Late 60's Teisco Spectrum 2 ET-220 back from the dead

As I've mentioned in previous blogs I'm getting some of the incomplete guitars I have lying around my workshop back up and running to be played. 

There was a time when I would have a heap of these type of "cheap Japanese" guitars lying around in various states of disrepair and completion and I would make one good one out of three "shells" or sell parts to people who needed them to make their guitars complete. 

I've written the history of the ET-220 in another blog so I won't bore you with that again. Instead here's a body and neck I had in GREAT condition that was essentially missing all (or most) of it's hardware. 

 

This is an earlier Teisco version of the red one in the other blog and has the block inlaid neck although without binding. As discussed in that blog, these had several different types of necks and for no apparent reason except they needed to keep making them. 

As this body and neck were in such great condition I was waiting for some original parts to turn up but they are getting harder (and harder) to get and when they do come up, they're starting to fetch good money, especially for something that was just thrown away at some stage.

 

I'm a huge fan of this body shape and I didn't want to start modifying things too much so I cut a new scratchplate from an old piece of celluloid plate materiel I had here in the original shape and screw holes.

While I have some .SPECTRUM pickups here, they're for another project and since this was getting the workover, I thought I'd just replace everything. These Ric style mini humbuckers are great. They're relatively cheap and have a great frequency response with good output, and I do love minis.

I decided to just work the electronics as a standard master volume, tone and three way toggle. The body has routs for more electronics as the same body was used for all the different models of these but I thought this suited the two pickup version better.

I kept the original bridge although I moved it slightly to give better intonation. 

 

The Bigsby copy is one of the steel versions available online. I like these as the fit and machining is actually really good, and once you clean them out and realign the bearings they work smoothly and feel as nice as a "real" one to me. 

This one still had the original tuners which were very functional so rather than drilling holes I just cleaned and lubed them up. The beautiful original badge is proudly still attached to the wood grain headstock. 

 

These are great little players and I love the looks. The necks are thin and very playable and the bodies feel substantial despite being so thin. This one obviously doesn't sound like an original but I'm REALLY happy with the way it's turned out. I've tried to keep it in character and sound "right" and I think it passes with flying colours. 

If you're after a cool vintage player with all new running gear, this could be for you. It looks great, plays great and sounds great.

 

Jan 24 2018 Written By: Tim Brennan