1965 Guyatone LG-80T

To carry on from all the other Guyatone posts I've done (if you're not a fan you're at the wrong place)  I thought I'd do a quick story on this guitar that went to the shop on the weekend. 

As you all know I'm a huge fan of anything Guyatone and these little LG-80Ts are no exception. 

The LG-80T only appeared in the 1965 catalogue and was one model up from the wonderful LG-65T which I have sold many of in the shop and I will do a blog about soon. The 65 was essentially the 55 with a vibrato. With the 55 costing 9,090 JY and the 65 costing 12,500 JY in '65, the 80 was introduced at a whopping 14,500. To give you an idea of a direct competitor, the 2 pickup version of 1965 Teisco WG-4L was listed at 15,000 JY.

 

The LG-80T is essentially an offset styled 65 with better electronics and was a step up in both design and fittings from the more basic Guyatone series. 

It's got a small solid timber body in the same thickness as it's little siblings at a  thin 30mm. The shape is obviously influenced by Fenders offsets and this "shape" appeared in the Guyatone catalogue as far back as around 1960 with the LG70 which had a split scratchplate and heavily influenced the Ibanez Jet King series.

This has essentially the same bolt on neck as the 65s and Guyatone were no stranger to block and shaped inlays early on. They also rarely used zero frets although late 50's Tokyo Sound guitars do turn up with them and some later sixties higher end models, like the LG-350T, SG-42 and 25T and the LG-250 do have them. Guyatone generally had good timber quality and construction throughout the years.

The 80 differs from other Guyatones in that it has that wonderful striped scratchplate usually found on Teiscos from this period. Guyatone didn't persist with the effect so maybe they decided it was a "Teisco thing" and went back to their usual chrome metal (by this stage) or celluloid plates.  

The 80 also has a different pickup for bridge and neck and around this time a few Japanese manufacturers started to experiment with this idea. The 80 has a round screw pole piece pickup in the bridge and a square "blade" style in the neck. They both sound great and shows that even in lower end guitars these Japanese manufacturers were trying to improve tone. 

This has a master volume and tone control and a three way switch on the top horn with RHYTHM/LEAD/OFF settings.

 

The LG-80T of course has a vibrato (that's what the T on Guyatones stands for) and these came with a simple plastic non intonation adjustable bridge (you could move them slightly by undoing the two screws holding the base in place) and despite, or perhaps because of the simplicity they play and intonate well enough to cover most of the fretboard. 

 

By '66 the 80T had kind of morphed into the LG-120T with the rotating neck pickup (more on them soon) and the LG-130T, although both were three pickup versions without the striped scratchplate, making the LG-80T quite rare, by massed produced Guyatone standards. 

These initially look and feel like a "cheap Japanese guitar" with it's small, thin body and big Fenderish headstock but once you play it for a while, like the LG-50/55/65 series they start to show their real potential and GREAT value for money. 

Sep 17 2019 Written By: Tim Brennan