I bought my original Kawai from Tim Gentle music in Southend back in 1980 (ish). So, this whole site is really all his fault! When I set this site up, I managed to find Tim, and got in contact. He still has, and still uses, a rather modified KS11XL himself. This is his story ...
Here is a story about the Kawai Guitars we sold in 1980.
I bought all the guitars left in the Norlin (Gibson) warehouse including the two Kawai Moon shaped guitars, one sold to Ian Gibbons (Gibbo) from the Kinks, sadly he does not have it anymore. We sold each guitar for £150 including a case, half retail price, (I still have the adverts!) and kept the carved maple top version as a demo guitar.
This guitar had the back pickup changed to Bill Lawrence and the front pickup to a Dimarzio PAF. Big fat Jim Dunlop frets were added and a TP6 tunamatic bridge slotted onto the posts to fine tune it from the bridge. This was to show the pickups we sold, the refrets we could do and the fine-tuning bridges available.
This guitar was used every day as a demo for every amplifier and pedal we sold. It got kicked around the shop until the mid 1990’s. When a few fine tuners went missing, it was hung up at the back of the shop looking quite sad. One night some nice people broke into the shop and tried to steal a few guitars, but were disturbed by the alarm so only took one bass that was hanging up in front of the Kawai.
It took me until that day to realise that I had not sold this Kawai guitar because it was a great guitar and I loved it. So it came off the wall, new missing bits were ordered, which took six months to arrive, and it was then hung up behind the counter looking used, old and beautiful.
The day I sorted it out someone came in and asked “How much is that guitar” pointing at the Kawai. I said it was not for sale, and he asked how much it would be if I was going to sell it, I said £495, he said OK I will have it, but I refused to sell it and showed him the door.
I would not ever sell this guitar as, like me, it has been through a few wars and come out the other side smiling, sounding good and great to play. These are extremely underrated guitars and not copies, they are top class brilliant guitars, if you see one buy it, or bring it back to me and I will give you your £150 back!! Reintroduce the Kawais it what I say!!!