Brand New 1967 Teisco EP-7, Checkmate Amp

Drop dead, new old stock guitar, amp and accessories.

A guitar time capsule discovery. While out trolling the flea marts, pawn and antique shops today, Jon and I ran into this absolutely beautiful 1967 Tesico EP-7. It came with its original matching Checkmate 12 amp, guitar strap and cables. It was entire ’67 Teisco electric guitar starter package, minus the original gig bag (but the seller might have had that hanging around, too). Even though the set was 45 years old, the guitar and amp were as new as the day they came out of the Teisco factory. Someone must have received the set back in ’67 and then locked it on a closet. The nitrocellulose finish was perfectly glossy, the chrome was gleaming, and the rosewood fingerboard and brass frets appeared to never have been played before today. We did hear some hum coming from the solid-state Checkmate 12, but that may have been caused by the super-cheap unshielded guitar cable we were using. The EP-7 sounded just “OK” through it’s little solid-state amp. But when we plugged it into a ’47 Harmony tube amp, those two single coil pickups really began to shine. We were impressed by this little guy. It was the find of the day, and maybe the year.

On eBay: Rebuilt 1960′s Harmony Stella

Auction Alert!

Check out this very cool, nicely restored, Harmony Stella from the 1960′s. Rebuilt with Martin-style X-bracing by Barton Lane Guitar Company. This guitar is on ebay right now at: 1960′s STELLA HARMONY guitar w/ Martin 0-18 X-bracing!!. This auction ends March 26, 2011 15:50:27 PDT

NOTE: Guitar sold at end of auction for $356.

Text from original auction:

Rebuilt Harmony Stella. Martin 0-18 X-Bracing. Barton Lane Guitar Company.

Here is a really cool 1960’s Stella guitar made in the USA by Harmony.

This guitar was professionally repaired/restored by the Barton Lane Guitar Company.

They rebuilt the top with Martin style forward shifted, tapered X-bracing (these guitars were originally ladder-braced) and also put a small, pre-war style, maple bridge plate in place of the original, extremely large mahogany one. The back, sides, and top, are all made of solid birch.

The many cracks in this instrument were all professionally repaired.

I imagine that this guitar sounds worlds better than it did with its original, heavy, ladder braces.

This instrument sounds REALLY COOL!! It would be ideal for a folk or blues guitar picker/strummer. The tone is reminiscent of an old Gibson L-00 or maybe a Martin 0-18.

How it all began…


This story began a few days after Christmas when my son and I stopped into one of Portland’s music shops, Trade Up Music, to browse the used gear. After checking out Trade Up’s nice selection of guitars, my son spotted a small, funky, beat up amp sitting atop the other guitar and bass amps. It was a simple square box, somewhat plain in appearance. The original green vinyl covering was stretched in a few places and had a few tears. The speaker fabric was splattered with paint and a had hole in it! Because of those “faults,” my son thought it had a certain cool factor and retro personality. And it had tubes inside! Cool… a little tube powered practice amp. Or maybe he could use it on stage, or for recording.

Taking a closer look, I could tell it was one of those unimpressive department store amps of the late 1960’s or early 70’s. Basically the kind of stuff we ran away from (but in reality was all we could afford!). It was a Sears amp, model 5 XL to be exact. Well I thought to myself, “A Sears amp? No way.” Musicians didn’t buy these. Only parents bought these cheap amps, paired with an equally cheap electric guitar, so their kids could start their own noise brigade in the garage.

Anyway, knowing nothing about this amp, I grabbed my smart phone and quickly Googled the amp’s name while still in the store. Not much was found, except for some less than glowing information and commentary found at Silvertone World (a great site, by the way). Still scratching my head, my son decided to buy it for less than $90 cash.

Once we got this guy home and plugged into Jon’s modified tele, all my doubts were replaced with astonishment. What unexpected sounds came zooming out of that plain green box! Jon cranked the volume and the tone knobs. The tubes went into overdrive: somewhat snarly and raspy but under control. Subtle highs, growling midrange, and a whole lot of solid bass. Who knew?!

Have a listen…

Who knew there was an real unexpected Tone Gem hiding underneath that Sears label and ugly green vinyl?

Well, that’s how this whole thing started.

{2 comments}

Randy October 5, 2010 at 7:30 am

Alex, thanks for the insight on the 1420! “Less than glowing” is right, because I’ve never had the opportunity to play through one… now, I know! Mind if I use your mini-review on the site for the 1420 page? Funny how just a little hot wire, vacuum and glass can create a Tone Gem, eh?

alex October 5, 2010 at 9:30 am

Randy, greetings! A privilege to hear from Silvertonium. Thanks for your comments. Please fee free to use as a mini-review. I am currently working on full fledged review pages (complete with specs, photos, video, and audio) for this amp and for the 10 XL (1421), which will be posted in the near future.