11/13/2017

1960s Teisco-made Audition 3-Pickup Electric Guitar





This chrome-bedecked, super-equipped, offset-bodied, surf-tastic electric guitar was made by Teisco in Japan and features three "gold foil" pickups. It's also in astoundingly-good shape for a Teisco as it's been living in its original hard case through the years. There are a few scuffs, dings, and nicks along the edges, but overall it's pretty dang clean for its age.

It has some interesting specs, too -- a wider 1 3/4" nut width and medium-depth C-shaped neck, a Gibson-style 24 3/4" scale length, and a quite functional vibrato/whammy unit that even lets you adjust tension on the spring (imagine that). More to the point -- it plays well and sounds killer, though these are the type of gold foils that are a bit warmer/jazzier rather than twang-central and the weird wiring stacks them in series in some positions so they thicken-up like all-out humbuckers depending on how you've got them engaged.


The body is a Mustang-sized variation on a Jazzmaster/Jaguar shape and it feels very "sporty" in the lap. The body itself looks solid but is actually ply when you look inside the route. All the electronics and are mounted to the pickguard which is a chrome-plated bit of metal and also serves as the ground for the whole guitar -- including its string ground as the bridge is metal, too.

My work on this included a fret level/dress, modification of the roller bridge to a fixed, compensated unit, and general cleaning, adjustments, and setup. The truss rod is nearly maxed-out but the neck is essentially straight (1/64" relief under tension) at tension with a set of 46w-10 strings on it.





The rosewood board is bound and has medium-sized frets with good height left.


Like most gold foil pickups, the poles are adjustable and that helps a ton for string-to-string balance.

These are also all adjustable up/down but weren't working that way until I shoved some foam under them during setup to get the bridge and middle positions to come closer to the strings.

The switch is a little crazy, mind you! This has rockers for 1-2-3 and solo/rhythm positions. Rhythm engages a mild capacitor for a mellower tone while "solo" seems to be a pass-through. Positions 1 and 2 work on their own but 3 (the bridge pickup) only works in conjunction with 1 or 2 or all 3 "on." This has to do with the way it's been wired to get series positions in some settings as the bridge pickup is essentially grounded-out to the pickguard on its "own" setting. I could have fooled with this but I felt like it would mess with the individuality of the instrument and probably cause me the loss of several hours of head-scratching to get it back to "normal" operation.

Fortunately, if you select 2+3 you get a nice, twangy, Fender sort-of "lead" sound and if you select 1+3 you get a Fender sort-of "rhythm" sound. With 1+2 engaged you get a brutal, thick, growly, aggressive, humbuckery sound. With all engaged it takes that sound and adds a bit more clarity to it. On "only 1" the guitar has a sweet, somewhat jazzy, bell-like, mellow tone for chordal chucking.


Check out the bridge! It's a simple bit of threaded rod but I've modified it from its original configuration which featured Gretsch-style "rollers" of different sizes to adjust string spacing. Those roller bridges are terrible for intonation and obnoxious to use.

What I've done here is removed the rollers, bent the rod so it matches the radius of the fretboard, tacked it in place on its mounts with glue, and then compensated via grinding the front edge so a standard 3-plain, 3-wound set of electric strings plays in tune up the neck. It's still adjustable up/down, too, for action adjustments... and has enough of a rock to it that the instrument stays in tune while using the whammy.


This operates like a foreshortened Jazzmaster/Jaguar unit and has a hinged cover to clean-up the look for the string-ends.


This has a simple volume and tone control setup.


Here you can see that chrome shine!







The original, fitted, green hard case is awfully cool to have.


It even has its original polishing cloth!

No comments: