This flashy, hard-to-find guitar looks great, but how does it sound?
Recently, my son and I have discovered a passion for sports-card collecting. I remember being a young lad and riding my bike down to the corner store, where I chased my dream of completing the entire set of 1985 Topps football cards. This summer, we’ve been going through my old card collection, and he and I have been visiting local card shows and conventions. If you haven’t collected cards since the ’80s, you’re in for a surprise. There are a multitude of different card makers and different series within each yearly run, plus some hard-to-find variations. It’s mind-boggling. We’ve been really digging a particular Topps baseball set because it’s modeled after the 1952 card design—you know I love vintage—and every pack has a chance, albeit slim, of including a low-numbered Mickey Mantle card. This card is super rare, but every time we open a pack there is this thrill that just makes me smile.
This got me thinking about when I was really heavily into finding weird, rare guitars. I would often turn up stuff I’d never seen before, but I was consistently looking for a particularly elusive Teisco. Just as rare as that Mickey Mantle card, the Teisco Spectrum 5 was nearly impossible to find. And man, did I try. Then I got a phone call one day from a friendly Texan who would contact me occasionally when he happened upon cool gear. Well, he had found the impossible for me. My example was used and abused but all still there in that Lake-Placid-blue glory. Teisco did produce these in red and white, but blue is more common. In fact, in all my years of searching, I’ve never seen a vintage Spectrum in white.
There are all sorts of features I like about this guitar, such as the “parachute” fretboard inlays, German carve, triple binding, and 4x2 headstock design.
Introduced around late 1966, the Spectrum 5 was a seriously ambitious guitar that carried a whopping retail price of $375 in the 1967 Bennett Brothers (aka Blue Book) catalog. That price kept this guitar out of reach of most players, and that’s probably why it’s so hard to find today, but these were sold through both catalogs and department stores.
The Spectrum 5 was one of the first designs built by Kawai after they bought Teisco and moved production to Hamamatsu, Japan. The catalogs spoke of a durable finish using seven coats of lacquer and a strong, thin neck made of laminated ebony, the wood also featured on the fretboard. My example has a maple neck with a rosewood board, so … variations!
The intricate electronics were a first for Teisco. Aside from the single volume and tone knobs, the Spectrum 5 has push switches that allow for different sound combinations. Each pickup is a single-coil that is “split”—there are two jacks to play in stereo, using two amps. Basically, the bass strings go to one amp, and the treble strings through another. The tremolo bridge was also a brand-new endeavor, and the model’s tremolo cover is as rare and sought-after as the guitar itself.
Teisco built the Spectrum 5 into the early 1970s with a few different variations, and the retail prices dipped way down into the mid $100s. There are all sorts of features I like, such as the “parachute” fretboard inlays, the German carve, triple binding, and the 4x2 headstock design. These guitars are a joy to play and sling around because they are light and balanced. I never liked their sound, though. To my ears, they sound thin—it’s a total garage tone. The pickups need a serious kick via a pedal booster, overdrive, or a cranked amp.
The Spectrum 5 is a fitting name because of the five brightly colored switches, which are really weird. The combinations are hard to explain because they are preset tone options. For example, on the red switch, it takes a treble coil from bridge and a bass coil from the middle. I think it’s a big reason why these guitars don’t sound very good—everything is preset and almost all the combinations are weird. And you can only use one switch at a time. They’re spring-loaded, so when you push down one switch another pops up.
If you do dig the tone, then you’ll probably find plenty to like in those controls. I enjoy having it around as a piece of art … like a rare card.
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Outlaw Effects introduces their next generation of NOMAD rechargeable battery-powered pedal boards.
Available in two sizes, NOMAD ISO is a compact, versatile tool that offers the convenience of a fully powered board plus the additional freedom of not having to plug into an outlet. NOMAD ISO is ideal for stages with limited outlet availability, quick changeovers, busking outdoors, temporary rehearsal locations, and more!
NOMAD ISO builds upon the legacy of the ultra-convenient and reliable NOMAD rechargeable pedalboard line originally launched in 2018. The brand new NOMAD ISO editions feature eight isolated outputs (1 x 9V DC, and 1 switchable 9V/12V DC) for even more versatility and clean, quiet power. With an integrated lithium-ion battery pack boasting 12800mAh capacity, NOMAD ISO can fuel a wide array of pedals, and will last over 10 hours* on a single charge.
Each NOMAD ISO pedal board includes adhesive hook & loop pedal-mounting tape, eight (8) standard DC connector cables, and one (1) reverse polarity DC cable, giving you everything you need to build your ultimate "off-the-grid" rig. A rugged, road-ready padded gig bag with shoulder strap is also included, to safely protect your gear while you're on the move.
NOMAD ISO S: MSRP $309 / MAP: $249
Dimensions: 19 ¼" x 5 ¼"
NOMAD ISO M: MSRP $349 / MAP $279
Dimensions: 19 ¼" x 11"
More info: https://www.outlawguitareffects.com.
Dunable announce new Minotaur model featuring Grover Rotomatic Keystone tuners.
The Minotaur's DNA is rooted in their classic Moonflower model, which Dunable discontinued in 2017. However, they have long since wanted to create a fresh take on a carved top guitar design, and various attempts to rework the Moonflower led them to a brand new concept with the Minotuar.
Dunable's goal is to give the player a guitar that plays fast and smooth, sounds amazing, and gives maximum physical ergonomic comfort. The Minotaur's soft and meticulous contours, simple and effective control layout, and 25.5" scale length are designed to easily meet this criteria.
- 25.5" scale length
- Dual Humbucker
- one volume, one tone, push pull for coil splitting
- Grover Rotomatic Keystone tuners
- Grover Tune O Matic bridge with brass Kluson top-mount tailpiece
- jumbo nickel frets
- 12" fretboard radius
This full-amp-stack-in-a-box pedal brings a new flavor to the Guitar Legend Tone Series of pedals, Missing Link Audio’s flagship product line.
Adding to the company’s line of premium-quality effects pedals, Missing Link Audio has unleashed the new AC/Overdrive pedal. This full-amp-stack-in-a-box pedal – the only Angus & Malcom all-in-one stompbox on the market – brings a new flavor to the Guitar Legend Tone Series of pedals, Missing Link Audio’s flagship product line.
The AC/OD layout has three knobs to control Volume, Gain and Tone. That user-friendly format is perfect for quickly getting your ideal tone, and it also offers a ton of versatility. MLA’s new AC/OD absolutely nails the Angus tone from the days of “High Voltage” to "Back in Black”. You can also easily dial inMalcom with the turn of a knob. The pedal covers a broad range of sonic terrain, from boost to hot overdrive to complete tube-like saturation. The pedal is designed to leave on all the time and is very touch responsive. You can get everything from fat rhythm tones to a perfect lead tone just by using your guitar’s volume knob and your right-hand attack.
- Three knobs to control Volume, Gain and Tone
- Die-cast aluminum cases for gig-worthy durability
- Limited lifetime warranty
- True bypass on/off switch
- 9-volt DC input
- Made in the USA