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  1. #1

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    Those of you that have them. What's really the magic of the Tal Farlow? How is it different from the ES350? What's the source of its trademark tone? Is there a difference in the wood? The bracing? The pickups? The pots and caps? It does seem that they have their own character but what actually is that?

    Loves of the TF: speak up!

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  3. #2

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    Lawson,
    As far as I am concerned, the Tal is basically a more cost effective, slightly thinner Laminated L5CES. It is a great value. But if you already have an L5CES, you might not need a Tal.
    Same neck, same electronics same shape and the same “tank-like” build quality. Nearly Half the price.
    If you didn’t have a 175, the Tal might make sense.
    But, I think you are more than covered.
    Joe D

  4. #3

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    Gotta be the scroll.

    (Sorry. Someone was gonna say it. Thought I'd get it out of the way.)
    Last edited by Flat; 11-22-2020 at 04:54 AM.

  5. #4

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    I played one once when i was shopping for an L-5. Is the same but... Without that beautiful response given by the carved wood. That sounds unimportant but it justify to move from a laminate to a carved guitar.
    I didnt found it interesting really, but i only played it 4 minutes. It is surely my fault.

    Enviado desde mi LG-H870 mediante Tapatalk

  6. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone
    Those of you that have them. What's really the magic of the Tal Farlow? How is it different from the ES350? What's the source of its trademark tone? Is there a difference in the wood? The bracing? The pickups? The pots and caps? It does seem that they have their own character but what actually is that? Loves of the TF: speak up!
    It's the sound. Some replies here want to position a Tal as a "poor man's or more cost effective L5." That is a totally wrong perception of the Tal. The Tal is NOT some kind of cheap L5 and has little to do with that model. Tal did not like "fancy" guitars and always preferred "working men's guitars" (his own words). The Tal is a modified ES 350, not a modified L5. By the way Lawson, the ES 350 is not available as a re-issue model, like the Tal. The last Gibson ES 350 was made in 1956! You'd have to pay big bucks to get one. They are even more expensive than an L5.

    For me, it's a sound thing. An L5 does not have the sound I seek. I want that dry, woody 50s sound. Da thunk.

    DB




  7. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dutchbopper
    ...By the way Lawson, the ES 350 is not available as a re-issue model, like the Tal. The last Gibson ES 350 was made in 1956! You'd have to pay big bucks to get one. They are even more expensive than an L5. ...
    In 1992, Gibson revived the ES-350T model name and made a few into the mid-1990s, mosty in '92 and '93, mostly in sunburst. These are maple-laminated guitars, with the scale length of the original ES-350 or Tal Farlow, with the body depth of the original, short-scale ES-350T, and with humbucking pickups like the later ES-350T and Tal Farlow models. Great guitars as well.
    Attached Images Attached Images Honest Question: What's the Gibson Tal Farlow's Magic?-gibson-es350t-reissue-sb-1992-cons-full-front-jpg-nggid0524347-ngg0dyn-845x0x100-00f0w010c010r11-jpg Honest Question: What's the Gibson Tal Farlow's Magic?-gibson-es350t-reissue-sb-1992-cons-full-rear-jpg 

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hammertone
    In 1992, Gibson revived the ES-350T model name and made a few into the mid-1990s, mosty in '92 and '93, mostly in sunburst. These are maple-laminated guitars, with the scale length of the original ES-350 or Tal Farlow, the body depth of the original, short-scale ES-350T, and with humbucking pickups like the later ES-350T and Tal Farlow models. Great guitars as well.
    True but the ES 350t was a thinline guitar, so not like the original full bodied ES 350 ... There was a run of the ES 350t in the late 1970s as well by the way.

    I used to own a 1992 ES 350t. Nice guitar.

    DB


  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jimmy blue note
    I studied with Tal, in those days in Seabright when he was playing at The Sign Of The Times. One time, after a set (he had his own stool with electronics built into it) I asked him about the guitar. "What's so special about your guitar, Tal? How's it different from an L-5?". Like a question during a lesson, his answer was honest, personal and cryptical. "I don't know. It's just what I play."
    But in answer to the OP, the maple top, which gives it that unique figure in the wood, has a harder solid quality that's heavier, and resonates differently from a piece of quartered spruce that has been the go-to wood of choice for luthiers. That solidity, although suffering from the stigma of being a more affordable wood to use, really does have its own "woodiness" and in a well built instrument has its own unique character. Tending towards faster on the attack, and not as sweet in the decay, maple laminates are great woods when used well. D'Aquisto's working guitars (and Jim Hall's) were of that ilk. Not better, not worse, it's less expensive to make, but it doesn't mean a cheaper guitar.
    It should be noted that when Tal went to Gibson, he wanted a shorter scale, so his enormous hands could make even greater spans across the fingerboard. I believe that now a Gibson Tal will have a standard length scale but at some point at least, Tal's instruments sported a shorter scale. That feature was also a distinguishing feature on earlier model 350's and Birdlands, but unique for the Gibson standards. I think all these models have reverted to the Gibson standard scale length now, but I'm not sure. I'm far from an authority on gear.
    Tal's instruments were all gorgeous top of the line tools for making music. But he was the one that made them come to life.
    Great post. Over the years I have become slightly allergic to the notion that laminate ES guitars are somehow "inferior" and the "cheap" alternative for the "real" thing (usually an L5). Many players simply prefer the type of sound coming from an ES guitar. The who is who in jazz guitar played and plays them. For a good reason.

    DB

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jimmy blue note
    That feature was also a distinguishing feature on earlier model 350's and Birdlands, but unique for the Gibson standards. I think all these models have reverted to the Gibson standard scale length now, but I'm not sure. I'm far from an authority on gear. Tal's instruments were all gorgeous top of the line tools for making music. But he was the one that made them come to life.
    AFAIK the guitar that Tal played on his famous 1950s recordings had the standard 25.5 scale as on all ES 350s. The shorter scale was only applied to the Gibson ES 350t that replaced the full sized ES 350 after 1956.

    I find Tal's sound on the ES 350 among the best ever recorded guitar sounds ever (on a par with Joe's sound on the early 60s recordings).

    DB


  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dutchbopper
    True but the ES 350t was a thinline guitar, so not like the original full bodied ES 350 ... There was a run of the ES 350t in the late 1970s as well by the way.I used to own a 1992 ES 350t. Nice guitar.
    Yes, @'77-'81as well as @'92-'93. My take of the long-scale reissue ES-350T is that it is functionally identical to the reissue Tal Farlow, except for the difference in rim depth (and typical variations in neck size/profile over the years). You've had both - were you able to A/B them?

  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hammertone
    Yes, @'77-'81as well as @'92-'93. My take of the long-scale reissue ES-350T is that it is functionaly identical to the reissue Tal Farlow, except for the difference in rim depth (and typical variations i neck size/profile over the years). You've had both - were you able to A/B them?
    Yes, I have had them side by side for a few years. They are pretty similar yes. I always referred to my ES 350t as a thinline Tal. That said, the Tal sounded fatter and a bit more like what I heard on Tal's classic recordings. But the 350t was still a very nice guitar.

    I once played a late 70s ES 350t and even liked it better than my 92 because it was of a slighly lighter built and therefore a bit more resonant.

    DB

  13. #12

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    I would say the Thunk !
    An L5 doesn't thunk to my ears, it is more a plunk, probably because of the carved spruce top versus the laminated maple of the Tal.
    It shares the same dryness in tone as a 175 but more assertive, to paraphrase Jack Zucker its like a 175 on steroids; probably something to do with the longer scale!

  14. #13

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    Well then...
    What, no one else can have opinion on this subject?
    I’ve never played an ES350. But I’ve played a Tal and it struck me as very similar to the L5CES.
    But you should know this as well as anyone, we make the sound that our guitars project . A Tal in my hands sounds way different than a Tal in anyone else’s hand.
    JD

    Quote Originally Posted by Dutchbopper
    It's the sound. Some replies here want to position a Tal as a "poor man's or more cost effective L5." That is a totally wrong perception of the Tal. The Tal is NOT some kind of cheap L5 and has little to do with that model. Tal did not like "fancy" guitars and always preferred "working men's guitars" (his own words). The Tal is a modified ES 350, not a modified L5. By the way Lawson, the ES 350 is not available as a re-issue model, like the Tal. The last Gibson ES 350 was made in 1956! You'd have to pay big bucks to get one. They are even more expensive than an L5.
    For me, it's a sound thing. An L5 does not have the sound I seek. I want that dry, woody 50s sound. Da thunk
    DB

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Max405
    Well then...
    What, no one else can have opinion on this subject?
    I’ve never played an ES350. But I’ve played a Tal and it struck me as very similar to the L5CES.
    But you should know this as well as anyone, we make the sound that our guitars project . A Tal in my hands sounds way different than a Tal in anyone else’s hand.
    JD
    Sure you can have an opinion. But I don't think the Tal was ever designed to function as a cheaper L5 alternative. It was rather designed by Tal and Gibson based on his 350. I have never read anything pointing to other facts. If you think it is ... be my guest. Surely, we don't have to agree here about everything to get along? It was not meant as an insult.

    I demoed a Wes once because a student of mine bought one (video proof existing) and thought they were apples and oranges really.

    Sure they share some specs but that is about it. A 175 has more in common with a Tal than an L5 (just another opinion).

    DB

  16. #15

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    Thanks DB.
    To be honest, I kinda wish I did sound like you on my Tal. But, I wouldn’t know thunk if hit me in the head.
    All good.
    JD
    Quote Originally Posted by Dutchbopper
    Sure you can have an opinion. But I don't think the Tal was ever designed to function as a cheaper L5 alternative. It was rather designed by Tal and Gibson based on his 350. I have never read anything pointing to other facts. If you think it is ... be my guest. Surely, we don't have to agree here about everything to get along? It was not meant as an insult.

    I demoed a Wes once because a student of mine bought one (video proof existing) and thought they were apples and oranges really.

    Sure they share some specs but that is about it. A 175 has more in common with a Tal than an L5 (just another opinion).

    DB

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Max405
    Thanks DB.
    To be honest, I kinda wish I did sound like you on my Tal. But, I wouldn’t know thunk if hit me in the head.
    All good.
    JD
    No problem Joe. You are a nice guy. I meant no harm. And I did hear some very nice sounds by you on your Tal once. You sold it yes?

    DB

  18. #17

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    I also had a Gibson ES350T , cc1992. at the same time as a Tal Farlow,
    and although I am not in the same league as Dutchbopper, i agree with
    his opinions on the two guitars, the Tal most certailnly has the edge. and
    I did not like the 22 fret neck on the 350T, giving an impression of it being
    longer, with peripheral vision it not was easy to automatically locate the
    correct fret ( preferring the 25.5" , 20 fret neck)

  19. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone
    Those of you that have them. What's really the magic of the Tal Farlow? How is it different from the ES350? What's the source of its trademark tone? Is there a difference in the wood? The bracing? The pickups? The pots and caps? It does seem that they have their own character but what actually is that?

    Loves of the TF: speak up!
    Lawson, The Tal Farlow is an excellent guitar. having had three over a 20+ year period ,I will opine that
    it is not a cheaper substitute for a L5, it has it's own voice, ,I suggest that Tal Farlow exempifies that
    in his unique playing style, I attest to this having also had an L5CES, & Wes Montgomery at the same time
    I will not part with my TF. I now have an L5CT, very similar in size and depth to a TF but distinctly different
    in tone. The only way to satisfy this is to audition a Tal Farlow guitar in order to sate your quest. IMHO the
    tone difference is due to it being of laminate construction as opposed to carved spruce.
    I look forward to your response in due course.
    Kind regards 007

  20. #19

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    Hey jimmy blue note... love to talk to you sometime about studying with Tal. I was with him 86-97 or so. Was Tina well in your time?

    So the first time I brought a 175 to my lesson, instead of my L5, Tal says to me... “Well David you finally got a working man’s jazz guitar.”
    Fancy things simply did not fit Tal’s world view. Remember he used that one prototype for near thirty years. The neck was so worn when I was with him it looked like it had scooped frets)))

    Tal in his career did not make a lot of money. Gibson after the original model was dropped didn’t help him any. The weekend Jersey Shore gigs were quite modest. And you would or maybe not be shocked at how little Concord paid him. I saw the checks. So putting that all together I could not imagine him lusting after a fancy carved top when it would not make a difference in his art. Gibson didn’t get back to ‘giving’ him guitars till like 93/4 which was the 350-like special prototype. He did not like it. It’s on Reverb for 35K.

    OK secondly about scale length. He told me that He had the neck length on the 350 he recorded with taken down by one fret, making it some sort of 24.x scale. I’m fairly sure I recall the prototype was short scaled from its birth. When I played it I was pretty sure it was short scale. I recall how strange the guitar felt, being all worn in to his hands and such.

    I agree with all the comments regarding the sound. Serious thunk, and to me a more ‘playable’ guitar than the L5. The analogy to me is the L5 is a Mercedes, the Tal a BMW or Porsche. They all go fast but in different ways. It may be the lesser weight and smaller body.

    I had a 93 350T, which I loved. Back to Gibson twice, it had the sticky neck and they never really fixed it. Yes I warned the buyer )

    d

  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by jazzkritter
    OK secondly about scale length. He told me that He had the neck length on the 350 he recorded with taken down by one fret, making it some sort of 24.x scale. I’m fairly sure I recall the prototype was short scaled from its birth. When I played it I was pretty sure it was short scale. I recall how strange the guitar felt, being all worn in to his hands and such.
    Wasn't that his ES250 from the Red Norvo period? The shorter scale gave him 16 frets to the body.

    I would dearly love to try that guitar.

    Honest Question: What's the Gibson Tal Farlow's Magic?-17553864_10155184624737002_2856981435298635859_n-jpg

  22. #21

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    Hi davidb
    I agree I would love to have played the 250! When I was around the only guitar Tal played was the so called Second Prototype (the first disappeared in baggage handling at Miami airport). I linked a pic below. The only “old” guitar in his house at that time was the ES-140, the “red guitar”. Also linked below. Some websites say Gibson did the red finish, but Tal told me it was a spray job done in NYC because the original sunburst finish did not show up on mid 50’s B&W TV. And as I recall it was a pretty funky looking finish))).

    d



    Honest Question: What's the Gibson Tal Farlow's Magic?-c4b6b41f-44a9-4c52-863d-344f6d9bbbca-jpegHonest Question: What's the Gibson Tal Farlow's Magic?-ed0eb741-3545-4ca8-b874-95454f166df0-jpg

  23. #22

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    i think to the average listener the difference between the two guitars is zero. I am zero to the average ears. However to me as a player there is a night and day difference and I can feel it in the guitar and hear it as it is played. It works that way if they plugged in or acoustic. I believe it has to do with the pickups, spruce top, and the whole way they carved and L5.

    It really has nothing directly to do with which guitar is better because that really does not mean anything. Neither guitar is better except to the person playing. They are supposed to basically do the same thing but and L5 achieves the results to my ears and hands as nicer. I do think that the Tal would be better if the player was playing louder blues and rock in more commercial setting. The L5 in the right setting with the right amp is what Wes did and I believe no one quite like him. To be sure Wes would still be Wes using a Telecaster but he managed to pull it all together and the L5 is part of the signature.

    I think you can say that about many players who are associated with a particular guitar. That would be Johnny Smith and his D'a or JSG. Kenny and the Super400, Joe and his 175. All the players sound like they do regardless, Joe smoked on the Fender Jaguar that was close to his 175.

    An L5 is simply the go to guitar for jazz and with good reason. I don't mean to dis the Tal they are fine guitars and I would not mind having one in the least. However given the choice it would be all L5.

  24. #23

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    How did Tal get the most "thunky" sound I've ever heard? It can't be just the bridge saddle. The decay is like the speed of light.

    God help me, I love it!

  25. #24

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    Okay so now I want to focus my question a little better. Given the TF has a different sound than other 17" archtops like the L5ces and even the 2 pickup ES350...

    WHY?

    Can the difference in sound, playability, etc. be tracked to any specific feature of the guitar's construction? A little less depth maybe? Is the laminate different? For example, my Aria Pro II PE180 has a 7-layer laminate body, and I am pretty convinced this has a significant impact on the tone as opposed to a 3-layer laminate.

    But for the TF is there anything about how its actually made that distinguishes it from say a 2 pickup ES350? I'm really curious about this because the TF is about the only guitar I've never heard anyone say 'Well you can pretty get the TF tone from guitar X..." People seem to think the TF is pretty much in a class by itself.

  26. #25

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    Lawson, I dont know why, its probably my playing style - But the Tal to me, always had this kind of auto-wah sound to it. I am being serious.
    Trust me, I am not whoring out some of my old videos so people will watch them, I just want you to listen to this Lawson.







    God, I miss that Guitar. There are times when I want to play a guitar and the Guitars that I have are not what I want to play. I just want the no nonsense feel that the Tal offered. To me, it was just an L5, that was more comfortable to play. I am sorry. But that was my impression. Nothing felt more elegant and comfortable at the same time on my lap. It left a lasting impression on me. I always told Vinny, I don't play the Tal a lot. But when I play it, I wonder why I have any of these other guitars. Every time I picked that guitar up, I had this sense that IT COULD NOT get any better.

    I wish I still had that guitar.

    JD

  27. #26

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    Joe
    Never, Ever, apologize for your clips. I love hearing you play. I'm inspired by watching and listening. Few people also seem to capture the guitar in there recording as well as you do.

    I can see why you think of the TF as like an L5. Your technique brings out a tone from the TF that really is in that sweeter L5 country. I typically associate the TF with a drier, authoritative tone that is less sweet and somehow on a continuum say between a great L5 and a great ES175-the two "gold standards" for jazz guitar tone for me. But the TF I associate with popping single-note lines that are kind of fat with a quick attack and decay.

    The "Breezin" clip actually captures that dimension. That's a versatile guitar, and I imagine it takes a very talented player to bring out everything it can do.

    Still, I even hear that in the other clips. The TF even with the lush chords and a bit of reverb still has a thickness that isn't L5-ish. I think of the L5ces as still being a bit more stringy (in a great way) sounding.

    I know I'm not making much sense here... trying to find concrete ways to describe tone is frustrating!

    But you always do bring out something from the guitars you play that is distinctive and beautiful.
    Last edited by lawson-stone; 11-23-2020 at 06:57 PM.

  28. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dutchbopper
    I am not a luthier so I can't tell you anything about bracing etc. but there are some similarities and differences between a 350 and a Tal Farlow. So first you must decide what sounds you like. Early Tal (ES 350) or later Tal (Tal Farlow model). I own both.

    The 350 has P90 pick ups normally. Tal however changed the P90 in neck position to a CC pup. That may be a big factor in his sound on the 50s recordings. My own 1951 ES 350 sounds slightly different than what I hear on those recordings I think. Also Tal played old vintage amps (Gibson) no longer available.

    The ES 350 is a way more resonant guitar (lighter build) than my (modern) Tal Farlow. They are both maple guitars. The ES 350 has a very nice acoustic quality that my Tal does not have. A Tal Farlow has humbuckers, an ES 350 P90s as I said earlier. The Farlow is less deep than a 350. Tal wanted it that way.

    Still, I hear a quality in my modern Tal Farlow that I hear too on those old recordings by Tal. A kind of poppin' and "thunkin" sound. I hear it in the clip below. It's an old clip I recorded years ago. Tal through my Polytone. You hear it in my latest clip too.

    DB



    I'm loving these clips. I can hear how the TF is less acoustic sounding. My term for it is less "stringy" but I don't mean "stringy" in a negative way at all. My L5ces for all its rich tone still has a lot of string in the sound. The TF as you said has more pop. I think of the note as fat, but with a fast attack and fast decay. Playing fast and legato, you wouldn't say it lacks sustain, but each note is really fat and authoritative.

    I think late afternoons my ability to put things into words gets muddy! But you and Joe D. have shown a massive range that the TF can produce.

    Maybe it is Gibson Pixie Dust Magic after all!

  29. #28

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    That was a good explanation along with the clips. I am wondering is laminate construction+slighly shallower depth+somewhat heavier with the longer scale all add up to a winning formula for Royal Thunk.

  30. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone
    I'm loving these clips. I can hear how the TF is less acoustic sounding. My term for it is less "stringy" but I don't mean "stringy" in a negative way at all. My L5ces for all its rich tone still has a lot of string in the sound. The TF as you said has more pop. I think of the note as fat, but with a fast attack and fast decay. Playing fast and legato, you wouldn't say it lacks sustain, but each note is really fat and authoritative.

    I think late afternoons my ability to put things into words gets muddy! But you and Joe D. have shown a massive range that the TF can produce.

    Maybe it is Gibson Pixie Dust Magic after all!
    How about these two Dutch players? They both play vintage Tal Farlows. Vincent Koning owns one and Maarten van der Grinten is trying one out.

    Still, I hear the poppin' and thunkin' sound I do hear in mine a bit less in theirs.




  31. #30

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  32. #31

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    I don't have a clue about what the difference between any of the guitars being discussed is, other than what I can hear through videos. A good place to hear the Tal as is with Andy Brown's videos. There are lots of them on YouTube. He plays his though a '60s blackface Vibrolux Reverb, and it's an amazing sound. In some videos he uses an Evans, and sounds exactly the same. I regret to say that I saw a Tal in a music store many years ago and passed on it, because I didn't think I could afford it. That was probably a fair decision for my family, but if I had been single I might have had a fling with it. Oh well, the chances not taken cannot be retaken. I probably could afford one now, if one were available, but the desire no longer lives. I'm satisfied with what I have. But I still like to listen to a Tal, and to Tal.

  33. #32

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    I thought every one of the clips sounded great -- great tone, and fine playing.

    But, if you blindfolded me first and then asked me if they were all played with the same model guitar, going by sound, I think I'd have said no.

  34. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by Max405
    Lawson, I dont know why, its probably my playing style - But the Tal to me, always had this kind of auto-wah sound to it. I am being serious.
    Trust me, I am not whoring out some of my old videos so people will watch them, I just want you to listen to this Lawson.







    God, I miss that Guitar. There are times when I want to play a guitar and the Guitars that I have are not what I want to play. I just want the no nonsense feel that the Tal offered. To me, it was just an L5, that was more comfortable to play. I am sorry. But that was my impression. Nothing felt more elegant and comfortable at the same time on my lap. It left a lasting impression on me. I always told Vinny, I don't play the Tal a lot. But when I play it, I wonder why I have any of these other guitars. Every time I picked that guitar up, I had this sense that IT COULD NOT get any better.

    I wish I still had that guitar.

    JD
    Joe - I hear what you mean - there is to my ear, a certain bloom in the notes. Not in volume (though there is that) but in tone. The lower mids seem to speak first, followed by their mid and upper brethren, and then subside wit' da thunk. It's very quick, but it's there.

    I credit your masterful touch for much of this. Your left- and right-hand technique enhance this aspect of the string's vibrational envelope.

    Plus mojo.

  35. #34

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    Might be fun tomorrow to take my L5 and the Tal, playing the same set of single notes and run that through an oscilloscope. I’m curious as to how the envelope will look as k suggests.
    i was just poking a around the Gibson corporate forum, nothin of interest to the quest. But... someone claims the Viceroy Brown sunburst was named after a brandy called Viceroy and darn if it ain’t the same color)))

  36. #35

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    L5 vs Tal

    Both are braced the same and have identical necks except for the fingerboard wood. Ebony vs Rosewood. The L5 has a fitted solid bridge base and the Tal has a compression fit like a 175.
    17x3-3/8 vs 17x3. Same pickups.
    All carved spruce and maple vs pressed all maple laminate.

    To my ears I hear a distinct difference.
    The L5 is more airey and open with a tighter bass. The L5 requires less volume for great tone.

    The Tal on the other hand has huge compression and thunk you simply cannot get with a spruce top. Like Dick said a woody characteristic that you can only get from laminate maple. I have always thought of a Tal as a 175 tone on steroids. It is the lows where the Tal really shines and kicks sand in the L5’s face. The lows are so thick and buttery. The master of thunk unless you have a original ES350 before 1956.

    One more thing about laminates. They do take longer to “ open up “ compared to carved. I consider myself informed on this as I usually buy new. As a general rule, carved 2 years and laminated 5 years.
    My 2010 175 was just OK when new and then one day in 2015...OMG.
    My 2014 Tal is now Mr.Thunkmaster. A TF thru a Twin is a beautiful thing........P.S. with TI flats.

  37. #36

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    Quote Originally Posted by vinnyv1k
    L5 vs Tal

    Both are braced the same and have identical necks except for the fingerboard wood. Ebony vs Rosewood. The L5 has a fitted solid bridge base and the Tal has a compression fit like a 175.
    17x3-3/8 vs 17x3. Same pickups.
    All carved spruce and maple vs pressed all maple laminate.

    To my ears I hear a distinct difference.
    The L5 is more airey and open with a tighter bass. The L5 requires less volume for great tone.

    The Tal on the other hand has huge compression and thunk you simply cannot get with a spruce top. Like Dick said a woody characteristic that you can only get from laminate maple. I have always thought of a Tal as a 175 tone on steroids. It is the lows where the Tal really shines and kicks sand in the L5’s face. The lows are so thick and buttery. The master of thunk unless you have a original ES350 before 1956.

    One more thing about laminates. They do take longer to “ open up “ compared to carved. I consider myself informed on this as I usually buy new. As a general rule, carved 2 years and laminated 5 years.
    My 2010 175 was just OK when new and then one day in 2015...OMG.
    My 2014 Tal is now Mr.Thunkmaster. A TF thru a Twin is a beautiful thing........P.S. with TI flats.
    We have a winner in this thread. Most excellent post. Congrats!

    DB

  38. #37

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    The man knows his stuff...

  39. #38

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    Quote Originally Posted by vinnyv1k
    L5 vs Tal

    Both are braced the same and have identical necks except for the fingerboard wood. Ebony vs Rosewood. The L5 has a fitted solid bridge base and the Tal has a compression fit like a 175.
    17x3-3/8 vs 17x3. Same pickups.
    All carved spruce and maple vs pressed all maple laminate.

    To my ears I hear a distinct difference.
    The L5 is more airey and open with a tighter bass. The L5 requires less volume for great tone.

    The Tal on the other hand has huge compression and thunk you simply cannot get with a spruce top. Like Dick said a woody characteristic that you can only get from laminate maple. I have always thought of a Tal as a 175 tone on steroids. It is the lows where the Tal really shines and kicks sand in the L5’s face. The lows are so thick and buttery. The master of thunk unless you have a original ES350 before 1956.

    One more thing about laminates. They do take longer to “ open up “ compared to carved. I consider myself informed on this as I usually buy new. As a general rule, carved 2 years and laminated 5 years.
    My 2010 175 was just OK when new and then one day in 2015...OMG.
    My 2014 Tal is now Mr.Thunkmaster. A TF thru a Twin is a beautiful thing........P.S. with TI flats.
    Wow Vinny
    You just gave expression to some things I had a vague intuition about. I consider my question answered. Thank you!

  40. #39

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    An ES-350T or Tal is a tall man's ES-175.

  41. #40

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    imho

    Quote Originally Posted by vinnyv1k
    l5 vs tal

    both are braced the same and have identical necks except for the fingerboard wood. Ebony vs rosewood. The l5 has a fitted solid bridge base and the tal has a compression fit like a 175.
    17x3-3/8 vs 17x3. Same pickups.

    all carved spruce and maple vs pressed all maple laminate.

    to my ears i hear a distinct difference.
    The l5 is more airey and open with a tighter bass. The l5 requires less volume for great tone.

    The tal on the other hand has huge compression and thunk you simply cannot get with a spruce top. Like dick said a woody characteristic that you can only get from laminate maple. I have always thought of a tal as a 175 tone on steroids. It is the lows where the tal really shines and kicks sand in the l5’s face. The lows are so thick and buttery. The master of thunk unless you have a original es350 before 1956.

    One more thing about laminates. They do take longer to “ open up “ compared to carved. I consider myself informed on this as i usually buy new. As a general rule, carved 2 years and laminated 5 years.
    My 2010 175 was just ok when new and then one day in 2015...omg.
    My 2014 tal is now mr.thunkmaster. A tf thru a twin is a beautiful thing........p.s. With ti flats.

  42. #41

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    Man, what a thread!

    • Players with experience with Tal Farlow models from different time periods!
    • A bunch of great recordings from some really fine players demoing Tals from various years!
    • DB’s amazing ES-350!
    • Cats who knew and actually studied with Tal!

    Thread like this could raise the market price for Tal Farlows! Anyways, thanks to Lawson for the ask, and guys like JoeMax and DB and Hammer and Vinlander *and added later but hell yeah Vinny* and others who really know and share their stuff. This thread oughta go in the archives!
    Last edited by Flat; 11-24-2020 at 09:39 PM.

  43. #42

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    Thank You Flat.
    And certainly dont forget Vinny's "post of all posts"!
    DB and Vinny have really praised the Tal for years. Frankly, I wouldn't have known about the Tal if it wasn't for Vinny. And all the GREAT playing that DB has done on it has only sealed its fate as one of the truly outstanding Jazz Guitars of our time.
    If Gibson had half a brain, they would bring it back, along with the L5 and 175. Make a Signature model for Joe Pass (thinline single PU 175). Come out with the "Paisano Collection". And to it, add Sig models for the GREAT Pasquale Grasso and phenomenal Matteo Mancuso with their own touches. Pasquales will come with a pair of glasses and Matteo's would have a black sliding capo.
    But, no.. Instead they are building 2 signature Jimi Hendrix models. Yeah, like when we think of Jimi Hendrix, we think of him playing a Gibson..
    Sorry, rant over..
    JD

  44. #43

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    I’ll see your rant and add mine
    #rant on
    Gibson does have a brain...it’s called market demand. How many LPs and SGs can they sell to one 175? Whats the monthly demand for a Joe Pass guitar? Who knows TF other than this thread? How much would an L5 cost in 2022 dollars? Not to mention relative profit margins.
    Not trying to be a jerk, and sorry if I sound like one, but Gibson’s brain are the investors who pumped the money in, and I’m sure if jazz guitars were profitable we would be seeing them.
    Fact is, the market for archtops is literally dying off. Imagine the used market in 10 or 15 years!!! Mine will be there)
    #rant off

  45. #44

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    Quote Originally Posted by jazzkritter
    I’ll see your rant and add mine
    #rant on
    Gibson does have a brain...it’s called market demand. How many LPs and SGs can they sell to one 175? Whats the monthly demand for a Joe Pass guitar? Who knows TF other than this thread? How much would an L5 cost in 2022 dollars? Not to mention relative profit margins.
    Not trying to be a jerk, and sorry if I sound like one, but Gibson’s brain are the investors who pumped the money in, and I’m sure if jazz guitars were profitable we would be seeing them.
    Fact is, the market for archtops is literally dying off. Imagine the used market in 10 or 15 years!!! Mine will be there)
    #rant off

    Yeah ... around my divorce ten years ago is kinda where it all ended in my head. You could still order a wide array of different Gibson archtops .. I looking at at Thomann and considering pulling the trigger, but thought it would always be there ... My mistake. Since then prices have doubled and you have almost zero options.


    But yeah, it is just business ... and if archtops aren't profitable then they're not profitable. The few that I've seen in physical stores just sit there ... To take an example. One of my local shops didn't sell their 2015 ES-275 before this year ... Just just hung there for all to see but no one willing to buy for five years. Not surprising they only stock cheap Ibanez artcores and such these days.


    Still Ibanez makes underrated stuff that even sometimes appear used at nice prices. I'm very happy with the PM100 I picked up for 1350€ a few years back

  46. #45

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    Ibanez’ “low end” is way underrated. but I’m a known Ibanez fan. Your PM100 should be great)
    I picked up a af95fm off Reverb for $450 shipped in May. Im not going to say it’s a match in quality to an MIJ Ibanez, but for the money those are fine jazz guitars. The neck is a bit thicker than an MIJ. i think the non MIJ pickups even thunk. As heretical as that may be.

    Its ironic but Tal did not obsess over tone. He had one guitar, played it till it wore out. One amp, a 100 watt Walter Woods, one speaker a Bose 901 which a friend gave him. Standard Fender heavy pick. Heavy D’Addario flats with a 15/18 E and B. Traveling he took the Woods and requested a Twin just for the speakers. And a delay and octave splitter pedal. What he did obsess over was pushing himself to play faster; finding new inspiration for improvisation; and looking to play the same old in a different way.

  47. #46

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    Quote Originally Posted by jazzkritter
    I’ll see your rant and add mine
    #rant on
    Gibson does have a brain...it’s called market demand. How many LPs and SGs can they sell to one 175? Whats the monthly demand for a Joe Pass guitar? Who knows TF other than this thread? How much would an L5 cost in 2022 dollars? Not to mention relative profit margins.
    Not trying to be a jerk, and sorry if I sound like one, but Gibson’s brain are the investors who pumped the money in, and I’m sure if jazz guitars were profitable we would be seeing them.
    Fact is, the market for archtops is literally dying off. Imagine the used market in 10 or 15 years!!! Mine will be there)
    #rant off
    That is a rant that makes accurate observations. The folks in control of Gibson are in business to make money. They have a fiduciary obligation to their investors and that means Les Pauls, SG's, 335"s and J-50 Flattops. Styles change and archtops will come back. Gibson will make them again. All in due time. Things are as they should be.

    Back on topic, I have never had a TF. I do not like the cosmetics (though I would take a TF over a BK in a heartbeat). If they had a modern ES-350, I might have tried one. The truth is that the 175 and L-5 scratch my electric archtop itch just fine. But Tal, JD, DB and Andy Brown have all proven to me that a Gibson Tal Farlow is a great sounding guitar, even if it's looks do not appeal to me.

  48. #47

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stringswinger
    I do not like the cosmetics

  49. #48

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    Quote Originally Posted by jazzkritter
    I’ll see your rant and add mine
    #rant on
    Gibson does have a brain...it’s called market demand. How many LPs and SGs can they sell to one 175? Whats the monthly demand for a Joe Pass guitar? Who knows TF other than this thread? How much would an L5 cost in 2022 dollars? Not to mention relative profit margins.
    Not trying to be a jerk, and sorry if I sound like one, but Gibson’s brain are the investors who pumped the money in, and I’m sure if jazz guitars were profitable we would be seeing them.
    Fact is, the market for archtops is literally dying off. Imagine the used market in 10 or 15 years!!! Mine will be there)
    #rant off
    If Gibson would price these mainly manufactured guitars competitively I imagine they'd sell well. I hear a lot of younger jazz guitarists on some of the internet radio stations. There are LOT of them. Most likely are playing 335s or the like, but if there was a 175 or TF available for a decent price, like under $3000, I think Gibson would be unable to keep up with the demand. Put the L5ces or WesMo at under $5000 and you'd hear a lot of people playing them. It's not the guitar's fault that there is no market for them. It's a price point issue.

  50. #49

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    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone
    If Gibson would price these mainly manufactured guitars competitively I imagine they'd sell well. I hear a lot of younger jazz guitarists on some of the internet radio stations. There are LOT of them. Most likely are playing 335s or the like, but if there was a 175 or TF available for a decent price, like under $3000, I think Gibson would be unable to keep up with the demand. Put the L5ces or WesMo at under $5000 and you'd hear a lot of people playing them. It's not the guitar's fault that there is no market for them. It's a price point issue.
    Under $3000? You can get a carved-top Eastman for roughly half of that, yet "a small group of skilled luthiers" can keep up with the demand.

  51. #50

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gitterbug
    Under $3000? You can get a carved-top Eastman for roughly half of that, yet "a small group of skilled luthiers" can keep up with the demand.
    But I suspect the Gibson name would sell more guitars, I don't know. They have tried through-the-roof pricing. Maybe they need to try more competitive pricing.