Quite why big Italian instrument maker Eko decided that obscure British group the Rokes needed their own signature model range, (6-string, 12-string and bass), is something of a mystery, however the band seemed happy enough to jump on board the Eko marketing wagon and before long they were massive stars... in Italy, anyway. Their Italian success lasted many years - with the group even relocating to Italy - and there have been several big reunion tours in later years. Pic # 5 shows the band at the height of their success in the early seventies.
Due to legal issues over the model name in different countries, the guitar was variously known as the Rokes, the Rocket, Roke, Roket and Rok! However most players stuck with calling it a Rokes. Our Kingston clone here was built by Japan's Kawai company, shortly after they had acquired Teisco and begun shipping instruments around the world, variously badged as Kawai, Kingston, Kent, Kimberley, Kingsley, etc.
Culminating in what's come to be known as "the lawsuit era", Japanese guitar factories had been turning out meticulously copied versions of the big-name American brands for a decade or so before the legal paperwork began colliding with the rotary air-circulating device. They briefly shifted focus to European brands - such as Eko - before deciding to come up with their own designs, completely revolutionising the guitar industry in the process. Our Rokes copy here is from those last days of the lawsuit era, and with a sly nod to Gibson's Flying V - which is generally considered to have been Eko's inspiration - Kawai/Kingston et al went with by calling it the 'Flying Wedge'.
A great lead guitar
The guitar features a Canadian Maple neck, with slab Rosewood fingerboard, (20-fret, plus a zero fret), tough Japanese lacquer finish, individual pickup switching, plus master volume and tone controls. The pickups deliver that famous sixties/seventies Japanese single-coil tone, which lends itself really well to killer blues playing, as easily as it does rock, vintage R&B and more. Whatever you're playing, this is a great lead guitar!
It is exceedingly rare to find these still with their tremolo arm - or any arm at all - so there's a $200 vintage parts saving straight up! Also rare is the large Kingston badge logo on the headstock. This is obviously from the later years of the Flying Wedge run, as earlier models all had either a silk-screened logo over bare timber, or the painted headstock with a stick-on foil logo. The bound headstock and diamond-pattern tuners are likewise indicative of a later build.
Hard shell case
Speaking of bonuses, the guitar comes with a nice, period hard shell case, which seems to be identical to a seventies Fender case. If it had a Fender logo, you'd be looking at another five or six hundred dollars.
Our Rokes/Rok/Rocket/Roket/etc is in overall very good condition, with just a few cracks here and there in the brilliant white Japanese lacquer finish, plus the ghost of a sticker on the rear, (see pic # 4). The frets and board are in great shape, action is currently set maybe a hair under medium. In other words, she's all ready to rip. Plug in, hit your overdrive and get ready to lift off!! [Compulsory rocket reference]
Free courier delivery
Complete with the cool hard shell case discussed above, (and seen in pics 8 and main), your Kawai/Kingston Rokes/Flying Wedge comes with FREE COURIER DELIVERY to any address in Australia. 10, 9, 8, 7, 6....