Sep 282018
 

I’ve been a huge Teye fan since I first hit a chord on one. Every model looks incredible and plays beautifully, and their electronics and range of sounds beg the question, “Why didn’t anyone ever think of that before?”

The Gypsy Queen range grew out of Teye’s research into the magic of Jimi Hendrix’s flipped-over Strat. That gave rise to the guitar’s reverse six-on-a-side headstock (which affords a longer string length for the low strings) as well as the reverse angling of the bridge pickups on single-coil models. The two-humbucker Queen on review here obviously diverges from Strattiness, but it benefits from the headstock design (and the extended upper horn) for a super-resonant, grand piano–like clang when played unplugged. It rings big and bold, and the substantial neck feels absolutely great. When amplified, the GQ sings with a beautifully articulate voice. The custom Lollar humbuckers are clear, punchy and capable of impressively responsive dynamics.

Speaking of dynamics, that’s one of the things Teye guitars do best, for several clever reasons. First, along with the sweet-sounding pickups you get two gorgeously voiced volume controls, which can clean up even super-high-gain tones. Then there’s the five-position switch, with its big range of sounds. Positions 2 and 3 provide very cool combinations of various coils on the two humbuckers, and you can blend those in a zillion ways with the volume knobs. Position 4 is an über-funky out-of-phase sound that might seem thin at first. However, as soon as you adjust either of the volume controls, it reveals a rainbow of colors that most guitars don’t have access to.

But the Gypsy Queen isn’t done. She also rocks Teye’s proprietary Mojo knob, a passive circuit that adds even more flexibility. This control is custom-voiced for each model. On other Teyes, Mojo seemed to brighten and clarify the tones as I rolled it back, and I found it great for transitioning between verse and chorus on gigs. On the Gypsy Queen, it tames highs and notches upper mids, and I initially thought it darkened the sound. The more I played with it, though, the more I appreciated the way it could mellow the tone and reveal even more depth. Things became truly remarkable when I started using the Mojo knob in conjunction with the volume knobs. I think I could show up to a gig with one screaming high-gain tone and get every sound, from pristine clean to full-on filth, just by manipulating three knobs and one switch.

I’ve said before that Teye guitars sound so good, I wouldn’t care what they look like, but the cosmetics on this instrument are just insanely cool. Everywhere you look there is something hip, artistic and beautiful. From afar, taken as a whole, the art melds together into a cohesive and pretty picture. If you look closely, however, you see more and more detail and intricacy, whether on the acid-and-laser-etched aluminum plates or the captivating fretboard inlays. I’ve never, ever received so many comments on a gig from players and nonplayers alike.

The Gypsy Queen is not a cheap date, but it’s tough to put a price on uniqueness and inspiration. When I first reviewed a Teye several years ago, I mused about selling half a dozen “normal” guitars to buy one Teye, getting more tones and way more vibe in the process. I haven’t had the guts to do that, but I swear I’m thinking about it. Bravo, Teye, and brava, to the glorious Gypsy Queen.

SPECIFICATIONS

Gypsy Queen 2xHB

CONTACT teye.com
PRICE $3,950 street

NUT WIDTH 1.75” bone
NECK Maple
FRETBOARD Ebony, 25.5” scale
FRETS 24 medium-jumbo
TUNERS Grover Mini
BODY Spanish cedar with partial maple caps
BRIDGE Hipshot vibrato
PICKUPS Two custom-wound Lollar humbuckers
CONTROLS Two volume, one tone, custom-voiced Mojo knob, five-way blade selector switch
FACTORY STRINGS D’Addario XL-110 .010–.046
WEIGHT 7.8 lbs
BUILT USA

KUDOS Stunning cosmetics, rich, dimensional tones and top-notch flexibility
CONCERNS None

 

GYPSY QUEEN 3 xP-90

This awesome guitar seems to differ from her humbucker-equipped sister primarily in pickup configuration. That’s true, but the 3xP-90 also sports a mahogany body and neck — as opposed to the 2xHB’s Spanish cedar body and maple neck recipe — and features a lone master volume control. That means you don’t get the blending capabilities that separate controls afford you, but it might not matter, as the five-position switch provides enough textures for any gig. The pickups themselves are glorious, with all the snarl and bark you would expect from a P-90. And that, coupled with a guitar that looks freaking amazing, is a wonderful thing. If you’re a P-90 lover, give this guitar a look, because it rules in its own unique way.

SPECIFICATIONS

Gypsy Queen 3xP-90

CONTACT teye.com
PRICE $3,950 street

NUT WIDTH 1.75” bone
NECK Mahogany
FRETBOARD Ebony, 25.5” scale
FRETS 24 medium-jumbo
TUNERS Grover Mini
BODY Mahogany with partial maple caps
BRIDGE Hipshot vibrato
PICKUPS Three custom-wound Lollar P-90s
CONTROLS Master volume, master tone, custom-voiced Mojo knob, five-way blade selector switch
FACTORY STRINGS D’Addario XL-110 .010–.046
WEIGHT 7.8 lbs
BUILT USA

KUDOS Stunning cosmetics, clear, punchy tones and off-the charts vibe
CONCERNS Can’t vary pickup blend

Review: Teye Gypsy QUEEN 2xHB and 3xP-90
Source: Guitar Player