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Thread: Old Teisco guitar

  1. #1
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    Old Teisco guitar

    i have a teisco guitar. i believe it is the Et-110 or something like that. it has one single coil pickup and a volume and tone knob. i also replaced the bridge with a tuneomatic one so i can intonate it. i started playing guitar on this guitar and i thought it sounded pretty good. then i got a squier strat from a friend. i like the versatility of the strat but the tone is suffering when compared to the teisco. the teisco sounds very chill, even when the treble is up. which i like.

    the strat however has more of a rock sound. im guessing the pickup resistance is basicly the same but the teisco has much better sound.

    my question is: what on the teisco guitar would contribute to the tone? what kind of pickup would i wanna get for my strat if i wanted that teisco tone? also i looked at the pots for the teisco. the tone is 500k which is normal. i guess its normal for humbuckers to have a 500k and single coils to have 250k, but it sounds good so i dont complain. the volume pot value is 100k however. is that right? that seems really low. would that have anything to do with the tone?

    any help would be appreciated.

  2. #2
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    Everything is contributing to the tone. The Teisco may or may not have the same scale length. It has 40+ year old wood and a different bridge. The pickup(s) are likely in a different spot than on the strat and the pickups are going to be different sounding than the strat pickups. I can't say how the pickups sound compared to the squier pickups because there were probably eight different kinds of pickups that came on old teiscos, all of which sound different. You got a pic?

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    the type of timbers used in neck, fret board and body, the pickups (magnet, wire, winding technique, shape, etc) the capacitors for tone control, the bridge, strings, nut, the way the pickups are wired, just about everything you can imagine. But a good place to start when upgrading a guitar is pickups. Ask around and do some research into the sound you want to get out of the guitar.

  4. #4
    Pickup Maker David Schwab's Avatar
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    Some of those old Teiscos sound pretty good. I had a Teisco bass when I first started playing, and it had a really nice tone.

    There's more than one way to make a single coil pickup, and it's a shame that everyone has standardized around Fender's design, as there are other cool tones, like DeArmond gold foils that you don't hear anymore.

    I saw a band recently, and the guitarist used a Harmony/Silvertone for most of the set, even though he had a hollow body Les Paul on a stand. The Silvertone had three gold foil pickups, and got a really cool tone.
    It would be possible to describe everything scientifically, but it would make no sense; it would be without meaning, as if you described a Beethoven symphony as a variation of wave pressure. Albert Einstein

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    As I've looked at buying a few Teisco pickups, I noticed that compared to modern pickups and even the 1950's strat values-- Teisco pickups are underwound dramatically... with values ranging from 3000-6000, where the strat pickups today are wound anywhere from 6000-10000.

    Just a thought for ya.

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    Junior Member ohgoodthinking99's Avatar
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    I have some stock and modded Stratocasters, Harmony and Silvertone with both Dearmond gold foils and the earlier 'Hershey' bar type, and also a couple of Tiesco made guitars with the type of gold foil pickups that Ry Cooder put onto his Strat. You're right to be curious, as there are some really cool tones out there from the old gems. I have one of the Tiesco pickups for sale, and it reads 5.4k for me (out of the circuit). The 50's 'Hershey' Dearmonds read way down at 3.5k and their blues tone is so, so cool! Sorry, bit of a ramble there.

  7. #7
    Pickup Maker David Schwab's Avatar
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    Ry Cooder's guitars

    Pretty cool stuff if you ask me.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails rybak1.jpg  
    It would be possible to describe everything scientifically, but it would make no sense; it would be without meaning, as if you described a Beethoven symphony as a variation of wave pressure. Albert Einstein

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    Junior Member ohgoodthinking99's Avatar
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    David, is that you and yours?
    The one on the right looks very much like the appointments on Ry Cooder's Strat. What do you have in the one on the left? (and right, if I'm way off)
    Cheers,
    Dean

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    Speaking of Teisco pickup equipped Cooder-casters,here's a great thread from the TDPRI site documenting some home built versions.Very cool indeed!

    http://www.tdpri.com/forum/stratocas...-underway.html

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    spud1950 - Really enjoyed the TDPRI thread.

    For reasons that aren't immediately clear I have acquired 3 Teisco guitars (or mutant spawn) in the last 2 months. Must admit, I have been having a ball with these unique guitars. One is a stock 64' SS2L which just kills. I put on new strings and adjusted the bridge and at this point there isn't much else that really needs changing. The other 2 have required work but both have straight necks and with some hardware substitutions have turned into great players that stay in tune.

    The pickups are crazy different from standard Fender & Gibson fare and it is hard to see how they even work. Coil height is very low, coil size is not large and on my unknown 'ET' Robin's egg blue model resistance measures only 2.5K on both neck and bridge pickups. Output on these is not that bad however being just a little lower than good quality 50's type Strat pickups. Also, hum is very low. These pickups just sound different, but in a good way. Run into a 36W Marshall clone (36TMB with VVR) they produce beautiful clear clean tone at moderate volume and get pretty insane when cranked for distortion. They tend to be pretty microphonic but this is not all bad if you can manage howl and don't play too loud.

    From my limited experience Teisco guitar tend to have marginal tuners, fret work is a little iffy, hardware is cheap and guitar finish is poor to OK. I will say on 60's models that they often used Honduras mahogany for the body with Brazilian rosewood fingerboards and that neck quality is quite good if you are willing to adjust the truss rod (if so equipped) and dress frets. Teisco appears to have embraced production speed over finish quality in choosing products when finishing guitars back in the 60's.

    I would like to build copies of Teisco pickups if I can find out how they were made (many variants for sure). Am reluctant to take apart working pickups for fear that I might damage them.

    Gold Foils rule......

    Roundmidnight

  11. #11
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    From my limited experience Teisco guitar tend to have marginal tuners, fret work is a little iffy, hardware is cheap and guitar finish is poor to OK.
    Teisco made a dizzying array of models.Quality goes from poor on the really cheap ones to very good on the upper scale models.Most people are only familiar with lower grade models.Here's a few of the better ones.

    Here's a really nice ET-440 that recently sold on eBay.Very cool guitar!

    http://cgi.ebay.com/1969-Teisco-ET-4...13118006r36608

    Here's a Spectrum 3. Very nice quality guitar.Nice German carve on the body top.
    http://www.vintaxe.com/cgi-bin/vinta...itar_spectrum3

    This is the Spectrum 5,the Holy Grail of Teisco's and '60s Japanese guitars.These are really rare.Can be played in both mono and stereo mode. Very high quality build on these. These sell for well over $3000!

    http://www.vintaxe.com/cgi-bin/vinta...itar_spectrum5

    Here's a great site for Teisco's.Lots of models here that are probably not familiar to most people.

    http://roroor.com/index_files/Page395.htm
    Last edited by spud1950; 12-03-2008 at 01:53 PM.

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    teisco

    I can't get that last link to work - anyone have a way round this?

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    That's strange. The site was working fine when I posted it and I never had a problem accessing it in the past.I guess it's been taken down. Too bad. It had quite an extensive amount of Teisco pictures.

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    spud1950 - Thanks for the Teisco links.

    Some photos attached of my small collection of Teiscos. They are an ET 460, an SS2L (nice slide guitar) and an unknown ultra-cheap ET dual pickup model which has killer woman tone. All stay in tune pretty well and have decent necks.

    Most of the Teisco pickups seem to be pretty microphonic. They generally don't squeal up to moderately loud amp volumes but magnify body noise and any pick contact with pickup covers, so require considerable care when playing. Anyone have experience potting Teisco pickups? It would probably tone down the extreme microphonic characteristics but I don't want to completely kill the brilliant chimey tone that most of these pickups offer. Have played many Gibsons, Fenders, Guilds, a Gretsch or two but these Teiscos are unique. I have no idea how they achieved decent output with such small pickup envelopes (the ET 460 has fairly chunky pickups, they run about 6.8 Kohm resistance, the pickups are are quite heavy, the pickguard loaded adds significant weight to the fairly thin & light mahogany body). To my surprise all of my Teisco pickups seem to be fairly low in hum for being single coil pickups. Someone spent serious effort in R&D and came up with a vast array of designs that are unlike conventional Fender/Gibson designs.

    Teiscos are quirky but pretty darn cool!

    RM
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails et-460.jpg   et-460-body.jpg   ss2l.jpg   ss2l-body.jpg   et-unknown-body.jpg  

  15. #15
    Junior Member ohgoodthinking99's Avatar
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    In the next 13-15 hours, this seller on eBay (not me) has 6 NOS Tiesco gold foil pickups ending at auction. Is anyone after one for a project?

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    I bid on a couple but couldn't follow the close and wasn't willing to bid up high enough. They looked real nice. I have a dead used gold foil on the way that I want to attempt to rewind. Anyone know what size wire was typically used in these?

    RM

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