CHAPTER IV. HISTORY: GRECO GUITARS, THE STRATS FROM THE RISING SUN.
30 June 2017
CHAPTER VI. HISTORY: GUYATONE GUITARS (II), SO MANY RELATED GUITAR BRANDS…
2 August 2017

CHAPTER V. HISTORY: GUYATONE GUITARS,

THE GUITARS FROM OUTER SPACE.

One of the earliest guitar manufacturers in Japan, Guyatone began production in 1933. They have unquestionable historical relevance to the guitar history. From the late 50s to the early 70s they made millions of guitars, both for the Japanese market and to be exported.

In the late 30’s the company Matsuki Seisakujo was formed producing and selling mostly American style guitars (Rickenbacker) under the Guya name. Matsuki Seisakujo was founded by Mr. Mitsuo Matsuki and his friend Mr. Atsuo Kaneko. In 1940 Matsuki was drafted into the war between China and Japan and production halted for several years. In 1951 Matsuki began to use the Guyatone name on his instruments. They also began to make high quality Guyatone amplifiers.

In 1952 the name of the corporation was again changed to Tokyo Sound Company. Eventually it was changed to Guya Co, Ltd., and then back to Tokyo Sound Co. once again. Tokyo Sound factory began large-scale production in 1956.

Hound Dog Taylor (Kawai´s copy)

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Ibanez (Guyatone) model 1860 “Rhythm Maker” (1960).

Source: ONCE VLECTRUM-UNDER VLECTRUM.COM

Hound Dog Taylor and The HouseRockers - Roll Your Moneymaker

Other manufacturers/distributors

During the late-1950s to 1960s, Guyatone guitars were distributed under various brands by other manufacturers/distributors:

In Japan, Hoshino Gakki had exported Guyatone under the Star and Ibanez brands, before Tama factory was opened in 1962. Their model 1830 (c.1960, LG-70)[10] or model 1860 “Rhythm Maker” (1960) is said to be a model for which Jimi Hendrix had traded in his Danelectro, in 1962. Then, this model was roughly copied by Kawai as model “S-180” (1964), and some lots were also manufactured by Fujigen. Kawai’s copied model was played by Hound Dog Taylor, as seen on his first album Hound Dog Taylor and the HouseRockers in 1971. And in the 21st century, Ibanez reissued the Rhythm Maker as Jet King 2 (2004–2007).

In the United Kingdom, James T. Coppock (Leeds) Ltd. had introduced Guyatone under Antoria brand in the late 1950s, and these were played by Hank Marvin, Marty Wilde, Rory Gallagher, Johny Guitar, and Ringo Starr from the Hurricanes, and even possibly young Jeff Beck. Especially, Antoria LG-50 played by Hank Marvin in the late-1950s had influenced on the design of Burns-Weill Fenton guitars, and that guitar was reissued as Drifter LG50 by Burns London in 2010. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, Rose-Morris of England, began importing parts manufactured for them by Guyatone for their line of guitars called “Broadway”. In the mid- to late-1960s, Selmer had distributed Guyatone as a budget line under Futurama brand.

In 1962 Kent Musical instrument Company became one of the largest distributors in USA of Guyatone guitars sporting the “Kent” name badge (Note that Kent guitars established in 1960 were initially manufactured by Hagström, then also manufactured by Guyatone, Kawai, FujiGen, Teisco and Matsumoku). The lower end produced by Teisco (later Kawai / Teisco after their merger in 1967) called the Standard Series was made up of 5 guitars and one bass. The Pro-Series, however, was made up of higher end instruments from Guyatone including 4 guitars (with a choice from two to four pickups) and one bass. This original line of Kent/Guyatones were marketed with a “K” logo strikingly similar to Guyatone’s “G” logo. By 1964 it appears that all Kents were made by Guyatone and they all had model numbers in the 500s. In 1965 they expanded to the hollow-body “Americana” series, produced by Guyatone. As of 1967 the Guyatone models disappear from the Kent catalogue; being replaced by other manufacturers instruments.

Ibanez’s early relationship to Guyatone is apparent in some of their early solid body electric guitars. The exact dates may be slightly off, but from ’57 to ’62 Guyatone sold guitars to Hoshino Gakki to market under their name ‘Ibanez.’ Models of some Guyatones are available with both the Ibanez logo and the Guyatone logo. The relationship between the Guyatone and Ibanez headstocks seem to simply be a carry-over from the Guyatone designs in which Hoshino simply didn’t see a need to improve on.

To be continued…

JAPTONE has made a compilation of information about GUYATONE guitars collected from the internet (see below for references), revised and merged to provide you an overall vision on the GUYATONE brand. Additionally, we have included our opinion about GUYATONE issues on the basis of our experience. This is the Chapter V…GUYATONE GUITARS, THE GUITARS FROM OUTER SPACE.

References:

https://guyatoneus.com/history.

ONCE VLECTRUM-UNDER VLECTRUM.COM.

History of Japanese Electric Guitars (Frank Meyers).

Wikipedia.

www.matsumoku.org.

Japanaxe.

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