Crawls Backward (When Alarmed)

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ca. 1931 Gibson TG-1 Tenor Guitar Assessment for Repair

A bit of a respite from the Saab dash.  Actually, the dash is back in the car - and the clock works (if you were curious), but I thought I'd write about something different before bringing those posts up to date.  Or something like that.

About 6 weeks ago (maybe longer...), a friend passed along her wonderful old Gibson tenor guitar for me to do some repairs on.

It's a ca. 1931-32 Gibson TG-1 to be more exact.  Early Gibby numbering doesn't enable one to pinpoint an exact year for the most part; we have to rely on features and what we know about FON (Factory Order Numbers) and serial numbers when (if) they are present.

This guitar has that fabulous late 1920s-early 1930s sunburst finish.  I'm not a huge fan of sunburst finishes, but Gibson's sunbursts from this time period up until about 1940 are just wonderful.

Plus this guitar has body and neck binding which has that nice old yellowed lacquer patina.  And check out that pointed end on the fingerboard, which Gibson reserved for its more deluxe models.

And then we have this fancy pearl inlay on the headstock.  This guitar was made during the 'transition' period where the older "The Gibson" logo was being phased out.  Guitars made during the early 30s may or may not say "The..."

And - an adjustable truss rod!

This is one of the things I'm going to work on.

It looks like the guitar sustained a hit on the top edge.  There are a couple of cracks that go through the spruce, but most of the damage is where the spruce sort of split and cracked upward.

One of the cracks has already been glued, and I'm going to see if I can get the others to lay flat and tuck back under the binding.

This damage actually looks worse cosmetically than it is structurally.

There are also three cracks on the treble side bout.  These go through the mahogany.  Should be easy to repair.

Here's a view of the top damage from the inside.

The green arrow is the one repaired crack.  It's not a big split at all.  The glue looks to me to be hide glue, which means the repair was done some time ago, and/or it was done by someone who knew what they were doing.  Very well done.

And surprisingly (and strangely) enough, there aren't any other cracks through the top - it seems that the spruce just cracked and bent up.  There is a top brace right under that area, which clearly supported the top when it was hit.

Gibson build quality was clearly not on par with Martin at this time.  The quality of the braces is good, but note the excess glue (red arrows).  You just don't see this on Martins from the same time period.

Two of the three side cracks.  Should be a straightforward repair.

Again, note the excess glue under the kerfing.

Here's the FON stamped on the neck block.  This number puts the guitar sometime in 1931 (probably). 

Now, to cook up some hot hide glue.

 
 
 
 

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