Mac DeMarco’s Teisco Signature/Custom Guitar “Cardboard Queen”
Mac DeMarco bought this guitar when he was around 15 years old for $30. He bought the guitar from Lillo’s Music, in Edmonton, Canada – which is where he grew up, and played a lot of his early gigs, presumably on this exact guitar.
Where did the infamous guitar come from then? I got that from Lillo’s Music, which I am banned from now because I stole an accordion when I was 17. I got it in my backpack and I got out on the street and I was thinking “fuck yeah I got an accordion” because I was really into Beirut at the time or something.A Conversation with Mac Demarco – September 16, 2014
As far as why Mac bought this specific guitar, he explained that he was intentionally looking for something cheap and of lesser quality, even though he had already owned better guitars at that point.
I started going out to see bands in my hometown of Edmonton and all of these guys were playing really shitty guitars. So I went to this place called Lillo’s. It’s a music store, but also half like a pawn shop. IThey brought me something perfectly crappy. As soon as I played this guitar, I was like “Wow, this thing is actually a piece of shit!” They were like, “Thirty bucks?” And I was like, “Sure.”WANTED/NEEDED/LOVED: MAC DEMARCO’S “SIGNATURE” GUITAR
Marc’s guitar started off very different from what it looks today. When he got bought it, it had a different neck and a different pickguard. Based on the photos, all the changes to the guitar happened sometime at the end of 2011/beginning of 2012.
Many have tried figuring out the exact model, but this is very hard to do because first of all Japanese Teisco guitars used to be imported and sold under various different brands in Canada and the US. Furthermore, their catalog is pretty wild, to say the least, and you can’t really find information on specific models, even in today’s age.
For instance, a Reddit user found a guitar branded as Marques that looks identical to Marc’s guitar (see Not quite but close enough (Macs teisco model in a different color)). However, if you try finding any information about “Marques” as a brand, you’ll find basically nothing.
Others have found Teiscos branded as “Kingston” that look exactly the same, and these are apparently Teiscos that have been imported to the US by a guy called Jack Westheimer. But, at one point Jack stopped importing the guitars and started making them in the US, so it’s unclear whether this is a model made in Japan or in the US.
In any case, if you’re trying to recreate Mac’s guitar. and you’re looking where to start, it’s probably best to just search Reverb under “Teisco” or “Kingston”, and pray come across the right model.
The Neck of Mac’s Teisco Guitar
Sometime around late 2011 Mac decided to change the neck on his Teisco guitar. The reason for this change is that he broke the original neck beyond repair while throwing the guitar across the stage.
I remember playing shows in Montreal where I would just chuck it across the stage and shit. At one point I snapped the neck and had to put a new one on. Then I broke the pick guard and had to replace that too. At this point everything about it has been replaced and it doesn’t really feel or play the same way.WANTED/NEEDED/LOVED: MAC DEMARCO’S “SIGNATURE” GUITAR
Based on the headstock shape, the neck that is currently on Mac’s Teisco came off a Mosrite guitar. But, since there’s no visible branding on the headstock, and the fretboard has unique dot inlays (which differ from what can be seen on original Mosrite necks), it’s more likely that this is a knock-off neck made in the style of a Mosrite neck.
There is a Japanese model out there called the Ernani St. George which sports the exact same neck with matching dot inlays, so it could be that Mac found one of these, and took the neck off of it.
In any case, the neck that Mac installed on his guitar was a 22-fret neck, so he had to do some modifications to Teisco’s body in order to fit it. You’ll notice how now the neck sits right up close to the pickup, almost touching it, while on the original guitar, there was a considerable gap between the original neck and the pickup.
The Pickguard on Mac’s Teisco Guitar
At the same time Mac changed the neck on his guitar, he also changed the pickguard. He made the new pickguard himself using a piece of particle board, which he cut roughly to a square shape and made a small cutout at the top for the pickup.
He also seemed to have completely removed the tone and the volume controls and wired his pickup directly to the output jack.
Mac used this guitar on his first studio release, Ying Yang, with his band Makeout Videotape recorded in 2010, and possibly on his first two solo releases, Rock and Roll Night Club, released in 2012, and “2”, released the same year. The latter is just a guess though, as Mac never clearly stated which guitar he used on those two.
As far as Salad Days – Mac was still using this guitar as his main in 2013 when the album was recorded, so it could be that he used it in the studio as well at least to some extent. In 2014 on the Salad Day tour, however, he was seen using a Fender Mustang and occasionally a Gibson SG.
GroundGuitar counts on your criticism and feedback. In case you notice anything wrong with the information posted on this page, or you have knowledge of something that you would like to share, be sure to leave a comment below.
If you notice a piece of gear missing, and you wanna add it yourself, you can do so on this page Add Gear to GroundGuitar.
In case you want to talk to me directly and privately, please use the Contact Form and I will get back to you as soon as possible. (Dan)