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Teisco bass guitars

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Crystalman85, Sep 27, 2010.


  1. MR PC

    MR PC Banned

    Dec 1, 2007
    It's to bad about the collectors....aren't they the guys keeping working class players away from good working class instruments to make music with?

    I dunno.....some of the dual pu 60's Teisco basses had great single coil pickups. Often wired in series, completely shielded and hum bucking to boot. Lots of output, very punchy like a good P bass, but very quiet instruments compared to many old Fenders I've owned. Aluminum pick guards, and attention to shielding throughout. But for some reason, they used really crappy pots, wire, and place flimsy switches in the worst of possible places........plus more often than not, pretty sketchy bridges and tuners.

    OTH, these design flaws can contribute to some interesting playing styles!;)

    Often, but not always......lightweight one piece Mahogany bodies, and three piece Mahogany necks, angled head stocks with solid rosewood boards. Very nicely carved as well. Lots of hand work involved. These can be really comfy instruments.

    OTH, on some of these, you never know what you'll find under the paint...I've found large epoxy fills, alongside really finely executed joinery.

    Teiscos ain't for everyone , that's for sure!
     
  2. Crystalman85

    Crystalman85

    Nov 30, 2008
    Chicago, Il.
    That's true, mr. pc. teisco basses may not be for everyone. I did however purchase an arbor musicman clone. it's actually pretty cool sounding. for a passive musicman clone, it sound as awesome as the real deal. especially after I put some new strings on that bass. and recently I've purchased a peavey millennium bxp 4-string bass and that bass sounds awesome.
     
  3. nocontrols

    nocontrols

    Apr 2, 2011
    LMAO. Yeah, that was New York, all right. :D Hell of a town.
     
  4. sanchorb

    sanchorb Banned

    Sep 25, 2007
    Hi. My first bass was a Teisco KB2 from 1967. Back in 1990, when I was 19 my dad went with me to a friend´s business to get it as a birthday present. Back then, no internet, no wikipedia, no nothing, I thought it was the coolest thing I had seen since I didn´t knew any better, it was in a bad state, but for me it was a great step up from playing a broom stick :D

    Bottom line, it was a POS. If you can find one in mint condition, it might be playable, but in any way it is a pro instrument, a mint one would be sort of a collector´s item. I wish I still had mine, but just for nostalgic reasons, but as many say around here, it was the kind of thing you would get as a present when your parents wanted to see if your "I want a bass, I want a bass, I want a guitar" rants were just rants or the expression of a real vocation: not much cash to throw away. Check this website:

    Teisco Twanger's Paradise - home of vintage Teisco guitars

    It is a cool site, which made me learn a lot from my first POS...I mean bass, LOL. Take care!!
     
  5. brittanytears

    brittanytears

    Mar 11, 2018
    Hi I have a had a few,Teisco basses,plays nice ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,but this one I am definitely putting in a new pup,,,,,,,,its a strange bass complete jazz body,,,with a pb split pick up,,,,,,,,,,,work that out?
     
  6. Crystalman85

    Crystalman85

    Nov 30, 2008
    Chicago, Il.
    Wow...I haven't seen this thread in years. thanks for the info. in case you're wondering, I haven't own one. my brother spotted a matching teisco del ray guitar and bass a few years ago, but the price they were asking for was ridiculous. I probably would understand the pricing if it was modified. but it wasn't. I had no idea why they were asking for those instruments at a high price at the time. I have since then been looking at other bass guitars.
     
  7. Ampslut

    Ampslut

    May 15, 2017
    They are early Japanese import. If it is still around then it must be one of the good ones. My 1st bass that I bought used was a Teisco
     
  8. mongo2

    mongo2

    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    Not necessarily, mere continued existence is not an indicator of quality. Mine still exists but it isn't a "good one" by any means.
     
  9. JIO

    JIO Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 30, 2010
    Oceana (Pacifica) CA
    musician/artist/owner - Gildaxe
    Even though there are examples of Teisco's and other economy/student level Japanese basses from the guitar boom years of the 60's that were less than ideal - I own this '65 (they were made throughout the 60's, not just the early 60's) Del Rey and it is far from junk IMO. It's a very interesting bass in many ways and definitely suitable for live performing. Country star Johnny Paycheck played one like it at the time when he sang "A-11", the song that launched his solo career in the mid 60's. The Del Rey badge was applied to many different Teisco's so there is no one type/style of Del Rey. The one I have, at one time referred to as "The Johnny Paycheck bass" long before Flee used one in an early RHCP vid is still seen often for resale as many were produced over a few years. Prices vary but who cares what they sell for - if someone wants that specific bass it's worth as much as that player wants to spend on it. Think it's too much? Simple - don't buy it.

    First off, it's a short scale (30") bass, but is as long as a Jazz bass. As you can see - the bridge is mid-body and the hs is large/long which leads to the 47.5" length. It is a reasonably light-weight bass at 8lbs/13oz with a thin (1-1/4") mahogany body and it balances well. (absolutely no neck dive) It has tiny "banjo frets" and because it probably always had flats - they are in great shape. The neck is the 'baseball bat' variety that may have seemed too thick when I was a teen starting out - but it feels great now. The two single-coil pu's are very strong sounding and with flats the tone of it can out-Motown a lot of P-basses. No other bass I own matches the Del Rey in the rich pillow-y bottom dept. This specific style/design of pu was the most famous of the many Teisco pu's. In the 60's the Japanese produced a staggering number of different pu designs - over 100. Many guitarists love the "gold foil" pu's for their tone to this day.

    My first bass was a solid body Japanese "Stadium", also badged "St George" that I bought new from Woolworths Dept Store for $40. I don't have a single picture of it - only a fading memory of it. I think it had 1 pu, I remember the strings being high off the fretboard and hard to press down and what did I know about set-up or tone or anything back then as a young teen? (answer: nothing besides wanting to be part of the R&R movement sweeping the world) Bad set-up on a bass I could afford then didn't stop me from my life journey as a bass-player and I very much appreciate these basses that helped me and many others 'join the club'.

    fullsizeoutput_85c.jpeg

    fullsizeoutput_675.jpeg
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2019
    JamesNC likes this.
  10. mongo2

    mongo2

    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    Funny you should mention that, the EB-200 (Johnny Paycheck bass) is what I have. I've gigged it but it's not in my stable for regular use. I also had the EB-210 which was a funky violin hollow body which I felt left a lot to be desired.
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2019
    TN WOODMAN and JIO like this.
  11. JIO

    JIO Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 30, 2010
    Oceana (Pacifica) CA
    musician/artist/owner - Gildaxe
    I don't gig with mine regularly either, but I could if I wanted to and it records well also. I also have a sweet little one pu hollow-body Conrad that is also fun to play and sounds really good. (again, with flats) Many of those basses, as long as the neck is not bowed beyond repair, can be set-up correctly and once doing so will produce a surprisingly nice sounding instrument.
     
    TN WOODMAN likes this.
  12. brittanytears

    brittanytears

    Mar 11, 2018
    Wow would love to see a pic?
     
    Crystalman85 likes this.
  13. brittanytears

    brittanytears

    Mar 11, 2018
    Amena,I think was a similar,MIJ,brand?
     
  14. JohnArnson

    JohnArnson

    May 28, 2019
    Some of the Tesco basses are decent instruments, but some of them are pure crap.

    A lot of them do look immensely cool though, but I did the mistake myself and bought an old vintage late 60's bass of another brand because it looked cool unseen, and it turned out to be as good as unplayable.

    I wouldn't make that mistake again, and advice you or your brother not to buy something similar without having a chance to try it out first.
     
    mongo2 likes this.
  15. Crystalman85

    Crystalman85

    Nov 30, 2008
    Chicago, Il.
    I no longer own these basses, but I might have some pictures of these basses. I have to look for it.
     
  16. I was wondering if standard Fender/Allparts/Warmoth necks would fit. Any trouble with that?
     
  17. Mark Gastambide

    Mark Gastambide

    Jul 22, 2018
    Michigan
    Here is the Teisco I recently purchased, and had it turned from a "wall hanger" into a "player" by the talented repairmen at Elderly Instruments in Lansing , Michigan. (Stretch at Elderly has rescued at least 3 vintage bass necks for me now. He does amazing work!) I admit that I have about 10 times into this bass what it originally sold for in the 70s (Sears, K - Mart, or wherever it cam from). I'm ashamed to admit how much I paid for it, and then turned around and spent to have the neck fixed. (Heat - treated to remove overbow and ski - jump, shimming, fretwork, re-gluing the fingerboard to the neck at the ends, where it had begun to separate... it was a REAL mess!) I also had to replace the bridge with a Schaller I had lying around, because the strings were misaligned with the pole pieces on the bridge pickup. Easier to move the bridge - since it needed to move further back anyway to correct the intonation issues anyway. The Schaller has width adjustable saddles, which was just what I needed, and still fits under the original bridge cover - so it looks original. I admit it was a Hell of an investment, but I was on a mission to see how good one of these cheapo basses could be made to play, if a good luthier put the time and effort into it. I am glad to say that I am VERY pleased with the results. This short - scale beauty plays and sounds incredible! I used it for some recording, and it sits as beautifully into the mix as an old Precision. In fact, even though I intended it to be mostly a bass for playing while sitting on the couch watching tv, I wouldn't hesitate to use it on a gig. (Let my other basses like the the Fenders, Ric, Spector Euro, etc... have the night off!) I had been fascinated by these things since seeing them at K - Mart as a kid in the 70s. And although the first electric guitar I got (at K - Mart) was a Teisco (Checkmate brand) "Tulip" which was SO bad, the guitar instructor told me to return it and buy something - ANYTHING else, anywhere else (I got an Epiphone), I was always fascinated by the looks of these things. I'm afraid that now I have been bitten by the Vintage Bug, having recently added a Guild B301, a Hohner B2A, and a 60s Eko 995 ("Beatle Bass", also the first bass I ever owned) to my collection. It remains to see how many more "vintage" instruments my wife (and my budget) will tolerate!

    Teisco Bass.jpg
     
    TN WOODMAN and JIO like this.
  18. JIO

    JIO Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 30, 2010
    Oceana (Pacifica) CA
    musician/artist/owner - Gildaxe
    I get it - they are real instruments but sometimes need a bit of love/refining. That design is based on Burns of London which was the premiere brand in Europe in the early-mid '60s. The segmented pg concept was lifted from Burns. All the guitars/basses being produced in Japan owed their design inspiration in one way or the other to Fender, Gibson, Burns, Vox, Gretsch, Guild and Rickenbacker. (to name the most prominent/established brands) But they produced mostly short-scale basses to appeal to young aspiring players. The "gold foil" pu's in the guitars have become very sought after by guitarist today for their unique tone/sound, and the Teisco bass pu's are equally worth the price of admission. Enjoy your awakened bass! :bassist:
     
    TN WOODMAN likes this.
  19. Mark Gastambide

    Mark Gastambide

    Jul 22, 2018
    Michigan
    Yeah, JIO. I know their body shape is very reminiscent of others like the Burns (big horns) or even Moserite (the backwards slanted tail end). The guys in the repair shop were apparently all discussing this bass, and what other basses it reminded them of. In fact, the guy who worked on it said he traced the body to make a template for a guitar he planned to build, but he might make it slightly smaller (for a guitar, rather than a bass). And I AM enjoying it. In fact, playing it a lot while sheltering in place these last two weeks! There's a really nice video a guy did on YouTube to demo one of these he bought for $5, to showcase the nice tone he could get from it. (His is slightly different - 2 knobs, and slightly different looking pickups.) For anyone who is interested...
     
    TN WOODMAN and JIO like this.
  20. SwitchGear

    SwitchGear Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2005
    Sunny Beach, Wisconsin
    My Norma short scale bass. I believe made by Teisco

    ucj42taclix3mwo79ctx.jpg
     
    Rabidhamster likes this.

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