1970's Guyatone LG-23

This model Guyatone ran for some years and essentially started life in the 60's as the LG-170T in a slightly more Guyatone shape with much the same running gear but after the close in '69 and re-open in '70 Guyatone started contracting out guitar manufacturing to other factories. Most of these 70's guitars were made in Japan by either Uni Musical Instruments or Cyushin Musical Instruments. The quality of these guitars were great and initially the number of models was streamlined and by '74/75 more traditional "Fender" and "Gibson" shapes were dominating the catalogues along with some great domestic market shapes.

The LG-23 is obviously heavily influenced by Fender but is a really nice hybrid of a few guitars with a smaller, Strat/Bullet shaped body with a really nice shape. It's a thick laminated body with a hefty weight to it but the body contours make it feel more comfortable. 

 

The neck is a 24.75" scale maple neck that has a thick but comfortable feel. It has a nice thick piece of rosewood for the fretboard with big dot markers. Like most 70's Guyatones it has a zero fret but these had a plastic string guide, not the usual chrome metal ones used on some Guyatones of this era. 

 

This one is early 70's and has the metal Guyatone trussrod cover and blockier headstock logo. By '74 the logo on these series had changed to a script logo with "custom made" with serial number under it.

 

This one also has the more desirable (I think) metal cover Guyatone pickups. Later versions had a standard Strat looking single coil which have more "twang" but these have more mid range punch. These pickups didn't run for long and the later ones were fitted with the same pickups as the LS (Strat) series guitars. 

The vibrato is of course pure offset and works exactly as you'd expect. It's one of the smoother ones from this era. The bridge is a really nice quality Guyatone roller bridge as used on higher end models around this time. It's a narrow string spacing and the neck doesn't have much taper on it from the zero fret to bridge.

I really like this shape, a lot. While it's very Strat and Fender in general, I really like the sharper horns and the offset vibrato makes it look less Strat. These feel heavy and solid and play really well when set up. The hardware and electronics are all great quality and I've already blogged about how much I like these early 70's Guyatones. 

 

As a matter of interest, this model was also released around this time as an LG-23R with a built in Rhythm box ... 

That's right, it had a bigger scratchplate that extended to the lower body under the bridge/tailpiece (no vibrato) which contained an early version of the Guyatone Rhythm box effect with 5 different choices of Rock'nRoll / Bossa Nova / Twist / Fox Trot / Slow Rock with a separate volume and tempo control and could be used while playing the guitar through the same output. Needless to say, it didn't really catch on and very few were made.

 

Sep 22 2017 Written By: Tim Brennan