Doc Kauffman Kremo Kustom One of One 1960s

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This Doc Kauffman guitar is a truly unique find that took some crowdsourcing and digging to decipher just what it is.  The initial tell was the design of the pickups, custom made by Doc.  The rest of the aesthetics fall right in line.

A little history for those who don't know...  

During the 1930s, Doc Kauffman served as chief electric guitars designer for Rickenbacker. Having invented and patented the first mechanical vibrato unit, Kauffman adapted it for use on the Electro-Spanish Ken Roberts model as the instrument's standard bridge. This resulted in the first electric guitar produced and sold with a vibrato system as a stock feature. This addition strongly influenced the subsequent development of electric guitars in the 1940s and 1950s – most notably the tailpieces of the Fender Stratocaster and the tailpiece that is known as the Bigsby.

In the early 1940s, Doc Kauffman and Leo Fender would enter a business partnership, forming the K&F company in 1945. K&F only lasted 3 years, having produced amplifiers and lap steel guitars in small quantities. After Kauffman left, K&F was transformed into the Fender Electric Instrument Company. Kauffman and Fender remained friends until Kauffman's death in 1990. Doc Kauffman considered Leo Fender such a close friend, that Leo was listed as next of kin, after Doc's children, in Doc's final will & testament. Leo died just one year after Doc in 1991.

Soon after the Kauffman Fender (K & F) split in Feb. 1946, Kauffman moved from Fullerton to Santa Ana, California. In the workshop behind his home he continued to invent, do patent and product research and development, make tools, machinery, and, of course, guitars.

The KREMO-KUSTOM guitars were made from 1955 to 1968. Up until now, few people knew about these guitars. According to Doc's close friend, musician Gene Galien, no more than eight KREMO-KUSOMS were made, including the double neck. All KREMO-KUSTOMS are cream color and, with the exception of the tuning gears, entirely custom made by Doc Kauffman: bodies, necks, pickups, bridges, tailpieces, vibratos, plastic guards, and cover plates.

They all come standard with Doc's vibrola tailpiece and chrome plated heavy brass bridges. The bridges were ahead of their time and are very similar to those made by modern day manufacturers. All KREMO-KUSTOMS have short scale, 22 fret, maple necks, rosewood fingerboards, and an overall scale length somewhere between a Fender Mustang and a Jaguar. All the pickups are single coil.

All the Kauffman guitars are odd - this one is no exception!  The neck is very narrow and appears to get more narrow as you go up the fretboard. 

A close look shows the hand-made quality of everything on the guitar.  The pickguard and plates - you can see how they were cut, likely with a router, as one-off pieces.  The hardware is somewhat crude but quite functional.  The routes in the body show the tool marks of the router or forstner bit that was used to cut the control cavity, pickup cavities and neck pocket.  The painted on binding is a nice touch!

While it is tough to date this piece, the "double-line" Kluson tuning machines help.  from 1964 to 1969, "Kluson Deluxe" is embossed in two vertical lines on the tuner housing where the prior pre-1964 variant is referred to as "single line".  The tuners are clearly original to the guitar - check out the picture we included that shows the back of the headstock with the tuner removed.  

The guitar admittedly doesn't play all that great, but it is a rare and historic piece that definitely gets a conversation started and is one that probably should be in a guitar museum.

  • Color: Kremo White
  • Weight: 9 lbs
  • Body: Maple
  • Neck: Maple
  • Fretboard: Rosewood
  • Inlays: Clay Dot
  • Frets: Original
  • Fret count: 24
  • Nut: Original
  • Nut width: 1-1/2"
  • Scale: 22.5"
  • Radius: 7.25"
  • Neck thickness at 1st fret: .76"
  • Neck thickness at 12th fret: .86"
  • Action 1st String at 12th Fret: 2/32" /  2mm
  • Action 6th String at 12th Fret: 3/32" / 2.25mm
  • Total length: 39-3/4"
  • Lower bout: 16-1/4"
  • Waist: 10"
  • Upper bout: 11-3/4"
  • Body depth/thickness: 1-3/4"
  • String gauge: .010-.046
  • Hardware Color: Chrome, Nickel
  • Bridge Pickup/Brand: Doc Kaufmann Single Coil
  • Bridge Pickup Reading: 6k
  • Pickup Original?: Yes
  • Neck Pickup/Brand: Doc Kaufmann Single Coil
  • Neck Pickup Reading: 6.86k
  • Pickup Original?: Yes
  • Pickguard: Original
  • Bridge: Original
  • Tuners: Original, Kluson Deluxe 
  • Switch: 3 Way
  • Pots: Original
  • Case: No Case. We will double box and take great care in packing for shipping.
  • Notes:

Shipping policy:

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