11/21/2015

1937 Gibson TG-50 Carved-top Tenor Guitar




Update 2017: The owner of this guitar sent this back to me for consignment. I've re-strung it and set it up for standard tuning (CGDA) with gauges 34w, 22w, 14, 9. It plays spot-on with 1/16" action at the 12th fret and is ready to go. I've updated some of the information below.

It originally came in via a customer needing repair with the majority of the back braces falling off, a slightly warped neck (though the truss actually does effect it), and minus a bridge and tailpiece. The top is, of course, refinished -- though the back and sides seem to be merely oversprayed -- and there are some old crack repairs and swapped tuners in place. I did all the work, added an older tailpiece, and made a new rosewood bridge for it.

Tone-wise it's punchy, direct, and full-sounding -- with that delicious velvet lower-mids that Gibson carved-tops are known for. It has a 22 7/8" scale length, 16" lower bout, and 1 1/4" nut width. The back of the neck is a medium V-shaped profile and, yet, it plays quick and easy. 



The top is solid, carved spruce with tonebar bracing and has three longer cracks -- one below the treble f-hole, one to the treble side of the fretboard extension, and one below the tailpiece. These are all cleated (some by me) and had been filled/finished-over in the past.


While the truss functions, the board/neck itself had some warp that was removed via the fret level/dress process, so the frets are a little lower near the nut and near the body join. The neck is, thus, effectively "straight" after work and has remained so.



Despite the wear and tear, this is still a good carved-top old Gibson and it exudes class.


I modeled my smallish, lightweight rosewood bridge on elements from some older Gibson tenor guitar and mandolin aesthetics. It's not adjustable but the guitar has remained stable in regards to action height since I first worked on it in 2015.


My replacement tailpiece is from my parts-bin and older but its design means it wanted to come down onto the top as the tenor bridge sits so high. Therefore...


...I had to hang the tailpiece a little funny to overcome slightly-low break angle of the strings. I made sure that the "hinge" wouldn't fall down by way of a screwed-in "shim" to hold it pat. The back-angle is actually pretty decent on the strings but the design of the long tailpiece meant it was a little wonky on this particular guitar. I've had the same problem with factory tailpieces on other Gibson tenors.



While the top is solid spruce, the back and sides are maple stained brown. The back is also flat as opposed to carved.


The tuners are 1950s-vintage Harmony-style units as opposed to the original fare that would've been on this.









A hard case comes with it.

No comments: