A collection of your Teisco tales and snapshots.


Ron Neely II - USA

"Here's a few pics of my Teisco bass, model EP-200B. I picked it up in a pawn shop a few months back for $100. I was extremely surprised to find that it still had the bridge cover in place! After shimming the neck and removing, cleaning, and repairing the electronics it plays and sounds great! "

"Here's my Teisco ET-460. It's another pawnshop prize, setting me back $60. Missing the Tone knob, whammy bar, and bridge cover. It's a real good player as well. I'd love to get a matching bass!"

Nik Henville - UK

"Hot damn - for years now I thought I was going crazy - but it really WAS called the Orbit 4..... I bought the darned thang in 1970 for a couple of quid in a junk shop, slapped some tape-wound strings on it and used it as a kind of lap-steel for bottleneck. Over the years it underwent a number of changes, both colour scheme (rainbow mettalic, crackle-glaze silver/bronze, blah, blah, blah) and electronic (decent log pots, miniature 3-way in-phase/off/out-phase switches per pick-up, stereo split switching, active pre-amps etc). Never touched the neck - it was/is too good to mess with - and ended up stripping the body back to the wood and polishing it up, looks good too, a natural blonde (with a red neck). Also removed most of the trimmings, just left the pots and miniature phasing switches on black perspex plates. Hell, work it out, 4 pickups, each either in phase, out of phase or off, how many combinations is that, then each has its own level control. Infinite tone palette. Sometimes I regret taking the old chrome slabs and rocker switches off..... then again not :o) Still slides out the blues and the nashville pedal steel, never gone quiet, never warped, never let me down. Many axes have come and gone since, but she has stayed with me, my first electric, and the last one I'll get rid of, if she aint buried with me."

Early seventies. Orbit4 (Teisco SS-4L) into Schaller Rotosound, HH amp and 4x12 stack - each speaker was sealed into it's own labrynthine damped enclosure which was very carefully designed to minimise resonances and distortion and sounded fantastic at full tilt. I figured the Marshall valve top gave me all the distortion I needed without crap speakers adding to it, and the HH allowed me to get clean volume when needed. Never got round to painting them black :o)

Body square on. It WAS a weird shape, but sits on the knee, carries by the horn, blances on the strap and, in my case, sits flat on the lap

Four pickups and controls. This is what it is all about - I lost count at 33 permutations of on, off and phase, and that is before the volume controls come in - put two pick-ups on but out of phase and play with the pots and the palette of tones grows exponentially..... The bridge is still set for fingered intonation because I finger-pick fretted as well as bottle-neck. Strange name - bottle neck - never used one in my life, always used either steel bars, steel tubes or, my favourite, a chandalier crystal from the Marriot in Amman, Jordan. Don't ask.

Full front. The Orbit4 in all it's glory - not elegant proportions, and I envy the models with the stunning 4 against 2 head-stock, but hey - it works for me.

Body, looking up neck. All the bulky chrome panelling replaced by black perspex, one precision log-pot volume control and one miniature in/off/out phase switch per pickup. The lower panel is just enough to cover the channel cut in the body from pick-ups to socket. The wood is beautiful, honey-gold blonde helped by rubbing gold sparkle nail varnish into the grain before 15 coats of clear satin laquer wet-and-dry'ed between coats. The whammy bar went because the system is NOT good and tended to slip if used too heavily, but the plate and springs are all in place.

Full back. The neck is too good to ever have been touched - the dudes who made this got that just about perfect. The gap under the neck-plate has always bugged me - either I have the wrong plate or it is an awful design gaffe, but whatever - it still does the job. with no awkwardness.

"I was always hung up on the name "Burns Orbit 4" for some reason, I guess someone said they thought it was a Burns once upon a time. I can not believe that so few are/were around, though thinking about it I bought it in 1969 or 1970 in a junk shop in Finsbury Park for next to nothing when it could only have been, what? 10 years old maximum? I guess in those days if it wasn't Fender minimalist or Gibson luxurious it wasn't in with a chance. Lets face it, they looked more like accordians than guitars, bloody great tab/rocker switches and edge-on rotary controls on slabs of chrome. It was only when I picked it up that the neck just nestled into my hand and the old girl played herself that I realised that looks weren't everything. Soon as we got home and plugged into a Marshall stack, well that was it (nowadays she is usually DI'd through an Award Sessionmaster II). Dunno why she ended up with heavy tape-wounds for bottle-neck work, but it happened fairly early on and she's been that way ever since. Lots of other's have come and gone since, usually sold for financial reasons rather than choice (I wouldn't get rid of a guitar otherwise.....) including SG's, a Gretsch and several Ibanez and the like, but that Teisco (as I now discover it is) has never gone. 'Course, that could be because it STILL has that unfashionable look to it, but I know really it is because I just couldn't part with her."

Joe Patrick - USA

"That's me with my first guitar and amplifier in 1965. The Beetles were the HOT group at the time and influenced many kids of the mid '60s to start playing guitar. A friend got me interested in 'playing' and my parents decided to buy me a guitar and amp for my 14th birthday. WOW, what a surprise! They took me to Sears and let me pick any guitar and amp within reason.
When I saw the gleaming, 4-pickup Silvertone (Teisco), that was it ... I had to have it! They amp was not as important to me and I selected the model shown in the photo.
My first band was an instrumental trio named the Rebel Rousers (two guitars and drums). We played a lot of Ventures music, some Duane Eddy and other instrumentals. I'd give anything to have those old tapes we recorded, but I think they are lost to time.
I am now 51 years old and continue to play off and on. I have played guitar and bass in many groups over the years and am now 'struggling' with learning pedal steel guitar.
Sometime during my ownership of the Teisco guitar I decided to refinish it and sanded the entire body down and finished it in its natural wood color and painted the pick guard white. I eventually moved-on to Fender and Peavey guitars and gave my Teisco to a young kid that I knew, who had an interest in playing. It sure made his day!
I can't remember what happened to the amp', but I must have sold or traded it at some point. I still have the original owner's manual and schematic for it.
I have the 'bug' to replace my original setup shown in the photo and will probably do that over the next year or so."

Paul Stewart - USA

"I got this guitar NEW in the early 60s I was Born in 1956 and this was my 3rd guitar. I would like to know anything about it that you can tell me. Thanks."

A picture of Paul building his guitar skills ready for his first Teisco!
Here's Pauls amp - a CheckMate 88 solid state combo.

Jeff Senn - USA

"Here`s a shot of some fine ET`s taken on the road with Jewel from her last tour. They belong to her guitar player Stuart Mathis and myself, his Tech. Enjoy!"
"Here`s a shot of some fine ET`s taken on the road with Jewel from her last tour. They belong to her guitar player Stuart Mathis and myself, his Tech. Enjoy!"

Bryce Rhude, USA

"Given to me in 1983 by Doug Fish. The Fish brothers had a few crappy instruments, but this one belonged to his older brother Dave, who wouldn't miss it, as he had graduated to a Telecaster Deluxe.

The logo was missing, at least I can't recall it, so we did not know it was a Teisco. I didn't learn until seeing another one on ebay 19 years later. We called it "The Shitbox" and after the bottom half of the headstock cracked off (OK, I busted it off after much prying, but it was cracking, a little), I glued it back on turned around backwards, and we thought it kinda looked phallic, so we started calling it "The Phallo-caster".

A nice case it came in, somehow got away from me. It wasn't original I bet. I gave it to a friend to put a Hagstrom in.

My Teisco now sports a complete super-custom refit, with Kluson keys from a '65 Jaguar, an old Gibson mini bucker in lead position, a Telecaster rhythm p/u, and the bridge also from the Fender Jaguar.

When installing the stop tailpiece from a crappo no-name Les Paul copy, Doug accidently power-drilled thru the body and into his leg, but no blood was drawn if I recall correctly. I think it did tear up his blue jeans however. The other hole was drilled shallower, and probably not over his lap. We laughed at our stupidness.

I lined the bridge up just a tad to the left, and when playing up high the low E falls off the neck, or at least it's right on the very edge. I can't figure out a way to fix this. It still plays, and has done all gigs with this boo-boo."

"A vibrola from a '66 Melody Maker was used for years, but has been pulled off, to go back on another '66 MM that needed it more. A mystery pickup was used for awhile, replacing the Teisco pickup, and sounded great. It was removed and traded for the mini-humbucker. I wish I'd have kept it.

For a time had no tone knob and one volume knob, hard to reach and under the cord, which came out of a Stratocaster jack. I just had a Strat jack laying around and wanted it used on something, but putting it in front of the volume knob was just plain dumb. This awkward arrangement was gigged with for awhile but has been removed."

"Still with no tone knob, now it has two volumes, one for each pickup, but this isn't exactly working out either, because if one is down all the way, it cuts the guitar out entirely. This was done by the guy who put in theTele pickup around '94 or '95, who wasn't too bright I think. The grounding is messed up, ya can't let go of it w/o a big buzz noise.

The last modification was a silver sparkly vinyl sticker, cut in the shape of the pickguard contour, only smaller. I needed to cover the holes from the Teisco pickup in the guard, and the decal did this pretty well. The Teisco p/u was where the Tele p/u is now, but was way wider."

"I still have a few parts from the original guitar, the pickup but not the cover, part of the bridge but something's missing, I have the pots and the knobs. Apparently the really junky looking discarded parts went straight in the garbage can! What's left has been in my parts box all these years, but only recognize them now as Teisco, after seeing the many guitars on your Twangers site, and on ebay. But I'm not tempted to put it all back together, it's really nice the way it is.

I played it at "Doc and the Pods" gigs on and off from 1985 to 1990. When I was briefly in "The Highwaymen" I was forced to buy a '64 Fender Mustang for $125, because the lead guitarist was embarassed to be seen with me and my Teisco. So I have the Teisco to thank for scarfing up a great Mustang cheap! Teisco is still used for recording. Inspired afresh, I may drag it to "Maladroits" gigs very soon.

One of these pics, with me in a coat, has the first replacement "mystery" pickup. It was only in briefly and came out somewhere between Nov. '85 and Mar. '86 and the mini-bucker went in.

One of the pics (Beatle-mask) shows it in "Phallo-caster" incarnation." 

"I'll get a good current photo of it one of these days. But I think I overkilled here anyhow. I got inspired, and dug up the past a bit, after I found your site." 

Shelly Ferrell, USA

"I'm a worship leader from Coldwater, Michigan and here are a few of my guitars in the "Teisco family"- a green Zimgar, an orange 'mystery guitar' (I think maybe a Rangemaster, maybe you can help), an E-110, a Zenon, a Kawaii bass and a Heit Deluxe.

Thanks and Happy Twanging- Shelly"


And finally...

A Christmas to remember!!
Hound Dog Taylor with his post-Teisco Kawai SS-4L lookalike