Friday, July 20, 2012

Kawai / Kingston SD-40 sells for $910 on eBay - Hound Dog mania continues!

The manic pursuit of these multi-pickup Kawai/Kingston /Teisco guitars continues with the sale of this SD-40 yesterday on eBay for $910.  This is really a collectors market item because the simple fact is a standard 2 pickup Kingston that can be had almost anywhere for about $200 sounds and plays exactly the same.

Of course as is the case in most of these "hype" sales on eBay, the seller does a good job of differentiating this particular guitar from all the other similar guitars out there on the market. (note how he even replicated the "Hound Dog Taylor" sticker on the headstock based on the one in the photo)

Kudos to him for pulling it off.   We can all learn something from this type of proactive marketing.

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RARE!! The Genuine HOUND DOG TAYLOR Kawai Teisco Electric Guitar





A lot of four-pickup guitars on Ebay are described as being the “Hound Dog Taylor model”.  Most aren’t.  This guitar actually is one of the two models that Taylor famously used, a mid-1960s Kingston-branded Kawai SD-40.  Of the two Kawai’s associated with Taylor (the S-180 and the SD-40) this is by far the rarer one.


It’s exactly like the one Hound Dog Taylor played (see pic).  It has the correct pickups (screw pole pieces, not solid squares), the right scale length (25 & 5/8”, most look-alikes are baritones), the right neck (mahogany with narrow fret markers, not the commoner maple), the better looking beveled body edges, a master tone with four individual pickup volume controls rather than one master volume and one master tone, and the tomato-red and black sunburst like Taylor’s was.

Wanna come close to getting that tone?  This guitar will get you there.  The pickups are wired as a series, so the output increases with each additional pickup you engage.  With the two bridge pickups on, the right amp, and the right attitude, it can sound like The Dog is in your living room.

The guitar is in excellent cosmetic condition for its age, just a few dents and dings, and a little finish chipped off the edge of the body, but nothing too bad.  The pickguard is trying to very slightly curl up at some of its points, and there is a small crack forming at the lower treble horn point where the screw is, but it’s not all the way across.

The finish is thin, and the body is not encased in thick poly like some Japanese guitars are.  And, it doesn’t weigh a ton like some of the similar-looking Kawais and Teiscos.  The mahogany neck is really thick – maybe not for everyone – but it feels great to me and you’ll love it if you like chunky necks.

All the switches, pots, and pickups work perfectly.  The electronics are original with one exception – the #3 pickup was dead when I got it – so I had another correct vintage Kawai pickup professionally installed.  Now all four pickups squawk!  The truss rod works (recently adjust during a pro-setup).  The neck is straight, the frets are in great shape, and the action can be set quite low without buzz.  It’s currently set at 2/16” at the 12th fret, for slide playing, but could go even a bit lower.

Not all four-pickup Kawais and Teiscos have the raunchy Hound Dog sound – I’ve been through a few – but this one does.  Through a cranked tube amp it produces that distinctive lo-fi snarl you hear on the records.  Perfect for electric blues or rock.

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