- tube amplifiers
- bass guitars
- electric guitars
TeleStar (Tele-Star) was founded by Maurice & Charlie Laboz in New York around 1964. TeleStar imported Japanese guitars and other instruments for sale in the USA. Charlie's son Jamie Laboz (founder of Chamber of Sounds) recalled the history of the company as follows:
"Tele-Star & LaBoz Musical Instruments
Some of you might remember TeleStar & LaBoz musical instruments from the mid-sixties. The company was originally started by my uncle Maurice and my father Charlie. They were the first US-based company to import Japanese guitars, amps and drums (originally Kawai & Teisco Del Rey) with the names Tele-Star & LaBoz on them. They were also the first to introduce Sparkle finishes, multi-ply necks and dead-on copies of popular guitars of the time. Some even had 5 pick-ups, rocker switches & chrome pickguards!
When I was 13, I would take a long bus journey and walk (almost 2 hours total) at 6:00 AM from NYC to get to the Secaucus warehouse, where my job was repairing broken guitars. They were sometimes returns, sometimes damaged in shipping. I worked in a little space cordoned off in the warehouse surrounded by piles of guitar boxes (higher than me at the time). It was a very hot summer and the days were super-long, but I really enjoyed messing around with their guitars and hanging around all the funky instruments, amps & effects. It could be said that a majority of my time was spent “experimenting” as I knew very little about repair at age 13.
Not too long after that summer, I designed a guitar for TeleStar that was going to become a production model, but unfortunately, in the interim, the company was sold to Fred Gretsch Jr. and no longer made instruments. They became a distributor for musical supplies before meeting their demise in the early 80′s. On a sidenote, I once had the honor to eat dinner over at Mr. Gretsch’s house in Savannah Georgia, where I refused a tasty meal of fresh-killed venison. He was confused, but it just wasn’t my thing – sorry Fred!
More recently there have been TeleStar guitars designed by Gibson R&D man, JT Riboloff in the late nineties. The Telestar Lisa guitars were inspired by the Danelectro made Silvertone amp-in-case guitars from the 1960's and were made in Korea.