Well, whaddya think about this one? Ugly? Sorta cool? Total gonzo? The shape is definitely out there, but overall the guitar is standard fare for early 60s Kawai solid body electrics. The great Hound Dog pickups, and metal guard, the rocker switches, and the dreaded set-neck/bolt neck combo!Check out that body shape! I’m sure this guitar was meant to “copy” the strange Teisco SS and SD guitars. Normally these Kawai S-80s featured a double cutaway style, but on this one all they did was chop off that lower horn! The body is made of solid wood, and it’s actually nicely figured! This guitar also had one of the nicest fretboards I’ve ever seen, it was really highly figured and just gorgeous.You can see the solid wood construction of the neck and headstock here as well. But alas, no adjustable truss rod. Which is problematic when you look at the next photo!Yes, there it is, the dreaded early Kawai neck joint! There’s the beast! Man o’ man, those joints are real buggers. See, when you take off that neck plate, there’s an addition screw under there securing the neck, and then after you take that out, you see that the neck is glued into the heel. It’s a tight fit, and is done well from a carpenter’s point-of-view. But from a guitarist’s angle, it’s problematic.Neck angles were never very good on most vintage Japanese electric guitars. But if you’re going to use set-neck construction and no adjustable truss rod, then you’d better get that neck angle correct! Oh, and I almost forgot, they applied the finish of the guitar over the neck joint!! Unfortunately, the neck angle on this guitar was WAY OFF!! So we got to work by removing the neck (and breaking the finish at the joint!), using a heat gun to get it straight, and then adding a bunch of shims to get the guitar playable.
It’s sort of a shame with these old Japanese guitars. They have such a bad rap, but they do have potential, with some work. I just can’t help but give them a little love, even the ugly ones!