, orginal condition. Neck is gunbarrel straight, and the original frets are in good condition - a dress would bring them to perfection, but I'm enjoying the guitar as-is!

 

Sold to George


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