1960s teisco audition ...

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1960s teisco audition ...

Post by monkey on Sat Dec 30, 2017 3:37 pm

... this was one of my christmas presents to myself (the other was a cort X-11).  it needs quite a bit doing to it, however, for the moment i'll confine myself here to the issue that's causing me most concern.

when i got it, the bridge comprised of a wooden arch and somewhat dated roller bridge (width-wise, it's quite narrow and has a wire to retain the screws).  this is much too tall, so to compensate the neck had been shimmer with a 20 rappen coin.

my first though was to remove the shim and the wooden arch, and then raise the bridge on washers (4 of them either side) to the desired height.  i then had the idea of bolting the bridge posts in place using a pair of M8 nuts.  now, i actually think this is a fairly good solution.  for sure, the bridge is going nowhere.  but, but but ... obviously, i can't adjust the height ... and the string spacing on the tailpiece is 50mm, whilst it's 52mm on the bridge.  this puts the high and low E strings a bit too close to the edge of the fretboard.

i've bought some M8 inserts, which will fix the height adjustment, however, i do wonder how stable they'll be given that they're only mounting into a relatively thin piece of wood.

having done a bit of digging, it's quite possible that the wooden arch is original and the bridge itself was a triangular section piece of metal that screwed into a pair of bridge posts.  this guitar has a tremolo built into the tailpiece.  i don't really fancy scraping the strings across a knife edge.  and i've never seen a bridge with rollers that's such a low profile.

thoughts ...
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Re: 1960s teisco audition ...

Post by monkey on Sun Dec 31, 2017 5:48 am

so, i decided to try to set-up the intonation and fairly quickly discovered that i couldn't.  i'd assumed that the bridge was roughly in the correct place.  it turns out that it's 15mm too far back - that's a lot.  that means that i'm going to have to move it.  at which point i might as well angle it to optimise the intonation setting and slightly narrow the string spacing too.
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Re: 1960s teisco audition ...

Post by gittarasaurus on Mon Jan 01, 2018 12:47 pm

pics would be helpful
there were many different style tremolo/bridge pieces used on those old teisco guitars
here are 4 different versions, there are others


Last edited by gittarasaurus on Mon Jan 01, 2018 12:49 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : add pic)
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Re: 1960s teisco audition ...

Post by monkey on Tue Jan 02, 2018 10:46 am

the second is pretty close but this is a hollow body, so the three back screws are replaced by a metal 'V' that ties the tremolo to the back edge of the guitar.  and that's not what's on it now.  the termolo it now has is a trapeze type, which was 6mm left of where it should've been.

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Re: 1960s teisco audition ...

Post by monkey on Tue Jan 02, 2018 11:21 pm

i'll add that even in that picture the bridge looks like it might be set too far back. the distance between the front edge of the neck pickup and the neck heel ought to be about the same as that between the back edge of the bridge pickup and the bridge itself.

i've also seen one with what looked like a gretsch space control bridge.

mine was a cherry red before someone decided to paint it silver burst.

it seems that either the bridge has never been in the correct place or that it was glued in place, rather than located in any way. and, if the latter, i can't see how the strings were grounded, as it doesn't look like this was done via the tailpiece.
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Re: 1960s teisco audition ...

Post by monkey on Wed Jan 03, 2018 12:53 am

this is it as it was before i got hold of it ...



... what you can't see from this is how high the strings were above the pickups.  the control panel has been made out of the top of a cadbury's celebrations tub.
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Re: 1960s teisco audition ...

Post by Westbone on Wed Jan 03, 2018 3:09 am

Can see it now!
That's a modern roller bridge.
 Some hefty trem spring you have there!
Certainly is in a bit of a state.

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Re: 1960s teisco audition ...

Post by monkey on Wed Jan 03, 2018 6:23 am

of the tremolo spring, the seller said ...

The spring in the tremolo tail piece is not your normal tremolo spring but an inlet valve spring from a 1982/83 honda superdream, it may want replacing with a regular tremolo spring if you wish to fit an arm on it as its a much tougher spring than what would have been fitted originally.

... and that's why i'm not using it.

state-wise, my biggest concern is that the body seems to be slightly bowed inwards between the pickups.  the tuning stability is poor.  it keeps slipping back.  i've got no.9 strings on it at the moment.  i may have to use no.8 strings instead.
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Re: 1960s teisco audition ...

Post by monkey on Wed Jan 03, 2018 10:57 am

let me see if i can focus this on the issue at hand, namely, the bridge:

1) was it ever in the correct place (are the 10mm diameter holes in the body that are 15mm too far back simply the result of some amateurish adaptation)?

2) if it was, how were the strings grounded without a hole in the body for the ground wire to pass through (because there's no sign of any mounting features where it ought to be and i can't see how the tailpiece could've been grounded either, for much the same reason)?

i'll add a little bit of rationale here. this is my idea of a cheap and cheerful gibson ES330. i bought it to get some exposure to a hollow body, and more specifically the resonance that it ought to have. as i usually use a mini-amp, the feedback isn't an issue for me. this guitar, in its day, was pretty low end. i believe they were sold in woolworths. i'm not necessarily looking to spend a lot on it to get it to be completely original, though i won't as yet rule that out completely. just for the moment i'm more interested in getting it functional whilst not adding to the indignations that it's already suffered (for example: it looks like someone had previously put studs around the top edge, akin to those that you'd expect to see on an old leather arm chair).
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Re: 1960s teisco audition ...

Post by Barry on Wed Jan 03, 2018 11:21 am

monkey wrote:of the tremolo spring, the seller said ...
(it's) an inlet valve spring from a 1982/83 honda superdream, it may want replacing with a regular tremolo spring
Ya think? Good grief! affraid

...my biggest concern is that the body seems to be slightly bowed inwards between the pickups...
That, for me, would be a signal to pretty much walk away from a restoration effort, or just hang it on the wall as a conversation piece. If the top is collapsing, it indicates a structural failure. Hard enough to stabilize on a flat top, but on an arch top? Near impossible to correct methinks.

I'm wondering if slopping all that paint on it screwed up the wood's ability to "breathe" and caused uneven expansion/contraction.

...how were the strings grounded without a hole in the body for the ground wire to pass through
I'm guessing that there should be a ground wire running to the bottom strap pin.

...i bought it to get some exposure to a hollow body, and more specifically the resonance that it ought to have.
With all that paint on it, I doubt you'll experience much in the way of an archtop/F-hole "resonance". I reckon the output tone would be closer to a solid body at best.

...i'm more interested in getting it functional whilst not adding to the indignations that it's already suffered
Well, it should keep you, um, occupied for the Winter at least! Laughing

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Re: 1960s teisco audition ...

Post by Westbone on Wed Jan 03, 2018 11:55 am

monkey wrote:  i've got no.9 strings on it at the moment.  i may have to use no.8 strings instead.

You want to be going the other way!

10's or 11's will give you more stability.

Those guitars will never sound anything like or even near a 330.
They were 'not that good' an instrument when new and they're still not unfortunately.
Think your throwing good money after bad... What a Face
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Re: 1960s teisco audition ...

Post by monkey on Wed Jan 03, 2018 4:15 pm

there's already a pillar below the bridge, which i'm sure is original. i can put another between the pickups and, by making it adjustable, push the top upwards where it's folding in on itself. if i can push it far enough, it might go past the point of wanting to fold inwards, and i can remove it again. alternatively, i can just leave it there if necessary.

i do agree that logically it's the tailpiece that would've been grounded, however, there just isn't any indication of that. nevertheless, that's what i'll do.

as for the strings, i'd prefer not to use no.8, however, they'll certainly stress the body less. it may be that this won't be an issue if i can fix where it's bowed inwards.

and, as for money, this is a lot of fun for what i paid for it (the cort X-11 is still in its box). it may never sound like a gibson ES330, however, it's teaching me far more than a perfect guitar would.
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Re: 1960s teisco audition ...

Post by Barry on Wed Jan 03, 2018 6:01 pm

Adding a support "pillar" might help stabilize it structurally but it will do zip towards creating a 330 tone. You will be, in effect, further dampening whatever vibration the top has left.

You should be able to play it confidently though. Have fun!

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Re: 1960s teisco audition ...

Post by monkey on Wed Jan 03, 2018 6:10 pm

i do agree that a pillar isn't ideal, which is why i'll remove it again, if i can. however, as things stand, i can see the action getting higher and higher as the body continues to bow. it's that or nothing, as far as i can tell.
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Re: 1960s teisco audition ...

Post by monkey on Thu Jan 04, 2018 3:00 am

so, this is the second time that i've completely stripped down this guitar.

and, after a bit of poking around with an unfolded paper clip, i've now found the ground wire hole, where the tailpiece attaches. the reason that it escaped me previously is that it's not more than a milli-metre in diameter and looks just like any screw hole would.

and, on the subject of the tailpiece, i now know why it was out of position. for some bizarre reason, the trapeze is offset to the left of the tailpiece attachment plate and integral strap button. so, whoever replaced the original tailpiece failed to observe this and simply lined up the new tailpiece strap button with the old one.

now, to the bow in the body. and it has to be said that as soon as i'd loosened the strings off it was very apparent that said bow had as-good-as disappeared. and once i'd got the pickups out of the body, the reason for this was becoming very apparent indeed. the top itself is 4mm thick. and the top scrolls of the 'f' holes are a mere 25mm from the pickup holes. they're effectively creating points about which the whole section of wood between the pickups can fold inwards, simple as that.

anyway, i've put a very crude pillar in between the pickups, in the form of a bolt with an insert nut that's allowed me to clamp it in position. i'll put the neck, bridge and tailpiece back on and see if this very simple mod does the trick.
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Re: 1960s teisco audition ...

Post by monkey on Thu Jan 04, 2018 5:50 am

as i cast my eyes over the body with the crude pillar in place, i noticed the pickup surround mounting screw holes, which form parallel lines between the pickups across exactly the points that the body is bowing at. and i realised that a far better way of correcting this bow is, in fact, to use the pickup surround mounting screws to attach a pair of wood rails to keep the body from bowing. this will eliminate the need for a pillar and, of course, the force that pillar would put on the back of the body. i actually think it's such a good solution that i'm not going to even try to progress the pillar solution. and it has the added attraction of not needing any form of body modification to implement.
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Re: 1960s teisco audition ...

Post by monkey on Thu Jan 04, 2018 10:31 pm

i've now fitted the rails, and the bow has completely gone.

i've also marked the correct position for the bridge.
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Re: 1960s teisco audition ...

Post by Adey on Fri Jan 05, 2018 2:51 am

Pics?
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Re: 1960s teisco audition ...

Post by monkey on Fri Jan 05, 2018 7:58 am

the rails are 165x30x7mm - i don't intend them to fail.  they need a little trimming to get the pickups back in ...


a shot of the rails and the bridge.  the top scrolls of the 'f' holes are a mere 25mm from the pickup holes ...


the bridge is 15mm forward of the 'original' mounting hole on the high E side and 10mm forward of the 'original' mounting hole on the low E side.  by 'original' i mean they that someone put there, because they aren't original at all ...
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Re: 1960s teisco audition ...

Post by Barry on Fri Jan 05, 2018 9:16 am

Congratulations, you've built an ES335!  Roll on Floor Laff

The "rails", idea isn't bad, but I would have preferred to see them glued in, top and bottom (you did glue them to the guitar back didn't you?) Big honkin' screws work in carpentry but they're not really the best solution here.

And man, I think I'd be stripping that ugly paint off before doing anything structurally. It really is an awful job and could be hiding other nasty stuff like cracks.

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Re: 1960s teisco audition ...

Post by monkey on Sun Jan 07, 2018 12:42 pm

the purpose of the rails is just to prevent the top itself bowing inwards between the pickups. it does this across the four lines between the top scrolls of the 'f' holes and the pickup holes - the top between the pickups isn't actually bowing at all. they do this by bracing the back of the top between the pickups against the front-most and back-most pickup surround screws, which are 18mm. all the stress across the rails is going through those screws.

the fretboard on this guitar is 20mm above the top itself, and that's without the 20 rappen shim. the tension on the strings, via the neck pocket, is trying to push the top in and the back out. the back has nowhere to go and, as such, is no doubt quite stable.

joining the top to the back will just put more force on the back trying to push it out, which isn't necessary with the rails in place. indeed, the rails work so well that the pillar that i'd put below the top between the pickup holes simply fell out.

as for glue, i've by no means finished tweaking the rails. i'm a little conscious that, at 30mm in depth, they're acting as baffles. now, i'm not too sure exactly what this is doing, however, it certainly isn't as was originally intended. it might be that the gaps below the rails and the back are enough to allow adequate airflow around the inside of the body. and i'm sure that i could reduce the depth of the rails if necessary too. i've had to trim them to allow for the edges of the pickups, where the mounting screws go. that's reduced their width a little at those four points. so, i'm not looking to weaken them further without very good justification.
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Re: 1960s teisco audition ...

Post by Barry on Sun Jan 07, 2018 1:23 pm

I understand what you're trying to do monkey. But your knowledge of guitar construction is a bit lacking and the comments are meant to help.

As usual, feel free to ignore them, "rail" against them if you like, and carry on with your plan.

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Re: 1960s teisco audition ...

Post by monkey on Sun Jan 07, 2018 4:42 pm

this guitar has a hollow body, albeit, there is a pillar below the bridge. i'll guess that the top ought to bow outwards, as that's the only way it's ever going to resist the tension from the strings. but that wasn't happening. possibly, shimming the neck caused the top to bow the other way. possibly, removing the shim and allowing the top to resume its normal shape would've once again restored that. however, there's possibly and there's definitely, and definitely adding a couple of braces in the way of the rails works.

now, what's not to like about this? they retain the basic construction of the original guitar, inasmuch as they're not really making it into a more semi-hollow body than it was. and they're just correcting the weakness that was causing the problem (assuming that we ignore the baffle issue, which is quite probably an acceptable position to adopt).

if anything, all i've noticed is that the rails appear to improve sustain. now, i'm not going to go out on a limb on this, however, it does seem to be better. and it wasn't really on my radar, so i'm thinking that what i've noticed might just be more real than imaginary.

i'll just add a few other bits of context here. whoever did that pretty tacky silver bust finish failed completely to mask off any of the holes in the body. as such, it's pretty much painted both inside and out. nothing is going to stick to that very satisfactorily. and to clean it out wouldn't be trivial, either.

but, i guess the bottom line here for me is simply, why make this more semi-hollow than it needs to be? i deliberately bought this as a hollow body guitar. and that's what i want to explore. i just don't see any compelling reason whatsoever to sacrifice that.
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Re: 1960s teisco audition ...

Post by Westbone on Mon Jan 08, 2018 3:25 am

Chuck it in a skip!....only joking...don't take it to heart.... Twisted Evil

Suppose it's ok to hone your new found interest with but it will always sound crap and nothing like a half decent hollow body guitar. The pickups are rubbish to start with.

What is the scale?? short from memory me thinks.

As for the 'rails' baffling the sound it won't make a jot of difference. 

Enjoy yourself... Smile
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