1924 (Loar Period) manufacture date (traditional estimates)
1924 shipment date, according to Spann's Guide to Gibson
Tenor Lute, Style TL
Factory Order number: 11172a
1924 Gibson Tenor Lute
Serial # 76700, FON 11172A. Definitely a curiosity of the Loar era, the Tenor Lute was offered between 1924 and 1926, although all known examples bear 1924 serial numbers. The Tenor Lute has the distinction of being the only Master Model-labeled instrument that was not part of the Style 5 line and it does not bear a Lloyd Loar signature label. Its F holes and elevated fingerboard are Style 5 features, but that's where Loar's improvements end. The Tenor Lute has a Mandola body with carved spruce top and carved birch back and sides. Its maple neck is akin to that of a Style 3 banjo, complete with Moccasin headstock, dot-neck ebony 24 fret fingerboard and 20-3/4" scale length. The instrument is in excellent condition and has no cracks, separations, or top sinkage. Its pickguard is missing, but it is otherwise completely original. Grover G-82 tuners are in good working order, fingerboard and frets are level, and it plays very nicely after being set-up in shop. We have replaced the original bridge with a better sounding ebony adjustable unit, but will include the original with the instrument. Tuned to G Octave Mandolin tuning, the instrument has a lovely tone. Its body is too small to produce a great deal of bass response, but the trebles are certainly nice to listen to! Imagine an octave mandolin with only 4 strings, and you'll have an idea of the Tenor Lute's tone. Among the rarest of Gibson's 1920's Mandolins, very few Tenor Lutes are known to exist.