On the TLC network’s Say Yes to the Dress, future brides often pay astronomic fees for what they believe is a drop-dead gorgeous wedding dress. And when they drop a dump truck full of bills on a gown, they typically want something that glitters, glows, sparkles, shines, and oohs and ahhs with extreme, once-in-a-lifetime splendor. Now, switch gears to obsessed guitarists looking for something stunning—Say Yes to the 6-String, anyone?—and Teye is one of the manufacturers that promises unconstrained opulence.
But while Teye’s ostentatious examples of playable art provide owners with all the “joy of ownership” of an extravagant luxury instrument, they are also relatively attainable (the Gypsy Arrow evaluated here retails for $4,950, compared to, say, Kim Kardashian’s $400,000 Givenchy gown, or even Chelsea Clinton’s $32,000 Vera Wang), are very well crafted, and they sound amazing. In other words, you probably won’t stick your Gypsy Arrow in some vault, as is likely the fate of most pricey wedding dresses.
The Gypsy Arrow’s striking, hand-rubbed “shipwreck finish” is adorned with hand-etched aluminum plates on the front, sides, and headstock (there’s even a viper engraving on the guitar’s backside), and the control knobs, bridge, and tuning pegs are customized to ensure 100-percent conformity with the artistic theme. All hardware is exquisitely rendered, but watch out for the razor spikes on the bridge if you like resting your hand there. (You’ll have to endure some pain for the art.) In addition, the fret ends were very sharp, which was unexpected and rather unwelcome on a high-end guitar.
Allowing for the fact that it’s a V-shape, playability is excellent. The neck is wide and flat, but it’s comfortable, and I could happily bash around on the Gypsy Arrow for hours. Cosmetics aside, Teye has designed a ton of kick-ass sounds into this mean machine, and its tonal diversity is off the charts. I couldn’t think of a gig that would cause the Gypsy Arrow to stumble, from jazz, to classic rock and metal, to funk and blues, to country, and to experimental styles and beyond. The Volume and Tone controls are wide-ranging and responsive, and the guitar reacts brilliantly to picking dynamics.
I loved how the dedicated Volumes for each Lollar pickup can blend the stout and warm neck sounds with the gritty bridge tones for subtle—and not-so-subtle—timbral colors. Furthermore, the 5-way selector provides those sexy out-of-phase tones, and the Mojo knob dials in lots of spankin’ and snappy midrange frequencies.
The Teye Gypsy Arrow is one of those guitars that really could do everything for you. So if it’s a bit out of your budget, fear not, because if you cave in and purchase one, it’ll likely be the only guitar you’ll need for a long, long time. This gypsy has magic, baby!
PRICE $4,950 retail
Neck 25.5" scale, Korina, set
Frets 24 medium
Tuners Grover with custom Teye pegs
Body Korina, engraved aluminum plates, “shipwreck” finish
Bridge Custom Teye SuperSustain
Pickups Two custom-wound Lollar humbuckers
Controls Two Volume, Master Tone, Mojo circuit, 5-way selector
Factory Strings D’Addario, .010set
Weight 8.06 lbs
Kudos Vibe to burn. Versatile tones. Gorgeous.
Concerns Sharp fret ends.