Last updated
Industry Musical instrument
Founded1933;87 years ago (1933) as "Matsuki Manufacturing" in Yamanashi [1]
FounderMitsuo Matsuki [1]
Products Electric guitars, amplifiers, effects units

Guyatone (グヤトーン or ガイアトーン) is a Japanese manufacturing company which makes electric guitars, guitar amplifiers, and effects pedals.


(from Rory Gallagher's collection, [2] exhibited at Harrods in 2007)


Early history

Guyatone LG-60B (1959).jpg
LG-60B (1959)v
Guyatone LG-140T (c.1964-65).jpg
LG-140T (c.1964-65)

One of the earliest guitar manufacturers in Japan, Guyatone began production in 1933. [3] According to Mr. Hiroyuki Noguchi, editor of Japan's Guitar Magazine , [4] "Matsuki Seisakujo" (松木製作所) was founded by a cabinet maker's apprentice Mr. Mitsuo Matsuki and friend Mr. Atsuo Kaneko, who later became a famous player of Hawaiian and Spanish style guitars [5] as well as help with the formation of the great Teisco in 1946. [6]

Matsuki had been enrolled in electronics classes, studying nights after his cabinetry apprentice job. [5] Hawaiian music becoming increasingly popular at the time led Mr. Kaneko to inquire to his friend Matsuki about building an electric Hawaiian guitar using his wood working and electronics skills. [5] In the late 1930s the "Matsuki Joiner" company ("Matsuki Seisakujo" in Japanese) was formed [5] producing and selling mostly American style (Rickenbacker style) guitars under the Guya name.

In 1940 Matsuki was drafted into the war between China and Japan and production halted for several years. After returning home, Matsuki formed his own company, "Matsuki Denki Onkyo Kenkyujo" (松木電気音響研究所 [3] ), translated means: "Matsuki Electric Sound Laboratory." [5]

Guyatone name

In 1951 Matsuki began to use the Guyatone name on his instruments. They also began to make amplifiers and cartridges for record players. [5] These cartridges found a large market after being routinely used by NHK, a government-owned broadcasting station. In 1952 [5] (or 1956 [3] ) the name of the corporation was again changed to Tokyo Sound Company (東京サウンド(株) [3] ). Eventually it was changed Guya Co., Ltd. ((株)グヤ) and then back to Tokyo Sound Co. once again. [3]

According to correspondence with Toshihiko Torri, R&D at Guyatone,[ citation needed ] the Tokyo Sound factory began large-scale production in 1956. Guyatone's own records indicate them as being founded on July 16, 1956. By the late 1950s or early 1960s, they made up to 1,500 slide guitars, 1,600 electric guitars and basses, 2,000 guitar amplifiers, and 5,000 microphones a month. [7]

During the late-1950s to 1960s, Guyatone guitars were distributed under various brands by other manufacturers/distributors:

Guyatone ZIP200B (1979, GA-200B).jpg
ZIP200B (1979) bass amp
Guyatone EX2 solid state guitar amplifier.jpg
EX2 Solid state guitar amp with 15 inch speaker
Guyatone VT2 Vintage Tremolo.jpg
VT2 Vintage Tremolo (micro effect series)
Guyatone WRm5 Wah Rocker (mighty micro series effects).jpg
Guyatone wr6 auto wah.jpg
WR6 Auto Wah
Guyatone zoom box.jpg
Zoom Box USA Made Limited Reissue
Guyatone TZ2 The Fuzz..jpg
TZ2, the Fuzz (micro effect series)
Guyatone Prototype Humbucker.jpg
Prototype Humbucker

Demise and rebirth

In 2013 "Tokyo Sound Co. Ltd." closed their doors to business [25] and transferred ownership of the "Guyatone" name to Hiroshi Matsuki (松木裕), son of the founder of Tokyo Sound Co., and brother to the president of the company, re-opening and re-organizing a short time later that same year. [7] Guyatone now continues in its US office in Oswego, IL, USA with partner company DeMont MFG LLC, where the new Guyatone WR6 pedal & Excelsior 5 guitar are produced.

Later, DeMont MFG LLC was purchased and absorbed into "DeMont Guitars" along with all assets. The Guyatone company is now owned by former R&D Guyatone engineer, Toshihiko Torii (DeMont Japan), and Nate DeMont (DeMont Guitars / Guyatone)

Latest products

In 2017 the WR6 AutoWah was launched as an all USA-Made pedal, limited to 100 units. The DeMont / Guyatone Manufacturing facility sustained a fire in December 2017 resulting in a slow release of the product. 2018 also introduced a limited run of 10 hand-made, USA Guyatone Zoom Box re-issue pedals.

Likewise, in Japan, Guyatone began development for a new line of micro pedals engineered by Toshihiko Torii.

Vintage Documentation

In late 2018, Guyatone launched the site to document and collect information about vintage products and instruments as an on-going project.

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  1. 1 2 Company History by Frank Meyers, Author of "History of Japanese Electric Guitars", on Guyatone website, 13 October 2019
  2. 1 2 "Guyatone LG60B (1959)". Instrument Archive, Rory Gallagher – The Official Website.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 東京サウンド(株) [Tokyo Sound Co., Ltd.] (in Japanese). Suginami Sangyo Kyokai (杉並産業協会).[In English: CONTACT: 3-36-14, Takaido Higashi , Suginami-ku, TOKYO. ABOUT US & HISTORY: Founded in 1933, produced first domestically electric guitars / In 1948, founded Matsuki Electro-Acoustic Laboratory / In 1956, renamed to Tokyo Sound Co., Ltd. / In 1959, moved to present location / In 1983, introduces the "REXER" / In 1999, revived the "SOUND".] (also PDF version is available)
  4. Wright, Michael. "Teisco Guitars, Part I – Rock 'n' Roll Dreams, Part I". Vintage Guitar . Mr. Hiroyuki Noguchi of Japan’s Rittor Music, editor of the Guitar Graphic book series. ... By the way, if you like older Japanese guitars, you must obtain a copy of Mr. Noguchi’s book, ’60s Bizarre Guitars (Guitar Magazine Mooks, Rittor Music).
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Fjestad 2011 , GUYATONE
  6. Fjestad 2011 , TEISCO DEL REY , "In 1946, Mr. Atswo Kaneko and Mr. Doryu Matsuda founded the Aoi Onpa Kenkyujo company, makers of the guitars bearing the Teisco and other trademarks ..." (Note: "Atswo Kaneko" referred to in this section seems to be another notation of "Atsuo Kaneko")
  7. 1 2 Nathaniel DeMont. "History". Guyatone (
  8. "富士弦楽器とIbanez" [FujiGen and Ibanez](catalog clips). Matsumoto Guitars [Guitar manufacturers in Matsumoto City] (in Japanese). Matsumoto: Junk Guitar Museum. 2009-06-14. Guyatone made Star model 1570, 1580, 1590, EG-1800, EG-1810 (late 1950s), Guyatone made Ibanez model 1850 (c.1961), and Hoshino's Tama factory made Burn influenced model 2103, 3904, ...
  9. DrowningInGuitars (July 17, 2013). "1960 Guyatone LG-70 Demo "Kingston" Model" (video). YouTube. So how about this... a Guyatone with a Kingston label. Westheimer imported a lot more than Teisco and Kawai folks! Oh, and the sweetest pickups ever placed on a Guyatone guitar in my opinion. If you love the neck position, you'd be in hog heaven with this guitar!
  10. "Hoshino Gakki Ten: IBANEZ and ralated brands". {{{1}}}
  11. Harry Shapiro; Michael Heatley; Roger Mayer. "1961 Epiphone Wilshire". Jimi Hendrix Gear. Voyageur Press. p.  34. ISBN   978-1-61060-421-5. ... in September 1962, he traded in his Danelectro (valued at $20) for an unidentified Ibanez electric from Collins Music Store in Clarksville, Tennessee. Unable to keep up the $10-per-week installments on his $95.87 purchase, he voluntarily returned the guitar in mid-November. His next purchase was a new Epiphone Wilshire, ...
  12. Steven Roby; Brad Schreiber (2010). "Chronology of Tours and Events, 1962–1966: November 1962". Becoming Jimi Hendrix: From Southern Crossroads to Psychedelic London, the Untold Story of a Musical Genius. Da Capo Press. p.  222. ISBN   978-0-306-81910-0. Tuesday, 11/13 ... Hendrix voluntarily returns the Ibanez guitar he got on loan from Collins Music Store in Clarksville because he cannot continue payments.
  13. 1 2 60's Bizarre Guitars 1993 , p.  32
  14. フジゲン創成期(エレキギター生産の始まり) [Genesis of FujiGen (beginning of the electric guitar production)]. Matsumoto Guitars [Guitar manufacturers in Matsumoto City] (in Japanese). Matsumoto: Junk Guitar Museum. 2012.
    [In English: In the same period, Mr. Yokouchi [co-founder of FujiGen] contacted the Nanyo Boeki [ NBK Corporation ], a musical instrument export trading company in Japan, for promoting his prototype products. Then, they indicated him a Kawai electric guitar and said that "Please manufacture as same as this", and the business had proceeded (the brand was Tele-Star [by Gar-Zim]). Also we can see that FujiGen's OEM manufacturing based on Teisco models was a similar case. [Generally, ] FujiGen's OEM manufacturing based on the other domestic manufacturer models were not initiated by the direct transaction between manufacturers, but by the proposal of trading company.]
  15. 1965 photograph of FujiGen office. Matsumoto Guitars [Guitar manufacturers in Matsumoto City] (photograph). Matsumoto: Junk Guitar Museum.
  16. "About". Antoria Guitars. 2010. ANTORIA GUITARS were first introduced into the UK from Japan in the early 1950s. ...
  17. 1 2 "Drifter LG50". Burns London.
  18. "Marty Wilde Antoria electric guitar". British Music Experience. Archived from the original on 2011-02-24.
  19. 1 2 "Guyatone/Antoria LG50 – The inspiration for the Burns-Weill Fenton". Archived from the original on 2010-10-23.
  20. Paul Alcantara (September 2010). "50 Years Of Burns Guitars". Guitar Buyer Magazine (109): 89.
  21. "Burns-Weill Fenton (1958?)". Instrument Archive, Rory Gallagher – The Official Website.
  22. John 'Ducksy' Reardon (2015). Birth to Reunion : The Pieces of Mind Story. Lulu Press, Inc. p.  32. ISBN   978-1-326-14343-5. The Broadway Plectric solids were made by Guyatone, a Japanese company ... / [caption] My Broadway Plectric 1922
    Note: the distributor may be Rose-Morris of England according to facebook. Also the Bell Musical Instruments of Epsom seems to had imported Guyatone according to their catalog in 1962.
  23. "Futurama Freshman and Sophomore Budget Solid Guitar". late-1960s catalog. Paris: Selmer.
    Guyatone LG-50A (ca.1965) and LG-60 (ca.1959) are seen on a Selmer catalog in the late 1960s.
  24. "Table of Kent Guitars – 500-800 Series" (images). Kent Guitars.
    Gallery of Kent branded guitars manufactured by Guyatone, along with FujiGen, Matsumoku, Teisco, and Kawai.
  25. "Tokyo Sound Co.,Ltd., a musical instrument manufacturer of Guyatone brand, stopped operation [on January 31, 2013]". 大型倒産情報 [Large Bankruptcy Information] (in Japanese). Teikoku Databank, Ltd. 7 February 2013. Archived from the original on 2013-02-10.[In English: "TDB Company Code: 980647747 / (Tokyo) Tokyo Sound Co., Ltd. (capital: 40 million yen, address: 3-36-14 Takaido-Higashi, Suginami, representative: Matsuki Koichi) was stopped operations in January 31."]