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Teye El Torero Mahogany “Brown Shipwreck” (2016)

Once in awhile a guitar comes a long that stops you in your tracks, but that is the norm for everything coming out of Teye Wijterp’s custom shop in Austin, Texas. 

This mint, as new hand-made Teye El Torero Solid Body Electric Guitar, made in 2012, comes with the rare “Shipwreck” etched aluminum overlay and accents. I purchased the guitar new in 2016 and it has been stored in climate controlled storage ever since.

Both the neck and body are made of light Mahogany that was neither pore-filled nor lacquered. Instead, the wood has been sealed by an oil-based shellac technique that doesn’t fill the pores, but bridges them.

Decked out from head to toe in original appointments like custom etched aluminum plates, proprietary Teye volume/tone knobs, bridge, and tailpiece, this guitar goes far beyond what most companies consider a “custom” guitar.

The headstock with the aluminum overlay is not just there for cosmetics, but is partially responsible for the open and rich sound of the guitar. Teye chose a one-piece neck and maintains that the grain of an angled-back headstock should not run parallel to the string pull, which negatively affects the stability and strength. 

On top of its unique appearance, it comes loaded with two special wound Jason Lollar Imperial humbuckers that are mounted in fat aluminum pickup rings. They have been adjusted close to the strings which is important, according to Teye, in order to achieve the greatest punch and clarity of tone. If this spacing is not to your liking  you of course can adjust the pickups further away.

In combination with a 5­-way switch and 4 control knobs (2 Volume, 1 Tone, 1 “Mood”), these powerful pickups will give you a great amount of tonal dynamics that stem from its naturally warm and full sound. Built with a full­-in-­hand Mahogany neck that boasts and extra 1/8” of fingerboard width, this guitar gives you all the room you might ever need.

Practically without heel, the neck is set into the body at the 17th of 24 frets, at a relatively shallow angle, so that the strings are closer than normal for such a guitar type to the pickups and guitar surface. The scarf joint between neck and headstock also has a shallow angle of 13 degrees and pushes the strings with sufficient force into their slots in the bone nut. 

The medium-jumbo StewMac 149 frets are slightly flatter and wider than the popular Dunlop 6105. A deep-black Ebony fingerboard is fitted with a white binding, and all the other cosmetic work like bone slotting, fret dressing etc. are flawless – which is expected in this price segment.

A closer look at the controls reveals further interesting details. 

Next to the two volume knobs for the pickups there is a master-tone and a so-called ‘mood-control’ which, in principle, thins out the sound.

All controls function interactively. If you alter the loudness of a pickup, this also influences the function of the tone control, which has been calibrated in such a way that in every position of the pot it produces useful sounds and not just filters away the highs, but constantly also adds mids. Only at the very end of the sweep is a narrow-band, muted sound achieved. 

Together with the mood-control the further you back off this control, the more you thin out classic humbucker tones to a typical single-coil vibe, and this helps you achieve a much larger sonic palette. 

The best sounds you will get from Teye’s guitars will probably be with classic one-channel tube amps that are capable of reproducing all the finer nuances in greater detail.

Don’t miss out on this rare chance to own a like new Teye custom guitar!

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