Landola/Bjärton guy

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Joined: Wed Jan 16, 2019 1:20 am

Landola/Bjärton guy

Post by gamalgrind » Wed Jan 16, 2019 7:36 pm

Hi, I'm a 48 year old guy from Norway who play acoustic, classical and electric guitar as a hobby. I haven't taken many lessons, prefer playing my own tunes or learning from listening. My favourite guitar players are my favourite songwriters/composers. To name a few: Hoyt Axton, Paul McCartney, John Sebastian, Steve Marriott, Peter Green, Ralph McTell, Ritchie Blackmore, Chris DeBurgh.

When I became interested in music and guitars at 11-12 (in the early 80's), I noticed that I enjoyed the sound and look of older guitars (and music in general) better than modern stuff. My uncle had a 70's Yamaha acoustic and a guy in the local church an old Martin. They sounded like The Beatles guitars! I hated the sound of 80's guitars, especially plugged. I didn't know anyone who shared my opinion, this was before vintage guitars became trendy. Norway used to be a rather undeveloped country and there were not many good old guitars around. Guitars imported pre-1980 were mainly bottom-of-the-line Swedish and (in the 70's) Japanese models. Norwegian-produced guitars were even worse.

14 years old I bought my first guitar, a 60's Yamaha semi-hollowbody electric. A few years later I found a wonderful 70's Sigma acoustic. I still own and play these regularly. I also wanted a classical, but it took a while before I found a good old one. In the late 90's I tried a couple of 60's Bjärton's in a guitar shop, but couldn't afford any of them. Those Bjärtons and a friends Landola had such an amazing sound and feel, I couldn't stop thinking about them and desperately needed one myself. This was at the beginning of internet and searching for Bjärton and Landola, I found one for sale in Sweden. One was not enough, I became addicted to getting more of those cheap wonderful old guitars and ended up spending all my paperboy-earnings traveling to Sweden buying old classical guitars. Now I've managed to get rid of a few, these are left and will be difficult to part with:

The one I've played the most, a small simple laminate model with amazing sound and playability:
Landola C-25 (early 80's)

These sound and look wonderful, love them dearly:
Landola SL-25 (late 60's smaller model)
Bjärton La Rita (late 50's)

Great guitars I play regularly:
Bjärton Tirano (early 60's)
Bjärton/Tarrega 115 (early 60's)
Landola SL-4 (mid 60's)
Bjärton Maria (80's)

Good guitars, but not played as often as the others
Levin Valencia (early 50's)
Levin 115 (late 50's)
Landola 2000 (early 70's)
Landola B-10 (70's)
Bjärton Isabella (70's)
Østbu (70's)

Previously owned good guitar (lost in fire):
Landola V-65 (70's)

Previously owned decent guitars:
Landola SL-3 (60's)
Landola 3/4 (60's)
Landola 2005 (70's)
Landola C-55
Bjärton Senorita (60's)
Bjärton Rosita (70's)
Bjärton Classic (80's)
Levin LG 17 (70's)

Previously owned bad guitars:
Many, but no Swedish/Finish

Actually I just wanted to post a quick comment about my experience with Hannabach strings, hope it will be published now :D
Last edited by gamalgrind on Thu Jan 17, 2019 6:13 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Erik Zurcher
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Re: Landola/Bjärton guy

Post by Erik Zurcher » Wed Jan 16, 2019 8:46 pm

Hello gamalgrind and welcome to Delcamp forum! Enjoy yourself and see you around!

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Reedition Domingo Esteso by Conde Hermanos 2004; Kenny Hill, model Barcelona 2001
"While you try to master classical guitar, prepare for a slave's life: the guitar will forever be your master and you its slave".

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Re: Landola/Bjärton guy

Post by gamalgrind » Wed Jan 16, 2019 9:42 pm

Thank you Erik!

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Location: USA

Re: Landola/Bjärton guy

Post by Wuuthrad » Thu Jan 17, 2019 7:10 am

Hello gamalgrind, I really enjoyed your introduction and story about guitars!

Along with a few others, I also own one Aspen Landola, which is from 1971. It is wonderfully and solidly built, and very comfortable to play due to its slightly smaller size.

It has certainly aged well, with a lovely and unique character to the sound which is certainly not what people usually expect from "student" or "budget" guitars.

Interestingly, I've never heard of Bjärton guitars before.
Thanks for sharing!
"Pay no attention to what the critics say. A statue has never been erected in honor of a critic." -Jean Sibelius

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Re: Landola/Bjärton guy

Post by bellemeade » Thu Jan 17, 2019 1:53 pm

Hello, I agree with you, these old Landola, Bjarton and of course Levin are spectacular, I had many of them. I currently own a Levin ragtime from the sixties which is so sweet and elegant... and better than a Martin 000...

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Re: Landola/Bjärton guy

Post by gamalgrind » Thu Jan 17, 2019 7:08 pm

Thank you both for kind replies!

Yes Wuuthrad, those two Landolas at the top of my list belong in the small budget category. Actually Aspen Landola was a step up from their regular models. I own a smaller A/L steel string, it sounds and plays great.

Bjärton was number two guitar manufacturer in Sweden after better known Levin. They made well crafted beautiful guitars, often slightly overbuilt. Their sonically most successful models were probably "Jimmy" and "Sammy", both budget steel string acoustics with classical bodies (including fan bracing!). It's an interesting story:
Also mid-range classical models "La Rita" and "Tirano" gets many compliments.
Bjärtons 60's models were exported to the US, sold as Espana, Hagstrom and Fender Tarrega. From 1967 Landola took over building Espana. So the Landola SL-4/SL-3 in my list are actually copies of Bjärtons "Estrella" and "Espana" :-)

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Re: Landola/Bjärton guy

Post by gamalgrind » Thu Jan 17, 2019 8:05 pm

What happened when Swedish guitar manufacturer put steel strings on their classical guitars

(poor translation of )

The concept was brilliant. One simply took the body from the nylon-strung guitars and put on a steel string neck. Pin-bridge, 14-fret, solid headstock instead of slotted and rounded fretboard to make it easier to take barre chords. The body that was chosen was taken from a slightly larger nylon model with straight shoulders, which was the most common model in the early 1960s. The bracing was exactly like in a nylon, fan-shaped braces, without a bridge plate, thus completely wrong according to all the theories about how a steel-stringed guitar should be built. Really how brilliant this innovation was, we know now, almost 60 years later. The guitars kept and the sound became as good as anything!These guitars were thus of high quality, with necks that kept themselves straight and the bodies were obviously sufficiently stable to hold for steel strings. (Thus, we probably also have the explanation that the nylon-strung guitars could not really be compared to a Spanish-made guitar. They were simply too coarse built.)

These guitars were called Jimmy and Sammy.

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