Tokyo Flood-1964 Guyatone LG-55W Guitar

Guya LG55W 6Back in the early 1960s, there were only a few choices for beginner guitar players living in Japan.  Basically, there were only two electric guitar manufacturers in Japan, Guyatone and Teisco.  American-made guitars were just way too expensive in Japan at the time, so essentially guitarists found themselves in the Guyatone or Teisco “camp,” so to speak.  I suppose it’s similar to the Fender and Gibson fans in America.Guya LG55W 4This guitar was sold in the states as a Kent Las Vegas and served the same purpose as it did in Japan…getting a guitar in the hands of the average, beginner player.  See, these guitars are still floating around and are relatively easy to find.  But what most people don’t realize is that this simply guitar had a huge impact.  This humble model was one of the biggest sellers ever for Guyatone, in Japan and the USA!  Seriously, this guitar outsold every other Guyatone solid body model except for the slightly more upscale Guyatone LG-65T (it had a tremolo and a tone switch added), which was THE king of sales for the company.Guya LG55W 3When this guitar was being developed and sold, Tokyo Sound (who produced Guyatone guitars) had just built a new factory, and the guitar boom was swelling to its crest.  It was the perfect time to produce a good beginner’s guitar that featured all solid wood construction, nice sounding pickups, and great electronics.  This model really flooded the guitar markets of Japan and America.  I wonder how many of you started off on a guitar like this?Guya LG55W 2This little guy is a short scale model and really has a good tone. In fact, I like almost all the early Guyatone guitars.  They make great gigging guitars because they were built well, and dare I say, better than many other guitars being sold at the same time in the same price range.  I mean, this guitar compares really well to a Kay Vanguard, or Harmony Stratotone.  Seriously, there isn’t much difference compared to quality.  Of course, the Guyatone guitars, like most other Japanese electrics of the time, really suffered from a poor neck angle.  It’s probably why they make such good slide guitars!  It’s like the builders only cared about the “cowboy chord” area on the neck when it came to action.  By the 12th fret, the action was way up there!Guya LG55W 1This Guyatone LG-55W came to me from a small music store, back in the late 90s.  There was a store about 60 miles from my house that had gear in a “back room” where the guitars that no one wanted anymore were residing.  Ah, those were the days!  I was driving a really tiny Subaru, and I filled it with six guitars for $300!  How about that?!?!  And this was one of them… think of the irony.  One of the most popular Japanese guitars of all time.


10 thoughts on “Tokyo Flood-1964 Guyatone LG-55W Guitar

  1. Chris Till says:

    Just bought one of these today at the flea market. The body and headstock have a nice natural wood finish. The pickups are loud and rockin’. There is no logo or ID on it. It’s only (once again) due to your site that I could quick figure out what it is. Thanks again, Chris

  2. T. says:

    I just got one. I bought it to resell. I love the pickups the tone is better than most of the Fender Strat sounds. The action is fine on mine… too low almost… thinking of adjusting the neck but the neck is straight straight. It gets fuzz up around the high G Scale past the High E up above. Seems better than a ‘starter’ guitar… so odd .. so small… but such a monster headstock… haha.
    I bought it to resell. How much do you think I should sell it for. I am thinking three or four hundred? Your thoughts on the price please. It looks like mine is identical to yours. It might be a bit cleaner. I want to keep it but ….. you know.

  3. Michael says:

    I need to fine a brigde for a Tokyo sound guitar build 1960 made for GE Michael 617-224-8432 do you know were I can get one thank you Michael

  4. Hayden says:

    Just picked one up on EBay for $141 with a case. On the back of the headstock it says “Made for General Electric Company by Tokyo Sound Company, Tokyo Japan.”
    Has no other brand logo on the front of the headstock. I would assume that maybe this was a very early run before they started branding them.
    Does anyone know? Thanks. Cool guitar….with it was red though. Haha

    1. Needforname says:

      Hey Hayden, I just traded an amp for a Guyatone guitar. It also has no apparent info on it other than the same sticker you mentioned. The man had his daughter do the barter with me since he was working. I feel like I got the short end of the deal considering the very high action on the guitar, and the inability to straighten the neck which has way too much relief.

      I am seeing no truss rod option to straighten the neck. I’m also not sure how to lower the action since there is a floating bridge that won’t allow lowering of the strings. The bridge is resting on two washers. Not sure if this was aftermarket or original. Does you’re have this setup as well? Not sure what to do with this guitar to get the action lower. The neck radius is very rounded, so I’m guessing I’ll need some bridge that allows each string to be individually raised and lowered. I’ve never had a non stationary bridge before. I’m thinking that every time I change strings, the guitar is going to require a setup of intonation each time. Seems like a pain.

      If anyone has any info on these guitars I’d greatly appreciate it. I’d really love to know how to tell which specific model/year this Guyatone I have is, how to determine value, how to adjust neck without truss rod, what bridge to replace (should I go with a different floating bridge or should I bolt one into the guitar)?

      I’m open to trying to fix the guitar myself (I’ve been able to improve a couple of my guitars through DIY learning and tinkering), but am kind of clueless on what to do with this Guyatone guitar since I’ve never had a guitar with this primitive of a setup. Thanks for any feedback anyone can provide. If you’ve learned anything more about these guitars Hayden, please do share.

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