Friday, May 15, 2009

1960's Audition (Kawai or Teisco) 2 Pickup Electric

It is a unknown Audition model 2 pickup Electric Guitar from the 1960's with 2 goldfoil pickups. The prize on this guitar is the goldfoil pickups and I've already used them for another project. Audition guitars were distributed in the US and UK by the Woolworth chain. Many of the ones I've seen have the goldfoil pickups just like this one has. It's most likely that this guitar was built by Kawai seeing as how the quality appears to be higher than that seen in a typical Teisco.

Kawai was founded in 1927 by Koichi Kawai in Hamamatsu, Japan. Mr. Kawai's vision was to create top-quality pianos, a quest in which he certainly succeeded! Kawai added guitars to its line around 1954 and eventually became a player in the 1960s Guitar Boom. Like many Japanese electric guitars, most early Kawai guitars were slightly frumpy, although the impression is that their electronics were a little better than most. Often accused of supplying more flash than substance, there are Kawai guitars that are of high quality, playability and design.

Probably the most prominent brand names in the U.S. manufactured by Kawai were TeleStar, whose sparkle models have a small but devoted following, Kimberly, and Domino. Kawai also built guitars for Saint Lous music in the 1960's and 1970's under their brand name Apollo.

In January of 1967 Kawai purchased the Teisco guitar company, but they appear to have operated the two companies pretty much separately. Both lines featured exclusive designs and different pickups. Teisco continued the vector of evolution it had taken, ending up with the Spectrums and finally the mini-Strats, before become the Kay brand in the U.S.

In 1968 both Kawai and Teisco freaked out. Kawai produced models such as the axe-shaped Concert, plus a variety of unusual VS violin-bodied guitars (including one with 16 strings and its own pickup mounted parallel to the strings, whether sympathetic or strummed, who knows?), the Splender, shaped like a banjo, and another model shaped like a sitar. For Teisco, 1968 was the year that gave us the famous artist-palette-shaped May Queen, wildly flared, asymmetrical Fire Bird, and long-horn Phantom. One other company, Firstman (unrelated to Kawai), produced a model similar to the Concert called the Liverpool.








One of my blog readers sent me these two pictures of what we believe to be the rare Splender model (Thanks James!)

This guitar will be sold on ebay soon. Check my about me page for the ebay listing.


Dustin said...

I have pretty much the same guitar but mine doesn't have a truss rod in the neck and it has a plastic bridge.I've been looking all over for original pictures so I may try to restore it

Guitar Hunter said...

I've seen all sorts of bridges on these guitars including the white plastic one you mentioned. I'm not sure on the various dates these bridges represent, but maybe a reader will let us know if the plastic came before the roller bridge or it was the other way.

Anonymous said...

I am searching for a teisco violin bass, f-holes, but the pickup switch is not on the control plate, it is on the body near the neck. I have a pic of my father over 40 years ago, he owned one. Now I want to find one, he died when I was 5 I am 41 now so this is pretty sentimental. Email me at with any info please and thank you. :)

Guitar Hunter said...

Check eBay, but maybe someone will see this and get in touch with you.

Jared Singleton said...

I have been trying to find a Teisco Del Ray for a while now, and not having much luck. Most people selling them want 2 times more than what they are worth. I am looking for someone who has one for sale between $500 to $800 bucks. Specifically an early 60's model. You can email me here:

Thank you.

Guitar Hunter said...

Good luck Jared, I think what you told me you wanted was the ET-440 model Teisco.

Anonymous said...

Uh, guys, that 2 pickup audition was made by zenon

Timmy Andrews said...

I have one on layaway at Guitar Center, except the one I'm getting has two knobs,and three (of the same kind as the ones in the picture) pickups. The Switches are for the three pickups, and then a fourth that acts like a built in boost. It is labeled 'Solo' on one side of the switch, and 'Rhyth.' on the other. Pretty sweet, eh?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
I recently purchased an Audition very close to this one, mine has 3 of those pickups and 4 switches. I was looking around online trying to research it and yours is the only site I've found with anything that close to it. Then I see you have it marked as an unknown model. Argh. The one I got has the tremolo bar and original case, I won't know real condition until it arrives in the mail. I used to hang out in the local soda fountain / lunch counter at the local Woolworths store here when I was a kid. I remember looking at the guitars wishing I could have one and play it. Well I'm an old man now and I can have one, but I'm still wishing I could play. Going to give it a try I think. Nice site by the way, thanks for the information you do have.

Anonymous said...

Hello, I am searching for a Teisco (4 Pickup) with four white flip switches above the pickups. Sunburst with the Teisco on the headstock. Large chrome pick guard and chrome pick covers. I think it is from the line called the tele-star. I am searching for one to buy. any info to confirm the model or one for sale would be a great help. Thanks Steve.

barry reid said...

I recently cane across one with four pickups six white switches and two rollers can any1 tell me what year its from can't find nothing like it online

Anonymous said...

could you be looking for 1964 fujigen demian-lindell,vn2-vn4 baritone with switches and rollers,looks like same pickups as banjo displayed here,i have a vn2 those maxon pickups are good ones.

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