Price paid: $ 21.8
Purchased from: shopgoodwill.com
Features: This is a year 1969 department store guitar made in Japan. It is the cheapest of the 1969 Teiscos and the last year before Teisco folded shop. You can score guitars similar to this but they were 1970 and a few later after and made by Kaiwa and others that bought the old Teisco jigs. It has a "zero fret" up above the first fret that acts as the nut on its 24 3/4" scale. Accessible truss rod adjustment at butt of neck that you use a small steel bar or allen wrench to horizontally crank it - they leave a notch in the pick guard to get at it thank goodness.
One cheap and loosely wound and non potted pickup 'tween where a neck and middle one would go, and it's flush mounted with no adjustment. One tone and one volume pot, and a front mounted amp jack. Guitar is 38 1/4" long. 12 1/2" at lower bout. 11 1/4" at the upper horns. 1 1/16" thick. Weight is 4.2 pounds. 3 tone black/red/yellow sunburst varnish finish front and back. The pickguard is a very thin black with an etched white floral pattern. // 5
Sound: One word, TERRIBLE on the sound. What the heck, it was a kids' guitar back in the day that I'm told would get marked down to $59.99 and sometimes sell for as cheap as $110 if you bought it with the sister 10 watt Teisco "Checkmate" amp. The single coil pickup is a joke and microphonic as all heck. Touch the guitar anywhere and clicks and quacks come chirping out of your amp. I even heard a passing by city cop's voice coming through my amp once. // 5
Action, Fit & Finish: For what this is I can't complain too much. I mean I scored it including postage for $21.80 at a time before shopgoodwill started raping auction winners for $48 postage even for a 4.2 pound guitar fer-cryin'-out-loud! It is a rock hard maple neck with a nicely secured rosewood fretboard that's bound I kid you not. The "nut" is really just a string guide and is apparently epoxied and there forever unless a real handy craftsman wants to get it off. There is a varied height string tree that holds all 6 strings.
The metal saddle offers no intonation but does have two height adjustment wheels, and there are 3 slot selections for each string-- this is because things got fast and loose there at the Teisco factory and apparently the master jig tables were bouncing around as these cheap kid cookie cutter guitars were thrown together, so there were neck pocket alignment problems as well as faulty bridge abd ashtray string retainer issues as far as placement. The tuners are a single straight 6 unit with exposed gears and plastic "bakelite" white twisters, and are murder to operate even after sewing machine oiling them.
My main complaint is that they "bound" the neck, as this will be a problem if I ever want to pull and install new frets. I can see where someone considered using a solder iron on the zero fret but aborted when they started to melt the binding - as it is a former owner lightly took a hacksaw to the zero nut so-help me gawd... But if they hadn't the balls to do that I'd have much higher action up top, lol! And at this time I shall say that there's no Spell-Checker here.
Because of the zero fret and my lack of skill to file such a thing I'm stuck with a moderately high action up top. I was able to shim the neck to bring things down a little, but I'm stuck with my current action until such time I get the tools and books to allow me to do a major fret leveling and crowning.
The thing about the neck pocket on this thing is that it was hastely routed and then a quicky wood putty and sawdust fix was smeared in there, and I kid you not there was a rolled up piece of biodegraded Japan newspaper in there acting as a shim. I leveled things out willy-nilly and managed a credit card shim to make this thing as lackluster "playable" as it is now. // 5
Reliability & Durability: Oh it's a tough little thing. It's made of a high quality slab of plywood. And like I said its neck is high quality rock hard maple. I've got a .011 - .050 set of GHS Boomers on it now and it can take the stress of a .024 wound third that I foolishly installed when I couldn't find a single .020.
I've since decided that my fingers aren't fit for 11s and I'll be moving down to .010 - .048 sets and I know this Teisco's truss rod will nicely adjust for that. When I got it a tuned it the first time I'm lucky I didn't crack the neck so loost the truss adjustment was, I'm talkin' violin bow relief! But I cranked it down with loose strings in 4 stages over a week and it reacted, so thanks much to Teisco for getting that truss rod installed right 'cause that neck "relief" was huge forever if they hadn't. // 5
Overall Impression: Well I just love it 'cause I scored it so darn cheap, and it's a blast from the past that was most likely owned by a teenager boy that wanted to be like a Beatle and score chicks. Mine weighs 5 pounds now after I totally raped it by drilling out most of the wood under the pick guard and installing a bum neck Starcaster's electronics and pickups in it. There's no such thing, but I call mine a Teisco E-330 now. If you want to see part 1 of my 5 part restoration of this guitar go to this link.
I might add that this guitar's headstock is a Stratocaster knockoff, but it was such a cheap joke of a guitar that I don't think Fender ever sued Teisco, so no "Outlaw" Status here. But yet there IS a cult following for any of the Teiscos, and if you find one on the cheap I guarantee you can sell it in any condition on e-Bay for at least $175 + ripping the buyer off on $35 shipping even though you can ship these little buggers for $8.95 USPS.
To see more Teiscos go here. And here's an image of mine after I turned it into a E-330. // 5