8/21/2016

1960s Teisco Spectrum 2 Electric Guitar



I worked on a green one of these last year (these are extra-cool Japanese-made guitars), and this one came here in visually better shape, but needing some definite adjustments. The owner waited around while I worked on it and it got a heavy setup-side dose of repairs: the frets were set in place with wicked glue, it got a fret level/dress (during which the zero fret was "fixed" into the same plane as the rest of the frets), and the original "roller" bridge assembly was modified to be a fixed, compensated, simple threaded rod.

All of these changes make a guitar that plays, essentially, like an old Fender -- now. Teiscos definitely have personality, too. Those pickups are so strange in their almost-ballsy, but sedated way. It's like they can't decide whether to rock-out or play lounge-jazz.




The rosewood-veneer headstock is a nice touch. I also like the simple, single down-pressure "string tree" that the old Japanese guitars use -- why not enjoy even tension behind the nut?


The board is a slab of rosewood rather than a veneer.


The rhythm/solo switch works backwards from normal -- "solo" means "mud switch on" (it engages a capacitor) and "rhythm" means clean signal.


Originally the bridge had "rollers" on it for adjusting string spacing, but the problem with the design is that they mean that intonation is dodgy except for wound-G string sets (and even then it's questionable).

I've been modifying bridges like this, lately, by removing the rollers, bending the threaded rod to match the board radius (more or less), and re-angling the bridge for better compensation. I then solder the rod to its mounts so it won't rotate and, if needed, touch-up the intonation for each string area with a flat file. Miraculously, the intonation was almost perfect without modding it too much.

This guitar has a "Gibson-style" 24 3/4" scale length.


These whammy bars are terrible, but they work "OK" for bends down. I was really trying hard to get the owner to just take the bar off and thus avoid a lot of accidental tuning frustration in the future.



The metallic red finish is pretty cool.


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