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Thread: Gibson Inc. Gibson Brings Out New Tenor-Lute, 1924

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    Default Gibson Inc. Gibson Brings Out New Tenor-Lute, 1924

    Some interesting reading and historical perspective about the intended purpose for this unusual instrument.

    Here is the announcement in the September 27, 1924 issue of Music Trade Review about the new Gibson Tenor-Lute. According to this article it was designed as a doubling instrument for tenor banjo players that wanted a more guitar-like sound. As expected, the design is attributed to our friend Lloyd Loar.

    https://mtr.arcade-museum.com/MTR-19...4-79-13-51.pdf

    Mark
    Mark Lynch

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    Registered User Timbofood's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson Inc. Gibson Brings Out New Tenor-Lute, 1924

    I love old ads and trade magazines! Thanks for sharing that.
    Timothy F. Lewis
    "If brains was lard, that boy couldn't grease a very big skillet" J.D. Clampett

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    Registered User William Smith's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson Inc. Gibson Brings Out New Tenor-Lute, 1924

    Yes thanks again Mark for emailing me that link, a ton of really neat reading!

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    Default Re: Gibson Inc. Gibson Brings Out New Tenor-Lute, 1924

    For convenience and permanency sake here is the full article.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Mark Lynch

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    Default Re: Gibson Inc. Gibson Brings Out New Tenor-Lute, 1924

    Definitely an interesting read. It essentially is an extended quote from Lloyd Loar about the instrument and his views on its role in '20s music. Muy coolioso.

    Mick
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    Registered User Henry Eagle's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson Inc. Gibson Brings Out New Tenor-Lute, 1924

    Thanks a lot, Mark. So Loar was the "designer" of yet another unsuccessful instrument at Gibson. It might have been the straw that broke the camel's back with concerning Loar's tenure at Gibson. At least the Tenor Lute, as far as I think I understand, made use of left-over mandola bodies on the shelves at the factory.

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    Default Re: Gibson Inc. Gibson Brings Out New Tenor-Lute, 1924

    There is some great stuff in here.

    Gibson violin family of instruments:

    https://mtr.arcade-museum.com/MTR-19...4-79-13-48.pdf
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson Inc. Gibson Brings Out New Tenor-Lute, 1924

    I like my TL, but don't play it much. Sweet sound, modest projection. Seems Loar was filling a market niche that didn't really exist.
    Allen Hopkins
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    Registered User Dave Fultz's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson Inc. Gibson Brings Out New Tenor-Lute, 1924


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    Default Re: Gibson Inc. Gibson Brings Out New Tenor-Lute, 1924

    Dave, thanks for posting this! I love those red plush silk lined cases.

    There are currently 25 entries for the T-L in the archives and there is quite a few variations. Most are 4-string and blonde or natural finish but some are 8-string and some have a red mahogany finish. In this small sampling there are a variety of tuners used, most have banjo style geared tuners by Waverly, Grover or Page, a few have mandolin style geared tuners.

    It would be fun if current T-L owners not represented in the Archives could describe their instruments


    Mark
    Mark Lynch

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    Registered User William Smith's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson Inc. Gibson Brings Out New Tenor-Lute, 1924

    Well I have an original 1924 TL that's not in the archives that's Blonde/Natural with the rarer curly maple back and sides. Its in very nice shape with the original case with green lining. Sounds great, different but great.
    I had a really beat almost to death TL turned into a Mandola by Gary Vessel, He did a fantastic job on the conversion, the body "birch back and sides with spruce top" was in real bad shape. It is also not in the archives. There was cracks and little brad nails nailed into it all over, terrible sanding or a little kid dragged it all over the place? The neck was busted and no good hardware on it so I decided to have it converted instead of resto-original style. The conversion is darker sounding and really loud. I had Gary do a black top and a brown back and sides going into the 5 style neck with ebony board with pearl block inlays "he used the original The Gibson pearl inlay in the peghead." I found a nice 1924 A-3 cream pick guard for it thanks to a caf forum reader-Thanks again, and I had the other original era hardware, He also did a varnish finish on it. I'll have to get some pix up and also send them to the archives with some other stuff I have that's not in there also.
    There was two batches of these made I do believe and both mine are from the different batches. They are another Gibson oddity and not too many out there, if the beat one wasn't so bad I would've had it restored but I didn't have much in it all so I went with the convert. I know there are a handful of the mandola conversions out there that some people like. I heard that the TL's have the same graduations as the H-5's from then but don't know if its for certain?

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    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson Inc. Gibson Brings Out New Tenor-Lute, 1924

    Mine's also 1924 or '25, FON 11180A stamped opposite the treble soundhole, Grover "Pat." planetary banjo pegs, blonde finish, figured maple back but plain sides, tailpiece cover missing. "Gibson Master Model" label, adjustable bridge which may or may not be "period," tailpiece cover missing. Original green-lined case, handle broken.

    A screw-eye has been screwed into the side of the headstock, presumably to attach a strap. Ebony pearl-dot endpin's chipped on one side, still functional. Quite a bit of pick wear, and an earlier mis-located bridge has left a "footprint" in the top finish. There's a pin on the side of the neck, I guess part of a pickguard mount.

    Eminently playable, and IMHO worth preserving in its original TL configuration.
    Allen Hopkins
    Gibsn: '54 F5 3pt F2 A-N Custm K1 m'cello
    Natl Triolian Dobro mando
    Victoria b-back Merrill alumnm b-back
    H-O mandolinetto
    Stradolin Vega banjolin
    Sobell'dola Washburn b-back'dola
    Eastmn: 615'dola 805 m'cello
    Flatiron 3K OM

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    Default Re: Gibson Inc. Gibson Brings Out New Tenor-Lute, 1924

    "Well I have an original 1924 TL that's ...."


    "Mine's also 1924 or '25, FON 11180A ......"


    Photos, gentleman?

    They would be great to augment this very interesting discussion.

    Thanks

    Mick
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    Default Re: Gibson Inc. Gibson Brings Out New Tenor-Lute, 1924

    In that "Most Important News ..." article that Mike linked to above, with Gibson hyping the Virzi Tone Amplifier in orchestral string instruments, there are quotes from 10 mostly unkown-to-me endorsers, who I presume were known names at the time. Then there's: "Pablo Casals says ..."
    - Ed

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    Default Re: Gibson Inc. Gibson Brings Out New Tenor-Lute, 1924

    Quote Originally Posted by EdHanrahan View Post
    In that "Most Important News ..." article that Mike linked to above, with Gibson hyping the Virzi Tone Amplifier in orchestral string instruments, there are quotes from 10 mostly unkown-to-me endorsers, who I presume were known names at the time. Then there's: "Pablo Casals says ..."
    Well there is Fritz Kreisler. He was and is a giant whose reputation probably matches Casals.
    BradKlein
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