Teisco Guitars Buying Guide

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Teisco guitar

The history of the Teisco guitar goes all the way back to 1946 with the formation of the Japanese company Aoi Onpa Kenkyujo by Atswo Kaneko and Doryu Matsuda. The year 1948 marked the first introduction of the Teisco brand with its first lineup of products including mics, amps, and a lap steel guitar. Production of the Teisco brand of products continued until 1969, and during this time the most recognizable line of products that the Aoi Onpa Kenkyujo company produced was its line of Teisco guitars. There are many things to keep in mind when buying Teisco guitars.
 

Date of Manufacture

Determining the time in which the Teisco guitar was made is important. There is no exact date stamp on any Teisco guitars, which makes it hard to determine the exact age. A rough estimate can be made with a little bit of homework. Throughout the years, the manufacturer went through many changes including different company names and logos and even complete changes in how they named their guitars. Reading the serial number or model number on the back of the Teisco guitar will give a decent approximation of the age of the guitar within a few years.
 

Types of Teisco Guitars

There are basically three main categories of Teisco guitars. These are the solid body, hollow body, and bass guitars. The solid body Teisco guitars come in several basic designs and have 1, 2, 3, or 4 pickups. Hollow body Teisco guitars have either 1, 2, or 3 pickups. The six-string bass guitars usually just have 1 pickup, though there are a couple of models that have 2 pickups.

The designs of the Teisco follow basically two different styles. Up until 1960 Teisco guitars followed the Les Paul style. For the last decade of production, Teisco guitars followed the Fender design, since this was becoming more popular at the time.
 

The Teisco Guitar Buyer

For the most part, Teisco guitars were and are designed for beginners. They typically offer a pretty low price point in comparison to many of the other electric guitars on the market. This is part of the reason for such huge popularity in the 50s and 60s. There are still a lot of enthusiasts that love Teisco guitars, but there is one issue to be aware of.

Teisco guitars were typically made with imported parts that, while inexpensive, did not always meet some of the standards set by some of the other domestic guitar manufacturers. A buyer should be aware of what parts might need replacing and factor that into their budget and expectations when making a purchase. Luckily, there is an easy remedy.

The design of the Teisco is actually fairly simple, and most beginners can easily understand what each component is and how it functions to make the guitar work. Over the years, there have been a lot of Teisco guitars manufactured, and thus there were a lot of additional replacement parts manufactured. When buying a vintage Teisco guitar, it may be necessary to check the inner workings of the guitar and replace any of the components if necessary.
 

Teisco Guitar Parts

There are not a lot of different parts in the Teisco guitars to worry about replacing, but there are a few. Replacing them is not that difficult.
 

Teisco Guitar Part

Description

Pickups

Solid body guitars have no way of amplifying the sound from the plucked strings, so pickups are necessary to transmit the sound to the amplifier. Virtually any pickup can be installed on Teisco guitars, but if you are an enthusiast, you will want to install a vintage Teisco pickup. The designs really add to these guitars' character.

Tremolo

Not all Teisco guitars came with a tremolo, but they can be fitted with one. Tremolos can be purchased as a complete set or as individual components such as the bridge, bar, or spring.

Pick Guard

Protect the vintage Teisco guitar with a pick guard. These are plates that are fashioned specifically for certain guitars. As previously mentioned, the two styles were the Les Paul and the Fender guitar designs.

Guitar Knobs

On vintage Teisco guitars, the knobs can sometimes crack with repeated use. These are extremely easy to replace and can actually improve the look of the Teisco guitar quite drastically.

Guitar Tuners

Some older Teisco guitars were made with less expensive materials that sometimes rusted. The guitar tuner was one component that was sometimes like this. The tuners can just be unscrewed and swapped out rather quickly.

Touch-Up Markers

As with any vintage product, throughout time the product can fall victim to everyday wear and tear. This is especially true for guitars. Most of the Teisco guitars have a wood body, so it is actually fairly easy to repair minor scratches and dings. The easy solution here is to use a touch-up marker. They come in a variety of different wood colors, so you can try to find a touch-up marker that closely matches the wood coloring of the Teisco guitar.

 
Teisco Bridges

Another reason the Teisco became so popular is their introduction of the primitive 3rd bridge. Not all Teisco guitars were manufactured with this design. The primitive 3rd bridge actually extends the tail, and there is a little bit of space behind the bridge. When this area is plucked it actually makes a 3rd bridge sound. This design method produces the sound of a 3rd bridge for less cost of construction than with some of the competing designs. The result was a less-expensive alternative.

For the most part, Teisco guitars will be advertised as having this 3rd bridge. There may be some instances where the Teisco has the 3rd bridge but may not necessarily be listed as having one. The easiest way to know if the Teisco has the 3rd bridge or not is to look at the last bridge and see if there is a pickup between the last bridge and the tail. This is a telltale sign that a third bridge was included in the design. Again, this is not a necessary component, but is popular among vintage collectors of Teisco guitars.


Finding Teisco Guitars on eBay

Throughout the years, there were a lot of name changes both for the brand and the models of each guitar. Having a good understanding of which guitars fall under which years should make it a little easier to properly search for the right Teisco guitar on eBay.

The easiest way to search for Teisco guitars on eBay is to search by the brand and type of guitar you are interested in, followed by the year it was manufactured, if this is an important selling point. There have been so many model name changes over the years that it can actually get a little confusing determining which guitars are actually the same but with a different model name.

It's helpful to know that Teisco exported to both the United States and the United Kingdom under different brand names. For the United States, Teisco exported under brand names including Kent,Kingston, Teisco, Teisco Del Rey,Silvertone, Kimberly, Heit Deluxe, or World Teisco. For the United Kingdom, the brand names used for the Teisco guitar included Arbiter,Top Twenty, Audition, or Kay guitars.


Conclusion

Many guitar enthusiasts loved Teisco guitars because they were simple and offered a lot of value. They were not as overpriced as some of their counterparts. Today the Teisco are no longer in production, though the name still resonates among guitar enthusiasts, and they still have an influence with the designs of the Kawai brand. That makes it hard to place an exact figure on the value of Teisco guitars, simply because they do carry a lot of sentimental value to a number of collectors.

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