Lignatone – The Czech Guitar (A Brief History)

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure:

I chose to do my video blog on Lignatone guitars. I knew nothing about the brand name even though I have been playing one off-and-on for over a year. I found a lot of people in similar situations. They owned a Lignatone model, wanted to find out more about the company, but simply couldn’t find any solid information on the brand. After scouring countless forums and reading dozens of reviews I found very little on the company. However, what I did find was pretty damn interesting.

Lignatone guitars were made in Cremona Luby, Czechoslovakia anywhere between 1955 and 1989. The guitars had some presence on the “communist” market but were mainly used as export. Lignatone mainly made acoustic instruments of a fairly conservative design.  There were only 2 guitar companies in Czechoslovakia during communist rule, Drevokov in Blatna from 1955 to 1963 and then the big national CSHN in Krnov, Hradec  Karlove, Horovice and various other places from 1964 to 1989.  This means these guitars must have been made by one of these two establishments and branded as Lignatone guitars. Drevokov and CSHN made several very similar guitars under the names Resonet, Arco, Arioso, Grazioso, Neoton, Jolana, Tatra, Delicia and of course Lignatone.

I found this guitar in my friend’s basement, he owed me a couple bucks so he said, “Hey man why not just take this little guitar and well call it even.” Before I even picked it up I agreed. The guitar itself is in rough shape at best. The truss rod has been completely destroyed, so the action is so high it is unplayable without a slide. It looks like someone cranked the rod too far and cracked the wood surrounding it. This also means is inevitable going to cave in on itself from the constant tension of the strings. The machine heads are rusted and a real pain to tighten. The bridge moves around so it required tedious measurements and adjustments every time you re-string the guitar. Overall for ten bucks, the Lignatone was a steal. It doesn’t by any means have  great tone, sustain, or playability, but it’s a fun time to fiddle around on. I keep it tuned in open E or Em depending on how I’m feeling.

Bottom Line: This guitar is not the most playable and it sure is not the prettiest but its got something 98% of guitars don’t have. The guitar has history and charisma. With a little bit of love, time and money it could be fully restored to near its original condition.

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12 responses to “Lignatone – The Czech Guitar (A Brief History)

  1. You’ve turned someone’s trash into a piece of entertainment with sentimental value and you tell the story really well!

  2. Hi, I have the same guitar as you, only in a worse condition and the truss rod is ok. Do you know what model it is or is it worth anything? Thanks

  3. i recently found one of these gutairs and it is in perfect condition

  4. Dear Christian,

    Thank you very much for your story of the Lignatone guitars and your research. I once owned a Lignatone when I was 13 ( I’m 57 now…). Though I later owned much better (and more expensive guitars) the Lignatone was my first and dearest instrument. Unfortunately, it no longer exists, but your story stirred its memory.

    Take care!

    Peter
    peter.meyvis@gmail.com

  5. I found a beautiful Lignatone single-cutaway acoustic in a flea market for only £30. I bought it and took it home, and it is in pretty good condition. While not the most playable, I have never heard a nicer tone.

  6. Steve Eddy/Blue Room Guitars…I have two Lignatone’s,a small parlor and a classical…Lignatone does not show up in the Blue Book Publication,I feel they are a rarity no matter the quality.Good article!!!

  7. i have a lignatone and i have spent about 1000 australian dollars getting it restored….believe it or not it has a completely unique and wild sound…i put some light gauge thomastic plectrum strings on by choice and i am really happy…it looks beautiful…..so light and produces such an authentic bluesy /jazzy feel to it .it doesnt have the range say that heavier more solid semi acc have but i wouldnt really even part for it for 5ooo or even 7ooo…..its a magic little sweety and i am so happy i have it…..it makes up a little for the dumb things i did hocking my baby a Levin semi acc very similar looking to lignatone but that was something. hocked it for crap…..some reason or another god wants me to have a semi acc and to play…..i find beautiful guitars for nothing almost..regularly ..crazy isnt it.

  8. Hey! I found a Lignatone guitar a year ago and finally got around to getting it fixed up. I bought it for $40 at a second hand store; the neck was completely separated from the body. A local luthier fixed it for me for $60 and got it back today. Sounds amazing for what it is. It’s hard to find info about this guitar online so I appreciate this post!

  9. Hi there,
    I have two Lignatone jazzguitars. One single-cutaway (1956) and one non-cutaway (1950 something). At the moment both need some serious attention in order to be played again. The cutaway model has it’s neck broken from middle of the heel. It has a neck which is mounted to body with a one bolt. The bolt also adjust the neck angle. I will be interested if anybody has to offer a spare neck. I can send some pictures via email.

  10. I want to be a Bangomandocamando some day, would there be in hope for me with a nice Lignotone?

  11. Oops any and Lignatone

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