Humble Pie – 1963 St. George MJ2 (Teisco) Guitar

St. George MJ2 1 Such a humble little guitar, and such a beast at the same time!  Yes, these early Teisco-made solid-body electrics resided near the bottom of the Teisco catalog, yet these are perfect examples of how a guitar can get a bad rap and get passed over.  But seriously, these are killer guitars and I just love ’em!St. George MJ2 2This model first appeared in Teisco advertisements in early 1963.  Known as the MJ2 model, in the states these carried the ET200 name.  Either way, these were the same guitars manufactured by Teisco.  In the early days, this model carried several brand names including St. George and Lafayette.  Lasting until around 1965/6, these guitars have that familiar “Matsumoto” area build technique with surface mounted pickups and the half guard that hides all the electronics.  It’s an efficient design that many manufacturers copied for many years in the early days of the 1960s.St. George MJ2 3Headstock shapes like these are just awesome!  So overdone and so gonzo!  Also, these usually have a really sharp “V” shaped neck contour that I also love.  I think I’ve owned at least 6 of this model over the years.  It’s like I can’t be without one!St. George MJ2 4This era of Teisco guitars can be somewhat crude to modern players, but really these are only a few hours of work away from being killer players.  They all feature contoured solid wood construction, good truss rods, and great sounds!  And most importantly, these are very affordable on the used market.  Of course the frets are still tiny, and the switches can get temperamental, but that can all be fixed!St. George MJ2 5This brings me to a question I often ponder.  If you wanted a guitar, what would you rather buy?  One of these oldies plus a few hundred dollars of work to get it playable, or a new guitar imported from China?  For me, the answer is easy!  But I truly think I’m in the minority because I’d mush rather buy one of these cheapies and turn it into a player.  How bout you?St. George MJ2 6These appeared in the 1964 Teisco catalogs and retailed for $90.  You could also buy an E-200, which was the same guitar, sans tremolo.  In the later 60s, similar guitars were retailing for MUCH less money and thus began the image of cheap Japanese electric guitars.  It was true in a sense, guitars did get cheaper (with exceptions of course), but the battle of the import prices were really waging, and good guitars like this one got lumped in with the rest of the imports of the 60s.  A shame because these are under appreciated, but good if you want a vintage guitar at a great price!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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11 thoughts on “Humble Pie – 1963 St. George MJ2 (Teisco) Guitar

  1. Tim says:

    I have one of these, badged as a ‘Beltone’. I got it in the early-mid 1970’s and lent it out to a relative for a long time. It came back with a single humbucker routed in between the original pickup placements and without the original pickups. What I’m interested in is the original low-profile, surface mount pickups. Are any available? What do they look like inside, so I could fabricate some new ones. (photos, if possible.) I’m trying to restore it. Thanks

  2. Tony Rodrigues says:

    From 1967 to 1980 a very similar model to this was my only electric and it rocked! Mine had slide switches instead of rocker switches, a black pick guard, and only one tone control. The badge on the headstock had a different shape too, but it was branded as St. George. Haven’t seen anything like this since! Very rare. Same finish and neck, not sure about the headstock shape.

  3. Donna Kordes says:

    First guitar I’ve ever owned, my mother purchased it at SS Kresge Co. Red sunburst, loved the flip switches. My first band was called The Wooden Glass Combo. Fun times.

  4. Rick says:

    The one I have has three pickups and a tiny whammy bar. The three switches are bad and I want to replace them. Thanx for all the details i really knew very little but I love it’s sound

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