Kustom K-200A Previously owned by Steely Dan's Walter Becker Semi-Hollow Body Electric Guitar (1968)

Kustom  K-200A Previously owned by Steely Dan
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Item # 9059
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Kustom K-200A Previously owned by Steely Dan's Walter Becker Model Semi-Hollow Body Electric Guitar (1968), made in Chanute, Kansas, natural lacquer finish, laminated maple body and neck, rosewood fingerboard, original black tolex hard shell case.

From the wild plains of Kansas in the 1960s came the Krazy Kustom Kats, bringing America -- and the world -- unusually fine-sounding solid-state amplifiers with tuck'n'roll vinyl cabinets and these uniquely sleek, flashy thinline guitars. The Kustom amps prospered for some years; the guitar line sputtered out of production after a year or so but the actual instruments are very finely made and striking-looking instruments. They are built a bit like the Rickenbacker 300 series guitars, with very thin hollow bodies carved from solid maple blocks with hollow chambers inside, and a single slash sound hole. Unlike the Ricks, the necks are bolt-on allowing for continuing action adjustment and the rosewood fingerboards are not lacquered, making for more conventional playing comfort.

The Kustoms have a distinct mid-'60s hot-rod feel about them -- unfortunately, they came to market just as the heavy 1968 blues-rock wave brought solid-bodies, hyper volume, and distortion into the guitar universe and thus were born at exactly the wrong time. These are in no way cheap guitars; they are elegantly built and finished, and in many ways are the equal of quite a few far better-known contemporaries.

This particular guitar is labeled "K-200" but is technically a model K-200A, characterized by the "horeshoe" Bigsby vibrato, '50s-style hi-fi DeArmond pickups with large magnet poles and multiple-dot fingerboard inlay. All Kustom guitars feature the same laminated, hollowed out 4-piece body and 2-piece maple neck with rosewood fingerboard. The instrument has a very classy feel and the slim neck is extremely playable, with an unusually fast action not unlike a Mosrite but with more conventional frets.

All hardware is high quality, including the fully adjustable bridge. This guitar is finished in an ambered natural finish that really shows off the grain of the wood; one of Kustom's numerous color options. This is a neat and very playable example of American 1960s guitar creativity and one of the coolest "unknown" guitars of the late 1960s, with a great provenance.
 
Overall length is 38 3/4 in. (98.4 cm.), 15 in. (38.1 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 1 1/2 in. (3.8 cm.) in depth, measured at side of rim. Scale length is 24 1/2 in. (622 mm.). Width of nut is 1 5/8 in. (41 mm.).

This guitar remains all original with signs of use including dings, dents, and general finish wear but no repairs or modifications. The most notable finish loss is a large spot of belt-buckle wear on the back, a scrape on the rounded inner edge of the upper body horn, and a chip of the point on the treble side of the headstock. All hardware is original and complete, and the guitar plays and sounds excellent.

We knew Walter as a connoisseur of the tonal palettes of different guitars, and while we can't imagine this one ever saw action with Steely Dan, we believe it was well-appreciated in his collection, and from the look of the case markings was there for a long time. The original shaped hard case is included with several tape recognition marking pieces on the outside from storage in Walter's warehouses, and an old woven strap and the auction tags are in the pocket. Excellent Condition.