Vintage Guitar - March 2017 - Open - 86
COLUMN Shop of Hard Knocks
create a louder, stronger sound. The tone of
the bridge and middle pickups together is one
of the most identifiable in guitardom, and
in the mid '70s Fender created the five-way
switch in response to player demand.
Gibson's Les Paul has a three-way toggle
controlling two pickups in a
configuration that hasn't changed
in 64 years. Builders today still use
such switches as the predominant method of
pickup selection. But, what if you want more
than three tone options? A late-'60s Teisco
bass recently came to my shop in need of a
general overhaul and cleaning. Because it
had electrical issues, I took advantage of the
situation to expand its tonal palette.
A Vintage Bass Ups Its Game
By Will Kelly
usic, like life itself, is about choices.
Electric guitars and basses with
more than one pickup typically have
a multi-position switch to control the output
of the pickups individually or combine them.
The first version of the Stratocaster had
three pickups and a three-way switch that
activated one pickup on at a time... until guitar
players figured out there was an "in between"
position that activated any two pickups to
1A and 1B) After disassembly, I buffed
the lacquer finish with plexiglas polish and a
foam pad. Years of grime, sweat, and smoke
had coated it in a layer of residue. The bass
has is a nice three-color sunburst finish that
really popped once it was clean!
2) The fretboard was also coated with
grime. For it, I used a fresh razor blade to
burnish the surface and remove most of the
dirt, taking care to follow the radius while
scraping backward and at angle. I also did
this along the top edge of the neck binding.
3) After the frets were polished with a
3,000-grit pad, I wiped down the fretboard