Teye on his Building Philosophy – “Every guitar maker on Earth has the same goals: to make an honest living at building guitars and basses that inspire the players that buy them and that will be a source of personal pride for the builder. I am no different, those are exactly my goals. What (if anything) can I bring to the table that makes my guitars stand out?
- I’ve been a professional performing and recording guitar player for a quarter of a century, and this gives me a different real-life perspective on the instrument;
- I do not believe that the best guitars were designed and made in a distant past: I want to design and make them NOW;
- I have a very broad and mixed set of cultural influences: Viking, Frysk rebel, Spanish Gypsy, Moorish architecture, technical engineer, classical and flamenco music and the corresponding resonant un-amplified instruments, and of course Rock & Roll – I bought my first Beatles-single in 1964, when I was 6 years old and the 60′-70’s boom was just beginning.
The accepted norm for the electric guitar is: it is a plank with pickups and that the resulting sound is largely dependent on the pickups used. I feel very different: to me, pickups do exactly what their name suggest: they Pick Up vibrations (of guitar strings)
I prefer a good guitar to a good pickup. A mediocre pickup on a great guitar will do a so-so job of amplifying wonderful sound. A great pickup on a mediocre guitar will gloriously amplify Bad Sound. It’s kinda like buying a rotted and rusted car with a great engine. You can easily replace a bad engine but who wants to fix the coachwork around a great motor?
Since I can always buy great pick-ups, I concentrate on the resonance of the guitar, by means of the combination and balance between woods, body and neck design, hardware material and construction, and finish. This is why I make my own hardware and have devised my own way of finishing.
Just like you use different microphones for the bass drum than for the singer, I believe that the pick-ups should be carefully selected from one guitar to the other: what sounds great on one, may not sound so good on another. I’ve done experiments with the all-time favorite pickups of customers (even of famous customers) and then was asked to change them right back to the original ones that were in balance with my guitar designs.
Then comes the control circuitry. Until now, guitar circuits have either echoed the way Leo and Lester did them way back when, or have been futuristic active do-it-all designs that de-couple the coils from the amplifier’s input stage. There was ample room for me to experiment: my father was a professional inventor all his career and taught me many electronic and mechanical principles. Believe me, it is easier to grasp the circuit in an electric guitar than a 300,000 Watt uninterrupted emergency power supply (one of my father’s inventions) and I benefit daily from my father’s lessons.
Yes, the looks draw many people to my guitars. Beauty is a great thing to have in your life. But you wouldn’t marry your partner based on physical beauty alone… I take great pride in the endorsement of many professional musicians that once were my idols and now are my customers, for it tells me that the beauty of my guitars is not just skin-deep.
Ever since I fell in love with the guitar when I was about 5 or 6 years old, it has been my dream to contribute something to this wonderful instrument that Andres Segovia called ‘the mini-orchestra’. First, I played, and I’ve had the privilege of playing on some creative and important records and on some prestigious stages. Then I realized that my real expression was in the construction of guitars. At age 57, I am still devoting my life to this wonderful instrument, and couldn’t be more grateful.”
Sevilla, Dec 16, 2014