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Microphone Month 3

Kawai Amp in Guitar

Anyone cruising America’s guitar stores in 1964 had a good chance of running into this unusual instrument. Built on the premise that the rules were made to be broken, someone at Kawai (Japan’s largest manufacturer of guitars at the time) wondered why the guitar and amp had to be separate. So, they built a guitar with an onboard amplifier and speaker! The result was neither revolutionary nor popular, though almost everyone that encountered one simply had to try it for the whole “weirdness” factor. It quickly became apparent that the small size (and small sound) of the onboard speaker, combined with the woefully underpowered amplifier (which ran on batteries), made this instrument useless, except perhaps for practicing or sitting on beach around a campfire playing at a hootenanny. By 1965, this novelty act ate its last battery. Oddly enough, this guitar had neither a brand name nor a model number anywhere to be found. Only the distinctive pickups identified it as a Kawai product. Teisco, another Japanese manufacturer, built a similar unsuccessful product.

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