Review: Teye The Fox

A new model this might be, but the Fox epitomizes Teye’s work so completely that it feels like the archetypal guitar from this maker of self-proclaimed “electric Gypsy” instruments.
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A new model this might be, but the Fox epitomizes Teye’s work so completely that it feels like the archetypal guitar from this maker of self-proclaimed “electric Gypsy” instruments. A Netherlands-born guitarist and luthier who now splits his time between Seville, Spain, and Austin, Texas, Teye has long been inspired by the work of the late Tony Zemaitis. And while his upmarket Master Series and Artisan Series guitars like La Perla and La Pirata might carry more bling in total, the Fox is torn straight from that playbook, albeit with Teye’s own twists, both visually and sonically.

It’s worth noting at the outset that the Fox is broadly similar to the Super Coyote model from the same TMF series, although this one benefits from a flame maple top, which is also somewhat less obscured by engraved metal than the Super Coyote’s plain mahogany top. The Fox has the familiar single-cutaway shape and a body made from beautifully figured mahogany, also seen in the glued-in neck, both of which exhibit dramatic striping in a boldly contrasting irregular grain. At 1-5/8" deep the guitar’s body is thinner than that of a Les Paul Standard, but with this exotic mahogany and the plethora of metal, it brings the guitar in at a pretty hefty 9.6 lbs, although that’s an easy enough compromise in comfort for the player that digs what’s happening here. (Teye states this prototype came out a little heavy—they aim for a weight of 8.5 lbs.) Personally, I like that there’s a little more wood in evidence here than in this company’s more ornate endeavors—and that it’s finished with Teye’s tactile (and fragrant) hand-rubbed “luthier’s oil”—but there’s also still enough acid-etched aluminum to utterly mesmerize.

Hardware includes Teye’s in-house bridge, tailpiece, and knobs, partnered with elegant Grover Imperial tuners, and the humbuckers are a custom-wound set supplied by Jason Lollar. They are wired for use with a 5-way switch and translated via Teye’s proprietary Mojo knob, a passive “analog spectrum circuit modeler” that uses a custom potentiometer and EQ filtering to balance the pickups’ coils to achieve a broad range of voices. I found the playing feel very good even at the girthy 1.75" neck width across this luscious bound-ebony fingerboard, although smaller hands might find it a stretch, and this new Fox wanted some playing-in before tuning stabilized. Played unplugged, the guitar exhibited a lot of sustain and sonic “boing,” with a lively jangle that’s likely aided by the 25.5" scale length.

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I tested the Fox through a Victory V40 Deluxe combo and a custom AC15-style combo, with a couple of overdrive pedals for good measure—setups that proved that this guitar really enjoys slicing through some gain for sizzling yet clear lead tones. Played clean, the Fox revealed itself to be a very full-frequency instrument, almost hi-fi, yet with plenty of character at its core and a lot of shimmer and sparkle. Adding some hair to that translated into an extremely detailed sound that could be simultaneously raw and articulate. The bonus here is that you can dial in more traditional dual-humbucker tricks via the Fox’s versatile electronics, but an entirely more “broadband” performance is there if you want it. The Mojo control’s effects at first seemed subtle, but this knob was great for dialing between thicker and brighter voices, which could then still be shaped via the remaining bevy of controls, and the 5-way selector’s middle and out-of-phase options enabled further alternative tone sculpting that most guitars simply don’t offer. All in all, this Teye is worth auditioning for any player seeking both looks and sounds that are equally outré.

SPECIFICATIONS

THE FOX

CONTACT teye.com
PRICE $3,850 street
NUT WIDTH 1.75"
NECK Select figured mahogany
FRETBOARD Ebony, 25.5" scale
FRETS 24 medium-jumbo
TUNERS Grover Super Rotomatic Imperial
BODY Select figured mahogany with flame maple top
BRIDGE Proprietary Teye SuperSustain bridge and Teye tailpiece
PICKUPS Jason Lollar custom humbuckers
CONTROLS Dual Volumes, single Tone, Mojo knob, 5-way selector
FACTORY STRINGS D’Addario, .010-.046
WEIGHT 9.6 lbs
BUILT USA
KUDOS Artfully alternative looks and surprising sonic versatility from an adaptably “hi-fi” template.
CONCERNS A bit heavy. The 1.75" width at the nut might be too much for some players.

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