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SurfGuitar101 Forums » Gear »

Permalink Teisco!

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Hi y'all,

I've acquired an interest in vintage Teiscos recently, notably these ones -

image

Are these guitars good in any sense? I know they're old Japanese bangers, and thus potentially awful but I have been taken in by their charm. Are the pick-ups destined to squeal deafeningly? Is the neck like a tree-trunk with rope cable across for frets?

I can acquire one for roughly £300, which considering prices of guitars labelled as 'vintage' isn't so bad. I wonder if washing-machines and hair-dryers from the 60s fetch so much?? Perhaps not.

Any knowledge shared would be gratefully received!

Thank you,
Max

I have played one in a local Guitar Center before. honestly, i don't remember much aside from it being in very bad cosmetic condition and me completely hating the 0th fret, so that must means it must play alright seeing as i don't remember it sucking.

The Tremblors on Facebook!

The Tremblors on MySpace!

This post has been removed by the author.

Last edited: Sep 27, 2009 22:25:19

zak
If the zero fret is the right height and not too worn away under the strings it shouldn't impede playability

i'm not saying it effected playability, it just confused me. it would just take some getting-used to.

The Tremblors on Facebook!

The Tremblors on MySpace!

A zero fret just means an open note (6) sounds like a fretted note (infinitive). Frets fade slower than nuts, being metal.

The Exotic Guitar of Kahuna Kawentzmann

Kawentzmann
A zero fret just means an open note (6) sounds like a fretted note (infinitive). Frets fade slower than nuts, being metal.

well i know that, but just looking at it as i played was distracting. i wanted to keep going a bit further everytime i was going down the neck, because it almost gave the impression that the neck was longer.

The Tremblors on Facebook!

The Tremblors on MySpace!

Well I'm not bothered by 0 frets, as I have a Mosrite.

Back on track, does anyone have any other experiences with them?

Also would it be worth getting one and wax-potting the pick ups if necessary?

Thanks,
Max

Has anyone tried wax-potting the pickups to eliminate the microphonic nature? That should cure the whack-the-pickguard problem also. Wax potting is pretty easy and you can get all the tools you need for pretty cheap.

Else, if a person wants a geet with all the vintage looks but modern build quality and playability, check out the reissues at Eastwood Guitars. www.eastwoodguitars.com Apparently it's not currently offered, but Eastwood has offered this guitar in the past as a reissue.

To wax-pot pickups:

If you have a double-boiler (ask your mom or gramma for one, heheh) and an electric stove, you're all set, and jump ahead past the next paragraph.

If you do not have a double-boiler, get two saucepans, one smaller, one large, so that you can fill the large one about 2/3rds full of water and float the small one safely in the water of the large one, with the handle resting on the edge of the large one. The idea being that you don't melt the wax directly on the stove, but rather from the heat of the water below.

Get an old candle or two, so that the smaller saucepan (or top of the double boiler) will be filled with enough molten wax to completely immerse a pickup in wax.

Start your electric stove (do not use gas! If you have a gas stove, go hit a thrift store and buy an old electric hot plate for this purpose) on a low to medium heat, heating up the water in the lower pan (or bottom of double boiler). You'll want a candy thermometer in the wax, and you DO NOT want to over heat the wax. You'll want the wax to reach and STEADY at 150 degrees. This may take a while and it's better to creep up on the temp slowly than to rush right in and overshoot 150 degrees.

While you're heating the wax and checking it frequently, pull the pickups to be wax-potted. Remove the covers and whatever other cosmetics there may be, so that you're left with the raw pickups - windings, bobbins, etc. On a humbucker, this means desoldering the shiny chrome covers. If no covers, you're all set already. On Fender type single coils, remove the plastic covers.

When the wax has STABILIZED at 150 degrees, give your pickups a good soak in the melted wax, completely immersed, for about 15 minutes. Then pull to cool. When cool, wipe excess wax from outsides. Hook everything back up. No more squealy!

I like mine...
image

The neck is thick but feels good. It has a (working) truss rod so you can adjust the neck relief. The whammy stays in tune surprisingly well.

The pickups sound VERY nice clean but do feed back easily with high gain. They also aren't powerful enough to push most fuzz boxes pleasingly.

I'm anti wax potting lately. I got a set of non-potted Gibson Burstbuckers for my Guild S100 recently and those convinced me that potting isn't always a good thing. I've tried potting some of my pickups and each time it changed their sound and not for the better. I don't think I'd dare to do it to pickups that sound as nice as the Teiscos. Some times you are better off just turning down the volume...

I am a big fan of Teisco's and all things Japanese and 60's BUT that said - they are very hit or miss. I have a 1964 Teisco VN-2 and I love it but I only use it for slide. It has a nice thick neck - most early Teisco's do - these are the ones with the unusual white fret markers on the side of the fretboard- they - here's a photo of mine -

http://www.flickr.com/photos/15920372@N07/1805899824/

Teisco's are good for most CLEAN and edgy guitar sounds but don't sound so great distorted. The Famous Gold Foil pickups used by Ry Cooder on his Strat are for a very round resonant slide tone - not for any kind of heaviliy disotrted sound ala Duane Allman.

My Teisco's tone goes with my Harmony single ended 6V6 amp like Cookies go with milk... I am a mediocre slide player and the tone makes jaws drop - especially fans of the Delta / Chicago Blues.

BTW - I only paiid $50 for my VN-2 this year - bought it out of a guys trunk. I took it all apart cleaned, put on a set of 12's and hiked up the action - it plays great for slide. But It's not as versatile as a Strat or even my Tele. The Prices lately are way out of line for Teisco's - you should still be able to find one for well under a $100 if you keep your eyes open.

The ones you like in the photos above are later models - 66 - 68 and are sometimes referred to as SHARK-FIN guitars. They are highly prized by Collectors - though not so much by players - they look cooler than they play . The best retail source for those guitars is FATDAWG in Berkeley CA. He has at least a dozen of them in his shop at any given time. And yes he ships guitars all over the world.

For playability I recommended the early Teisco's, Heit Deluxe and Kingston models - also look for Domino and Kappa (which were actually assembled in the USA). Here's an early Teisco ET-200 that sold for $90 on CL.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/15920372@N07/1805049401/in/photostream/

I recently saw a Domino Baron go off on ebay for $81!! And it was perfect. And I am getting ready to trade my little Penncrest Tube amp (that I bought for $40) for a 1965 TelStar with 4 pickups. Crazy guitar.

Readers of this board know I am an obsessive online shopper - there was a Teisco Tulip on CL in Austin selling for $25 this week - and I really wanted to snag it. The Seller sent me an email last night saying he'd ship it tome for total of $100 - obviously he got offered more than $25 for it locally.

Finally a guy right now is selling an unnamed Mustang Copy - probably by Kawai or Guyatone. And it looks like a very sold little player - hes' in NY and wants $70 and will ship it for an extra $20. here's a pic of that one.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/15920372@N07/1805049435/in/photostream/

But I'll probably just stick with the Telstar for now til I get that one up and running - I've been under pressure from "she who must be obeyed" to keep the collection down. Thats why i post them here too in case you guys can buy them and then I can live vicariously through you.

  • JC

I picked up a mid 60's model at a swap meet for $15. I stuck a pair of P-90s in it, made a new pickguard with new pots and switches and mounted a Jazzmaster style tremolo from Allparts on it along with a roller bridge. It's one of my faves. I used it for a few songs at a recent show in San Dimas.

image

image

There is Surf east of Sepulveda.

<p><font size="5"><a href="[http://www.waveinvasion.blogspot.com/](http://www.waveinvasion.blogspot.com/)" target="_blank">Wave Invasion News</a></font></p>

This post has been removed by the author.

Last edited: Sep 23, 2009 18:55:37

MikeyK
To wax-pot pickups:

If you have a double-boiler (ask your mom or gramma for one, heheh) and an electric stove, you're all set, and jump ahead past the next paragraph.

If you do not have a double-boiler, get two saucepans, one smaller, one large, so that you can fill the large one about 2/3rds full of water and float the small one safely in the water of the large one, with the handle resting on the edge of the large one. The idea being that you don't melt the wax directly on the stove, but rather from the heat of the water below.

Get an old candle or two, so that the smaller saucepan (or top of the double boiler) will be filled with enough molten wax to completely immerse a pickup in wax.

Start your electric stove (do not use gas! If you have a gas stove, go hit a thrift store and buy an old electric hot plate for this purpose) on a low to medium heat, heating up the water in the lower pan (or bottom of double boiler). You'll want a candy thermometer in the wax, and you DO NOT want to over heat the wax. You'll want the wax to reach and STEADY at 150 degrees. This may take a while and it's better to creep up on the temp slowly than to rush right in and overshoot 150 degrees.

While you're heating the wax and checking it frequently, pull the pickups to be wax-potted. Remove the covers and whatever other cosmetics there may be, so that you're left with the raw pickups - windings, bobbins, etc. On a humbucker, this means desoldering the shiny chrome covers. If no covers, you're all set already. On Fender type single coils, remove the plastic covers.

When the wax has STABILIZED at 150 degrees, give your pickups a good soak in the melted wax, completely immersed, for about 15 minutes. Then pull to cool. When cool, wipe excess wax from outsides. Hook everything back up. No more squealy!

I think you are supposed to use Beeswax not Candle wax. It has a lower melting point and there is less risk of melting the glue that holds the bobbin together.

I Know about 30 years ago I tried to pot my 66 tele pickup in candlewax and the bobbin completely came apart resulting in a hanful of birds-nested pickup wire!

http://www.myspace.com/thepashuns

Youth and enthusiasm are no match for age and treachery.

zak

maxtib
Are these guitars good in any sense? I know they're old Japanese bangers, and thus potentially awful but I have been taken in by their charm. Are the pick-ups destined to squeal deafeningly? Is the neck like a tree-trunk with rope cable across for frets?

I've owned four of these (two 4-pickup models, a 2-pickup model, and a 3-pickup model). The necks are actually quite slim and flat. less chunky than your average 60s Fender neck, definitely not a tree trunk. More in common with 80s "shred" guitars in terms of neck profile (a very shallow "C" shape). The pickups are indeed very microphonic (you can sing into them!) and the entire aluminum pickguard picks up noise very readily - if you tap on it it will come through the amp loud & clear. The pickups definitely squeal at high volumes. I also found that the 4-pickup versions are almost impossible to play without your pick wacking the middle pickups, and when you consider how microphonic they are you get a lot of extra noise. In that sense the 2-pickup and 3-pickup versions are easier to play.
I didn't have any problems with the zero fret, personally, then again I am pretty used to that "feature" on Gretsch guitars (and now my Mosrite) though I can't say I consider it much of an advantage. If the zero fret is the right height and not too worn away under the strings it shouldn't impede playability, though bending strings in the vicinity of the first few frets may seem stiffer than on a guitar with a conventional nut. Unfortunately I don't have anything good to say about those Teisco tremolos, think "instant detuning" haha. I wouldn't pay more than $150-$200 for one of these, though it seems like the prices on 'em are going up. They look cool, and they sound nice (at least at volume levels that don't induce microphonic squeal) but I sure wouldn't want one as my stage guitar.

I had the 4-pickup model, and that's how I remember mine as well. I still wish I hadn't sold it, though.

http://www.reverbnation.com/thedeadranchhands

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jZEW74mHjQk

I'm a big fan of Teisco guitars, in fact I use them both for recording and live gigs. For years I used a four pickup ET-440 (A.K.A. K4-L) with a Bigsby tremolo (Yes, the original tremolo sucks big time!) and the upper rotary control changed for a much more useful Gibson style toggle switch. Now my main axle is an Eastwood replica of the same guitar but with a vintage '64 3-pickup pickguard and electronics, and also the Bigsby vibrato. And I have 6 more guitars for parts and backup. Bridge is good, even better with Graphtech saddles, neck is solid and not too thick, and in my humble opinion they are great for clean sounds. If you want instant overdrive you can simply raise one of the pickups and lower the volume for that one (in the 3 pickup model).

Well, if you want to hear it you can check our page http://myspace.com/losderrumbes or make a search at youtube for "Derrumbes surf"

image

Cheers,
Beto

http://www.myspace.com/losderrumbes

LosDerrumbes- Man, that Teisco/Eastwood hybrid sounds great! You really have a good tone. I love the old Teisco guitars. Good stuff!

Hello crowd

I bought this guitar about a month ago. I liked a lot the sound of that strange pickups. I think it´s a Teisco sold in the USA under the brand Tulio, but don´t know much more.

Any Teisco connoisseur in the forum could ad some info??

Thanks

image

Yes, those are Teisco "Gold foil" pickups. Teisco guitars were sold in the States under several names. This one looks like a '63 Teisco MJ-2, although some datails differ. The Gold foil pickups must sound nice, even if the guitar is not exactly top of the line.

http://www.myspace.com/losderrumbes

LosDerrumbes
I

image

Is that the chick who does the vocal on "The Whip"?

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