"Hans Levin" Interview by Eva
I wish to thank Eva Lundin of Ireland for her generous help in providing the following historical information
from one of the surviving members of the original Levin family. Eva is also a family member through her
grandparents. She recently talked with Hans Levin by phone and asked him the Goya/Levin
questions I had sent her. Hans, who is in his eighties, is the son of Hartwig Levin and the grandson of
A.B. Herman Carlson Levin, the original founder of Levin Guitars. I can't thank Hans and Eva enough for
taking the time to provide this information to me. Thank you Mr. Levin and Ms. Lundin.
The Goya guitar started its life in the Levin guitar factory in Gothenburg, Sweden sometime around 1958.
I have a Goya Guitar Catalog from that year verifying the date to at least that far back. The Levin
"hand made" acoustic guitars (and other instruments) have been around since the early 1900s. They're
known for their high quality workmanship. Levin exported the Goya brand guitars to America through the
Hershman Musical Instrument Company of New York City, New York while still maintaining their Levin brand
guitars in Europe. Goya and Levin guitars are essentially identical for similar models. I believe CF Martin
Guitar Company took over the Goya brand name in 1977 from Dude Inc., who got it from Kustom Electronics
in 1973, who got it from the Hershman Instrument Company in 1969 (as best I can tell - exact years may vary).
Some of this will differ from what Hans Levin said. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have
additional information. Thank you.
Start of interview of Hans Levin by Eva Lundin
(Spoke to Hans Levin, Son of Hartwig Levin and this was what he told me)
Q: How are you related to A.B. Herman Carlson Levin?
A: A.B. Herman Carlson Levin was the grandfather of Hans Levin. Hans Levin's grandparents are my (Eva) great grandparents.
Q: What year did the first Goya guitar come out?
A: Hans Levin thinks 1960.
Q: What models were made that year?
A: Many, but what models he could not remember.
Q: Why did they use the Goya brand name instead of Levin for their US exports?
A: Hershman Musical Instrument Co. owned the Goya name and Levin produced the guitars.
The name was inspired from the spanish painter Francisco Goya.
Q: What year did they sell the Goya brand name to the Martin Guitar Company?
A: They never did the name belonged to Hershman Musical Instrument Co .
Q: Did Martin buy up the entire Levin company?
A: Yes, they did buy up the whole company. Some of the Levins then worked
for Martin in Sweden still using the Levin name and continued until 1982.
Q: Levin isn't still in business is it?
A: No not with guitars.
Q: When did they go out of business?
Q: Do you know how Hagstrom of Sweden came about making Goya electric guitars in the late 50s?
A: They never did Goya but they did electrical guitars.
Q: How about the Italian Goya guitars in the mid 60s - do you know who made The Goya Rangemasters?
A: That had nothing to do with the original, simply an Italian company that stole the name Goya.
Q: I was told that Galanti made the Goya Panther models.
A: Copies from the same Italian company.
Q: What about the Goya guitars made in Japan?
A: At that time industries in Korea Japan etc could produce electrical
guitars to a fraction of the normal cost and consequently more or less ended
the Swedish production.
Q: Do you know who made them?
A: No sorry! LOL
End of interview of Hans Levin by Eva Lundin