Tuesday, June 16, 2009
It is a unknown Telestar model single pickup Electric Guitar from the 1960's. The guitar is in great condition and all original as far as I can tell. Nice straight neck with a huge headstock that is seen on many guitars from the 1960's.
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.