This is a 1960’s vintage lap steel by Japanese manufacturer Teisco. Folklore has it that TEISCO stands for Tokyo Electric Instrument and Sound Company. Teisco was originally created to produce domestic copies of popular but expensive American instruments.
The company operated from 1948 until 1969, when the brand was acquired by Kawai Musical Instruments Manufacturing Co. Ltd. The company produced guitars as well as keyboard instruments, microphones, amplifiers and even drums. Teisco products were widely exported to the United States and the United Kingdom. Many a teenage musical dream started with the acquisition of an affordable and good sounding instrument from the Teisco brand.
This classic vintage styled lap steel lent heavily on the Hawaiian music craze that came out of the 40’s and 50’s, eventually inspiring brands such as Fender & Rickenbacker to build this kind of instrument.
This Teisco lap steel is in very good condition, and still holds its own today with a clear and bright tone and a very smooth playability. One of the best attributes of older Teisco instruments is the pickups. Teisco “gold foil” pickups are great sounding units, now most sought after and accordingly expensive. Ry Cooder amongst many others, employs Teisco pickups in his guitars.
The pickups on this lap steel are not gold foils, but they are mighty good. Clean, clear, loud & punchy, full of tonal goodness at all volume settings, with some unique tones coming from the dual pickups.
Everything on this one works as it should. There appears to have been no changes or modifications made. Pickups are great, controls are smooth and noise free, tuners are solid. The tone pot is wired backwards (10 being the darkest), which is typical of many Japanese guitars from this era.
The holes on the back are for the 3 prong stand that could be used with this lap steel – but are missing from this package.
Just plug this baby in, turn up a little reverb, and create those floating, sliding textures to add that elusive colour to a mix. Or add some overdrive a la David Lindley, and crank out the searing, singing solos that kicked the Jackson Browne band into overdrive for a decade or more.
Comes in its original fitted case in good condition.
Video of similar Teisco lap steel: