Back Catalog Memories: TEISCO Spectrum 5 Plexi Guitar

In the early days of My Rare Guitars I collected TEISCO guitars at a freakish pace. Look at the vintage 60’s guitar photos and you will see just about every TEISCO model ever produced from Japan in the 1960’s.

TEISCO guitars sold in the United States were badged “Teisco Del Rey” beginning in 1964. Teisco guitars were also imported in the U.S. under several brand names including Silvertone, Kent, Beltone, Duke, Heit Deluxe, Jedson, Kimberly, Kingston, Lyle, Norma, Tulio and World Teisco. Likewise, they were imported in the UK under such labels as Arbiter, Audition, Kay and Top Twenty. While guitars manufactured by Teisco were ubiquitous in their day, they are now very collectable. In fact, highly sought after models are now being reproduced.

Vintage 1960's Teisco Spectrum 5 Guitar

Vintage 1960's Teisco Spectrum 5 Guitar

The cream of the crop was certainly the Spectrum 5:

This model was a massive achievement on many levels: deep german carved body, stereo pickups and switching, wild colored switches and a crazy body contour. So no wonder forty years later that it is the serious collector’s version of a TEISCO, at least three times more valuable than any other model. “So how do you make the rare, rarer??” I asked. Make a Plexiglas version of it, that’s how. Here is where the story gets interesting…

I’ve said it before: one of the cool things about being in this business is the people you meet. I’ve recently come to the following conclusion – If you are really into weird guitars, and you live long enough, you’ll eventually meet every other person on the planet that is into weird guitars.

Vintage 1960's Teisco Plexi Spectrum 5 Guitar

Vintage 1960's Teisco Plexi Spectrum 5 Guitar

A while back I got an email from one of the worlds best “out there” guitar players – Henry Kaiser. He saw an older article from the My Rare Guitars website that circled around a particularly wierd guitar and was interested in trading something for it. What did Henry have to trade? A Teisco Spectrum. Yes, a Teisco Spectrum is always in the top ten in my “trade-for” list. But wait… this one was a plexi Spectrum!! What the hell??? Apparently they made 100 or so in Japan (where Henry got it earlier in the decade) so I’m guessing not many – if any other than this one – ever made it across the pond.

So goes the lifetime obsession of guitar collecting. Cool things come and go every month, but this one was worth a mention for sure. For the most part, I enjoy the pursuit. Once I get them, I start looking for the next and the initial romantic attraction wanes. As a customer once stated, it is like fishing, catch and release. But sometimes you catch a really big one, and relling it in is so much fun!

Oh, by the way, do yourself a favour and catch up with Henry Kaiser.

Comments

  1. Bill says

    Great guitars! I recently came across several distressed Teisco guitars and nursed them back to playing status. Looking around for more whenever I can afford it.

    Thanks for the fun photos and great guitars.
    Bill

  2. ChrisJ says

    Do I sense an Eastwood repro in the future? A little something in plexi, yes? If so, I hope for a lefty version.

  3. emP says

    Talking about vintage plexi guitars…I`ve just seen a coolest looking plexi guitar by ampeg from 1969 on vintageandrare.com. It is however outside my reach regarding the price..

  4. says

    What a great video! Glen Campbell’s playing is amazing! second only to his dancing. And I do love those Collins Kids! Especially Lorrie!

  5. Jon Fine says

    It might be a Teisco–the early ones had that round badge on the headstock. I’ve seen that same headstock shape on guitars made by Kawai, branded St. George, Kingston, Winston, etc. I’ve never seen that pseudo-Jazzmaster shape on a Japanese guitar from that period, or the pickups either, but the control knobs and the tuners look identical to the ones on my first electric, a St. George, which was made by either Teisco or Kawai. It’s a shame the clip’s not in color–the tuner buttons on mine were bright yellow!

  6. says

    I brought a Teisco Vegas 40 guitar from Japan in 1968. Someone wanted it so bad that I took him up on his offer and regretted it afterward. I did change the pickups to ones that are used on Fender Jazzmaster, no other changes. It was the best sounding guitar that I have ever owned. I would like to see a picture of this guitar again. Hopefully, I can find one for sale.

  7. john says

    I bought a vegas 66. has a great sound.I am trying to sell on craigs list. Not much intrest.It has the orignal sales recipt from a store in Hong Kong! I have orignal case.I havent seen alot of info on this model.

  8. says

    PLEASE OH PLEASE TO THE HIGH MUCKETY MUCKS OF EASTWOOD GUITARS. DO A SPECTRUM 5 COPY. PLEXI OR NOT. I GOTTA GET ONE. MY FRIEND HAD ONE MOONS AGO. THIS IS THE NECTAR OF THE JAPANESE GODS. Please keep me informed on your progress with this.You rule.

  9. Scott says

    Yes! I never knew Glen Campbell could play that well. Of course all Remember of him was Southern Nights. Too bad he decided to take the pop star road when he couldve been an axe man for hire. As far as the Teisco Spectrum 5 is concerned, Eastwood would be one of the last I would want to re issue it. I would rate their guitars slightly under the fender squirt series as far as quality of build goes. The 5 deserves more than that. Schaffer has been making a guitar very similar in style to a 5 right down to the body conjure and headstock design. They do have a custom shop and I’m looking into having them build me a lefty version as close to a 5 as possible. But if Antibes interested, go to their web

  10. says

    ANY musician (who’s actually a WORKING musician) SHOULD know about how important GLENN CAMPBELL was in MOST of the 60’s west coast sessions AS an ‘ax man for hire’ in the WRECKING CREW with HAL BLAINE/JIM GORDON – LARRY KNECHTEL/LEON RUSSEL – CAROL KAYE etc… etc…

    You COULDN’T HEAR a session coming out of L.A. WITHOUT members of the CREW being involved
    from the MONKEES to the (early) BYRDS – Phil Spector – Brian WIlson & The Beach Boys (which is how Campbell actually was a ‘Boy’ for awhile)… and that (famed) guitar solo on LAST TRAIN TO CLARKSVILLE (again – Campbell)…. Glenn WAS one of THE most famed (and most requested) session players known to all working within the industry. But to “fault” him for NOT being stuck in the studio and using his vocal talents to take the “pop route” to greater stardom is like faulting ANY successful musician for making both money AND his name known to the public at large – as well as some “wannabe” who doesn’t seem to know where that pop music comes from in the talents of those who make that music. What’s next ‘Scott’ – complaining about the Beatles success for not staying in leather pants and playing the Cavern and the Star Club instead of listening to Brian Epstein in appealing to a wider audience and possibly fame for “selling out”
    to stadium crowds and ‘commercial success’???

    P.S. – Rest in peace LARRY… one of THE greatest keyboard players (and even bass players) ever to walk into the studios in LA, and onto stages all over this world. Even Paul Simon owes more than a bit of his ‘soul’ for what you gave to him in making that ‘Bridge’ to the world in his music and on the piano.

    – David

    P.S.S. – nice site you have here in remembering some older cheap guitars for those starting out that couldn’t afford the GRETSCH’s & the GIBSON’s… (Hofner’s…. Fender’s & others) at the time…
    [when GLENN was playing – with all five fingers].

  11. says

    hello mike i have done business with you before and recently bought a body glove gigh bag from you and as usual i am very satisfied with you merchandise and service my question is…..are you ever gonna put out a model of the univox lucy (lucite guitar) i owned one back in the 70’s and i have been looking for another in a lefthanded model…by the way all three guitars i bought from you are still awsome and wonderful….would like an answer back mike thank you.

  12. Jose says

    Wow that is something!!! I am pretty young in the guitar world compared to others, but my first guitar I ever received was a gift from my mom. Turned out the guitar was made from a guy named Johnson who makes really weird guitars!! Somewhere in Arizona I believe and is famous for doing his eccentric guitars. Anyway, I realized that older guitars tend to have richer sounds and the teisco would be a nice addition. I was wondering where I could get one?

  13. MASSOUD RAZAVI says

    I HAVE A SPCTRUM5 WHICH I BOUGHT SOME 20 YEARS AGO I IRAN.THE ONLY THING THAT PUZELS ME IS ON THE BACK OF THE GUITAR A PLKCARD WHICH SAYS MADE IN U.S.A. AND ON THE NECK SAY JACKSON I CHECKED JACKSON DID NOT MADE THIS GUITAR THEY DIDNT EXSISTE IN 1967 CAN ANY BODY HELP.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>