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Not an Electra but..........
http://www.rivercityamps.com/electraforum/viewtopic.php?f=40&t=5043
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Author:  sandspur [ Wed Oct 20, 2010 6:32 pm ]
Post subject:  Not an Electra but..........

but it's my new project. Picked this up off of the 'bay yesterday and awaiting delivery. It's another Japanese guitar, but this is built by the famous piano maker Kawai. It looks like an ES-175/295. I've had a hard time finding information on these but the info I have found is positive. It originally had an old Japanese bigsby type trem. It needs a tailpiece, the bridge is coming with it.

I've been contemplating putting the original type bridge or a "licensed" bigsby. I guess I'll wait to see what shows up first. Check out the double binding and the sunburst on the side.....you don't see that everyday.

The other tone pot is inside the guitar and if you look closely you'll see it has a zero fret. Best I can guess is late 60's to early 70's on the date.

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Author:  mortarman120gang11c [ Wed Oct 20, 2010 8:33 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Not an Electra but..........

Looks like a nice project guitar indeed. This one looks to be in good shape just needs to be put back together again. Good Luck :up:

Author:  Workingman [ Thu Oct 21, 2010 11:27 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Not an Electra but..........

I would go with the original style floating bridge. Unless she has a center block, a Bigsby could put to much pressure on the top.

Author:  sandspur [ Thu Oct 21, 2010 12:52 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Not an Electra but..........

I want to go with the original but it is hard to come by a complete piece. The Bigsby B6 works the same way as the original and would not put any more pressure on the top than the original. I'm still looking though. I haven't taken delivery yet so we'll see what surprises are in store for me.

On another note, I've always like archtops and wish Electra had made one.

Author:  proendorser [ Thu Oct 21, 2010 1:10 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Not an Electra but..........

That's one big box there man! You'll have to work up some jazz riffs and show us how it sounds when it's all back together. Good luck and congrats.

Author:  sandspur [ Thu Oct 21, 2010 1:52 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Not an Electra but..........

Thanks Pro. I might need to learn some first! All in good time though. My first thought was using this for some blues or OLD rock sounds. I do hope it will be as versatile as I think. I keep thinking to myself I should have held out for the Godin kingpin I wanted, but if it didn't need any work it wouldn't have been any fun.

Author:  sandspur [ Sat Oct 23, 2010 3:48 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Not an Electra but..........

Well I received the guitar yesterday and threw on and old trapeze tailpiece I had lying around. Next I put some strings on and fished out the tone pot from the inside of the guitar. Man, was that a pain. It turns out the pots have a strange size nut on them and I can't find one anywhere. I don't want to rewire the guitar but I think I might have to. I have a strategy for this though involving thread and a coat hanger.

I'm going to need knobs for it and a new bridge base plate. The bridge that came with it is too high even at the lowest setting and the action on the higher frets is currently ridiculous. With that said, the sound is awesome.

I wondered what the single coils on it would sound like and I'm surprised. I love this through my old Gibson amp. I plugged into my newer Vox and it sounds good there too except on very high gain settings, when the pickups become microphonic. It has good projection when played unplugged.

I've decided to go with a Bigsby B6 and I'm going to buy some tuners as well. The ones on it suck. The guitar has only 2 "crazing" cracks on it which is good for a 40+ year old guitar. The bridge I put on next will be an ABR1 type roller I already have just sitting around. It's gold, but it's free.

Author:  proendorser [ Sun Oct 24, 2010 4:03 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Not an Electra but..........

Glad you like it man. Lots of guys attach string to the pots before they pull them, then use the string to fish the new electronics right back to the holes... good luck still. Mike.

Author:  sandspur [ Sun Oct 31, 2010 11:55 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Not an Electra but..........

Well I made some progress on the "big box". The bigsby and a roller bridge have been added. I'm sending it to my luthier for the final setup and I'm going to have him sort out the electronics as well.

Image

Author:  proendorser [ Sun Oct 31, 2010 4:19 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Not an Electra but..........

I had my doubts, it looked naked without a bridge or tailpiece on it... but the bigsby looks slick and balances it all out once again. Is the neck bolt-on? How does that five inch thick body feel when you're playing it? Fancy pickguard! Good match with the Vintage Radio man, Mike.

Author:  mortarman120gang11c [ Sun Oct 31, 2010 5:40 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Not an Electra but..........

Looks really nice. Great job. :up:

Author:  sandspur [ Sun Oct 31, 2010 6:21 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Not an Electra but..........

Yes the neck is bolt on. I'll get some pictures to show how they did it, it is very unique. My understanding is that the guitar construction is very similar to some German archtops with the bolt neck and then with the neck itself. The neck is a multi piece laminate. I don't mean 3 piece like some of our Electras, but like 20+ pieces, like a Framus neck.

To tell you the truth, the bolt neck is why I bought the guitar and I'm glad of it now. This guitar would need a neck reset now if it wasn't a bolt neck. The action on the higher frets is way too high even after adjusting the trussrod. At this point it only needs a small shim to adjust the neck angle. When I got it, the neck was not attached. I believe that there was a shim that was lost or removed before. This is another reason it is going to my luthier. One other thing is the neck is not like your typical archtop. It feels like a more modern electric neck.

Thanks for the compliment, I believe the bigsby helps a lot. Even with the issues it still has, the guitar sounds good with open chords (where the action is good). I believe the pickguard to be original. I have seen similar on other old Kawai's. I would say the body is about 4 inches thick and isn't really much different than playing my acoustic only it has a faster neck (even with the high action up in the upper frets).

Author:  sandspur [ Wed Dec 29, 2010 1:47 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Not an Electra but..........

Well I got the archtop back from my luthier today. He potted the pickups, installed a Gretsch style space control bridge on it, shimmed the neck, and totally redid the wiring. It sounds and plays great and no longer has the microphonic squeal it had before. The action is nice but there is a small "hump" after the 12th fret. The previous owner had cranked the truss rod so far my luthier said he thought he would break a screwdriver loosening it. He said the small hump should "settle" now that it is back in shape. Even with the "hump" the action is reasonably good above the 12th and there is no fret buzz. Pics below.

Space Control bridge:
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Body angled view:
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Full body view:
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With my Electra and home-made tele (I didn't realize how much larger it was!):
Image

Author:  RCSBlues [ Wed Dec 29, 2010 2:04 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Not an Electra but..........

Sweet!

RCSBlues :oops: :up:

Author:  sandspur [ Wed Dec 29, 2010 2:07 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Not an Electra but..........

Thanks RCS. This has now become my most expensive guitar. That is with my repairs adding up to double what I paid for the guitar. I would venture to bet it is the hardest to replace as well though. I don't know that I'll ever see another of these Kawai's.

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