Ulrich Teuffel Tesla Prodigy #5
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one-piece flame maple
What Teuffel truly wants is to free you, the player to play what inspires you most. That's why Ulrich Teuffel's design of the Tesla is purposeful – from a psychological and a mechanical view. Psychological, because when you play it, it frees your mind to play anything you want. Mechanical, because there are elements that simply make it a better instrument – like the way the body shape provides exceptional stability to the neck.
This unique and inspired Tesla prodigy #5 is made from one solid piece of flamed maple. Pickups, fingerboard and momentary buttons are made from Ziricote. The hardware is nickel plated. The lower body bout is chambered. The guitar has two humbuckers which split in position 2 and 4 of the pickup switch.CRAIG'S POV
It’s easy to be different. Want to make a "different" guitar? Buy a slab of wood, bandsaw it into an oddball shape, throw on 5 pickups and a 12-way switch, bolt on a neck, and you’ll have a "different' guitar.
It's hard to be great. It takes deep thought. Asking the right questions. And then, making decisions based on that thinking and those questions.
I decided to become a Teuffel dealer not only because I'm a fan of Ulrich's unique guitars but because I'm also a fan of the man himself. I admire his skills, his dedication, his passion and his strong single minded desire to extend his talents to creating a guitar that enhances the whole essence of guitar making. Many builders can make a great guitar. Few can successfully find that elusive extra magic that makes a great guitar simply sublime.
When Ulrich Teuffel designed the Tesla, he did so based on a very special insight: That the shape of a guitar predisposes the audience and the player to expect a certain kind of music. Here's what I mean. Most guitarists' guitars immediately signal what kind of music you expect to hear. (Aside from Ted Nugent's Byrdland and Ed Bickert's Telecaster). If Jim Hall had showed up at Iridium with an inverted Gibson Explorer, or James Hetfield appeared with Metallica holding a D’Angelico New Yorker, the audience would experience a kind of cognitive dissonance. Same with a player. When you're playing a new Strat for the first time, "Autumn Leaves" probably isn’t the first tune that will come to mind to you as a player. Similarly, you"re probably not going to play "Purple Haze" on your L-5. That’s the way our minds work.
What Teuffel truly wants is to free you, the player to play what inspires you most.
That's why Ulrich Teuffel's design of the Tesla is purposeful – from a psychological and a mechanical view. Psychological, because when you play it, it frees your mind to play anything you want. Mechanical, because there are elements that simply make it a better instrument – like the way the body shape provides exceptional stability to the neck.
When Ulrich decided to build the very limited Prodigy series of Teslas being inspired was key. They weren’t driven by any particular customer order but rather what was in Teuffel’s heart and soul, a guitar that he could he test his talents against, a guitar that would not only thrill his clients but a guitar that would satisfy the artist within him.
Everything on the Tesla (aside from the switches) is crafted with meticulous skill by Ulrich himself. (He had an extended apprenticeship at Mercedes, so he knows from mechanical excellence.)
This guitar is crafted from a single piece of wood. That meant working with a translucent color to show off the stunning piece of maple. He created the finish from powders with which he dialed in the shade of green stain he had imagined. It's like working some sort of organic version of Photoshop with your screen being the guitar itself.
All of this wouldn’t mean a thing, of course, if the Tesla was simply an interesting object. It's that of course, but it's much more. It's a stunning instrument. Addicting. Mind-expanding. Limitless in a way a traditional guitar is not. Those who are familiar with the Tesla would be deeply impressed with rich and versatile tones that emanate from the Prodigy model. If you're not already, imagine a guitar that has the range to go into Gibson or Fender tonal territory. It's incredibly articulate with a rich bloomy resonance. Teuffel winds his own pickups to create which tones he wants to compliment each particular guitar. He even makes his own metal parts and nickel plates each one, again, keeping in mind what he wants the guitar to sound like as well as look like. I keep thinking he's like a fine watchmaker who is conscious that the tiniest detail counts. His best shot at perfection is if he controls the room so to speak. As Uli said to me "that level of freedom makes me tick."
This is a fantastic guitar, something different but not for different's sake. It's for the player or collector who is searching for that elusive magic, an instrument that will ping your soul and awaken your inspiration. Built by a true artist for the artist within you.
If you'd like to find out more about this item, just call or e-mail me. It would be my pleasure to talk to you about it.
ABOUT ULRICH TEUFFEL GUITARS
If asked about his most formative experience in guitar making, Ulrich Teuffel tends to say it was his study of industrial design from 1992 until 1996. Indeed, after obtaining a highschool degree Teuffel served an extended apprenticeship in metalwork and construction at Mercedes-Benz. During that period he learned that you can't name something "exact" if it isn’t down to one hundredth of a millimeter. While Teuffel crafts what we know as 'guitars' into a set of unorthodox, awe-inspiring and unusually engineered forms, it wasn't always that way. His earlier instruments were Steve Klein inspired acoustics and gorgeous traditinal electrics - Les Paul and Strat-like renditions that are remarkably similar to the iconic designs. But today, Ulrich is known as an intrepid adventurer with an engineer's bent. His intruments are thought out to a mind-boggling degree and executed with impeccable quality - the sort of creations that provide comfort and inspiration to artists like David Torn, Henry Kaiser, Hans Zimmer and Billy Gibbons.
|Body/neck||one piece flamed maple|
|Fingerboard, pickup covers, buttons||Ziricote|
|Neck thickness||0.79" @ 1st fret, 0.90" at 16th fret|
|Neck width||1.71" at nut, 2.20" at 22nd fret|
|Fretboard radius||13.7" at nut, 17.7" at 22nd fret|
|Fretwire||Wagner stainless steel|
|Pickups||neck humbucker, bridge humbucker|
|Electronics||volume, tone, 5 way, 3 momentary buttons|
|Dimensions||30.31" x 14.17" x 2.16"|
|String setup||10"-46" Pyramid nickel plated|