John’s 60′s Teiscos

John brought a pair of Teisco guitars into the workshop the other day, asking what could be done to make them perform at their best.

The first Teisco,  the wonderfully named “the Victoria Zenon”, was straight forward in that the switching had been creatively rewired at some stage and pickup selection was totally baffling, with the options of “off, low, mix and high” which I’ve taken to mean neck, middle and bridge…

With the wiring sorted, the output of the pickups has improved appreciably.

The “Solo – R’thm” switch needed replacing and I could reuse the original Japanese capacitor to restore its intended function.

Tuning is also an issue but considering that the guitar is still fitted with the original machine heads and it was missing some ferrules, I think I’ve found some suitable ferrules that will do the job and that should be now be improved.

And although the guitar has no truss rod, it plays reasonably well and a new set of strings and a basic set up and this one’s all good again.


The second Teisco, an ET-440, while looking to be in good condition, is more problematic…

Here’s an ad that indicates these old guitars are indeed sought-after…

John bought his guitar to use on stage but while the guitar looks to be in good condition…

…the frets are in sad state and will probably need to be replaced.

More importantly for the moment though, is the very low output from all four pickups.

While John was in the workshop, I rang the expert on all things pertaining to pickups, Mick Brierley, and he suggested that the pickup outputs should be measured to determine what the problem might be.

On removing the scratchplate screws, all looked original and there’s no evidence to suggest incorrect wiring.

I disconnected the pickup wires from the switches and all measured a consistent 5.5 to 5.7kohms.

But on opening the back pickup casing, this greeted me…

I don’t think the coil winding is the problem…

After talking to Mick again this morning, I’ve sent him some photos of the corrosion inside the pickup and I’ll take his advice on the next step when he’s had a look.

After consideration, John thinks that the second guitar perhaps doesn’t warrant too much spending on it and he’s decided to do nothing at present.