Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Another Teisco Guitar!

This one followed me home from Tennessee...

I saw it hanging in the window of a music store in Waynesboro, where my nephews and I had driven 30 miles in order to buy a set of guitar strings.  When I asked about it, the owner of the store said that it was a project that he didn't think he'd ever finish.  It was missing the the tuner for the high E string, as well as the portion of the bridge which the strings actually sit on.  Plus the (probably black/red sunburst) original finish had been removed, at some point in time, and the wood was oiled (you can see the remaining original black paint inside the cutouts).  For a collector, it was close to worthless.

Still, I couldn't turn it down at the $50.00 the store-owner quoted me when I asked if he would sell it.  He assured me that the electronics were in good shape, and I took him at his word.  I've dealt with this fellow, before, and he's always been fair and honest with me.

This is the style of guitar that, 30 years ago, we would buy for ten or fifteen dollars, just to get the neck and pickups, then we would build our own body for it.  The body is a mere 1-inch thick slab of some sort of hardwood (it has that mahogany look, but I'm no expert on woodgrain).  As you can see in the picture, above, the pickup sits on top of the body, rather than sitting in a routed-out pocket.  You can also see the replaced bridge piece which I had in my box of guitar parts.

The pickup, itself, is pretty basic.  No adjustment for height, nor any adjustment for the pole pieces is available.  This particular unit has a nice strong output.  Too bad the trim ring is cracked.

I had the missing pieces for the tuner, as well.  You can see the brass-colored gear and the yellowed plastic on the replacement tuner.

I made a bridge for it out of a report clip, while I was in Tennessee, and strung it up with the five strings we took off of Kyle's guitar (he had broken the high-E, yet again, and we replaced his strings with a heavier-gauge set).  I played it, and the tone was fantastic.  The intonation was crap, though, which was unusual for one of these guitars.  I finally noticed that this is one of the necks with a zero fret, on which the strings should rest.   Someone had installed a standard nut on the neck, which was holding the strings up off of the zero. 

After I got home, I took the nut off, and cut the slots more deeply so that the strings would rest on the zero fret.  I then installed the bridge piece, strung it up and plugged it in.  Even though it has only a single, center-mounted pickup, a pretty wide variety of tones can be had through adjusting the tone and volume pots.  It sounds great and, since I shimmed the neck, slightly, the action is low and easy. 

I had originally thought I'd put it on ebay and flip it, but this is a keeper guitar.  I'll put the guitar I traded my ROAD Amp for on the bay, instead. 

Maybe this weekend, I'll do a short video of the guitar in action and post it up.  I don't have my good amp, right now.  It quit working as I was testing the guitar (no sound, but it still has power and the tubes glow),  so I had to take it back to Guitar Center for them to send to the Fender Warranty Shop.

I have a little 10-watt Marshall practice amp I can use, though, which I bought as a back-up unit.  The guitar sounds good through it (and I haven't tried it through my 1950s Kay tube amp, yet, come to think of it).

I'll get some video, one way or another.


1 comment:

katina said...

Back when the boys were in the band, I remember Kyle and Jon always buying the Ernie Balls strings because they were heavier guage. But it does sacrifice some of the 'good' sound...so much better for hard rock/punk music.