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They are kind of fun to have, but not to play.. I've had several and made a pretty good profit when I sold them because there are a lot of sentimentally minded baby-boomers out there that would like to have their first guitar back.
The higher-end ones could be very decent. But most of them were unplayable junk right out of the box. Warped, unreinforced necks made of mystery wood, horrible fretwork, unusable intonation, pickups that actually sounded great but were essentially microphones that fed back uncontrollably.
The Japanese were not always synonymous with quality workmanship. With a few exceptions (like cameras and Sony products) most Japanese goods imported here in the 60s were on the level of the crappiest Chinese and Indonesian products today. Think "Harbor Freight" quality at best and Soviet Union quality in general. That didn't start to change until the mid 70s.
I have a '65 single pup DelRay. My dad's first new guitar. Real brassy, ballsy pup. Neck like a ballbat. Cool stripes aluminum pickguard. I like it. Will I ever rid of it? Nope. Like my other '65 (crappy old Strat) it belongs in my family and it'll stay here.
Yeah, I had a Kawai variant. Nice sounding pickups but the build quality was awful. The body was probably plywood and the metal parts were terrible. I wouldn't waste your time or money. Old USA Peaveys are the way I'd go...
They were among the first guitars I had along with Vox and Kay. You bought these things as Sears, JC Penny, JM Fields and the like. I have a soft spot for them, but you really have to like them, I don't think anyone of the US shipped ones will ever be valuable, unless you wait a long time, like Planet of the Apes long time.
Two biggest problems I have had is that most did not have a compensating bridge, though a very few did, but that is no biggie to replace. The other problem could take a higher tech skil. Some of there necks had no truss bar so if those are badly warped neck is pretty much toast. Mine had a truss but necks were utterly round in the back, like a baseball bat.Necks like that will cramp and exhaust your hand, but if you are okay will pulling the necks off flattening the back down some and re finishing the wood it will help alot.I build both complete modern instruments as well as medieval ones, so its soemting I have done, but like I said you have to like them. Still if you get any guitar for like 20 bucks there is a way to turn it enough to get more than you put in, at least material wise. Just what I think though.