Gary started playing steel-string acoustics in 1960 and it was love at first strum for him. By 1964 I was restoring old instruments – painstakingly taking them apart, repairing components and putting them back together again. One of his first projects was restoring a destroyed Gibson Southern Jumbo that had been crushed. Gary says: “It was like building a guitar from toothpicks. I loved it. When it came time to refinish it I couldn’t find the right red mahogany color so I made a stain of red ink and instant coffee.”
That was a long time ago. But Garys love affair with steel-strings never ended. During the late 60’s he was part of a small but exclusive repair shop in Champaign, Illinois. They met many of the icons of the 60’s and 70’s when they came to play at the University of Illinois, where he was also studying applied and natural sciences. Many of the world’s finest instruments came across our benches during this period. Infatuated with beauty and tone, Levinson started building my own acoustics around 1970.
During his graduate studies at the University of Basel Gary continued guitar work and founded Guitars by Levinson in Basel, Switzerland in 1977. This is history and has been a part of the Blade Guitars story over the years. Less known is that he started in Switzerland with acoustics.
“I have had the pleasure of watching my guitars age and mature over more than 30 years. I have been privileged to watch the wood develop a beautiful amber color under the naturally aging nitro-cellulose lacquer. It is a joy to hear how wood opens itself and tone matures.”
Among of the most important tone creation features are table voicing and scalloped bracing. Table Voicing is accomplished by carefully varying the thickness of the top in specified areas that allow it to vibrate more freely, creating a fuller, richer tone and a quicker reaction to the players touch. Scalloped bracing enhances the response further and allows the use of lighter gauge strings, improving playability without losing volume. All instruments exhibit simplicity of design to enhance the subtle beauty of the fine materials used. They are constructed to deliver quick response, exceptional string-to-string balance and extraordinary tonal intricacies, rich on harmonics.