Teisco guitars were imported to the United States since 1959 or early 1960, and then re-badged as "Teisco Del Rey" after 1964.
Teisco guitars were also imported in the U.S. under several brand names including Silvertone, Kent, Beltone, Duke, Encore, Heit Deluxe, Jedson, Kimberly, Kingston, Lyle, Norma, Tulio and World Teisco. Likewise, they were imported in the U.K under such labels as Arbiter, Sonatone, Audition, Kay and Top Twenty.
From 1948 to the early 1960s Teisco products often, like many Japanese products of the period, shared several designs with American and Western European products of the time including Hagström and EKO. However, in the early 1960s Teisco products became increasingly unique. Teisco guitars became notable for unusual body shapes, such as the May Queen design resembling an artist's palette, or other unusual features such as having four pickups (most guitars have two or three). The vast amount of controls; typically an individual switch for each pickup, plus a tone or phase-cancellation switch, along with as many as five tone and volume knobs gave a wide variety of sounds yet were easily switched while playing. After Kawai bought Teisco in 1967, they started to produce all the Teisco guitars, as well as their own brand, Apollo. Hound Dog Taylor famously used a variety of these Kawai-era Teiscos, which he bought at his local Sears department store. Jim Reid of The Jesus and Mary Chain used a Spectrum V. Also, James Iha of The Smashing Pumpkins played a K-2L, which can seen in the music video for Rocket (The Smashing Pumpkins song) as well as the inside of the Pisces Iscariot CD jewel case.
Many Teisco guitars had a primitive tailed bridge in their extended tail bridges with limited timbre when used in an extended technique. When the strings are attacked behind the bridge, a 3rd bridge sound is created. This is one of the reasons these guitars became popular again during the 90s among many noise artists as a cheaper alternative for the Fender Jaguar or Jazzmaster, which were beginning to attract collector interest.