I made my way into my local guitar shop yesterday to check out the Teisco Del Rey Spectrum 2 that I saw Friday night through the shop window during a band’s Arts Walk performance.
Luckily I brought my Teisco Del Rey “Shark” K3-L to refresh my ears as to what I like so much about these old Japanese guitars. I plugged in the Shark first. All three pick ups have such unique tones. And the switches allow for multiple variations. It was a great reminder why I just can’t get rid of this guitar!
Then I plugged in the Spectrum. As I had already discovered, I like the feel of the neck contour a lot better, but the tone of the “famous” Spectrum pick ups just wasn’t there! I tried every configuration available. There is a rhythm and a solo switch at the top. I really only got sounds I liked from the rhythm selection. The neck pick up seemed the muddiest. It didn’t matter what I did with the tone knob or the volume knob. The bridge pick up was better to my ears, but still very weak. And there was a big volume difference between the two pick ups. And when I played with them together, it was louder, but not my favorite sound. Not horrible, but not as inspiring and fun as the tones coming from the Shark. The Spectrum also had a buzz like it wasn’t grounded right.
When I unplugged it, it still sounded “tinny” or almost hollow-body-esque. I think that may be from the vibrato tailpiece.
And just to make sure I wasn’t missing something with the tone, I plugged the Shark back in to confirm. It was confirmed.
I went back to the Spectrum. It does play better. The neck isn’t as good as some, but it blows the neck on the Shark out of the water. And the body is much more comfortable. It is so small and thin. At it’s widest part, it is still less than 13 inches wide. And the width of the body doesn’t exceed 1 1/3 inches. But it doesn’t have the sharp edges like the Shark that dig in after playing for a little while. It reminded me of my Epiphone Crestwood ET-275. But the contours felt better. It’s like a Jaguar/Jazzmaster mix, but half the size and weight. And the blue color is awesome! As in one of my favorite colors of all time. Weird. I know.
So I asked the owner of the shop what he was asking. It was in the range I expected, but higher than I’m willing to pay. He didn’t want to come down and said he may sell it on eBay for more. I just couldn’t justify the purchase. If I bought it, I’d want to keep it all original (weird, I know). I wouldn’t want to change anything even though it isn’t in mint condition shape. Call me sentimental, but it would fall into the same category as my Epiphone Crestwood. I just won’t modify that guitar. Perhaps if the pick ups sounded better, I’d be really tempted, but I’m not.
I gazed lovingly at the Spectrum 2 and even rubbed the upper horn. I then looked over at the shop owner and asked if I could stop by sometime to measure all the dimensions for a future guitar body project. He laughed, “Of course you can, but why don’t you just take it home to do that and bring it back when you’re done.” I was shocked and amazed. I’m thanked him numerous times and now have it in my house. I’ve traced it once and measured out all the curves, routing, etc. that I can without taking it apart. I’ll do it one more time so I have two pictures to compare.
Then I’ll take it all to KC’s work where his coworker is going to program everything into their CNC! I don’t know how long it will take, but when this all over, I may just be making quite a few imitation Spectrum 2’s! The nicest thing about this guitar body in comparison to the Epiphone Crestwood and the Rickenbacker 480 I’ve been dreaming of recreating is that this body uses the very standard strat style bolt on neck pocket. It isn’t exactly the same dimensions as a strat, but there is enough space for the neck pocket to be made the right size. Then I can use aftermarket strat necks for these bodies! Yes, I’m saying bodies. I will make more than one…just over time.