Teye Guitars S-Series

Discussion in 'The Small Company Luthiers' started by gtrfinder, Apr 28, 2008.

  1. gtrfinder

    gtrfinder Supporting Member

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    Hello Fellow Gear Pagers
    Thought I’d take a minute and write a bit about one of the coolest experiences I’ve had a chance to be a part of. This will be a thread that I will add to as I receive more information, so be on the lookout for updates.

    [​IMG]

    The above picture is not my guitar, just a beautiful representation of what I'd consider artwork.

    There has been some discussion about Teye and his instruments on TGP, but they have primarily been focused on his high-end electric guitars (the Artisan or A-Series as he refers to them). Though this thread will mention these guitars, I’d like to share a bit different perspective that I’ve gained regarding his newest venture; the Supreme or S-Series.

    First a little backstory:

    This goes back a few years, so I’ll try to be concise.
    I’ve always loved beautiful guitars, particularly those made by Mr. Tony Zemaitis. I think that these are some of most perfect examples of a music instrument blended with a beautiful work of art. I love the metalwork, I love the engravings, I love everything about it.
    Here is one for example:


    [​IMG]

    Beautiful, right???

    Well, along with that ’59 Les Paul, ’52 Telecaster, and most every other vintage piece of gear I lust after, the true Zemaitis guitars are well out of my financial grasp. That doesn’t make me desire these instruments any less, but I realized that I needed to find a modern alternative to these works of art that. I was determined to find a guitar that embraced all of the things I love about Zemaitis, but at a price I could afford.

    I noticed Teye at a few guitar shows around the DFW Metroplex (hard not to notice, he is an imposing figure), and always found him to be extremely cordial and approachable. It was only later that I found out he was designing his own guitars and that they were (gulp!) inspired by Zemaitis design. Teye owned/owns Zemaitis instruments (I think he still has a Pearl-front) that were made for him, so he knows what he’s talking about. He also seems to have a true affinity for Mr. Zemaitis and seems very respectful of his designs. I actually get a chance to play one of his guitars at a show (don’t remember if it was Dallas or Arlington), and am completely blown away. I mean I’ve NEVER played a guitar that sounded this good, EVER. It plays like a dream and sounds like a million bucks. I had to put it down quick as I could see my credit card balance skyrocketing before my eyes At that time I did not have enough money to even consider a major guitar purchase, so I made a note of Teye as a great guy and someone with some real information about Zemaitis-style designs.

    Flash forward a bit and after doing some research I found out about Greco’s purchase and assumption of the Zemaitis name and brand. I thought, “Wow, this might just be the ticket. A Zemaitis guitar at a price I can afford.” Not having any Zemaitis dealers anywhere remotely near to me, I scoured the internet for reviews and thoughts on these guitars by their owners. I was fairly unsuccessful at gaining any solid information on these instruments and just figured I’d wait until the next big guitar show and hope a dealer brought some of them with. Then I remembered Teye. I thought if anyone has some insight it would be him, and meanwhile the memory of his guitar is still burned into my brain. I felt confident emailing him for his opinion, fully aware that I’m asking him for information about one of his competitors.

    I was surprised when I received a response from Teye within just a few hours of my initial message. As always he was cordial and extremely informative, but this time he had a suggestion that piqued my interest. He said that he was going to be building a secondary line of instruments that would be more affordable than his current series. They would share a similar design, but he would change the method and materials to facilitate savings for both him and the end consumer. These would be a completely separate line that would incorporate machine-cut tops and some hardware changes, as well as different construction methods. The other series (now known as the A-Series) would remain the same, nothing would change for those.

    He said that he needed a “guinea pig” for this design and asked if I’d be interested. Seeing the opportunity before me I decided to make the investment with Teye and see where this rollercoaster ride dropped me off. I thought if I could even get a fraction of the tone and feel that his top of the line models provide I’d be exceedingly thrilled.

    A few months go by and Teye and I stay in touch. He updates me as new developments arise for his new series of guitar. I pester him with questions along the way, to which he always politely and quickly responds. (Thanks Teye). So then I get the email. Teye is coming to the April ’08 Dallas show and he’s bringing the initial prototype of the S-Series guitar. I was very excited, but also a bit nervous. I mean I’ve got pretty high expectations at this point. So I get there and finally get a chance to sit down with the instrument. I was shocked. Not only does it look the part, it is an Electric Gypsy, in all of its form and function.

    The craftsmanship is outstanding. Nothing about this guitar implies that it is a “budget model”. It is not. This is every bit as serious an instrument as the A-Series Electric Gypsy. This is no MIM Fender or Asian made PRS guitar. This is the real deal. No skimping on cheap parts, no cutting corners, and no bad construction ANYWHERE. Teye said it was a rush job to get this thing ready for the show, but I could not find any indication of such. With the sounds and feel still burned into my head from the previous Electric Gypsy, I could close my eyes and not tell the difference between the two. AMAZING! The Mood knob alone is a thing of magic. The Gypsy can be a Les Paul one second, then with a couple of twists a sweet Stratocaster, or it could even mimic an acoustic guitar if set right. Truly a chameleon of a guitar, it just seems to do everything well.

    I was once again blown away with my experience and now can hardly wait until my guitar is finished. Once it is complete I’ll go down to Austin and visit Teye to receive my guitar. I’m planning on taking a nice little road trip from which I’ll post pictures and experiences with Teye. The whole experience so far has been very fun for me, and I look forward to completing my guitar adventure.
     
  2. shallbe

    shallbe Deputy Plankspanker Gold Supporting Member

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    Ballpark on what these will run?
     
  3. fearhk213

    fearhk213 Member

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    I'm really considering getting an S-series when it's time for a new axe. I really like this guy's philosophy in building. Plus in the few emails I've had back and forth with him he's been extremely helpful and polite.
     
  4. gtrfinder

    gtrfinder Supporting Member

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    Call Teye
    I'm sure he will answer any questions you may have.
     
  5. davenit

    davenit Member

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    I actually visited with him about a month ago and played his guitars and a zemaitis pearl front he has.

    His guitars are by far the greatest things I've ever played and the craftsmanship is just amazing.

    I have a "La Mora" (the black one) S series on order and should have it in a month or two. It's one of the prototypes so Teye (pronounced Tie-ya by the way) is really doing all the body work.

    Call him if you have any questions. He's a great guy, a great builder and a great player himself.

    Dave
     
  6. PFCG

    PFCG Member

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    compared to some quality gun receiver engravings, these guys do an alright job but nothing in comparison to some really nice guns when it comes to engraving.

    the picture of that headstock is painfully mediocre.

    Growing up with my grandpa who is a master gunsmith/engraver/welder, ive seen some really fine pieces of craftsmanship when it comes to engraving. I think they shouldn't charge so much for this kind of work.
     
  7. frisco kid

    frisco kid Member

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    I asked a few months back and he told me around $3500 for the first prototypes...

     
  8. wichita

    wichita Supporting Member

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    I used one of his guitars on a live album I did recently. I love the tonal options on the Teye guitars. I am thinking of buying two of the S Styles, one blue, one black.
    They are great instruments.
     
  9. Brock

    Brock Member

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    I love my Teye. It only sounds better the more I play it. The tone I get out of this guitar makes me play every chance I can get. Please let us know when he thinks you'll be getting your guitar. Then posts pics.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  10. crosse79

    crosse79 Member

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    Just a class of it's on :bow
     
  11. magnus02

    magnus02 Member

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    to the guy who said the headstock on this guitar is painfully mediocre i was just wondering if you could embellish on that and provide some pics of what you consider good metal work. i have no experience in this area but to me this looks like pretty amazing work just interested in seeing something to compare this with. i know metalwork on guns can be more elaborate by using greater relief, but it seems to me a guitar (esp headstock) would be a little flatter due to functional and weight issues.
     

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