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Friday, June 13, 2008

Found the Kawai!

This isn't really about guitar-building, but it's still about guitars so I'll share it anyway ...

Finally, after years of searching, I've finally managed to track down a Kawai KS-11-XL. Actually, the seller tracked me down from the link on this blog!

What's a Kawai KS-11-XL you may ask ...

One of the Made-in-Japan quality guitars from the late 70's. This is an original Kawai design rather than the more common jap LP/Strat copies, and is a higher-end guitar, comparable in many ways to the Yamaha SGs of the same era ... which puts it higher up the quality and sound scale than many of the more famous US-made guitars from the late 70's. In my opinion, of course!

Solid mahogany body with a curved maple top, 3-piece set mahogany neck, double cutaway design, twin HBs, Badass bridge.

I bought the "top end" model (KS-12-XL) back in the late 70's (thanks, Tim Gentle Music!), and for many years it was my only or main guitar. I still have it. I found the low-end model (KS-10) on eBay a few years ago, and it was a "genuine eBay bargain" - not a phrase that you hear that often. I'd missed an immaculate KS-11-XL on eBay before that, and am still kicking myself for that. If the buyer ever finds this blog ... contact me!

So when Matt contacted me through this blog, telling me about his KS-11-XL, I was slightly more than happy, and a deal was done. Guitar arrived yesterday and it's in amazingly good condition for a nearly 30-year old guitar. It's the violin sunburst finish rather than the natural, which is why I'd still be interested in hearing about any natural-finish examples ... if any still exist!

Pics to follow ...


Anonymous said...

Hi there, I have a natural finish Kawai and have only this morning found out what it is that I actually own - nearly all Google results for "Kawai Guitar - KS-11-XL" point to this blog! I am not a serious guitarist, in fact I haven't picked up an electric for years - the Kawai has been sitting in my parents loft for nearly ten years now as it is fairly knackered re: the electrics pick-ups etc. I bought it off a friend of a friend in about 1986 and I think he had had it from a secondhand shop in Chester where I was brought up. It differs from the photo on your site in having had an extra switch put in by the volume and tone controls and also having the biggest tremelo bar I've ever seen in my life - don't know the make and as I say it's at my parents. If you have any more info on the guitar I'd love to hear it - email is

Anonymous said...

i am french, 50 years old, and bought a kawai guitar in 70's.
My guitar is nearly the same as on your photo, there is only a plastic part fixed with 2 screws on the table, to protect it.
Also you put the jack not on the table, but on the side of the table of the guitar.
I always play with it, and it has a pretty sound.
If you have any information more on this guitar, my email is:
A Branchet

Anonymous said...

Kawai KS-11-XL
hi there theres one of these for sale at a guitar shop near me in the natural finish. great guitar excellent to play

shop is called guitar and amp shack, houghton, carlisle, england.

really is a great guitar to play, and it just oozes quality!!!

A (very) amateur guitar builder said...

Thanks Anonymous! I'll give them a call.

Anonymous said...

My name is Johann and I'm living in Iceland. I'm a happy owner of a guitar like that and just started to play actively again. Could you send me information about this guitar? Also if this is a "vintage" or valuable guitar?
I would appreciate comments and info on the e-mail,
Thanks in advance

billy said...

My KS 11xl was stolen in the 80s.. I have not seen the likings of this guitar again since..

Any info on finding one would be greatly appeciated.