How I Revived the Life of This Teisco Guitar with a $15 Set of Tuners

Note:  This is Part One of a two part article.  Shane Speal has posted Part Two in his column for Guitar World Magazine.  Read it here.



Parts and tools needed for this project:
  • One set of 6-in-line sealed Tombstone tuners ($15 at C. B. Gitty)
  • Electric drill or drill press
  • Masking tape
  • 10mm drill bit (you can also use either 3/8" bit or 7/16" bit... this is discussed below)
  • Phillips screwdriver
  • 10mm deep-well socket or wrench
  • One glorious flea market electric guitar from the 1960's

INTRO:

Last Monday, I purchased this single pickup 'no name' electric guitar for $85.  It's a beautiful offset design with a single pickup (very microphonic pickup...very explosive).  I love these axes because they have some of the greatest blues slide tones ever.  

Here's a video demo I made at the end of this project:

The guitar came straight out of the 1960's and was probably manufactured by the Teisco Guitar Company.  Although it was all original, it was showing its age.  The tuners either wouldn't budge or they were so loosy-goosey that they wouldn't keep the strings in tune.  I decided to upgrade the tuners to a $15 set of Tombstone tuners from Gitty because they're so smooth and the sealed gear design keeps them in tune for years.

I've documented the entire process for swapping out tuners, drilling new holes and installing the new ones. 

STEP 1: GENTLY REMOVE THE OLD TUNERS

NOTE:  As you can see above, the holes look rough.  When I pulled the plastic bushings out, they took some of the wood with them.  Ah...such is the reality of cheapo guitars.

STEP 2: PLACE MASKING TAPE OVER THE TUNER HOLES (BOTH FRONT AND BACK) TO PROTECT THE WOOD.   DRILL NEW HOLES USING A 10mm DRILL BIT. 

NOTE:  If you don't have a 10mm drill bit, you can get by with 3/8" or 7/16".  The 3/8" bit will give you a very tight hole and you may need a rubber mallet to insert the tuners.  A 7/16" bit will make the hole a little loose, allowing some wobble in the placement of the tuners.  

STEP 3:  INSTALL TUNERS IN THE BACK, TURN THE NECK OVER AND HAND-TIGHTEN SCREW BUSHINGS INTO PLACE.

NOTE:  Do not tighten the bushings with a socket yet.  We still need them to move a bit so we can align them properly.

STEP 4:  THIS IS THE TIP YOU'LL REMEMBER:  USE A STRAIGHT-EDGE TO ALIGN THE TUNERS. 

STEP 5:  KEEPING THE STRAIGHT EDGE IN PLACE (USE CLAMPS IF NEEDED), USE A SMALL DRILL BIT TO DRILL PILOT HOLES FOR THE TUNER SCREWS.  THEN INSTALL THE TUNER SCREWS

STEP 6:  TURN GUITAR OVER AND TIGHTEN BUSHINGS WITH A 10mm DEEP-WELL SOCKET (OR 10mm WRENCH)

NOTE:   As you can see here, I didn't have a deep-well socket.  This caused the socket to slip out when the bushing got tighter.  Deep-well sockets work better.

THE FINISHED LOOK:  ALL THE TUNERS ARE STRAIGHT!  String 'er up and crank the amp!

 

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i saw  the  vid  on  your    page  , and   that  you  were  having  wayyyyyyy  too  much   fun  with  it  ,  lol  .  and  wanted  it  instantly  !     sweet  guit  ,  but    then , i'm a teisco  whore  ,    lol

im  gonna  link   this pig  slapper   in   the  teisco / jap  lovers  group  .   group  ;-)

ps..  here's  my  similar  pig slapper .

coffee  grinder  whammy  handle  .  Ouija  pointer  is part of a necklace  , a coat hanger  and a watch  face  .  , eye bolt  bridge  ,  motorcycle  bolt  nut  .   ;-)

 solid paddle  neck  was  on it  when i  got  it  ,   i  drilled  the  tuner  holes  as a  2  stringer  . 

Where can I get one of those string bar head holders? Has anyone ever made one of those or will I just have to keep on trying to invent one?

Look for 2 inch wide square bend u-bolts. Most will be about 4 inches in length but should be threaded where you can cut them off at your desired length. Use acorn nuts and washers to secure them in place.

I have an old Global/Harmony that I had to replace the tuners on since they were rusted in place. That was around 1998 so I have to spend about $40 at Mars Music for a set of Ping tuners (glad parts are a lot cheaper and more available today!). I was able to ream out the holes to get the new tuners to fit OK so I didn't have to drill.

Those large single coil Japanese pickups Can get a nice clean Jazz tone to tasty nastiness just like the vintage Tele bridge pickups.

I have the twin to your guitar...

A friend of mine had a guitar like yours except it had a Melody Maker type pickup in the same place as yours. Gold metal pickguard.

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