Kimberly Apollo review by Teisco

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  • Sound: 9
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 8
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 9
  • Features: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 9.2 Superb
  • Users' score: 9.3 (4 votes)
Teisco: Kimberly Apollo

Price paid: $ 320

Purchased from: eBay

Sound — 9
With four single coils each with individual controls, your bound for some cool sounds. From country twang, to blazing blues, to creamy necks, you get all sorts of noise. I generally play through either a B52 LG100A or Marshall JTM45 and this thing sounds sweet. Maybe it the forty year old wood singing or just the sweetness of the beast, but either way she sounds great. I play mostly indie, alternative rock and heavy blues rock and she tackles it all extremely well. Though the hardware has signs of wear (oxidation and what not) they still sound great. That's why I want to take the pickup covers off, I bet those single coils have absolutely no wear on them and I want to see! (And hear of course ;D).

Overall Impression — 10
I really love this guitar. Sure she's not the best, sure she's old, sure she might have only gotten an 8 out of 10 in the last category, but I truly love her. I've played a shit-ton of guitars and I own quite a few. I own a Fender Strat, a Gibson Custom VOS 1958 Les Paul, a couple Ibanez's, a Danelectro, but this one is special. There's this mojo surrounding her that makes me connect with her on such an amazing level. She feels more like an extension of my body and voice then a guitar. I'm a singer-songwriter and everything I'm not playing with my acoustic I'll be playing with this beauty I bet. I wouldn't recommend this to everyone (i.e. metal shredders, blue grass players, etc) but if they wanted it, they can be my guest to blow my mind. No guitar is unsuitable for a genre, that's not what I meant, just personally I wouldn't use it for that.

Reliability & Durability — 8
This is a tough one. I've seen a little warping in the rosewood of the fingerboard. And I've seen some rough spots on her in other places too. But, I think she'll last, hell, she's lasted this long, I'm sure she has at least another forty years in her if treated right with lemon oil, cream of carnauba, and chrome polish. I don't know how durable she is granted I've only had her for a few days, but when I play her, I'm not in fear of her breaking or snapping, I just cut loose, so I'm sure she's durable. I plan on going on tour with her.

Action, Fit & Finish — 9
The action on this guitar was a tough one to work out at first. The high B and E strings were too far over and the rust on the tail piece made it hard to work with at first. After twisting and twisting, I finally got them to a comfortable place, but then I realized the strings on there were of what felt to be an 8 gauge. An 8 gauge. That's cool if you're into playing fishing wire, but I for one require at least a 9. So I actually moved up to 10. I haven't had it set up since I've done that so the neck might actually be a hair too far forward but that's okay. I finally had a chance to set up the action on it. It's fairly low, very useable. Probably around that of a $1500 Fender or $2000 Gibson. After I get it set up, it'll probably be even better. The finish seemed gross at first on the Internet, but after receiving her in person, the green burst is gorgeous. And the black pick guard has yellow flowers all over it, SO PRETTY. I received mine with some scratches and a screw or two missing, but what could I expect from a fairly cheap, Vintage guitar? Oh, the body reminds me of a Rickenbacker, sort of.

Features — 10
This guitar was made in either the 1960s or 1970s (I'm still unsure) as it sports four single coil pickups with covers over each one. They seem almost fat enough to be tri-sonics, but unfortunately I can't get the covers off to have a look, so we'll assume standard single coils. Each pickup has an individual switch and volume control with one master tone (5 knobs and 4 switches). This also has a tremolo arm capable of lowering the pitch a half step and raising it as far as you can stretch without snapping! My tremolo arm, however, seems to have the spring loose, so when lifted too high, the spring actually falls out. This isn't important to me because to raise the pitch of the guitar when playing I generally bend up and only use the tremolo to lower the pitch. It has a tune-o-matic style tail piece before this tremolo allowing the action to be set as needed. Each string groove on this tailpiece is attached to a screw so each string can be moved over as far as wanted. Overall, this guitar offers a lot of control and customize-able-ness.

9 comments sorted by best / new / date

    That's one strange yet interesting guitar. Looks like it originally came with a three pack of shirts similar to what Yngwie Malmsteen would have in his closet.
    I own 3 of these. They are awesome.Made from 1968-1973. The intonation can be set pretty well but not dead on. The action can be whatever you want.I keep my action very very low on two of them. One I have in a red burst I keep a bit higher and use for slide with an open tuning and for playing Stones songs ala Keith Richards etc. The pickups are wickedly powerful and are wired in series. Very punchy. They are a bit microphonic and if you talk into them with the volume up you can hear your voice. If this and the feedback that come with it bother you, potting the pickups with wax will fix that. The neck is very fast and the radius is comfortable and mild. Since the neck has the zero fret, the nut only takes care of spacing so you have no worries about how it is filed. I polished my frets with ooo steel wool and never-dull. I replaced the fret markers which are 6mm dots made of plastic with abalone shell off ebay. I watched youtube videos to learn how to install and level them. They look gorgeous. Great guitars for Dire Straits (I want my MTV)to Jimi and SRV. add some fuzz and you can play anything from the 60s
    Late-sixties Japanese guitars are the bomb! (Is there a Hiroshima/Nagasaki joke to be made here?)
    It's like a Soviet electric guitar "Ural"... The guitar made of cardboard... That was weapon for all rockers who fight with bullys ))))
    This guitar kinda scares me. I dont know if its the ugliest thing ever, or it looks cool. Flip flop apple sauce.
    take that horrid scratch board off, and you have yourself a nice guitar.