What Is the History of Kent Guitars?

By Staff WriterLast Updated Mar 25, 2020 10:10:35 PM ET

Kent guitars sold in the United States in the 1960s were originally manufactured by the Japanese companies Teisco and Guyatone. The Kent Musical Instrument Company was founded by Buegeleisen & Jacobson and began importing these Japanese-made guitars in April 1962.

The Kent brand contained two lines of guitars, a lower-end line produced by Teisco and a higher-end line of Guyatone guitars. Kent continued to import these guitars through 1967, when it ended its relationship with Teisco. It then began importing guitars from a few other companies, including Swedish company Hagstrom, until the early 1970s.

The guitars produced by Teisco, which stands for Tokyo Musical Instrument and Sound Company, were also imported into the United States under many other brand names, including Silvertone, Lyle, Encore, Beltone and Norma. In the United Kingdom, these guitars were marketed under brand names such as Sonatone, Kay, Top Twenty, Audition and Arbiter.

Teisco first began importing guitars to the United States under their own brand in 1960. In 1964, the company then switched the name of their U.S. brand to Teisco Del Rey. The company was then sold in 1967, and the Teisco brand name stopped being used for guitars sold in the United States in 1969. Guitars were still sold under the Teisco name in Japan until 1977.