Teisco Spectrum 5


Brand name: 


  • electric guitars

Dates of manufacture: 

1965 to 1967
1998 to 2005

The Teisco Spectrum 5 was made around 1966 to 1967 just before Teisco were taken over by Kawai Musical Instruments Manufacturing Company. Kawai then discontinued the Teisco guitars brand in 1969, although it survived on models sold in Japan until 1977. The model was reissued briefly by Kawai in the 1990s - early2000s (but I am not certain of the dates).

Teisco went all out to produce the best guitar they could with the Spectrum 5, and packed in some cool features: it used humbucking split coils, like on a Fender precision bass or on Leo's later G&L guitars, it also had stereophonic outputs! The Teisco Spectrum 5 had a slim, highly contoured body with a German carve. The headstock was the Teisco hooked style that originated around 1964 to 1965. The rosewood fret board had white triangular / club style inlays. The two-ply pickguard covers the front area under the strings,  and hooks around to include the volume and tone controls and stereo and mono out jacks. The push-buttons pickup selectors came in five colors arranged in the correct order for the visible electromagnetic spectrum.

Mark Knopfler has used the Spectrum 5 model in the studio (on 'Postcards from Paraguay' and 'True Love Will Never Fade' for example).

According to the 1966 Teisco catalog:

“The Spectrum ‘5’ Electric Guitar is one of the finest guitars ever produced. It has unique features which no other guitar in the world can match.

Designing and making the Spectrum ‘5’ was a labor of love. It required infinite patience and craftsmanship to sculpture solid mahogany wood into the graceful and intricate design.

The magnificent lustrous finish is the result of individual coats of hand rubbed lacquer - not two or three coats - but seven coats of lacquer individually hand rubbed.

The trim which follows the contour of the body is inlaid by hand. A beautifully styled triple ply laminated pick guard protects all working surfaces.

Spectrum "5" has an unusually thin neck. To achieve the proper rigidity in this fast action neck Teisco had to select the hardest (and the costliest) material available... ebony. The adjustable neck is fashioned out of 5 plys of laminated ebony to ensure maximum strength. The fingerboard of the Spectrum "5" is likewose fashioned out of ebony. Note the unique position markers and the extra wide, easy-to-finger frets.

The name SPECTRUM ‘5’ was coined to denote five different basic color tones which can be produced with this unusual guitar. Flick any of the five self-cancelling switches and this amazing instrument will reproduce sounds ranging from treble to bass - any combination of switches can be played to achieve an infinite variety of sounds.

What appears to be six pick-ups on the Spectrum ‘5’ are actually three split pick-ups to produce stereo. The Spectrum ‘5’ can be played monaurally or stereophonically at the flick of a switch. There are two channel outputs and a volume control for each channel.

The tremolo tail assembly was engineered specifically for the Spectrum ‘5.’ The bridge is an integral part of the whole assembly and is, of course, universally adjustable. The marvel of it all, however, is that the tremolo does not exert any friction (hence no wear and tear) on the strings. The tremolo action causes the whole bridge assembly to move smoothly back and forth.

No amount of time and expense has been spared to create the finest and most unique guitar in the world. Length 41".



Prices (4)

1967$199.98newguitar-listPrice advertised in Alden's 1967 mail order catalog

Reviews (0)

Gallery (1)

Players (3)

Famous Teisco Spectrum 5 players:


Teisco Spectrum 5

Hi there,

Love these instruments. They have a wonderful shimmery sound. Ry Cooder also plays one on this clip.

Anybody out there got one for sale?

Mairena Red

spectrum 5 for sale

I have a TEISCO SPECTRUM 5 (YELLOW) I am looking to sell. email me at messyheadroom at hotmail.com , with the subject "SPECTRUM 5" I am asking $1000 only 


i will buy your Teisco Spectrum 5, call me at 520 955 3823

Spectrum 5 for $1000 ????

Why would you only ask for a $1000  ???  Guitar shops are offering $10,000 for my Spectrum 5 !

Spectrum 5

Do you still have this for sale.you can call me at 306-421-1809.It is likely worth more than $1000 to me if in good condition..

Please call

Teisco Spectrum 5 for sale

I have 2  1966 Spectrum 5s in Very good condition.Also have6 Spectrum 5 RI