I have been haunting music stores since I was a kid back in the ’60s, and I still get that same sense of wonderment—like, “What will they come up with next?” Guitars aren’t just tools to me. They never were. They weren’t simply the conduit between a player and musical expression—they were an extension of the player’s overall image. A guitar had to look like it belonged on stage. For example, I remember mildly resenting guys who used ES-335s in a rock setting, because those guitars looked too tame for rock and rock—at least to me.
But there’s no argument in my mind that the Teisco V2T was meant for the stage. Originally introduced by EKO, and known as the Rokes model—it was designed for the groovy, Italian psychedelic band of the same name (1963-1970)—this guitar never really “took off,” if you catch my drift. That said, according to Teisco’s 1968 catalog, the V2T was their “Hit of the Season.” Whatever its ultimate fate, the original design by EKO, and this somewhat rarer Japanese copy that flew under many nameplates (Kingston, Kawai, Checkmate, Teisco), remains one of the cooler guitar-tifacts of the experimental ’60s.
The name says it all—the Flying Wedge—as the rocket-ship shape is everything here. “Ground control to Major Tom?” Except for the cosmetic design, this guitar is pretty standard fare for Teisco.
PLAYABILITY & SOUND
The V2T solidbody guitar came with an adjustable Canadian-maple neck, a rosewood fretboard, and 20 frets (plus zero fret). It’s not as playable as some models from Teisco’s Spectrum series, but with the right neck angle, this narrow-ish neck plays pretty well. There are two Teisco single-coil pickups with on/off switches, as well as a Master Tone and Volume control. The tones are almost Fender-y—although the bridge pickup gets very snarky and garage-band-like, and it’s especially fun with overdrive. The tremolo bar is really only good for wiggling the last chord of a song, because touching it will force you to retune almost immediately.
I rate the V2T as “collectible, but not valuable.” You can find these models going at auction for between $500 and $600. In 1968, the catalog had them selling new for $54—approximately $392 in 2017 money—so the Flying Wedge hasn’t exactly zoomed up the “appreciation stratosphere.”
WHY IT RULES
The V2T is light, produces a fun and trashy sound, and it looks retro fantastic. You can also baffle your so-called bar-genius “musicologist” friends by calling it the “Rokes Model” and seeing if they can identify the group’s big ’60s hit. (Cheat code: It was “Piangi con Me,” June 1966, which was re-recorded by the Grassroots as “Let’s Live for Today” in 1967.)
Please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org with photos of your rare weirdos. Who knows? Your own whack job could find its way into this column!