Saturday, August 24, 2013

A little trip to Japan

I have a huge soft spot for 1960's Teisco type guitars.  These Japanese made guitars hailed under many different names and were made in numerous different factories.  As far as I'm concerned they have rarely been matched in terms of the boldness of color choices for their instruments and the funkiness factor associated with many of their designs.  Crazy pickup configurations, loosey-goosey wammy bars, and nasty tones make these guitars a blast to play.  These Japanese guitars are difficult to make your main axe as they tend to be cantankerous and difficult to keep set up properly if overused.  But, they make for a great guitar if looking for a specific sound(namely nasty Hound Dog Taylor type blues) or if you just need a little taste of unrefined tone and construction.  In short, you might not want to marry one of these babies, but boy are they fun to take on a date now and again.

HY-LO Guitar and Amp Combo

This was the first electric guitar and amp set up I ever owned.  It was purchased when I was a kid from a local fellow in town for $10.  This fellow was the original "American Picker".  He would go to tag sales on a regular basis and buy things that he could in turn sell at the swap meet.  Of course, in hindsight I wish I had told him to keep an eye out for more guitars.  Here I am some 30+ years later and I still own this combo.  I figured when I became a big time songwriter I could sell this combo off for big bucks as it was my first rig.  Well, the songwriting thing didn't exactly pan out and now this rig is worth about $59.95.  Once you get past the Gold Foil pickups(which were discussed in a previous post) this guitar is nothing to write home about.  I plan on pulling the pickups and dropping them into a more functional guitar shell.  They sound great and have a unique tone that is hard to match.  The amp is a tube amp, that again is no great shakes except for a wild tremolo setup.  This thing can get super watery or slushy in a second.  It really is its own thing and probably can't be classified as a tremolo - I just haven't come up with a clever enough name for the sound the amp pumps out.

Kingston Guitar

Here is another one from my youth.  I can't even remember where this guitar came from, but it has somehow managed to survive with me all these years.  I actually just got this guitar up and running again and have been having fun cranking it up.  I am partial to the single pickup models of these Japanese guitars.  I don't want too many choices, I just want to plug in and play - and that is what this guitar gives you.  Again, you have to wrestle this guitar a bit as its not the easiest to play, but the tone you get is great and well worth the lack of easy play.

Teisco/No Name Guitar

Here's one I picked up pretty recently.  I loved the color and the chrome pickguard.  Funny how a Japanese made guitar can remind me of a 50's/60's American made car.  Unfortunately, the neck suffered some damage in shipping - fortunately, the seller was a compassionate ebayer who worked out a deal with me and even sent me a new neck to fit the guitar with.  The guitar has a great and unique tone as the pickup is placed closer to the bridge giving you a real trebley type of tone.  Its great to A/B this guitar with the previously mentioned Kingston to hear the contrast in tones.  It is a shame that the neck was damaged because this was one of the better playing Japanese guitars I have had my hands on.  Hopefully the new neck will be comparable.  This guitar is fun to look at so I'll just let the pictures do the talking.
the chrome pickguard is hysterical.  I think I might have bought the guitar because of it.  it is obviously like a mirror.  the pictures don't do the guitar justice - its a real looker

I've never seen an inlay in a pickup.  again the pictures don't do it justice.  its a cool touch.