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, Tenor models appeared in the Gibson catalog.
In the early days, tenor guitars provided a familiar neck and tuning for plectrum banjo players who were hired for guitar gigs. After a burst of popularity during the folk revival of the '60s, tenor guitars were back in fashion. Introduced in 1960, the TG-0 was the tenor version of the affordable, all-mahogany LG-0.
Like the LG-0, the TG-0 has the same small(ish) 14-1/8"-wide body with a mahogany top and mahogany back and sides. It has a 23" scale, which is actually on the long side for a tenor. Like the LG-0, it has straight-across ladder bracing under the hood. Because of the longer scale and bracing, the TG-0 is a snappy, responsive guitar that growls when you dig into it. It's a great fit for traditional Irish C tuning (CGDA), but it can also handle low G like an octave mandolin.
This 1965 Gibson TG-0 is a great-sounding tenor guitar with a lot to offer. Someone took great pains to reset the neck properly, so it plays nicely with low action and there is plenty of breakover angle at the saddle. The result is rich, nuanced tone. To get the right angle, a shim was added underneath the fingerboard extension, and also a small shim was added to the neck heel. The neck slightly favors the treble side, but it doesn't affect playability. Apart from the neck reset, it has new frets and the saddle has been replaced. Otherwise, it is free of repairs, damages, or issues—all in all, it has been well-preserved overt he years, especially considering it was designed to be a low-cost student model.
This 1965 TG-0 shows some expected wear and tear, and the thin lacquer finish has checked beautifully all over. The checking provides the authentic mojo of a seasoned vintage guitar. This TG-0 has warm tone with nice clarity and resonance. It is currently set up for Irish C tuning, but it could easily be adapted to a variety of tunings. It includes a new hardshell case that will protect it properly for the next 50 years.