Tuesday, June 9, 2009

1960's Kawai Teisco Guitar Body with Goldfoil Pickups

I belive this is a Kawai built Telestar or Kimberly guitar from the 1960's but since the neck is missint I can't confirm the manufacturer. It is surely a Japanese built guitar from the 1960's based on other clues such as the goldfoil pickups that were so common back then. Other than some chrome loss and the missing bridge it complete.


The Teisco brand name stands for 'Tokyo Electric Instrument and Sound Company'. Teisco was founded in 1946 by renowned Hawaiian and Spanish guitarist Atswo Kaneko, and electrical engineer Doryu Matsuda. Teisco guitars sold in the United States were badged "Teisco Del Rey" beginning in 1964. Teisco guitars were also imported in the U.S. under several brand names including Silvertone, Jedson, Kent, Kingston, Kimberly, Tulio, Heit Deluxe and World Teisco. While guitars manufactured by Teisco were ubiquitous in their day, they are now very collectable.


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.


Cloudy said...

Man, where are you finding these things?? I've gotten sost spot for 'em lately (a soft spot in my head I guess).

Take a look at Guitar Fetish - they make a repro whammy tailpiece that should work on that body (won't look the same but it's the sh*t on my ET200). They also have affordable bridges that could be modded on. (I don't work for 'em, but they make good parts for low bucks)

Guitar Hunter said...

Thanks Cloudy, I've seen their site before and it's helpful.

Anonymous said...

Is there any place to purchase pickups that won't require mods to the guitar?

Guitar Hunter said...

I wish I knew where to find them as well. Everything I've tried is too thick to mount without routing out the body somewhat. Maybe someone will see this and post a reply.

Bruce said...

what you have pictured is a 60's Kay Audition made in Japan.

Guitar Hunter said...

I couldn't find anything that would confirm this to be a Kay Audition, but if it's an Audition I believe they were built by Kawai.

Anonymous said...

its a 1960 Prestige...i dont know the model.

Guitar Hunter said...

I appreciate all the comments on what model I have, but so far it's been called a Kay Audition and a Prestige. Without some concrete reference, I'm going to stick with my original decision on what model it is.

Tony said...

Interesting to read some of the earlier history of Kawai. My interest in the brand really starts when you finish ... in the late 70s and early 80s ... they made some really great quality guitars in that period.


Johnny said...

1960's Kawai Teisco Guitar Body with Goldfoil Pickups!!!!
I have one, in very good condition... its identical to the one is the picture...
any idea how much the value of it would be?

Guitar Hunter said...

They did make some interesting guitars in the late 70's and into the 80's.

Guitar Hunter said...

Value of these guitars always depend on the condition. It's hard to place an exact value without seeing the guitar.

Dunnoaname said...

Hi Guitar Hunter!
Do you have a gutshot or schematic of the golfoil teisco. I have a similar one that needs rewiring.

Guitar Hunter said...

If you want to send me an email, I can take a picture of another similar guitar that I have. I don't have this actual guitar any longer.

Anonymous said...

that body looks like a 2 pickup crestline guitar

generic viagra said...

great site

Danny said...

Hi there, I bought one of these bodies from ebay, looks amazing.

I was wondering if anyone could suggest a neck and bridge to buy for it that's relatively inexpensive.



Louw de Villiers said...

Hi, it seems that pictures of that old teisco really is scarce. I recently was given a complete version of the same model, of which you have only the body, to cleanup and make more playable again here in South Africa. pic's of it can be found in my picasa album. https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-WF33HVHF5wA/Tr-xm7yiNnI/AAAAAAAAAA4/PNQri7Xvy5E/s1024/22102011148.jpg

Mitchell.J said...

Hello ... just clearing things up.
This IS a Vintage Teisco Kawai. I'm about to own one and the seller showed me some pictures and everything matches up.

A different seller's post -

The two you have up are probably of the rarest models iv'e seen, not many exist and not many are sold. I search the internet for a couple hours before I could find that one link above ... and that is the only other link. The TeleStar looks similar but is not this (?) guitar but is very different.

Anonymous said...

it a prestige i have one thats just like it in color and all mine has a prestige sticker on it mines in nice shape it has the gold foil pick ups

Darren said...

I picked up a very similar guitar at the local markets in Woy Woy, NSW Australia last year.

After lots of research it ended up being a guitar sold under the brand of Audition, one of the multiple brands these guitars were sold under it appears.

I could just make out the outline of the brand name on the headstock but it took some time to find a match as these guitars were sold under a lot of different brands.

Apart from some variations in pick guards and logos, as well as pickups or at least pickup covers, they all seem to feature the same bridge, tail piece with springy tremelo etc.

Here's some links to the one I bought and after refinishing in an aged shell pink finish.

http://members.ozemail.com.au/~derrwint/Audition guitar a.jpg
http://members.ozemail.com.au/~derrwint/Audition guitar b.jpg
http://members.ozemail.com.au/~derrwint/Audition guitar c.jpg
http://members.ozemail.com.au/~derrwint/Audition guitar refinished shell pink.jpg


Anonymous said...

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If so how do you prevent it, any plugin or anything you can
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Anonymous said...

Wow, just to satisfy my curiosity I started searching the 'Net to identify my old guitar that I've dragged around for probably 50 years and I finally find it here on this page. BTW, there is no badge anywhere on the neck except for a sticker (mine is still attached) that says Prestige. Give me an email address and I'll send you a picture if you're interested in seeing one complete (no whammy bar). Oops, started writing before reading all the posts. When I checked the Prestige Guitar website I couldn't find anything like mine so I don't think it's a company name.

Anonymous said...

With the info from this website I was able to find this guitar (Vintage Teisco Prestige Guitar w/ Gold Foil Pickups) listed on http://www.pinterest.com/Headbangerstore/teisco/ just over half way down in the center. Say's it is listed on Etsy for $350 but it apparently has been sold. Here's another picture of it at http://www.pinterest.com/pin/154389093450110438/. Really nice shape too.

Gustavo said...

Hi, i have one like that and working in fine conditions. In mine´s headstock, it´s written " Vision ".. don´t ask me why but i hope that name can help to figure it out the correct name. This guitar has very similar parts of Kawai guitars and other parts are common in Teisco guitars, so..as long as it plays, i´m happy! :)

ron.flonflon said...

Does anyone knows more info about this one?

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