Friday, November 20, 2009

1980's Kawai M-1000 Moonsault

I don't own this guitar, but I've written about the Moonsault a few times in other postings so I thought I'd include some information and pictures of one.

The MoonSault became one of the most popular models in Japan marketed by Kawai. As far as I know, no significant attempt was ever made to market MoonSaults in the U.S. It's one of the more unique guitar shapes ever created! This is the ULTIMATE ART GUITAR and from its introduction the MOONSAULT became a benchmark for guitar styling. Once you see one, you never forget it and they play great too.

Many MoonSault models were produced after 1975. The MS-700 was produced from December of 1982 through April 1983. The tell-tale blue/silver burst finish clearly dates it to that time. This was when Gibson and other companies were producing similar metallic sunburst guitars.

This is a great-playing, comfortable guitar, extremely well-made, with premium materials. Standing, it gives you a great image, and if you like to play sitting down, the moon shape cradles nicely in your lap. Like many other Japanese guitars of this time, the electronics are designed to give you a great deal of tonal flexibility. The guitar has a master volume with individual tone controls for each pickup. Each tone pot is push/pull, yielding coil tapping on one and phase reversal on the other. The wide fine-tune bridge was very popular in the early 1980's, and provides easy, stable intonation.

The rage for silverburst guitars was pretty short-lived, lasting only a few years at best, and this MS-700 was soon replaced by other MoonSault models. Sales of MoonSaults, however, were brisk enough to keep the model in production through the 1990s. At the end of the run there was even a clear plexiglass tribute model. By the late 1980's, the dollar/yen conversion rate was so unfavorable that Japanese companies could not afford to export to the U.S. and the age of Korean guitars began. High-end guitarmakers continued to produce guitars in Japan, but for the most part they are for domestic consumption only while budget guitars hailed from Korea, China, or elsewhere.

How many MoonSaults were made is unknown. Because they weren't marketed in the U.S. export numbers would be small. If the few that show up on the market are any guide, they're rare.


As best I can determine, this guitar was made in 1982/1983 (making it one of the originals.

MODEL: MS-1000, MLY (Moon Light Yellow).

BODY: Solid mahogany painted in “yellow burst” finish.


BODY FINISH: Has poly finish with few scratches, wear spots, and some broken finish marks and cracks which give it pure character. There is slight damage at the top of the body that seems to have come from the guitar hitting something.

NECK: Set one piece mahogany neck. There is a slight crack near the HEADSTOCK which has been professionally repaired.

FRETBOARD: The fretboard is made of Indian rosewood and is well dressed with jumbo frets that are well honed. It has 22 Frets with a Scale of 24 ¾”. Beautiful moonphase Mother of Pearl inlays.

HEADSTOCK: The heatstock is bound and has wonderful celestial mother of pearl inlays (the cresent moon inlay matches the body).

TUNERS: Grover 102N

BRIDGE: “Leo Quan badass” (Made in Germany)

PICKUPS: Two (2) original "Aluminum shielded Kawai DSU humbuckers”

CONTROLS/SWITCHES: Three knobs, one 3 way, and 4 other switches.


BODY INLAY: Beautiful inlaid binding on top of the body.


Friday, November 13, 2009

1960's Kay Vanguard K102 Guitar

This is probabaly a late 1960's Kay model based on the information I've found. It is a Vanguard model K102 with two DeArmond pickups (sometimes called the Vanguard 2) and they also came as the K100 with a single DeArmond pickup. Kay also produced these guitars for the Western Auto chain and badged them with the Truetone name and for Spiegel Catalog and badged them with the Old Kraftsman name.

Kay became the second-largest producer of inexpensive guitars and related instruments in Chicago behind Harmony. Both Harmony and Kay mass-produced many thousands of instruments under catalog brand names such as Silvertone (Sears), Airline (Montgomery Ward) and many others. The original Kay Musical Instrument Company in Chicago went out of business in 1968, but the name is still active, licensed to a line of cheap instruments from Asia.

You can find a lot of information on Kay guitars at the
King Of Kays

Related Posts with Thumbnails