|Marlboro Cigarette advertisement|
When I was a kid the most prevalent advertisement on television was for cigarettes. These were the equivalent of today’s advertisements for the expensive prescription medications that you need to “talk to your doctor about”.
|1950's Dancing Cigarettes|
In the 1940's through the '60's we were treated to celebrities promoting the virtues of smoking cigarettes. We also saw dancing cigarettes, and cartoon character hawking their favorite brands.
|Winston Ad with the Flintstones|
Back in 1966, someone at the Buegeleisen and Jacobson. Company, who was in charge of branding imported guitars must have been puffing on his or her Winston, when they made a decision that would be a great name for a line of guitars.
|Buegeleisen and Jacobson|
Throughout the years they were the wholesale distribution company for Kay De Lux guitars, Seranader guitars, banjos, madolins, S.S. Stewart guitars, National guitars, Abbott trumpets, clarinets, and trombones, Salvador De Durro voilins and bowed instruments, and Martin Freres (Brothers) wind instruments, which included flutes, oboes, clarinets, and saxophones.
|Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show|
In this era, importer Buegeleisen and Jacobson was importing mostly guitars from Japan and re-branding them under the name "Kent" (Come to think of it, that is another cigarette brand).
All sources point to Kawai guitars as being the manufacturer of Winston guitars. Kawai was founded in 1927 by Koichi Kawai in Hamamatsu, Japan. Kawai, at the time, was a manufacture of pianos. Which they still manufacture.
Mr. Kawai’s vision was to create top-quality pianos, a quest in which he certainly succeeded! Kawai added guitars to its repertoire in 1954.
|Domino Guitars by Kawai|
The best known brands of the mid 1960’s that were manufactured by Kawai were sold under the TeleStar, and Domino brand names.
|1964 Winston model 449|
In 1968 I was 16 years old, and headed for summer camp. I wanted a cheap acoustic guitar to take along to camp, so I went to the 3 or 4 major music stores in downtown Cincinnati to see what twenty dollars would buy.
|1966 Wurlitzer Guitar|
|1960's Winston Stella Copy|
Like the Stella, the body was birch, and was solid, with a brown-burst finish with a faux flame, and ladder style bracing. The neck was made of mahogany. The fretboard was probably birch that was painted black, with painted fret markers. The tuners were cheap open back models with plastic buttons.
The bridge and nut were plastic, and the strings were secured with a cheap metal trapeze piece. On the headstock was a sticker assuring me, "Steel Reinforced Neck". It would not warp, but it was not adjustable. It played pretty much like you would expect a twenty dollar guitar to play. The action was a little high to say the least. To purchase one today, it would set you back about $300.
|Winston Acoustic Guitars|
Kawai/Winston made a variety of acoustic guitars. Some were copies of U.S. made instruments, others were classical style guitars.
|1960 Winston Guitar|
They also made a variety of electric guitars, with one or two pickups that had an unusually high output.
Most pickups read in the 2k range. Kawai pickups were in the 2.79k range.
|1970 Winston Electric Guitars|
Winston continued to offer electric and acoustic instruments through 1970.
Click on the links under the photos for sources. Click on the links in the text for further information.
©UniqueGuitar Publications (text only)