VTG LIVE & READY TO GO! - RESTORATION COMPLETED!
23/12/2017 - Now sold and on it's way to a customer in The Netherlands!
If you follow my listings you will know that, amongst all the other guitar types I sell regularly, I am rather partial to Vintage 12-String Guitars, particularly those of Japanese Suzuki and Kasuga origin, together with the open/slotted headstock Yamaha 12-strings. Here now is another example from end of the 1960s, which I have overhauled, including fingerboard re-levelling & re-fret, together with dressing the bridge and setting up for a good 12-string action, combined with that superb chorused vintage 12-string sound!
Unlike many of the Kasugas I have worked on & sold, I can't see a date stamp, but I was assured when it arrived that it was from 1969, and that information ties in with other eaxamples of the same model I have seen details of, which have dated from 1969 to 1971. The superbly appointed styling relies heavily on influences from the iconic Guild D-55 12 string, with Kasuga's own embellishments!
I think that without spending a load of money, along with the 1970s Yamahas & Kiso Suzukis I have sold, the number of Kasuga 12-strings I have worked on & sold, have got to be the nicest affordable 12 strings around - I've sold a good number of them over the last few years, and have always been super-impressed.....they have all sounded great, played very, very nicely, with comfortable sized necks, and not least looking great! This one must be right up there amongst the ones I have had, with an exceptional quality and volume of sound - really powerful quality 12-string sound - like an orchestra!
I referred, in the Intro, to the strongly Guild influenced styling......the headstock shape, MOP block inlays, shape of the scratchplate and bridge is pure D-55, yet the zero fret, adjustable saddle and Abalone Multi-Binding and Soundhole Ring inlays are pure MIJ......pre-Lawsuit Japanese tribute guitar making at it's best!
The nicely "Pumpkin" coloured and grained book-matched Spruce top has smart Black-edged multi-binding, with matching soundhole rings, and original Black pickguard, with superb decorative floral inlays. The equally attractive, slightly arched Rosewood back and Rosewood sides have matching Black-edged binding, and a chrome strap-button.
There is much discussion regarding solid/laminate tops, in relation to Vintage Guitars. I have to say that it is not a subject that exercises me greatly, preferring to take the judgment from my ears! I should just say that if this guitar did have a solid wood top, and if it didn't have the grid system of both longways & cross bracing, it would probably be no longer with us! The structural stability this affords must aid the sound quality greatly, keeping all those treble strings under control! Plus the major advantage of the high quality laminate woods used by the Kasuga factory at this period, which was key to their success, is that they combined exceptionally good sound qualities with strength and durability; particularly the freedom from cracking which has affected so many solid topped guitars over the years.
The guitar is in overall very good condition for an approx. 48 year old. Inevitably it does have little nicks and minor scratches from honest normal usage, but very little and nothing at all unsightly or detrimental. I have now completed the overhaul, including re-levelling & re-fretting the fingerboard, and dressing the bridge, to improve playability and string break angle over the saddle to ensure good sound transmission. The trussrod has also be checked/adjusted slightly.
The original individual enclosed machineheads show very little age-related discolouration with minor indentations to some covers, work fine, and are set on the most attractive, Rosewood-faced & decorated Guild-style headstock. I think you will see from the photos that this remains a very handsome guitar - but with that quality of sound, this is a player's guitar - it is no wall-hanging ornament!
As far as I can see, apart from the new set of Black/White-dotted bridge pins I fitted to replace the mis-matched set it came with, it is all original, with no sign of any past repairs, other than the adjustments which I have carried out, or current issues.
For a full-size dreadnought guitar, it offers a really manageable slimish and comfortable, slightly "D" profile neck, with approx. 1 7/8"/ 1.875"/ 47.6mm. nut width, and plays very nicely. Following fingerboard re-levelling and set-up adjustments, the guitar has an excellent and problem-free 12 string action, around 2.5mm./2.75mm. at the 12th fret. and is presently in the standard D tuning often adopted for 12-string guitars, enabling use of 2nd. fret capo raise to E. The saddle height is adjustable on the bridge. It is strung with a set of Martin Bronze XL 10-47 strings.
There is no case with the guitar, but I have some Gigbags, or if you require a case offering greater protection, I do have Hiscox Liteflite hardshell and other cases, and if I can marry the guitar to a suitable hard case for you, I am happy to discuss an inclusive price for Guitar and case.
*** YOUTUBE ***
There are various YouTube clips of Suzuki 12-Strings, but can't see one of this particular model, so give links to demos of other early 1970s & late 1960s Kasuga 12-string models.............firstly the embedded clip of a Martin-like Kasuga 12, entitled "1972 Kasuga 12 String Demo" by Dusty Buffalo, with the additional clips "Vintage Cremona and Kasuga 12 string guitars" by Linas Pečiūra featuring another Martin-style Kasuga, and then a more Guild-style one in a clip from Japan entitled "KASUGA Made in Japan 1968".