Originally inspired by 4-string Irish banjos, the Tenor Guitar is often misunderstood and too often overlooked. The earliest origins of the tenor guitar are somewhat unclear, but by 1927, the TG-1 Tenor appeared in the Gibson catalog.
Originally, the TG-1 had a slightly arched top, but by 1930 it had a flat top, and its body was 14-3/4" wide—just like the 6-string L-1. In most design elements, the early-'30s TG-1 is essentially an L-1 with a 4-string neck and 23" scale length. On the inside, the Red Spruce top is supported by the same narrow X-bracing and two tone bars as the L-1. This gives it the same quick response and warm resonance of prewar Gibson flattop guitars. On the outside, it has the same brown sunburst finish of those early-'30s, made-in-Kalamazoo treasures.
This 1932 Gibson TG-1 is great-sounding tenor guitar that accommodates the low G/octave mandolin tuning very nicely. Its voice is deep, nuanced, and resonant. In many ways, it's hard to imagine that the tenor guitar can get much better. It has Mahogany back and sides which give it a woody, warm character. As you explore the unique string theory of 5ths, it's easy to get lost in the refined tone this guitar produces.
As for repairs, the neck has been reset, so it plays nicely with low action and there is plenty of breakover angle at the saddle to drive the sound. The frets look to have been replaced as well, but the proper, prewar-appropriate bar fretwire was used. There is a long repaired crack on the bass side of the top, and on the back, there is a structural repair where the lower bout meets the treble side. It looks like perhaps the guitar was dropped on that edge, causing the back to fracture and separate from the side in that location. From there, the pickgaurd has been replaced, but the nut and Grover planetary banjo-style tuners are original. The original Brazilian Rosewood fingerboard shows beautiful grain. The peghead inlays and the point at the end of the fingerboard are fitting carryovers of the ornate 1920s Gibsons.