Teisco E-110: Part 2


Restoration Results

Teisco Tulip guitar

After the initial inspection (covered in Part 1), the disassembly continued, making a list of any and all parts that would need to be replaced while attempting to retain as many original parts as possible. Overall, the guitar didn't really need much. Screws were rusted from sweat and the environment, but they were still strong. The ground wire was extremely rusted, as was the jack, but the rest of the electronics were in surprisingly good shape and could be retained. The $46 guitar was looking like a pretty good investment given that this style has been fetching North of $125 typically on ebay and elsewhere.

The worst part of the disassembly was removing the rusted and buggered screws. It was clear that someone had tried in the guitar's 40+ year past to "fix" something at some point and had used the wrong screwdriver completely buggering about half of the screws that hold down the pickgaurd. These were a bear to remove and finally I gave up and attacked it with an easy-out using an electric drill running in reverse to back the screws out. This worked for all but one severely rusted screw holding the tailpiece down which broke and took a lot of care to get out of the guitar without damage. Don't worry, I was very careful with the drill, using a slow speed just enough for the bit to catch and extract the screw.

With the list made, I didn't need to find much. I have a supply of jacks on hand for repair, so that was a slam-dunk. No hardware store, even the woodworking stores, had any screws small enough, but I was able to locate a vendor on-line and in a few days had replacements for the exact same size (a 2mm wide, 20mm long screw is and interesting piece to find!). When all pieces were gathered, it was a simple matter to repair the broken ground on the volume pot, solder the jack and the ground wire to the tailpiece. A little clean up with guitar polish and the guitar was ready to set up.

Teisco Tulip guitar

Since the frets were in pretty good shape, and the guitar is of a zero-fret design, there wasn't much to do with the neck except ensure that the bolts were tight. The neck itself is a piece of plywood, with the plys running 90 degrees to the fretboard, with all the plys there really wasn't much of a chance the neck would be warped. The only location that needed attention was the bridge. The bridge is a super simple "copy" of a tune-o-matic style bridge, and has no individual string intonation adjustment ability. The only adjustment is the height of the bridge on each side with two big thumbwheels. While the guitar was disassembled, I took some time to flatten the bottom of the bridge, removing the buildup of years of grime along with making it as flat as possible. I believe that bridge coupling has a great influence on the tone of a guitar, like the genius of Leo Fender's original Telecaster bridge design, and therefore getting it as flat as possible would give the best coupling; yeah, I know this guitar is a plywood wonder, but why not do this work? I had a couple of days to wait for the screws anyway.

Teisco Tulip guitar

Thankfully, the neck was straight and with a little time spent adjusting the bridge; the guitar had a fairly low (not Univox low with micro frets, but on the low side and playable) action and no fret buzz.

Teisco Tulip guitar

Besides the little bit of solder work, some screws and a little work on the bridge, the guitar was a snap to reassemble. Also note that the volume and tone knobs have intidators that were repainted while the guitar was apart. Once reassembled and shined up, the little guitar plays! It's almost a relief to have only one pickup (I like one pickup guitars, my custom Warmouth Mockingbird has only a single humbucker) and there is nothing to fiddle around with, just play the damn thing!

With very little effort, a el-cheapo, 40+ year old, guitar was resurrected (OK, I'll say recycled) into a playable instrument.

Teisco Tulip guitar
The Teisco Tulip hanging in the Japanese area of the collection; Univox 12 String on the far left, upside down mounted Univox 6 String neck, and Ibanez copy of a Rickenbacker bass on the right.