Tal Farlow Day

June 7, 1921 – July 25, 1998


Guitarist Talmage Holt Farlow was born on June 7, 1921, in Greensboro, North Carolina.

He taught himself chord melodies by playing the mandolin tuned like a ukulele, using the music of Bix Beiderbecke, Louis Armstrong, and Eddie Lang as models.

Working the night shift as a sign painter so he could listen to jazz performances on the radio, he heard Charlie Christian and was so inspired that he built his own electric guitar since he couldn’t afford one.

His large hands made even the most difficult chord positions effortless, and within a year, he launched his professional career with Marjorie Hyams’ band in 1948.

In 1949, he joined the “Red Norvo Trio” and remained with the group until 1953, during which time he established himself as a respected instrumental jazz stylist.

After a six-month stint with Artie Shaw’s “Gramercy Five” in 1953, Farlow formed his own band, which included pianist Eddie Costa.

Retiring from performing full-time in 1958, Tal settled in Sea Bright, New Jersey, and in 1962, the Gibson Corporation produced a “Tal Farlow” model guitar.

Tal Farlow worked with Dr. Phil Petillo every Saturday beginning in 1968, producing a number of innovative designs for pickups and amplifiers until the early 1980s.