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  #1  
Old 10-07-2017, 07:06 AM
JohnnySmash JohnnySmash is offline
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Default Tenor Guitar - Your Thoughts

Since I recently discovered the tenor guitar I have become very interested in one. I received my baritone ukulele the other day and have not put it down since. I guess you might say I have fallen in love with 4 string instruments. They still make my thumb hurt so off to the doctor I will go this Monday.

My reason for being on here tonight is to ask, has any of you played tenor guitar as a solo instrument before or solo with others backing you? On gigs or at private parties, or home, or where ever? What do you think of the tenor guitar as a stand alone solo instrument?
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  #2  
Old 10-07-2017, 10:17 AM
Mooh Mooh is offline
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I like it a lot.

Neko Case changed my mind about it. Look for some John Lawlor videos as well.
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  #3  
Old 10-07-2017, 10:28 AM
Hoyt Hoyt is offline
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I like to play my tenor at home. I have it tuned like an octave mandolin -- GDAE. It also sounds good in the more common CGDA tuning.

It's a great instrument for solo noodling, chords and single string runs.

I had a really nice Martin 0-18T from the early 1930s, that was fantastic. But it was getting to the point that it was going to take some costly maintenance.

I bought one of the BlueRidge tenors (BR40, I think) and it sounds very similar and plays quite nicely too. The BlueRidge is not nearly as cool as the Martin was new, but it's in better shape than the Martin was when I sold it.

For $450, it's well worth it if interested in a tenor. Mine does have a center seam crack, but it still sounds good and is probably not worth fixing. I've thought about selling it and getting a nicer tenor, but it's probably worth less than $200 now.

I think you could play tenor accompanying other instruments. I used to play Octave Mandolin in a duo that sounded pretty good. Listen to some early Kingston Trio or more modern players like Neko Case who uses tenor a good bit.

I can tell you from experience, there are a lot of old tenors out there that just don't sound that nice nowadays. I had a Gibson (B25T, I think) that had great playability and the neck was fantastic, but it was a little too quiet even for solo playing.

I do have regular guitars, mandolins, bass and ukes that get much more play. But it's nice to pull the tenor out when I just want to play something different.

Probably said more than you asked, but if you like somewhat oddball instruments and unique sounds, a tenor is a good choice.
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Old 10-07-2017, 11:59 AM
SpruceTop SpruceTop is offline
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Nick Reynolds, The Kingston Trio! The Kingston Trio Place
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Old 10-07-2017, 06:23 PM
Steve DeRosa Steve DeRosa is offline
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I'm working with two tenor guitar players right now, one who plays in traditional CGDA tuning (you'll need to learn a whole new set of fingerings) and another who uses DGBE"Chicago"/baritone uke tuning. In the first case we'll be using it at an old-time country gig later this month (along with guitar, bass, mandolin, and 6-string banjo), and it lends a shimmer and sparkle to the guitar parts - almost a 12-string or "Nashville" tuning character - that provides a nice contrast to the "plunk" of the banjo and the mandolin's "bark" in much the same register. The second player is making the transition from uke to tenor guitar, and since she's already familiar with baritone tuning she opted to use it on tenor as well. In this instance we're using it as a transition instrument, to fill out texture between a dreadnaught guitar (strong low end) and a tenor uke in re-entrant (high-G fourth string) tuning and help lend a smoother, more homogeneous sound to the mix...

That said, I've been using a tenor banjo tuned to drop-G tenor uke (GCEA low-to-high) extensively and effectively for some time. In case you're not aware, this all-but-forgotten alternate banjo tuning (TMK Chuck Romanoff of Schooner Fare - from whom I learned about it - is the sole active proponent) was adopted in the 1920's by uke players looking to move to tenor banjo and make some money in the speakeasy jazz bands of the day, and abandoned when both the banjo and uke gave way to the archtop guitar in the early-30's. If you're going to be playing with other musicians it makes an excellent lead instrument - I've used mine for traditional/neo-trad folk, Irish/Celtic, sea chanteys, gospel bluegrass (played fingerstyle when my 5-string had issues), and as a substitute for a samisen at a school chorus concert - and I have no reason to believe that a similarly-tuned tenor guitar will not be equally versatile; you'll need to assemble a custom string set though - tenor guitars are far more lightly constructed than their 6-string counterparts, and since pre-packaged tenor sets won't work for this application, I'd recommend using one of the online string tension calculators to help you put together an appropriate set...
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Old 10-08-2017, 05:23 AM
philjs philjs is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnnySmash View Post
What do you think of the tenor guitar as a stand alone solo instrument?
I play an 8-string tenor, configured as a bouzar (a bouzouki in a tenor guitar body, 23" scale), tuned GDGC (same intervals as DADG), in my trio. We recently recorded, then had a video done, of our take on a Stan Rogers tune, called "The Giant". I may be -- probably am -- the first to play slap harmonics on one but there was a good reason for it...since the song is about a mythical giant associated with Bras d'Or (the inland sea in the middle of Cape Breton Island) the harmonics were intended to sound like the bell on a buoy on the foggy lake.



Also, check out local Halifax, NS artist Joel Plaskett. He often accompanies his original songs on tenor guitar. Try a simple Google or Youtube search for "Joel Plaskett tenor guitar"...I think you'll be impressed (I know I am!)

Phil
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Old 11-09-2017, 06:30 AM
norseman norseman is offline
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Question Contemplating an addition

I have too many stringed instruments already, but my playing time has eroded since my regular jam partner passed away a couple of years ago. I could use a boost to my motivation to play so the addition of a tenor guitar comes to mind.

I had a vintage Harmony tenor at one time, but gave it to my son-in-law when he expressed a desire to own one. Now I'm shopping around.

I recently ran across a very positive review of a tenor guitar made by Breedlove, but it seems they stopped making them in the early 2000s. I'd appreciate hearing from anyone who owns one. I'm also curious about the tenor guitar made my Gold Tone. Anyone care to comment?

Thanks.
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Old 11-09-2017, 07:03 AM
HHP HHP is offline
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Like this?

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  #9  
Old 11-16-2017, 06:43 AM
norseman norseman is offline
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Default Back in the tenor guitar fold

I once had a vintage Harmony tenor bought when I was head over heels in love with the Kingston Trio. That phase ended and the tenor guitar went unattended in its case. Then my son-in-law admired it at a time when I was struggling with several physical ailments that limited my playing time so I gave it to him. He has made good use of it - more than I ever did. Several years ago I began to regret not having a tenor guitar so I posted a note here on the AGF seeking to trade one of my six strings guitars for a four string tenor. I found no takers so I shopped around for an outright sale and found a vintage Regal tenor guitar through Reverb.com. It is being shipped to me with arrival expected next Monday. Meanwhile I've been checking out video clips on YouTube.


I'm glad to be back in the tenor guitar fold.
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