When assembling pickups, Teuffel first inserts the alnico magnets in a
He then glues on the bobbin’s bottom plate.
And then removes the assembly from the vise, flips it over, and glues on
the top plate.
More glue is then added to reinforce the structure.
Although you’ve made a mark with totally unique designs, do you
ever miss making more straight-ahead instruments—and would
you ever go back? And what about basses—will you ever make any?
I see my work as an oeuvre to be completed once. So there are periods to go through. I’ve left the common guitar behind me at this
point, and I know I will never turn back. All of my former models
are history—I even threw away all the leftover bodies and necks of
my Dr. Mabuse series from the ’80s when I first put my workshop
in order. But there are some things I miss from that period. For
instance, polishing the varnish when you’re doing a glossy finish.
Each of my current models is painted in a soft-feeling matte finish.
I did this to create a design identity, but in the future I will probably work with glossy finishes again.
... there is no way to succeed
in building guitars and basses
at the same time unless you’re
Leo Fender or one of the com-
panies building generic guitars
or modernized Fender-based
For the same reason—to create an identity—I stopped making basses when I started with the Birdfish series. I was afraid that
basses would dilute my work. In my eyes, there is no way to succeed in building guitars and basses at the same time unless you’re
Leo Fender or one of the companies building generic guitars or
modernized Fender-based instruments, like all the major companies
now. Honestly, do you really appreciate a PRS bass or an Alembic
guitar? I built about 30 basses in the late ’80s and early ’90s, but I
haven’t picked it up since then.
On your website you talk about that transition away from
building traditional instruments. “I was dissatisfied with my
guitar work … I had been looking for a wider challenge, which
I couldn’t find in the realm of traditional guitar building …
[from] my study, I learned to look at my guitar work from a distance.” What did you mean by that?
If you are concerned with your everyday work, you won’t see the
whole picture. I interrupted my guitar-building work while I studied design and became concerned with a different approach to
creating things. The common way is to imitate existing things with
some modifications and maybe some improvements. The other way
is to go back where it really starts and to put things together in a
new way. This is what I did after the study.
Can you briefly describe the genesis of each of your three main
The Birdfish is a guitar that follows Leo Fender’s principle of
designing a disassemble-able guitar that enables you to interchange
body timbers and slide-able pickups. The Tesla [Classic] was