1960s KAPA Continental Modded Electric Guitar

I might have worked on a Continental or two (or 12?) in my time. I think they're great guitars. Once you fix them up properly, they handle (after a fashion) like a "lost Fender model."

KAPAs were built in Maryland from US necks and bodies and German-import hardware and pickups. They're totally odd machines. The necks tend to be very stable -- staying straight over time whereas plenty of other "budget" makes from the time definitely do not -- and the bodies all get the lovely nitro-finish "weather-check" one associates with finishes on old Fenders and Gibsons.

The height of the neck over the body feels very European, though. Hofner, Framus, EKO, and other Italian and German brands come to mind. I suppose some Rickenbackers are similar, though, to be honest, geometry-wise.

This particular guitar arrived as a husk -- body, wrecked pickguard, original vibrato, and neck with original (garbage) tuners. My job was to fix it all up, refret the board, install new pickups and a new wiring harness, rout and install a US-made Fender Jazzmaster vibrato, fit a new Gotoh "aged" bridge and tuners, and set it up with on-the-light-side flatwound strings.

Said replacement pickups are an Artec/quality Korean "staple P90" pickup at the neck (these are like DynaSonics in construction, really) and an older Duncan traditional-style P90 at the bridge. With this setup and this guitar's construction, one can dial-in sounds from surf to country to rockabilly to straight-up rawk. I like it in the surf category best, though. This thing sounds outrageous with a ton of reverb on it.

The necks on these are slim and fast and have a tight radius on the boards. Combined with a lightweight body, these really do feel like you're "playing a sports-car" in a way. It's like if you could play an early-variant 'Cuda -- like a '64-'66.

On a side note: how do you like the humpty-dumpty pickguard? It was fun to see if it would hold together with a bunch of aluminum-backed tape while I was routing-out the "soapbar" pickup holes. Oh my.













Comments

Rob Gardner said…
Oh, Jake, you know I get all sentimental when I see one of these, since I used to work in the Kapa factory when I was a pup. In fact, this may be a rare Rob Gardner presentation model, if it has filled holes in it where I drove a power screwdriver through the top. I was eventually fired for doing that one too many times...

Great old guitar.
Jake Wildwood said…
Isn't life just a wonderful mystery, Rob???
McComber said…
Jake, you always have the BEST eye candy. If it wasn't for Star Trek I wouldn't even want a tv anymore.