†† (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
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
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.
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.
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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