View Full Version : "New" Gibson TG-00 Tenor

Bernie Daniel
Jun-02-2009, 9:22pm
Finally! After 6 months of looking and bidding and calling folks I tracked down the exact kind of Gibson tenor guitar I was looking for either a TG-00 or a TG-1 from the 1930's. I ended up with this very nicely cared for 1935 TG-00 (3 pics attached)

So the tenor is not new per se -- but it is "new" to me. :)

I acquired the guitar from David Grisman -- who is a great guy to work with BTW and he was kind enough to supply a fresh set of D'Addario J-66's -- which I installed immediately. Boy stinging a tenor is great compared to a mandolin!!!

After tuning I find the guitar very nicely set up with wonderful tone and strong projection.

One small problem-- the nut is only 1.18" which is about the same as my F-2 mandolin (1.17") so I am having a little trouble adjusting to that -- I am striking too many strings unintentionally right now -- but I think that is just something I have to get use to -- any suggestions in that regard?

Jill McAuley
Jun-02-2009, 10:03pm
What a gorgeous guitar! Congratulations on that!


Jun-03-2009, 1:26am
Congratulations! Looks really nice!

Yeah and I agree, stringing a tenor is lovely... it's done SO fast.

Bernie Daniel
Jun-03-2009, 5:07am
Thanks! What amazes me is the condition -- 74 years old and only a few small surface scrapes on the top -- the back and sides are nearly unmarked.

As to dealing with the narrow neck one thing that helps is to play the F-5 (even narrower neck) for a while and then switch over the the TG-00.

But I don't want to put the tenor down right now :)

Peghead pics....

Jim Garber
Jun-03-2009, 6:05am
That is a excellent guitar... I thought most tenors have narrow necks. Is this your first tenor guitar? I would think that the single strings would take getting used to as well.

My favorite six string is a '39 L-00.

Jun-03-2009, 12:08pm
Bernie, I hope you gave David a letter of authenticity for the mando you traded so that in the event that you become famous he can say he got that mandolin from you.

Bernie Daniel
Jun-03-2009, 4:49pm
MikeEdgerton: ....in the event that you become famous he can say he got that mandolin from you.

:)) I think that is a that is an outstanding example of "implausible"! But hey, thanks! I AM a dreamer and afterall its the thought that counts!

Bernie Daniel
Jun-03-2009, 6:14pm
Jm Garber: That is a excellent guitar... I thought most tenors have narrow necks. Is this your first tenor guitar? I would think that the single strings would take getting used to as well.
My favorite six string is a '39 L-00.

Thanks for the comments.

I think you are right most tenor guitars DO have a narrow neck.

I have some experience with tenor guitars. I have had a Soarsey Baby tenor for a couple of years. But I think the Soarsey is a bit of an unusual configuration because it has a relatively wide nut (1.32") and a short scale --verus the Gibson with a relatively narrow nut and longer scale.

Adapting to the different insturment is not proving as bad as I thought it would be.

I've played around on the TG-00 tenor for 24 hours now and I am a lot more comfortable with it already -- so I think the right hand tends to adapt to the situation.

The idea of starting with the even narrow F-5 and THEN playing the TG-00 seems to work out pretty well -- the tenor seems wider! :)

As to the L-00 -- I do not recall every seeing one. I guess it is no coincidence that they happen to be about the same size as the Martin 00 parlor guitars?

Jul-27-2009, 5:44pm
Beautiful tenor Bernie! Your success re-ignited my desire for a TG-00 or TG-0. I found one on friday and it is on it's way from Texas to NH today.

Thanks for the inspiration, if my wife gets mad can I have her call you?


Jul-27-2009, 8:40pm
Congratulations, Bernie. Looks great.


Bernie Daniel
Jul-28-2009, 5:03am
dburtnett: Thanks for the inspiration, if my wife gets mad can I have her call you?

It looks like congratulations are in order for you a well!

No worry I think once she hears that guitar she won't want to call anyone -- just don't let her borrow it for a few days -- they are addictive.

BTW I went through weighing different vintage Gibson tenor styles this as well. It was hard to get solid data on the differences. As near as I can tell, except for a slight difference in body size and shape, are their any real differences in the TG-00 or the TG-1 -- both have manhogeny back/sides with a spruce top. I did come across some nice TG-1's but the deal did not work out on them.

I know that the TG-0 is the all mahogney version --same body shape as the TG-00. I have played a TG-0 and they are very nice -- the two top woods produce a different tone though.

Thanks Jamie! Yes, I'm very pleased with this acquisition. I would like to find a nice hard shell case -- I'm told that Morgan Monre makes a small guitar case that will fit a TG-00 very well but I have not looked into it yet.

Aug-05-2009, 8:49am
Hey Bernie,
My sweet TG-0 arrived in great shape... better than billed! Among the issues to address are a center seam gap on the top. While getting that addressed I'm going to have my luthier look at the replacement bridge to consider replacing it with a more accurate copy. We'll probably end up leaving it alone, but just in case, could you tell me the exact dimensions of your bridge?

Oh, and my wife thinks this is one sweet little guitar too, so I'm OK here.

Bernie Daniel
Aug-05-2009, 5:02pm
Very cool --congrats! Post a pic when you can!!!!

The rosewood base on my bridge is 4 in by 7/8 in by 1/4 in at the thickest part (L X W X T) -- if has been planed down on the ends and is thickest in the middle where the white bone is. The bone piece itself is 2 14/32 in long.

Aug-05-2009, 11:25pm
Thanks Bernie, and yep, I'll try and post some pics in the next day or so. It's plain Jane compared to yours, but sweet as pie.

Aug-06-2009, 10:52pm
OK, here's my new TG-0, some work to have done but I love it.

Bernie Daniel
Aug-09-2009, 12:05pm
Lovely guitar congrates! Do you know what year it was made? I would say except for the mahogney top it is identical to my TG-00. BTW did you happen to get a case with it?

Bernie Daniel
Aug-09-2009, 12:06pm
Lovely guitar congrates! Do you know what year it was made? I would say except for the mahogney top it is identical to my TG-00. BTW did you happen to get a case with it? :)

Aug-09-2009, 5:28pm
That's awfully nice of you to say it's just like yours Bernie...

I've gotten conflicting info on the year for this tenor, originally it was listed as a '29, but then a '31. I figure it was built somewhere in there.

It did not come with a case, but if my measurements are right it should fit in the Seagull Tric Folk Deluxe case I've ordered. http://www.hoffmanmusic.com/itemdesc.asp?ic=09577883&eq=&Tp=

I'll let you know if it works out.


Aug-11-2009, 11:51am
Well I just dropped my TG-0 off with Pat DiBurro, and the diagnosis is that she needs a bunch of work.

The good news: bridge is likely original, and seems fine. The top and sides are in very good shape, and the repaired crack on the back is secure, though the "refinishing" is a mess around it. Neck is straight, frets are good, tuners are fine. The open center seam had mostly closed up with proper humidifaction over the past week, so it simply needs gluing.

The bad news, almost all the braces are loose, including the ones on the top with awful black adhesive muck all over them where someone tried to glue them down. The upper bass arm of the X-brace is mostly gone- needs a piece scarfed on. The bridge plate has some chewed up holes he'll attend to. Oh, and it needs a neck re-set, replacement of the plastic saddle with bone and repair to a chip in the ebony nut.

With all that work slated we agreed that he should take the back off and really clean all the muck out, have good access for re-glueing all the braces, search for any other little cracks, and get the neck set done last.

Phew! I guess I'm buying this tenor twice... that's alright though, even with all the issues she sounded so sweet. After Pat does his magic she'll be set for the next 80 years or so.

I expect to have it back in about 12 weeks, though Pat promises pictures of the process along the way.

Bernie Daniel
Aug-12-2009, 6:09am
Sorry to hear of all the issues but the decisions seem sound and the guitar is worth it of that I am certain.

For some reason these little Gibson tenors are LOUD -- I mainly got interested in the tenor to have a guitar-like instrument that I could rapidly pick out tunes on and to chord for singing along. This TG-00 is almost too loud to sing along with!! :)

Seriously it make a LOT of volume with very little effort.

In fact if I play the tenor for 10 minutes then pickup my F-5 it sound kind of abrupt and "thunky" for a bit -- I start looking for a broken bridge or something -- it is really weird! :))

Did that case work out for you? Keep me posted on your repair and good luck with it. :mandosmiley:

Bernie Daniel
Aug-13-2009, 8:56am
One other comment. I do not know if you ordered the case you had linked to from Hoffman or not.

I appreciate your pointing it out to me.

I looked at it and decided for my taste I wanted one that looked a little more "vintage" -- the aforementioned one seems kind of "new age" to me -- so I think I am going with this one in the tweed:


my TG-00 measures as follows:
total length = 38"
body length (including the neck heel) = 20 1/4"
lower bout width = 14 1/2"

So I think this hardshell classical case will do the job quite nicely.

It will be cool to see your guitar when its done -- also the progress pics should be GREAT! :)

Aug-13-2009, 4:50pm
I did order the Seagull case, but it arrived the day after I dropped off my tenor at the luthier's. According to my measuring tape it'll work... still...

I have a slightly smaller version of the one you ordered for my little vega tenor, it's great and a really good value.

I agree it'll be cool to have my TG back and in prime playing shape. Can't believe it'll almost be Thanksgiving by then. And I'll surely post progress pics as I get them, though I don't expect to get them soon.


Sep-10-2009, 10:57pm
Hey Bernie,
That Tric case isn't going to work for my tenor, how is the case you bought working out?

Bernie Daniel
Sep-14-2009, 1:19am
Sorry I missed your note until today. Its a bit of a tight fit but I think acceptable -- I will attempt to post a pick in a day or so I'm away from home until Tuesday.

Sep-14-2009, 6:56am
THanks Bernie, "tight fit" doesn't sound bad... look forward to pics

Bernie Daniel
Sep-19-2009, 8:14am

This took longer to do than I planned -- I need to buy a new camera (my Kodak is about 8 years old). I finally have something that shows you the case will work. Its a little tight but that is probably not a bad thing. It certainly looks good! Bernie Hmmm ........the image is flipped but you get the idea!

Sep-19-2009, 12:44pm
Hey, that looks just right Bernie! Thanks for posting the pic.
My tenor is still out for all it's work, probably won't have it back for another 8 weeks... I'm going to go ahead and order that case in the meantime.

Is that armrest a Mclung... a Cumberland Acoustics... other?


Bernie Daniel
Sep-19-2009, 1:37pm
Hi ,

The arm rest (surprised you can even see it with such a lousy pic :) ) is made by Steve at Cumberland -- I bought the last two that Greg Boyd had.

I think Steve is having trouble finding those longer barrels for the > 3" applications.