Inside the latest VG
Published monthly since 1986

Teisco Guitars, Part I

Rock 'n' Roll Dreams, Part I
Rock 'n' Roll Dreams, Part I

Few non-American guitar brands have meant so much to so many American guitar buffs as Teisco guitars. Indeed, through their mid-’60s connection with the Sears and Roebuck company, many a modern guitar player learned his or her first chops on a Silvertone made in Japan by the Teisco company. Nevertheless, for years Teiscos were the object of ridicule, the penultimate examples of “cheap Japanese guitars” (a reputation more based on cultural chauvinism than objective analysis, truth to tell). Even Dan Forte, who essentially began the category of writing about off-brand guitars (and who has given me many an entertaining moment in my life), chose Teisco Del Rey as his nom de plume, with more than a little tongue-in-cheek humor in the selection, no doubt.

Times change, of course, and so do perceptions. No longer regarded with complete disdain, Teisco guitars which not that many years ago retailed for $59 are now fetching upwards of $300 for certain models, as much as $1500 for the coveted Teisco Del Rey Spectrum 5s.

With the renewed interest in these humble guitars growing, I thought it might be time to turn our intention to the story of Tesico guitars.

Before we begin, it should be pointed out that some time ago Guitar Player presented the history of Teisco, based on information painstakingly translated from a Japanese article penned by Mr. Hiroyuki Noguchi of Japan’s Rittor Music, editor of the Guitar Graphic book series. Unfortunately, the article used for reference was an older piece which has subsequently been totally revised and corrected by Mr. Noguchi based on later interviews with principals in the Teisco company. Some of the chronology in the GP story is inaccurate. What follows here is the latest and most accurate information on Teisco (in regards to company history), confirmed in repeated direct communications with Mr. Noguchi in Japan. This information also supersedes some incorrect facts in my own essay on Teisco Del Rey Spectrum 5 guitars in the first issue of Vintage Guitar Classics.

By the way, if you like older Japanese guitars, you must obtain a copy of Mr. Noguchi’s book, ’60s Bizarre Guitars (Guitar Magazine Mooks, Rittor Music). It is lusciously printed in color and, while the text is in Japanese, model names and dates are in English, so it is an invaluable reference tool, as well as a fun coffee table book. Some of the following information on specific guitars comes from this source, as well as catalogs and other research materials kindly provided by dedicated guitar fans in both the U.S. and Japan. It’s virtually impossible to reconstruct a comprehensive chronology, but we will attempt to document some broad-brush details and periods of what guitars we can, and with luck you’ll be able to search out and identify your favorite Teiscos with much greater authority. Your corrections and additions are most welcome!

The Name Game
First of all, let’s clear up some minor confusion over the name. It has been variously reported, including by me, that the name “Teisco” stands for the name of a company in Tokyo; however this is not the case. Teisco was simply the name chosen by one of the company’s founders, Mr. Atswo Kaneko. There was another prominent company called the Tokyo Sound Co., Ltd. which was responsible for making Guyatone guitars, another major early Japanese brand, some of which came to the United States as Kent guitars imported by New York’s Bugeleisen & Jacobson and others. However, neither of these companies or their guitars had anything to do with the Teisco brand.

Another clarification about brand names is in order. Teisco guitars can be found mainly bearing at least eight brand names: Teisco, Teisco Del Rey, Kingston, World Teisco, Silvertone, Kent, Kimberly and Heit Deluxe. Teisco was the name used mainly in Japan but also on a few occasions here in the United States. Most Teisco guitars were imported into the United States by Chicago’s W.M.I. Corporation originally owned by guitar importing pioneer Jack Westheimer bearing both the Teisco Del Rey and Kingston brand names. By the mid-’60s W.M.I. was providing Teiscos to Sears and Roebuck carrying the Silvertone moniker. I’m not sure the World Teisco brand ever got to the U.S.; my guess is that it was an export designation that went to other markets. Some of the early Kent guitars imported by New York’s Bugeleisen and Jacobson were purchased from Teisco. The distributors responsible for either the Kimberly or Heit Deluxe brand names remain a mystery at this time. It is possible that you may encounter other brand names on Teisco-made guitars sold through other distributors, but these will be in a minority. If you know of any other names, please let us know.

At the beginning of the Teisco saga, Teisco instruments were primarily built for domestic consumption in Japan. The early guitars were fairly high quality by contemporary Japanese standards. As the ’60s dawned, Teisco increasingly got caught up in the export market, and by the mid-’60s were major players in the low-end or beginner arena, with instruments sold primarily by mass merchandisers such as Sears and at discount department stores which were rapidly developing at the time. It was mainly in this latter niche that Teisco guitars are known in the U.S. In order to give this narrative some structure, I’ve divided the Teisco history into four basic periods: I-Gibsonia; II-Frumpy Fender-ama; III-A New Spectrum of Originality; and IV-Copydelia.

According to Mr. Noguchi, Teisco instruments debuted in 1946 and were made by a company founded principally by the late Mr. Atswo Kaneko, a renowned Hawaiian and Spanish guitarist, and Mr. Doryu Matsuda, an electrical engineer. Mr. Doryu Matsuda was born in 1921 and was still alive at the time of this writing. As mentioned, Mr. Kaneko gave the guitars the Teisco brand name, however, the original name of the company was Aoi Onpa Kenkyujo (roughly translated: Hollyhock Soundwave or Electricity Laboratories). This was a small workshop formed in war-ravaged Tokyo.

Period I: Gibsonia
Early Teisco instruments were primarily electric Hawaiian guitars and accompanying amps, although the company quickly got into electric Spanish guitars, too. Little information is available on these earliest Japanese Teiscos. Teisco guitars from most of the ’50s were clearly inspired by Gibson; presumably this was true from the very beginning. We’d welcome any information on these early Teisco guitars and amps, including photos and photocopies of catalogs or ads, from our Japanese readers, if they can provide them.

Generally speaking, Teisco guitars through the mid-’60s follow a fairly logical designation scheme (although don’t be surprised at exceptions).

For solidbodies there is usually a one- or two-letter prefix indicating the body style or general model. This is followed by a dash and a number which usually indicates the number of pickups (e.g., J-1), although on occasion the number indicates the year of introduction (e.g., TG-54). Guitars bearing a vibrato usually appended an “L” after the pickup number (e.g., MJ-2L).

Hollowbodies use either an EP or PE prefix, followed by a dash and number which indicates the specific model (e.g., EP-14). Obviously, in this case, the number is not the number of pickups! Usually higher numbers indicate more pickups, cutaways, full body depths, fancier appointments, etc.

Hawaiians use the EG prefix followed by a dash and a letter which indicates the specific model (e.g., EG-R).

This early generation of Teiscos had long rectangular logos with italicized block letters spelling “Teisco” in English.

The earliest Teisco Spanish guitar of which I’m aware was the EO-180 from around 1952. This was basically a glued-neck folk-style acoustic guitar with a three-and-three slothead, round soundhole, bound top and glued-on bridge. Essentially dissecting the soundhole was a large triangular round-cornered pickguard with a white insert shaped like a sock, toe pointing toward the head, with a white-covered pickup situated on the ankle of the sock, just behind the soundhole on the bridge side. The cord appeared to come out of the side on the lower bout.

In 1953 Teisco introduced its EP-6, about which very little is known, except that the EP designation was applied to electric Spanish archtops, probably with a single neck pickup. The slightly later EP-7 was a non-cutaway, so probably so was the EP-6.

’50s Snapshot
By 1954 the Teisco line had begun to grow. Some valuable reference is available in a Japanese history of Teisco guitars, which is written completely in Japanese (which I unfortunately can’t read). This has an early photo of the company’s founders and presumably engineers and designers, mugging around a car parked in front of the Teisco factory. The photo is from the ’50s (1954 or later), and the instruments in their hands and surrounding them are at the core of the ’50s line. Shown were two small Les Pauls, two single-cutaway archtop electrics, at least three Hawaiian lap steels, and at least four amplifiers.

The two mini Les Pauls are also illustrated in ’60s Bizarre Guitars. These were the J-1 and TG-54, slab-bodied solidbody electrics with bolt-on necks. Both had typical Teisco three-and-three headstocks, with a point or hump in the center not unlike Kay guitars, but slightly more rounded. They had rosewood ‘boards with large white dots, except for two small dots at the octave.

The Teisco J-1 was a natural maple-topped guitar with a single pickup near the adjustable wooden bridge, a large affair with a metal cover with six slots parallel to the strings and two round bulbs on either side, very space-age! The stop tail was probably rounded, allowing strings to pass through the body, and was covered with a square metal plate. A small pickguard sat between the pickup and the neck. A volume and tone control sat on another little piece of plastic down on the lower treble bout. Knobs were white plastic knurled with a silver ring around the top.

The Teisco TG-54 was a two-pickup Les Paul, named for the year it was designed, 1954, not long after the original! It had a large white plastic covered pickup at the neck, set into the pickguard, and a slanted metal-covered pickup set into a metal tailpiece assembly, sort of like a Telecaster. Again, strings passed through the tail assembly and the body. Similar to the J-1, the volume and tone controls (same knobs) sat on a small rectangular plate, this time metal like a Tele, with an added chicken-beak three-way rotary selector switch.

The model designations of the archtops are unknown. Later these guitars would have either a PE or EP model designation, so presumably the ones in the photo did, too. One appears to be a full-sized, thick-bodied archtop with a rounded cutaway. Not much is visible in the photo, but it apparently had a single, white-covered pickup at the neck, block inlays and a white pickguard. The other guitar had a single pointed Florentine cutaway and was slightly smaller than, say, a Gibson ES-335. It’s impossible to tell the depth from the photo, but it looks as though it’s a thinline. This, too, had a single white pickup at the neck, moveable adjustable bridge, trapeze tail, large white pickguard (not modelled on a typical Gibson shape, by the way), a little plastic plate on the lower bout with volume and tone, with white knobs. The fingerboard has large white dots, with double small dots at the octave. The f-holes are three-part; the headstock Teisco three-and-three.

The Hawaiians are likewise hard to identify. One looks to be similar to the later Teisco EG-7L, with a Gibson sort of shape and a pair of offset rocket shapes on either side of the pickup which house roller wheels for volume and tone. A second appears to have a rounded body similar to a Rickenbacker frying pan, looking perhaps like the later Teisco EG-K. This had the same slotted pickup as the J-1, and a single volume control. Finally, there’s an unidentified eight-string lap with an elongated sort of rectangular body and an elevated fingerboard. This had a volume and tone with white knobs, and the tuners were behind the head, rather than sticking straight up, as on later eight-strings.

The amps are interesting and also pretty much impossible to I.D. These were, of course, tube amps. Their basic cosmetics consist of two-tone tolex or vinyl covering contrasting dark and light arranged vertically with a wide band in the middle, just slightly narrower than the grillcloth. Cabinets had rounded edges, and, in fact, sort of look like ’50s TVs. One was a small practice amp, with two medium sized amps about 15″ or so high, and one humongous amp, complete with six 8″ speakers (which looks like the later HG-8).

Two other Spanish guitars were available in 1954 which were not shown in the Teisco history photo, the J-2 and the TN-54. These are pretty much a mystery. The J-2 was likely a two-pickup companion to the J-1, although by a few years later, both these models had become double-cutaways. Whether that was the case with the J-2 from the beginning is unknown, but unlikely. The description of the TN-54 is completely unknown.

Also shown in ’60s Bizarre Guitars, but not in the Teisco book photo, is a ca. 1954 Hawaiian Teisco EG-R which was sort of shaped like a Gibson and which had the same pickup as the J-1, with more elaborate symmetrical metal rocket shapes on the sides, housing the volume and tone controls. A chrome dome sat in front of the pickup between it and the dot-inlaid fingerboard. The head was stubby and rectangular. This was very “Moderne” looking, very Buck Rodgers.

At least one other Teisco guitar was available from around this time in the ’50s, probably slightly later on another mini Les Paul that was the ’50s piece de resistance, the J-5. The J-5 was a single-cutaway solidbody that went beyond the other more derivative LPs. This had a slightly elongated body shape, with less pronounced waist than a traditional Les Paul. The upper bass bout headed toward the neck with a more angular, almost pointed corner rather than the typical rounded shoulder. The cutaway horn was also more angular, heading out at almost a right angle to the neck. It’s impossible to tell from the photograph, but this looks to be a glued-in neck. The fingerboard was bound, and featured the typical large white dots with two small dots at the octave. The headstock was a white-faced asymmetrical affair, with a curved peak extending on the bass side, with a concave dip across the top. Tuners had white rectangular buttons. These would be interesting enough, but the body had a bound flamed maple top flat, not carved. The pickguard followed the body profile, with an extension down the lower side for the volume and tone controls. On the black pickguard were two black-covered pickups, looking sort of like P-90s. Pickup selection was with a chicken-beak rotary three-way switch. Knobs were white knurled with silver top rings. The bridge was a typical adjustable wooden type. Again, a large tailpiece assembly allowed the strings to pass through the body. This is a very beautiful guitar.

By 1955 the Teisco line had become quite large, indeed. My only reference for these guitars is a listing, so no detailed descriptions are available.

Solidbody electrics in the ’55 line remained the J-1, J-2, TG-54 and (presuming it’s a solid) the TN-54. The J-1 and J-2 were probably still single-cutaways at this time.

The ’55 hollowbody line consisted of no less than eleven guitars. Models included the EP-4, EP-5, EP-6, EP-7, EP-11, EP-12, EP-13, EP-14, EP-15, EP-16, and EP-23. Clearly, in these instances, the numerical designation indicates appointments, not the number of pickups. Some of these are likely to be thin-bodied archtops with no cutaways, some thinlines with a single cut, and some full-bodied archtops with a single cutaway, with either one or two pickups, and probably no vibratos.

Finally, there were some twelve Hawaiian lap steels in ’55, the EG-NT, EG-K, EG-Z, EG-A, EG-S, EG-R, EG-L, EG-7L, EG-P, EG-8L, EG-M and EG-NW. Again, since I have no reference materials, there’s no point in attempting any description. However, many of these guitars continued on into the ’60s where we’ll discuss them in detail, and you can probably extrapolate backwards to these mid-’50s models, allowing for pickup changes, etc.

Legible in the essay in ’60s Bizarre Guitars is a list of numbers which probably indicates amplifier availability in ’55, since the numbers are similar to those used to signify slightly later Teisco amps. These were the #30, #28, #17, #40, #6, #7, #5A and #5B.

In 1956, the company changed its name from Aoi Onpa Kenkyujo to Nippon Onpa Kogyo Co., Ltd., while the instruments continued to be called Teisco.
Little data is to be had on Teiscos from the late ’50s, but it’s probably safe to assume the line continued on roughly as before. In 1958 the EP-61 joined the line. This was obviously not numbered for the year of introduction! It’s not known what this guitar was, but shortly thereafter the high-number EPs were fancy full-bodied archtops, so that may have been it.

At some point before 1961, the Teisco logo also changed from italicized blocks to a more modern, thin sans-serif typeface with a large, swan-shaped “S” in the middle which joined the “e” and the “s.” It would come as no surprise if we were to learn that this happened when the company changed names in ’56.

Period II: Frumpy Fenderama
As mentioned, most of the ’50s Teisco guitars were heavily influenced by Gibson-style design. At the very end of the decade or just at the dawn of the ’60s, Teisco guitars began to change to double cutaways and exhibit a playful if slightly frumpy more Fender-oriented design aesthetic. This was almost in lock-step with American guitar industry trends. Gibson launched its thinline ES-335 in 1958 and, indeed, changed its single-cutaway Les Paul to the double-cutaway SG in ’61. American manufacturers such as Kay and Harmony quickly followed suit. The Teisco change was a part of the guitar Zeitgeist.

Teisco’s design changes also no doubt had a lot to do with the emerging importance of the American export market which was just about to explode. It was at the very end of the ’50s that demand for guitars in America began to mushroom at an incredible pace, as the post-War Baby Boomers began to come of picking age.

Large-scale traffic in guitars between Japan and the United States began in the very late ’50s. Jack Westheimer of Chicago’s W.M.I. corporation has published his recollection of having begun to bring in Kingston guitars purchased from the Terada Trading Company in around 1958. The Japanese themselves began advertising their wares to American distributors as early as July of 1959, when Guyatone ran a small space ad touting small pointed single cutaway solidbodies more or less resembling Teisco’s mini-Les Pauls.

In the Spring of 1960 the Kent Musical Instrument Company (20 East 15th Street, New York City) was founded as a subsidiary of prominent New York distributors Buegeleisen and Jacobson. It’s first products were microphones, cables and aftermarket guitar accessories like pickguard/pickup assemblies for archtop guitars and soundhole pickups for flattop acoustics. In 1960 the Marco Polo Company (1055 E. First Street, Santa Ana, CA) began importing Japanese guitars (many by Suzuki), including electrics, which it began to advertise in 1961. Kent began promoting Japanese solidbody electric guitars (mainly Guyatones) in April of 1962, although by the Fall of ’62 the Kent Standard series consisted of Teisco models.

In terms of the Teisco brand, the moving force was Jack Westheimer and his W.M.I. company in Chicago. According to published accounts, Westheimer began importing Teisco-made Kingstons in around 1961, although these were not promoted in the trade press until the beginning of ’64. It was this connection that would make Teisco the dominant powerhouse it was to become.

The first signs that the times they were a-changin’ began to appear in 1960 with the debut of the T-60 and the EB-1. The T-60 (named for the year) was a more-or-less Jazzmaster-shaped guitar with an extended upper horn and backward-sloped lower cutway. Even the pickguard was similarly shaped, although not tripart, bearing three pickups, the bridge pickup angled slightly like a Strat. Controls included one volume and one tone and a chicken-beak rotary selector. This had a covered bridge/tailpiece assembly. The headstock was a long, extended variation on a Fender Strat head, with six-in-line tuners, with a round sticker Teisco logo on the round tip. Fingerboard inlays were the soon-to-become-signature rectangles along the upper edge. However, the most striking detail was the so-called “monkey grip,” a handle-shaped cutout on the top of the lower bout. This design would continue through the ’60s (two decades before Ibanez would introduce it on its JEM guitars!).

The EB-1 was probably Teisco’s first electric bass guitar. This was basically a Fender Precision bass copy, with a P-bass offset double-cutaway body, bolt-on neck, Tele-style four-in-line head, the fingerboard edge rectangle inlays, a wooden adjustable bridge and a covered tailpiece asssembly. The pickguard was very similar to Fender, with a single pickup in the middle. It’s not known how long this bass was offered, but by the following year the similar EB-2 was introduced, and no mentions of the EB-1 are encountered, so perhaps it only lasted around a year.

An instrument designated P-1 was also introduced in ’60, but no information about what this was is available.

Swinging ’60s
By 1961, at least, the makeover was complete. The old mini Les Paul, the J-1, was changed to become a sunburst double-cutaway solidbody. These had widely flaring equal cutaways, a single rectangular neck pickup, a large pickguard which covered most of the treble side, a wooden adjustable bridge, covered tailpiece, volume and tone. The bolt-on neck now had a more Gibson-style open-book head shape (with round logo sticker). The fingerboard had the old large dots with two small octave markers. The J-1, in a number of forms, would survive at least through 1966, if not longer. It is presumed that the J-2 was still around and that it had also become a double-cutaway; it most certainly was still in the catalog, as a double-cut, in ’62.

Joining the J-1 (and J-2) were the sunburst J-3 and J-5. These had no real relationship to the earlier, very fancy J-5 mini Les Paul. These both had somewhat larger bodies with narrower waists and had ever-so-slightly offset double cutaways, with the upper horn just slightly extended. The bolt-on necks were similar to the J-1, with an open-book head and large dots, with added binding. The J-3 had a single rectangular bridge pickup, while the J-5 had a pair of pickups and a chicken-beak selector on the upper horn. The pickguards covered just the area under the pickups; controls were mounted on the top, volume and tone for the J-3 and three controls on the J-5.

The T-60 “monkey grip” guitar was still present in ’61.

New was the EB-2, which had a P-bass body shape, a bolt-on neck with a P-bass-style four-in-line headstock, rectangular fingerboard edge inlays, a large pickguard with one center-placed metal-covered pickup, volume and tone.

At least five sunburst hollowbodies were offered in ’61, the PE-7, PE-8, PE-13, PE-14 and PE-51. These appear to have glued-in necks, by the way, with the open-book head, circular sticker logo and rectangular metal-covered pickups. The PE-7 was a non-cutaway thinline with dots, a single neck pickup, elevated pickguard, a fancy lyre trapeze tailpiece and volume and tone controls mounted on the lower bout. ’60s Bizarre Guitars shows a ca. ’61 PE-8 with a single black-plastic-covered pickup with Teisco printed on the top, small strip inlays, wooden pickguard, a fancy harp tailpiece and volume and tone mounted on the lower bout. The following year this model would have two pickups, so whether this is typical or not is unknown. The PE-13 and PE-14 were single-rounded-cutaway archtops, the difference being in finish, the former being blonde and the latter sunburst. Both these were full-bodied jazz guitars, with the small block inlays, twin pickups, chicken beak selectors, elevated ‘guards and two volumes and two tones mounted on the lower bout. Some of these carried fancy Gibson Johnny Smith trapeze tails. The PE-51 was a twin pickup, single-rounded-cutaway thinline archtop, with a chicken beak selector, ordinary trapeze tail and one volume and tone on the lower bout.

Hawaiians were still available, but no information was available to me except on the EG-TW which was an eight-string double-neck with three telescoping legs. Each neck had two pickups, a selector switch, volume and tone control. Also offered was a curious instrument called a “Harp Guitar,” which was some sort of three-legged Hawaiian console with four electronic pedals!

Amps available in ’61 included the large HG-8 (recommended for use with the EG-TW and Harp Guitar), the Amp-75C, Amp-73C, Amp-72A, Amp-72B, Amp-72C, Amp-71A, Amp-71B, Amp-71C, Amp-30, Amp-4C, Amp-15 and Amp-86 bass amp. These came in a varity of shapes, mostly with either a single color covering with a tweed grillcloth, or the two-tone Amp-30 or the two-tone Amp-15 with a cross-shaped grillcloth area. All had the Swan-S logo. These were most likely still all tube amps at this point in time.

The Teisco line probably continued more or less as before into 1962. Both the J-1 and J-2 are definitely offered, as double-cutaways (as are the J-3 and J-5).

Archtop-wise, the PEs apparently went into the ’62 and sometime in that year were renamed with the EP prefix, but otherwise remained the same. No detailed info on the full line is available, but the ’62 PE-8 had a bound fingerboard, small block or strip inlays, a single rounded cutaway, a rosewood pickguard, two not one metal-covered pickups (with one row of exposed poles along the edge), a chicken-beak selector on the upper shoulder, and four controls on the lower bout.

Two basic new solidbodies were introduced in ’62, The SD-4L/SD-2L and the SS-4L.

The SD is a classic. This had a more exaggerated Jazzmaster shape than the T-60. It had a dramatically swept back lower horn, and an offset pair of waists, looking as though it’s been slightly melted. These had bolt-on necks with the elongated Strat-style head, with round logo stickers. A rectangular plastic control panel was mounted above the strings, with large thumbwheel controls and on/off rocker switches, while a large-ish pickguard was mounted under the strings. The controls on the SD-4L were especially interesting, taking their cue from the Italians, no doubt. The thumbwheels were for volume and tone, while there were a total of six rocker switches. Four of these were on/off for each of the four pickups, but in between were two more. Their function is unknown, but a good guess would be phase reversal between the front and back pairs of pickups. Both models had the rectangular fingerboard edge inlays. With “L” designations, both had vibratos. These consisted of a fairly simple bar for string attachment with a series of springs behind it, all covered with a hinged metal cover. The handle was extremely long. Pickups were the beefy tall rectangular type with metal cases and black plastic center tops with exposed pole pieces (these could be screws or squares). The SD-4L had four pickups, in two pairs, while the SD-2L had two. If I couldn’t have a Spectrum 5, I’d be looking for one of these (I am!).

The SS-4L was almost identical in electronics and other appointments to the SD, with the main differences being in body shape, vibrato and pickups. The body was more like a Strat, except the entire lower horn was lopped off and slanted toward the lower bout. Very, very… well, this is one of those ideas that’s so ugly it becomes beautiful! This had a new, very nifty vibrato system, one of the coolest the Japanese ever produced. This consisted of a plate or platform resting on springs, sitting above the top of the guitar. This then had a metal block with several holes along the treble side, into which the arm was inserted and secured with a thumbwheel screw. The SS-4L had two-tone metal-covered pickups with six poles along the rear edge, two half-slots exposing a gold insert in the center and six holes showing the insert along the front edge. These “two-tones” would become a mainstay of many early ’60s Teiscos.

Blue Hawaii
At least nine Hawaiian lap steels were offered in ’62, and probably provide a good snapshot of Teisco laps at their apex. Included were the EG-NT, EG-K, EG-Z, EG-A, EG-S, EG-O, EG-U, EG-L, EG-6N and EG-8N. Since this is a good selection which probably reflects backward as well, we’ll describe these in detail.

The ’62 EG-NT, EG-K and EG-Z were fairly primitive and appear to be leftover from the mid-’50s. The EG-NT had a small rectangular body with the bass side flush with the neck and the treble sticking out a bit to handle the controls. The head was stubby three-and-three with a circle Swan logo sticker and the fingerboard had painted diamond markers. The pickup looks to be the old slotted pickup of the early J-1, but may not be, with volume control. The EG-K was the Teisco version of the Rickenbacker Frying Pan, with a round body and neck with a head wider than the neck. This, too, had the rectangular head with a circle Swan logo. Markers were diamonds, the pickup was the slotted J-1 pickup, with one volume control. The EG-Z had an asymmetrical body with a short width on the bass side and a longer width on the treble side, with diamond markers and the stubby head. This had the old slotted J-1 pickup with volume control.

The remaining ’62 Teisco laps had a sort of paddle shape to the body, with sides wider than the fingerboard all the way up to the asymmetrical head with the circle Swan logo. The EG-A and EG-S had short scales and black fingerboards with the diamond markers, while the EG-U and EG-L had longer scales with fingerboards angled toward the bass side at the pickup. The EG-U had a light fingerboard with split-parallelogram markers, whereas the EG-L had a dark ‘board with dots. All were six-strings with one black-covered pickup and a little plate with volume and tone controls. Tuners mounted from behind the head as on a Spanish guitar.

The EG-6N had a similar profile but tuners were mounted on a square-topped head with the buttons facing up. This had a dark square-ended fingerboard with dots and a single chrome-covered pickup with black center insert and exposed poles (same as on the SD-2L/4L), volume and tone control. The EG-8N was similar except for having a light fingerboard with black dots, and two of the chrome/black insert pickups, volume, tone and threeway select. A folding stand to hold the steels was available (this was a standard Teisco product from the mid-’50s on).

In ’62 Teisco also now offered some pickup assemblies for retrof

This entry was posted in Classic Instruments. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.