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  1. #1

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    Calling all Gibson Tal Farlow owners (past present and future)
    to share their love and stories about that great underrated instrument.

    There are plenty of threads praising (with good reasons) the iconic 175 and L5, but very few on the Tal itself.

    Lately the thread on the Booboo saga, JAZ quest for a 90's one, or Vinny's gorgeous Tal back from Gibson brought in other members input on their own love for their Tal and I suspect there are quite a few owners here.

    Basically that thread here is just an excuse to share pictures including the how, when and why you got a Tal... At the risk of making the price increase lol...

    My own little story starts in 1994 when I was looking into the Gibson Historic Art Catalogue of my music teacher and Gibson retailer drooling on all the great archtops in there I could only dream about as a student.
    The Tal was really catching my attention even if actually at the time I did not even know who TF was.

    That guitar despite its strange appointments left its mark in my mind...

    I ended up buying what I could afford at the time: an Epiphone Emperor Joe Pass (that I still have).

    After years of getting to know more about Tal and his recordings becoming available on CDs, my interest in the player, his tone and guitar became stronger.

    Around 2005-6 some videos on Youtube made by a player under the nickname of jazzerman (later would be known as DutchBopper and MrBebopGuitar) started to show up; I was really impressed by his playing and tone and was following him for a while. There wasn't much videos featuring Tal Farlow guitars being played at the time; still not much nowadays to be honest and his are still by far the best example of a good sounding Tal.

    I ended up on jazzguitar.be at some point; got interested in guitar tweaking and tried to get a tone close to a Tal tinkering with my cheap Epiphones; I did not really succeeded as I realized only a Tal sounds like a Tal.
    I could never convince myself to pay 3-4K for a guitar as an amateur player only but the GAS was there...

    That last year, it became more and more difficult to resist GAS attacks as members were posting PSA or For Sale Tal ads. There are not many Tal up here in Canada, much less good deal and our shitty dollar is pretty much a show stopper from buying from USA.
    Then one day of last summer, a great opportunity presented itself and this time against all odds, I decided to not ignore it; actually it is my wife who convinced me to do it. That would not have happened without her support and the reputable seller who made it possible (so grateful again Jack).

    It is by far the best sounding instrument I have played and owned, I love its woody and blunt tone and still wonder why they are not more popular...or is it changing?

    Was a bit surprised by what that Gibson representative told Vinny; Tals are becoming more popular? Maybe they will eventually get the love they deserve...

    In any case I got mine and pretty gorgeous one, I guess my GAS is cured

    Last edited by Dirk; 04-18-2020 at 05:47 AM.

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    Vinlander, I think this going to be a great thread.

    I own Booboo. The guitar helped me forge a very close relationship with its original owner after the much storied incident. We joke about now but, it took of a lot for Vinny to pull off what he did. When I bought the guitar I had plans of getting it fixed and making booboo into a beater. You know, bring it to sessions. Leave it in the studio. Bring it on trips with me. Play racketball with it. You know, a beater...

    After getting the guitar back from Ronaldo, I immediately knew this guitar would not be the beater I expected it to be. The headstock repair is not noticeable at all. It has become one of my most cherished belongings. It is a bond between me and my buddy, Vinny.

    I played Booboo last night. Tals have a sound of there own, I can't explain it. The best I could put would be, It's a tightly compressed L5 sound. Single note runs on it are effortlessly executed. The feel of a Tal is very much like an L5 feel. The guitar is a virtually perfect Jazz Guitar. Where does it rank amongst the other guitars I own? They are all tied for 2nd, after the D'Angelico Excel.

    i love booboo.

    Gibson Tal Farlow Appreciation Thread-image-jpg
    Last edited by Max405; 03-12-2016 at 04:31 PM.

  4. #3

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    I have no way of knowing if there's a Tal in my future or not, but I sure hope so! The look is cool (and unmistakeable), they sound terrific (in the right hands- I could probably put a kink in that curve) -- what's not to like? It's good to have goals, even in dreams....


    Gibson Tal Farlow Appreciation Thread-gibson-tal-farlow-jpg

  5. #4

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    Up till a few years ago my interest in jazz and similar genre was limited to players like Les Paul, Wes, Carlton, et al. I had knowledge of the name Tal Farlow but not of the player or his signature git. The internet changed that.

    So one day I put my 335 and Les Paul aside and bought an Epiphone Emperor (pre Joe Pass badge) and found that my Fender amps had a few more surprises left in them.
    Well it's been three years since my Tal Farlow came home. Well he's now 20 years old and a perfect example why I regard Gibson as a company very highly.

  6. #5

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    Ahhh...another thread to drool over.
    Every time I wandered into the handful of vintage dealers I used to frequent around Sydney years back, I would always end my time by looking over the gorgeous hollow bodies hanging on the wall. And even then, when I knew what a Tal Farlow was though I may not have known who Tal Farlow was, it was undeniably my favourite. There was just something about those inlays and that scroll that simply did it for me.
    Hope there's a TF in my future.
    Last edited by Dedalus; 03-14-2016 at 06:38 AM.

  7. #6

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    I stupidly sold a Tal a few years back and have regretted it. I'll pick another up once I find the right one. They are killer guitars. I still watch Joe's Tal video as the tone he gets is so sweet, and of course his playing. Mine was wine red, but the next one will be Sunburst or Viceroy Brown.

  8. #7

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    I think JD nailed the description of the sound quite accurately as
    a compressed L5 tone, to me it hits the spot between the L5 and
    what I would wish a 175 to sound like, no fan of the thunk but
    a good tool for Bebop as Dick , the Dutchbopper has demonstrated
    brilliantly on his posts and blog.
    I would recommend obtaining one before the inevitable price hike
    if it is possible to acquire a used example at the ridiculously low
    figure that our very astute friend 2b did ,then grab it quickly.
    A TF is a joy to own and play. I'm on my third , a cross between
    Viceroy brown & Teaburst and not dissimilar to the Es350t sound .
    the tone is equally good through a Mambo, Evans, Fender 65 Custom 15,
    Good hunting , just wish my hands were like the "Octopus".( TF )

  9. #8

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    As a kid I stared at the Gibson catalog a lot. There were quite a few artist signature guitars then- Tal, Trini, Johnny, and Barney. They were all way, way too expensive for a teen to even dream of.

    To this day I've never played a TF or a BK. How do those two guitars compare in sound and playability? Both still get my heart rate up looking at them.

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marty Grass
    As a kid I stared at the Gibson catalog a lot. There were quite a few artist signature guitars then- Tal, Trini, Johnny, and Barney. They were all way, way too expensive for a teen to even dream of.

    To this day I've never played a TF or a BK. How do those two guitars compare in sound and playability? Both still get my heart rate up looking at them.
    MG, not played the BK Gibson, always thought it to be unappealing., you probably know Barney's
    reaction when presented with it. Would much prefer the guitar he used with the CC pickup.
    Can only reiterate others views on the TF , if you like the L5 , and the Heritage similar models
    It's a fair bet that you'll like the TF. Slightly shallower in body depth than the L5 but still
    retaining a full time, slightly different timbre to the L5, would be interested in your assessment
    If you try one.

  11. #10

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    Hey Brothers,
    I threw this together this morning. Some oldies but goodies.





    Its been said here before, but if you only have one Jazz Guitar, the Tal Farlow could easily be the one..

    Thanks, Joe D
    Last edited by Max405; 03-13-2016 at 02:18 PM.

  12. #11

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    Beautiful playing Joe and a gorgeous tone.

  13. #12

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    The first time I saw a Tal Farlow guitar was many years ago. I thought to my shelf nice color, ugly guitar and who is Tal Farlow. Then in the 90's I read a GB interview and he said Tal was one of his biggest heroes. I immediately went out and started buying his music. Tal's playing and even more so his tone floored me. Around this time Gibson was making Tal's again. This time when I looked at one it was pure artistry. I have owned 3 Tal's since. The best one I had was a 2006. A ex friend begged me out of it for a cheap price and flipped it for a nice profit. We no longer talk. Then I got BooBoo in 2013 and we all know the story. The one I have now is a 2014 that Gibson had to refinish the neck. Another nice thing Gibson did when they refinished the neck was they hand crowned and polished the frets to a chrome like finish. It plays and sounds like a dream. I will always have a Tal. Love the guitar and the man.
    Last edited by vinnyv1k; 03-13-2016 at 02:44 PM.

  14. #13

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    Here's my old baby. Shame it was so early on in my picture taking, wish I could have got some better shots (more shots too).

    She was a 96 with a tone to die for. Set-up wast perfect but you take the ruff with the smooth with old Gibson. Love a good Tal, I've had two ;-) (more in the future no doubt).

    Gibson Tal Farlow Appreciation Thread-gibson-tal-farlow-2-60-1-jpgGibson Tal Farlow Appreciation Thread-gibson-tal-farlow-2-60-3-jpgGibson Tal Farlow Appreciation Thread-gibson-tal-farlow-2-60-9-jpg

  15. #14

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    I have seen a couple Tal's in natural with gold hardware that were absolutely stunning. I used to be a carved top snob but no more. Sometimes plywood can sound far better especially at mid to higher volumes. People that have never played a "good" Tal are really missing out on a very unique and beautiful sound. A very tuff act to follow IMO. Not to mention TF actually played one till his death unlike the BK model and Barney Kessel. Archtop.com recently sold Tal's last TF guitar that Gibson sent him a few months before his death.

  16. #15

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    Awesome playing and tone, Joe! If I owned a guitar company, I'd want your endorsement and demos. Nice work!

  17. #16

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    Far and away the greatest best buy in the Gibson stable, imo.


  18. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by vinnyv1k
    I have seen a couple Tal's in natural with gold hardware that were absolutely stunning. I used to be a carved top snob but no more. Sometimes plywood can sound far better especially at mid to higher volumes. People that have never played a "good" Tal are really missing out on a very unique and beautiful sound. A very tuff act to follow IMO. Not to mention TF actually played one till his death unlike the BK model and Barney Kessel. Archtop.com recently sold Tal's last TF guitar that Gibson sent him a few months before his death.

    A good Tal, is the best of both worlds. The slimmer body I feel drops off some of the bottom end, whilst the 17" bought keep the trebles nice and musical.
    The laminate maple delivers an instant duller more appropriate 50's bop guitar tone and the 25'5 scale keeps it from sounding too muddy.

    They are also very pretty regardless of what anyone else ses and it will always garner more attention in the flesh, than more common, more expensive alternatives.

    So all in all, several very good reasons as to why a 'good' one is near on unbeatable.

  19. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marty Grass
    As a kid I stared at the Gibson catalog a lot. There were quite a few artist signature guitars then- Tal, Trini, Johnny, and Barney. They were all way, way too expensive for a teen to even dream of.

    To this day I've never played a TF or a BK. How do those two guitars compare in sound and playability? Both still get my heart rate up looking at them.
    The tone of a TF is easily a poor man's L5CES. Actually, I preferred the tone of the TF to my last L5CES, which wasn't as smokey as my first CES. Only thing better for that price is one Heritage single pup SE!

  20. #19

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    I would really like to know how many a year are still produced since they started to be reissued in 1993.
    I asked the question to Gibson Customer Service but that information is unfortunately not disclosed to public it seems.
    A thing I realized while looking for used Tal ads, is they are very often if not all the time in excellent to mint condition with just a bit of oxidation on their nickel hardware, even the older 20+ years ones; late coming out!
    My 96 will get 20 years this coming summer and the closet is not where it will head to.

  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by 2bornot2bop
    Far and away the greatest best buy in the Gibson stable, imo.

    my god that's a beautiful guitar. Wow!

    Quote Originally Posted by vinnyv1k
    The Gibson Joe DeNisco model. I'd buy one.
    Thanks Vinny. You wouldn't have to buy one..

    Quote Originally Posted by vinlander
    Beautiful playing Joe and a gorgeous tone.
    Vinlander, once again, great thread. The Tal Farlow deserves the recognition we give it. It's just loveable like the guy it was named after..
    Joe D

  22. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by ArchtopHeaven

    Gibson Tal Farlow Appreciation Thread-gibson-tal-farlow-2-60-1-jpgGibson Tal Farlow Appreciation Thread-gibson-tal-farlow-2-60-3-jpgGibson Tal Farlow Appreciation Thread-gibson-tal-farlow-2-60-9-jpg

    I'm definitely smitten by this TF. Is that a walnut finish? It looks like it has a little red in it. Wow!

    The styling of the TF is the sort of stuff the Gibson employees would create if the "suits" weren't in charge. The fretboard inlays, the scrolled binding and the pointy PG are Kalamazoo gaudy (which is the greatest compliment one can bestow an embellished tool of any kind).

    The deep cutaway and neck and body dimensions were well thought out.

    What I don't understand is how Gibson held back on the ebony fretboard and gold. That is uncharacteristic restraint. My guess is that Tal wanted rosewood and nickel. That's class.

    I played a 175 for years. I just didn't know any better!

  23. #22

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    Tal's look great with gold. TF's 2 prototypes had gold hardware. Maybe he thought it was too much bling for his taste.

  24. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marty Grass
    I'm definitely smitten by this TF. Is that a walnut finish? It looks like it has a little red in it. Wow!
    Mine is the same color, it's not wine and not brown, it's a really hard color to get in a pic. It's really darker than my pic. What year is the one you're looking at?

    Here's mine:

    Gibson Tal Farlow Appreciation Thread-tal6s-jpg

  25. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by GNAPPI
    Mine is the same color, it's not wine and not brown, it's a really hard color to get in a pic. It's really darker than my pic. What year is the one you're looking at?

    Here's mine:

    Gibson Tal Farlow Appreciation Thread-tal6s-jpg
    I think its actually called 'claret' and that was a 96. Tal's look exceptionally classy in that colour for sure.

  26. #25

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    MG,
    I believe that the current TF's are available in sunburst or viceroy brown,
    the latter colour being a misnomer, more like a cherry sunburst, or
    teaburst. The wine/claret finish is not current I believe.
    It might be worth looking at the Natural finish also but both of these
    two colours will only be available as used models I suspect.
    I've had all three ( excluding sunburst., the fourth option)
    I a/b'd the TF with a 2008 L4ces, (blonde), yesterday, an interesting
    comparison as the latter is a carved top & ebony fingerboard, & as you will
    no doubt be aware , both are excellent.
    The TF owners here will be delighted if you join the party, I'm glad to be
    in their esteemed company .