1980's Kawai Aquarius AQ-501 VWH MIJ & Used Hard Case
Upgraded electrics with Tonerider Rocksong coil splitting humbuckers on this guitar
Kawai are a Japanese company famous for making excellent pianos. In the 1970s & 80's they also made guitars and basses to a very good standard. This guitar is from the Aquarius range and features an Ash body, Maple neck & fretboard, a pair of humbucker pickups & a vintage style tremolo system. It's a nice guitar and it plays well but before I go on, let me tell you about a few modifications etc.
When this guitar came in, it was in a bit of a sorry state. The original pickups had been removed and some mismatched humbuckers had been installed. The electrics were also a bit of a mess & the 3 way switch didn't work very well. Add crackly pots to the equation, it needed some sorting out. The body was also quite poor with scratches & dents along with discolouration leaving it patchy & unattractive. Normally I like to leave things but I just felt it was a project worth doing!
Firstly I stripped the guitar down & rubbed down the body before respraying it in a vintage white which was the closest to the original colour I could get. After several coats of paint I relacquered it with many coats of nitrocellulose before hand finishing it and polishing. The result isn't 100% perfect but I am very happy with the look. Next up were the electrics. Obviously I couldn't find any original pickups but I found some Tonerider Rocksong zebra humbuckers which get excellent reviews. I like the sound of single coils for rhythm so I wanted them to have coil splitting. This was possible so the tone pot is a push pull one so when it's pushed in, everything is humbucker & when it's pulled out, everything is single coil. It has some great sounds. I also replaced all the pots, the wiring and the switch. The result is a very good guitar which, until sold, I will happily take to gigs!
As I said earlier, the guitar plays nicely and the frets are good & the neck straight & slim giving nice low action. I think it is good value for money.
Kawai AQ-501 Specifications
Neck: One piece Maple with 22 fret Maple fretboard
Width at nut: 42mm
Width at 12th fret: 54mm
Scale Length: 648mm (25.5")
2 x Tonerider Rocksong w/coil splitting
3 way switch
Master volume & tone knobs
Vintage style tremolo system
3 ply white pickguard
Vintage generic unbranded hard case
As stated many times, due to courier damage, all my guitars are shipped in hard cases (usually new) this one being a vintage generic one which I guess was supplied with the guitar when it was bought new
So to sum up, a nice (but a bit tatty) guitar from Kawai Japan. This model is quite difficult to find here in the UK . My thanks to the Kawai.com website for some useful information which helped me identify the model