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1980s Kawai F-III Vintage Neck Through Guitar Sunburst w/ Case & Active Electronics, Japan


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Up for sale, a 1980s Kawai F-III in exceptional condition and in perfect working order, complete with the original hardshell case. This rare, expertly-crafted Japanese guitar clearly takes its design cues from Alembic, featuring neck-through construction with a five-piece maple/mahogany neck, ash body wings, a 24 fret rosewood fretboard with stainless steel fretwire, and a versatile array of active electronics.

The tonewood complement results in a resonant, bold acoustic platform, faithfully captured by the stock pair of “molded” humbuckers. These unique humbuckers feature blade pole pieces and built-in preamps, delivering a decidedly full, harmonically-rich tone with good articulation and cut. Each humbucker has a dedicated three-position Preset switch offering Normal, Boost, and DIstortion functionality. The Boost adds a hefty kick to the sound with lots of treble clarity, and the distortion fills out the lower mids with a touch of dark growl. This Kawai weighs 7lbs 5oz, benefitting from a professionally setup here at Mike & Mike’s Guitar Bar with 10-46 strings, low action, and spot-on intonation.

The five-piece maple/mahogany neck has a modestly chunky C-shaped profile carve with well-rounded shoulders and lightly rolled fretboard edges, measuring .865” deep at the 1st fret and .955” at the 12th. The slab rosewood fretboard has a 9 1/2“ radius, and the stainless steel fretwire exhibits only a hint of wear beneath the plain strings on the crowns of frets 1-2. This guitar plays cleanly up the 24 3/4“ scale with a straight neck and a responsive, optimally-adjusted truss rod, and the bone nut measures 1 5/8“ in width. The headstock sports an exotic hardwood veneer (likely zebrawood) and carved wood truss rod cover, and the upgraded Gotoh tuning machines turn smoothly and hold accurate pitch, with white plastic buttons.

All of the active electronics function as intended, powered by a 9V battery housed in the control cavity, and the pickups are governed by a four position rotary pickup selector knob, independent pairs of Volume and Tone knobs, and the three-way Preset switches for the built-in pickup preamps. The fourth position on the rotary pickup selector knob is Standby, muting the signal. The replacement ABR-1-style bridge and stopbar tailpiece shine like new, and plastics comprise the original quintet of knobs and pickup covers.

The gloss Violin Sunburst finish is rich and saturated, highlighting the grain in the ash body wings, with cosmetic wear limited to a handful of minor dings on the body as a whole, largely relegated to the back and lower bout of the top, with light buckle rash on the back. The neck profile retains its smooth gloss.

The original hardshell case is included.