Guyatone LG-127T but, different again. Part 1.
While a lot of guitar nerds obsess about the shape of a rout in a vintage Strat body or whether the screws in their vintage Gibson are original I have my own, much more lowbrow obsessions when it comes to vintage guitars.
It used to be all about Mosrites as one of the things I loved about them (apart from everything) was that you could be into them for half your life and STILL see anatomies and weird one-offs or early guitars Semie built that you knew nothing about. It was always exciting and when you saw a "rare" Mosrite as it wasn't "Fender rare" it was proper rare.
I was also obsessed with vintage Japanese guitars, especially ones heavily influenced by Mosrite because as I've discussed before, you could get the same guitar with several different names on the headstock (or no name at all) because a factory built that particular guitar for several brands/dealers/importers and/or the same model guitar with different features and builds because they were made in several factories.
The vintage Japanese guitar world was a very different beast to other countries. The big names all worked together during the mid sixties and would meet every month in an attempt to share ideas on how to make a better product. Thee meetings showed the culture in Japanese manufacturing where they took the industry as a whole as a representation of "made in Japan" and with so many factories starting to build guitars in around '65 quality control was hard to keep track of.
This sharing of knowledge and skill also crossed over to factories making guitars for certain brands. It wasn't uncommon for a big brand name to order essentially the same guitar from 2 or even 3 different factories if their initial factory couldn't keep up with demand. It wasn't a matter of finding cheaper and quicker manufacturers, it was a matter of filling orders with comparable quality factories.
Guyatone was one of the "big 3" along with Fujigen and Teisco and by '68 things were starting to go a little pear shaped as so many factories had started up and guitars sales started to decline. Big companies swallowed up smaller ones and took over making some brands or retiring the brand and using the factory to make their products.
Guyatone had been a BIG player in the 60's but was effected just like the others in '68 and in late '69 Tokyo Sound (Guyatone) was bankrupt.
With the factory gone the owner Mr Matsuki would turn to other factories to make guitars he could put the Guyatone name to. I've written about this a few times before and Guyatone would use, among others, Uni Musical Instruments, Kyushin Musical Instruments, Nippon Gakki (Yamaha) and Teisco-Gen-Gakki.
Which brings us to this little gem.
I've written PLENTY about these Guyatone LG-127T before and it is the basis for my TMI 127 guitars. The standard, by far most common version is the simple "slab body" version of which I have owned many. The next far les common version is the "German Carve" version which used all the same hardware (mostly) and neck as the common slab version. Both of these guitars were listed as an LG-127T and both appeared in catalogues in the late 60's although there appear to be A LOT more slab body versions made.
This one here is also officially a Guyatone LG-127T but .....
It's a different shape, with a different neck and some different hardware because ... it was made by a completely different factory, probably in the late 60's which is odd for a Guyatone of this period as everything they sold with that name on it was made at the Tokyo Sound factory until it closed in '69.
This has a different body shape to the slab and German carve version obviously still inspired by a Mosrite but the horns, size and thickness are all different. It's different construction too with different routs and a kind of more obvious sharp edged roll around the edges that pulls in at the neck joint. The top horn especially is completely not Guyatone (or Mosrite) with a slight outward point to the horn.
The neck is also completely different construction and feels more V than the standard Guyatone version. It also has big dot markers on the fretboard which NONE of the other 127s had, all following Mosrites tiny markers. It does have the zero fret but has a completely different headstock shape with BIG circles cut to give the Mosrite M feel and bigger volute on the back. It does have the standard metal G badge and trussrod cover but uses a different neck plate.
The pickups are plastic covers and surrounds with slot head screw pole pieces as used on some early 70's Guyatones. The vibrato and bridge are the standard Guyatone fittings and the knobs are commonly used on Teisco-Gen-Gakki built guitars, which may not be original or more likely were available by an aftermarket supplier for several different brands.
Of course to a nerd like me all of this becomes more interesting when you realize that this guitar wasn't made by any of these factories mentioned before as construction and features don't match any of them. It does however have an interesting relation with another big name in Japanese guitars HERE.