1960 Gibson TG-50 Archtop Tenor Guitar

A customer walked in with this today for consignment and -- having a little bit of spare time at the end of the day -- I gave it the needed fret level/dress, restrung it, and set it up for DGBE tuning with a set of "mediums" by way of 38w, 27w, 17, 13 strings. The carved-top Gibson tenors seem to have a top thicknessing similar to the "regular" 6-strings and so a bit of extra tension helps give them the pizazz one's looking for in an archtop tenor.

Anyhow, aside from the staggering amount of (delicious?) pickwear to the bass side of the fretboard extension, this is an awfully clean, crack-free, all-original TG-50 from 1960 per its factory order number stamped inside the treble f-hole. It sounds snappy, woody, percussive, saucy, and has a ton of volume to offer. It's just what the doc ordered for swing jazz, gypsy-jazz, or chord-melody work.

The top is solid, carved spruce and the back and sides are "maple" -- with the sides probably solid and the back definitely laminate. That was standard for the time.

The truss functions 100% and all the original hardware is in good shape. This has a narrow 1 1/8" nut width and a thin, super-fast neck profile that will be familiar to most tenor banjo players.

The board is Brazilian rosewood -- as is the bridge. It's a flat-profile board with binding and plastic dots. The frets are those low, vintagey Gibson "jumbo" units -- and have some life left after the level/dress.

The guitar plays effortlessly with 1/16" action at the 12th fret and a fast, easy feel despite the higher-tension strings.

One thing that's interesting about the pickguard is that it's not actually "black" but a sort of really-dark pearl/parchment-style "black." It's a cool detail as I'm mostly familiar with "straight black" on the older iterations of this model.

I compensated the "B" slot on the bridge to keep it in tune up the neck. One could string this for GDAE (octave mandolin) style with good intonation as well, however -- and I oversized the slots at the nut to allow for those strings as well.

This tenor has the usual 22 7/8" scale favored by Gib.

Nice, crisp f-holes!

An older, but deluxe, hard, arched TKL case comes with the guitar. That's riding in style with all that plush!


Unknown said…
MMmmmmm...very tasty! TG-50s are lovely. Definitely on my wish list.