Bassist José Correa shares his 1965 Teisco Del Rey bass with us in this installment of Old School.
Teisco was a Japanese instrument manufacturer who built affordable musical instruments from 1948 until 1969. In addition to basses, the company built guitars, keyboards, amplifiers, drums and microphones. The company’s name stands for “Tokyo Electric Instrument and Sound Company”. In 1967, the company was acquired by Kawai Musical Instruments.
Teisco basses have an unusual pickup design, which is exclusive to the Del Rey series, which includes a large, rectangular chrome pickup, with plastic holding the poles in place.
The company also produced a 6-string bass, similar to Fender’s Bass VI, with a body more similar to a Jazzmaster.
1965 Teisco Del Rey EB-200.
How long have you owned it?
Since October, 2009.
How did you come across it?
Before I moved to Florida from Puerto Rico, I had to part ways with one of my bass guitars for economic reasons (a Dean EVO XM). So as soon as I got a job, I started to hunt for a substitute and decided I wanted a vintage instrument.
I found the EB-200 on eBay and after a short negotiation, it became the newest member of the family. I was kind of afraid to buy on eBay, but the transaction went well and I was relieved when I confirmed everything worked well.
Stock or customized?
Stock. I’ve only added a few stickers and the only part missing is the Teisco “nailed” logo, which turn out can be quite rare and expensive.
Any special characteristics?
I love how solid the body and neck are. It has that vintage, deep, fat rumble. Also, the striped aluminum pick guard and head stock plate looks awesome.
Any notable bassists play the same instrument?
I was doing some research and found that country musician Johnny Paycheck used to play a similar model when he started as the bass player for George Jones in the early 60’s.
Mark Farner, from Grand Funk Railroad, played one back when he played bass with Terry Knight and The Pack.
Do you use it on gigs?
Right now it is my main bass. For now, I’m just a weekend warrior.
What else do you want to share about your gear?
I think it’s great to be able to enjoy a piece of art, and an instrument built 40+ years ago. The mystery of not knowing where has this instrument been, who has played it makes it the coolest thing about having a vintage bass.
Right now I’m saving some money to take it to a proper luthier and give it a good setup.
Any other vintage gear?
Well, it may be to early to call it vintage, but I own a 1988 Celebrity by Ovation solid body that I rescued from an ex-boss’s closet for $60. It is a very cool bass.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m a 28 year old Puerto Rican HVAC tech living in Florida. I started playing bass ten years ago when my friend’s band needed a bassist and influenced by the likes of Wooten, Flea, Ament, Newsted and others. I’ve learned and been in love with the bass ever since.
Currently, I play in a garage band called Thread and we are working on some original material to try and hit the streets.