Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Sven Hirschfeld's custom Aquarius

db_lotto_sven21
"My name is Sven, I'm 42 years old and live in Hamburg/Germany. I play guitar for 30 years in the same band called Abraxas (www.abraxas-rock.de).

The Kawai Aquarius was the second guitar I bought new. It was in 1980, when I saw her in a music warehouse in Hamburg/Germany. She was white and I was impressed because of the 3 pickups and the "sound options" (3 way switch for every PU, single coil / off / humbucker).

I also liked the plain maple neck and the shape. To make it short: It was kind of love at first sight (hey guys, I was sweet 14 years old...). From that day on, I used her for more then 3 years without any changes.

Then my taste of music changed to rock/hard rock and I decided to use a different look. I sanded her in order to paint her black but then I saw the nice wood structure (alder). So I just waxed and oiled her. I did the same with the neck.

At the same time I changed the bridge (Schaller) and the pickups completely (Seymour Duncans). Neck and bridge: Jeff Beck, middle position: Quarterpounder. With this combination I played lots of gigs and studio sessions. And it was the same thing wherever I played: awesome sound, deep and loud (not comparable to any strat), soulful and a direct warm tone. Just perfect.

In 1998 I gave her to my personal guitar tech (www.gitarrenwerkstatt-gruening.de) and he restored her - the wood (again oil and wax) and the pickups. He installed a strat pickup set (SSL 1 by Seymour Duncan), cause I needed a strat type guitar for Top 40 gigs. And here she sounded better than any strat I had in my hands (and I had a lot from vintage to relic ones).

That is the way she's equipped until today - just the pickups changed again. In northern Germany a pickup constructor named Wolfgang Damm (www.amberpickups.com) gave her 3 hand wound diamonds (single coils called vintage plus). These pickups are made for her, especially because of the tone and dynamic range.

Finally after 30 years she is perfect, sounds better and better, and the wood gets darker and darker while I am getting older and older. I don't know where Kawai had bought the wood in the late 70's / early 80`s, but it was a perfect match. I also don't know if I was just lucky or if the sanding and change of bridge made her sound like this, but the tone is not of this earth compared to the so-called relics or vintage ones, especially when you consider its original price: 800 German marks (400 Euros) !!!

So if you have one, keep her, if you don't, get one!

Big hug to all the Kawai players in the world, and thanks to Bertram for this wonderful idea."

Well, thanks to you a lot, Sven, for your testimony!

A few extra info: this guitar is originally a AQ500 WH model, the custom pickguard is made of wood (tigerstripe maple), a very tasteful idea in my opinion.


aquarius sven

1 comment:

  1. Hello Sven,
    I understand you so much 'cause I got a AQ401CW model end '80s, for the look 'n price: near 100€.
    I was surprised how she played great. I'd to sell her 15y ago, but I missed her too much 'n 5yrs later I got her again with an exchange. So I keep her for life.
    Just I'h to change the bridge PU ('cause originaly they are both the same) for an zebra ESP L0-200 but I think to try a very special Schaller HB with 2 rows of alnico rods magnets >like 2 7ender SC, and around 13,26k...
    I like to play kind of Country-Rock with her, 'cause the frets slip well: they're so nice.
    So they get old & need a change.
    Long way for you & your Kawaï in your Abraxas band.
    Boby Winding

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