†† (By Jimmy Noise / July 2013)







Checkmate guitars have an interesting storey, because of the confusion associated with its origins. The guitars are made in Taiwan and Korea in the early 70's. Not made in Japan as often indicated. Hence they are not a 1960's Made in Japan guitar and this section is limited as it is outside our siteís scope.


Around 1965 Teisco had a range of amplifiers with the Checkmate brand. This was the first time the brand name was used. Because of this it is often thought that Teisco built check mate guitars. However this is not the case.


Sometime around 1965-67 era, Kawai had acquired a guitar manufacturing plant in Taiwan. This would end up being a significant guitar factory running into the late 70's, if not longer. Kawai actually owned several guitar plants. In 1967 Kawai took over the Teisco plant. The Teisco Company as such no longer existed and the Teisco brand was now owned by Kawai.


In the early 70's Kawai built Teisco branded instruments in Taiwan. These are very noticeable as the neck changed from ply to a solid one piece neck. The wood is rather soft for a guitar neck. Kawai used the templates and styles acquired from the acquisition of Teisco and used them to make other brands like the Checkmate. They even used similar model numbers. The serial numbers even continued from the Teisco serial numbers. Around serial number 120,000 would have been the first lot of Taiwan Teisco / Checkmate guitars, built in Taiwan. These serial numbers have been recorded up to 600,000 on various brands.


The Checkmate brand was owned and imported by WMI Corporation. WMI would have commissioned Kawai to manufacture the Checkmate guitars.


Electric Models








Acoustic Models


Acoustic models were not sourced from Japan. They came from places like Taiwan and Korea. It is speculated that some acoustic guitars with the Checkmate brand originated from Bayamon, Puerto Rico. WMI had a connection with a furniture company that was struggling with obtaining work. To save there business, the company manufactured guitars, for a brief period. The brand of these is unknown, but is most likely Checkmate.



G 116









There are two logos that checkmate used. There was the cast logo seen above and a sticker. The different logo types generally indicate different factories.





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(Last Revised: 4th of July 2013.)


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