1948-'53 Gibson TG-50

By Gibson

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Gibson TG-50 Circa 1948-1953

Charming mid-century Gibson TG-50 tenor guitar. The Gibson TG-50 was produced between 1934 and 1957 and is in essence a tenor necked version of Gibson’s popular L-50 guitar. Gibson introduced tenor instruments to their range in the late ‘20s as a way for banjo players to transition to the guitar as popular music shifted from the ragtime and jazz eras to the the big band swing era of the 30’s.

Just like The L-50, the TG-50s specs would change from the pre to post war years as players requirements evolved before settling on the spec we have here in 1948. 16’ wide at the lower bout with a solid carved spruce top with F holes, an arched maple back with maple sides, a one piece mahogany neck and rosewood fingerboard. Bound body and neck with dot fretboard markers, open backed Kluson tuners with creme buttons, 5 ply beveled edge pickguard, trapeze tailpiece and adjustable rosewood bridge.

This example is in excellent condition with no apparent repaired cracks. There is very little wear to its sunburst finish and the guitar backlights nicely with no evidence of repairs or touch-ups. The open back Kluson tuners are perfectly serviceable and hold tune well, the buttons are just starting to deteriorate but this is a common issue with plastics from this era. Currently set up with flat wound strings in ‘Chicago’ tenor banjo tuning. The only modification being the addition of a strap button at the heel.

Included with TG-50 is a nice bonus of a Rowe Industries, Dearmond Model 400 tenor guitar pickup. The pickup is mounted non-invasively and easily removed. It comes in its original box with instructions and warranty card.

This TG-50 left Gibson without being assigned a factory order number; the FON is useful in dating instruments but from in ’48 and ’49 can be especially inconsistent and sometimes as we have here can be missing altogether. We can however use the instruments specs and traits to narrow down production. In this instance the TG-50 was completed and shipped between the late ‘40s and early ’50’s. it features the bevelled pickguard and modernised silkscreen ‘Gibson’ Logo start (depending on model) in circa 1948. The headstock is heavily tapered which, depending on the source, is phased out by Gibson from 1951. The tuners are open backed Kluson that likewise only appear on other examples of TG-50 until 1950.

The guitar is paired with a Geib Inc case, in excellent condition, purple flannel lined (Duvetine) with key and Geib medallion intact. The medallion logo and handle location date it to the 1940s.