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Bizarro 1960s Kingston 12-string solidbody electric guitar

in Guitar Nerd by


Here’s a real oddity, a 1960s-era Kingston 12-string solidbody, of a peculiar design that I certainly have never seen before. It is a very odd shape. It may just be me, but I fancy that if it were finished in yellow rather than black it might resemeble a certain submersible that The Beatles made famous.

So, it’s Japanese made by Kawai. What else do we know? Well here’s what the eBay seller tells us:

Electronics – All electronics are working including both pickups, on/off selector switch for each pickup, both volume controls and universal tone control have all checked out fine. All electronics look original and vintage. I have owned 100’s of vintage MIJ guitars and this setup looks legit. The Pickguard is an interesting material however as it is not plastic. It looks like those faux wood pick guards used on Domino California Rebel guitars although the wood side is reversed. See pics.

Body – Solid wood (not plywood). Finish may or may not be original. It looks like it may have been painted black although my guess is it was painted many years ago as finish has a vintage look. I believe the guitar may have been all white judging from the front of the neck headstock which looks original. There are some light areas around the edge of the headstock that have black paint. Back of neck is black finish as well and matches the body. The body pickguard holes and tremolo tailpiece dugout area look original and not modified in any way. The bridge area however looks like it was modified to be cut into the body and pickguard instead of “floating bridge” style or screwed into top of body. Tremolo tailpiece is typical of Kingston / Kawai guitars of this age and the routing area in body looks all original (I have a Kingston / Kawai S-160 listed at this time with this tremolo tailpiece if you’d like to compare these). This tailpiece is actually machined with 12 string holes (first time I’ve seen that on one of these tailpieces). The tremolo has been blocked off and does not include the arm stem or arm. A 12 string guitar can be problematic enough to keep in tune, never mind adding a tremolo to the mix!!! Yowza!

Neck – Neck has Gibson type “open book” lawsuit design. Tuners all match and are vintage and all work fine. Truss rod cover has KINGSTON on it. Neck needs attention as it starts straight but takes a dive where it meets the body.

The main issue with this guitar keeping it from being playable is the neck. The neck is the main problem. It starts straight all the way until 10th fret or so then dives down to body. It’s not a typical forward or back bow. Also, the bridge being set down into the body (presumably to lower action?) makes the string angle wrong and the strings slip out.

Sad that the guitar has some issues and will most likely end up being a wall hanging rather than a player, but it’s a fascinating pieve nonetheless.

Currently listed on eBay with a Buy It Now price of US$ 350.

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