About a year ago, a friend contacted me about an old guitar he found in the trash.
He wanted to fix it himself, but lack of time had put it in a corner for years. If I took it in, I could have it. On one condition: that it would be restored and played.
When it came in it looked like this picture on the right, missing its pickups, electronics and pickguards. But the shape of the latter could still be seen as an imprint in the finish.
Later another package came in: containing the missing pickguards, tone and volume pots and pickuprings. There was also one of the cradles for the pickups. Still not a complete guitar, but more than initially hoped for.
I started by documenting the instrument. Drawing and digitizing the outline in order to make a set of plans. When the plans were completed for about 75% the restoration took off.
Cleaning the finish, levelling the frets and reconstructing the pickups.
As a basis I took a set of goldfoil-style bobins and magnets, combining them with two new made cradles. Because it was impossible to find plastic large enough to make the covers, these were made from Blackwood Tek, an ebony alternative. I chose to make them in the same shape and add brass paint to the tops, but not to include the “Guya Tone Sound Product” print. You may see these are replacements.
Unfortunately the tuners were beyond repair. The ‘tulip’-style models are temporary. More proper models were ordered already.
I hope to make a little movie with sound samples when the tuners are in.
The Guyatone company started in the early thirties in Tokyo. In the fifties they started to produce guitars. In Great Britain they were sold under multiple brands, including Star, Futurama and Antoria.
Guyatone’s LG-60 was clearly inspired by the Supro Dual Tone, by the American Valco company. Made famous by rock & roll pioneer Link Wray and later David Bowie.
But instead of making a direct copy, Guyatone made a different guitar. With a smaller body and in two different colors (Black or Natural blonde), while the Supro was white..
But the Guyatones could celebrate their own following of famous players. The LG-50 was made famous by Hank Marvin in his early Shadows days. But could also be observed in the hands of The Hurricane’s “Johnny Guitar” and even their drummer Richard Starkey, better known as Ringo Star.
The LG-60 was found in the collection of Rory Gallagher.
Today it is quite hard to find one of these guitars. As they are cherished by players and collectors alike. To get one it would be easier to make one yourself.