Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Gibson Tal Farlow

I bought my Gibson Tal Farlow in 2005. I had seen it for sale on the internet at Murch Music. With Tal being my personal guitar hero, I had been gassing for a Tal in Viceroy Sunburst for a while so I bought it just from a picture! The price was right and the dealer was a respectable Guitar store in Canada and after some mail correspondence the deal was made.

Personally, I think the Tal Farlow is one of the prettiest archtops ever made. And it does perfectly what the name suggests. It's a great bop guitar! It sounds woody and mellow and still crisp. Check out some sounds here in the video below. The tune is Wes' "Road Song,"

Surely, the Tal Farlow is one of the most convincing Gibson signature models ever made. Tal played one ever since he got his prototype in 1962. He'd been playing an ES 350 in the 1950s on such incredible records as "The Swinging Guitar of Tal Farlow",  "This is Tal Farlow" and "The Complete Private Recordings" etc. So it's not surprising that the TF was modelled after the ES 350.

scroll inlay
On the first Tal model, Gibson opted for a standard-routed two pickup design, with nickel hardware. Early models can be found with PAF pickups. The Tal model came with two full-size humbuckers, unlike many of the other high-end Gibson archtops (such as the L-5CES, Byrdland, Super 400CES, and Barney Kessel models) that all came from the factory in the early 60’s with the narrower spaced neck pickup.

flames galore

The TF model has a 25.5 inch neck scale length (same as the L-5 and Super 400), a unique pickguard shape, reversed J-200 inlays on the rosewood fretboard, double crown inlay on the headstock, L-7 style tailpiece with signature inlay, and Kluson Super (waffle-back) tuners. Many of the early 1960s models have a Tal-designed scroll in the horn of the upper bout (although some do not). For the original series, a sunburst finish, ‘Viceroy Brown’, was standard. The model was reissued by Gibson in the 90’s and then wine red, blonde and a darker sunburst finish were added to the original sunburst finishes of the 1960s. They all carry the scroll inlay in the cutaway.

Check out a video that I did on the specifications of the TF. The video is 6 minutes 40 secs.


  1. The Gibson Tal Farlow is really a great, great guitar, it is the same model used by Tal and its value is increased 'cause today is no longer in production.

  2. My dream guitar, it is a beauty, one day...

  3. I have a red 2005 and a 2012 crimson edition in blonde with gold pick ups. It's a thing of beauty. Don't play the blonde even though they have more fun ! Just stashed away for my retirement !!

  4. The TF is the ultimate tone machine for me. If I had the means I would own one or maybe a vintage ES 350 long scale with a CC rider for that 50s vibe. I wonder where is now Tal's faded prototype he was using almost exclusively until he passed away...A beauty in any case!!!

    1. JERA SOWILO, HELLO TO YOU - the faded TAL FARLOW Gibson model guitar that TAL FARLOW actually used - along with all his other guitars - ! - was sold by his wife MICHELLE HYK FARLOW through RUDY'S Music Store on 48th street in New York City only a few months after her husband TAL FARLOW had passed away - that to me is a real shame - I knew TAL FARLOW as a friend and it is a shame that anyone but a family relative or very good MUSICIAN friend of TAL FARLOW should ever have been able to buy any of HIS guitars - Please contact me at my personal e - mail for any more stories of TAL FARLOW and I - thank you , Joe Nania a.k.a. Hollywood Joe

  5. great guitar...sound and looks great

  6. DUTCH BOPPER it is 20 years since TAL FARLOW passed away back on July 25 1998- I knew him well- I jammed with HIM when I visited HIM with my mother Claire - at his house in Sea Bright , New Jersey - it was all a dream - Joe Nania a.k.a. Hollywood Joe