PDA

View Full Version : Tenor Guitars



Timbuck
08-15-2014, 12:54 AM
I've noticed over the last year that Tenor guitars are becoming more popular than they've ever been before...Could it be that a lot of ukulele players are now moving on to a more fuller sounding 4 string instrument. ?

connor013
08-15-2014, 01:09 AM
I've noticed over the last year that Tenor guitars are becoming more popular than they've ever been before...Could it be that a lot of ukulele players are now moving on to a more fuller sounding 4 string instrument. ?

I got one for exactly that reason, Ken. Since I didn't come to the uke from a guitar background, it's nice to have a larger, lower-tuned, steel-stringed instrument. That said, I don't play it nearly as much as my soprano (or baritone).

Pete Howlett
08-15-2014, 01:58 AM
Good job it's my ext personal build then isn't it?

thenewb
08-15-2014, 02:12 AM
Hmm possibly. Tenor guitar was actually gaining popularity in recent years even from the mandolin communities. The fifth tuning transitions pretty easily from mandolin family to tenor guitar. There's even a separate tenor guitar section on mandolincafe.com.

In my case, I was intially into mandolins, then MAS hits and I went on to an octave mandolins, tenor guitar and even tried a little baritone uke. I've rekindled my interest in ukes because mandolins, tenor guitar and baritone ukes are not easily available in China and I need something to strum.

FarmerBill
08-15-2014, 03:30 AM
I heard of tenor guitars about a year ago and wanted to give one a try. Nobody around here had one so I built one based on the old Regal tenor. It came out well and is very different than the tenor uke that I play most of the time. The 21" scale and steel strings make playing more work as well the different chords. I like the sound and will keep it to play with. One person wants me to make them one when I get the time and I don't think I will sell this one, it is a keeper.

Bill

SteveZ
08-15-2014, 04:12 AM
After 50 years of playing my stiff old hands finally gave up on trying to handle six strings. However, the four-string tenor filled my guitar needs by requiring a little less agility (at least to me) and keeping the basic sound. Thanks to the tenor guitar my granddaughter has early-inherited all my six-string stuff - a winner for both of us.

Patrick Madsen
08-15-2014, 05:31 AM
It may be old guitarists like myself want the old steel string sound without the added length of a TG or guitar; hence the search for steel strung tenor and baritone ukes.

Gary Gill
08-15-2014, 07:10 AM
Does that mean we need to start building them? I'm just catching on to ukuleles.

Beau Hannam Ukuleles
08-15-2014, 07:53 AM
Im starting a tassy blackwood and sinker redwood top tenor guitar in a few weeks to match a tenor uke :) .

Looking forward to this build :)

mds725
08-15-2014, 09:22 AM
Im starting a tassy blackwood and sinker redwood top tenor guitar in a few weeks to match a tenor uke :) .

Looking forward to this build :)

Me too. :) :)

I bought my first tenor guitar (a Blueridge), tuned "Chicago" tuning (DGBE) precisely to get a sound closer to that of a steel string guitar than I could get with a nylon string baritone, but without the hassle or unwieldliness of a six string guitar (I have a beautiful six string steel string dreadnaught, but I kind of dread playing it). I asked for it to be tuned DGBE so I wouldn't have to learn new chord shapes, although that may make me something of a parriah in the tenor guitar community, which has only recently begun to warm up to Chicago tuning. I like the lower voice of the tenor guitar and I really enjoy the different sound produced by steel strings. Since then, I have become the proud owner of a Compass Rose steel string DGBE baritone ("don't call em a tenor guitar; being tuned DGBE makes me an ukulele!") ukulele and a Sexauer steel string CGEA tenor ukulele. I am excitedly awaiting my first custom built tenor guitar from the amazing Beau Hannam.

SteveZ
08-15-2014, 09:35 AM
Tuning is a personal choice thing, and whatever works for the musician is all that matters.

I go back-and-forth with my tenor (a Blueridge) as far as tuning (CGDA to GDAE). Earlier today took off the steel-string CGDA and went to nylon GDAE. Who knows what tomorrow will bring?

Timbuck
08-15-2014, 09:52 AM
Just as I suspected....time to start looking for Tenor Guitar plans:uhoh::uhoh:

Gary Gill
08-15-2014, 09:54 AM
Just as I suspected....time to start looking for Tenor Guitar plans:uhoh::uhoh:

Let us know what you come up with.

connor013
08-15-2014, 10:33 AM
Just as I suspected....time to start looking for Tenor Guitar plans:uhoh::uhoh:

In case you're looking for unsolicited advice: I spent a fair amount of time hunting for a TG with a wider nut; the traditional banjo-esque 1.25" -- or even 1"! -- felt too narrow. So if you're thinking of marketing to the uke crowd, maybe consider a 1 3/8" nut.

gnordenstam
08-15-2014, 10:39 AM
Kala introduced a tenor guitar at the end of May this year. I think it made its first appearance at the Summer NAMM. Here are some videos...

http://www.sweetwater.com/insync/summer-namm-2014-kala-tenor-guitar/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wcrBRL9cuuU&feature=youtu.be&t=2s

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LrhQ-wqpXio&feature=youtu.be&t=1s

--G

Patrick Madsen
08-15-2014, 02:49 PM
UMMM, plenty of tenor guitars around Tim. How bout making baritones with steel strings. I'm sure many of the guys who bought TG's would rather have a baritone with ss but went TG to get that steels string sound back.

rudy
08-15-2014, 03:29 PM
Don't miss the John Lawlor YouTube Tenor Guitar stuff:
http://youtu.be/aTjm60tm2WY

Michael N.
08-15-2014, 10:48 PM
Just as I suspected....time to start looking for Tenor Guitar plans:uhoh::uhoh:

Get the pencil and paper out. I start with the scale length and bridge position. Decide the fret No./body join - of course the bridge position is a result of both these factors.
Then it's just a matter of bridge position in relation to the widest point of the lower bout. Decide Body length, lower bout, waist, upper bout width. then it's a fairly simple matter of playing around with the parameters and using the eye, drawing a 'fair curve' (although you don't have to!) Anything can be changed at any time, bout widths etc. although it's probably not a bad idea to stay with a string length as a constant. The rest is very straightforward.
58 cm string length is in the region of some Terz Guitars. Doing a 4 string version of a Terz would result in a Tenor Guitar and a perfectly valid one.

Sven
08-16-2014, 12:29 AM
I have a very cool tenor Dobro resonator guitar from the 1930's. But I need to straighten the neck. I was looking for those fat tang fretwires but Rick Turner told me to stop and just pop off the fretboard and add a trussrod. So I'll do that when I've worked up the courage. Any year now...

ukantor
08-16-2014, 12:59 AM
As Michael N says, it is perfectly possible to design the shape and size for a tenor guitar, but someone used to making ukuleles would have to take account of the higher string tension from the steel strings, and build accordingly. Then there is the matter of the wide variety of different bracing patterns used in guitars.

I think Ken would be wise to do some research into these areas.

John Colter.

FarmerBill
08-16-2014, 03:26 AM
I built my plans from the Scott Antes Regal tenor guitar plans that I got from Elderly.

Bill

ukantor
08-16-2014, 03:58 AM
That sounds like a plan!

NatalieS
09-09-2014, 01:14 AM
Definitely excited about the increasing popularity of tenor guitars. Pono has released a nylon-stringed one in limited numbers-- an all acacia came out in July, and a rosewood/spruce is coming out next month. I'm not sure how many they're making at this time, but I pre-ordered a rosewood/spruce and can't wait to get it.

SteveZ
09-09-2014, 02:29 AM
Definitely excited about the increasing popularity of tenor guitars. Pono has released a nylon-stringed one in limited numbers-- an all acacia came out in July, and a rosewood/spruce is coming out next month. I'm not sure how many they're making at this time, but I pre-ordered a rosewood/spruce and can't wait to get it.

Am looking forward to seeing one. It has to be a lot lighter than my Blueridge 40T in order to be driven efficiently by nylon strings. In the alternative until I can handle the Pono TG, have restrung my Pono Pro Classic tenor uke CGDA and it sounds/feels very good this way.

Beau Hannam Ukuleles
09-09-2014, 04:02 AM
Tassy blackwood tenor guitar im building at the moment- it will have a sinker redwood top and cocobolo bindings to match a tenor uke.
70678

ericchico
09-09-2014, 04:37 AM
70679

This is one I thought was a big ole Uke until a UU member informed me it was a TG. A guy at work is selling it to me, needs a little work. Its a Martin from 1950. I have never played one so Im excited to get it playing hopefully by the end of next month. Needs new tuner knobs and theres a crack from a drop that needs to be taken care of.

SteveZ
09-09-2014, 05:40 AM
Tassy blackwood tenor guitar im building at the moment- it will have a sinker redwood top and cocobolo bindings to match a tenor uke.
70678

Looks like it will be a beauty!

mds725
09-09-2014, 08:00 AM
Tassy blackwood tenor guitar im building at the moment- it will have a sinker redwood top and cocobolo bindings to match a tenor uke.
70678

http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=70547&d=1409888419

thistle3585
09-09-2014, 09:16 AM
I know a lot more mandolin players are getting in to tenor guitars that are tuned GDAE along with an increased popularity in Octave Mandolins. I've got a couple in process including an electric.

SteveZ
09-09-2014, 09:39 AM
Just retuned my tenor guitar from GDAE back to CGDA. Had it at GDAE to match with the mandolin, but prefer the sound a bit more mellow with the C as low and no E.

Minor Adjustment
09-09-2014, 07:08 PM
Can the TG be strung DGBE like the Baritone Uke?

Jim Hanks
09-09-2014, 07:16 PM
Sure - with the right set of strings

mds725
09-09-2014, 08:03 PM
Can the TG be strung DGBE like the Baritone Uke?

That's known in the tenor guitar world as "Chicago tuning."

Minor Adjustment
09-09-2014, 11:17 PM
Thank you for your replies. It would seem that i am a newbie, but as the web url was changed, I cannot come out with my old username (fromthee2me) as I botched the 5 tries. It does not matter, as my new username is fine, and I enjoy reading the builder's threads . Regarding TGs, the Pono demo is very mellow with nylon strings tuned DGBE (string make unknown), and the Kala demos with steel strings is a lot brighter, which I assume is tuned like a mandolin? I should try and find out what a steel string TG sounds like when tuned DGBE.

KentF
09-10-2014, 12:27 AM
There is a tenor plan posted here;
http://www.anzlf.com/viewtopic.php?f=32&t=5821

Kent

aaronckeim
09-10-2014, 05:30 AM
Hey Folks- Sorry to enter into this discussion so late.

I have been playing tenor guitars in Chicago tuning for quite sometime and have built two. I own an old Gibson, an old National and an old Earnest Instruments electric.

The trick for all of you builders is to keep the body size proportional to the small neck and less than a normal guitar string tension. I think it is better to approach these as a big baritone uke with a beefier top than a regular guitar body with a small neck. my 2 cents.

mds725
09-10-2014, 08:23 AM
Thank you for your replies. It would seem that i am a newbie, but as the web url was changed, I cannot come out with my old username (fromthee2me) as I botched the 5 tries. It does not matter, as my new username is fine, and I enjoy reading the builder's threads . Regarding TGs, the Pono demo is very mellow with nylon strings tuned DGBE (string make unknown), and the Kala demos with steel strings is a lot brighter, which I assume is tuned like a mandolin? I should try and find out what a steel string TG sounds like when tuned DGBE.

This video may be helpful. It's a comparison of two nylon string baritone ukuleles (a Pono mahogany and a Makai sprucetop) and a Blueridge BR-40T steel string tenor guitar, all tuned DGBE.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7iXztZXiPIo

Matt Clara
09-10-2014, 09:29 AM
The only thing it should say here about tenor guitars is that they aren't ukuleles, as in, "Don't be lettin' them there tenor guitars fool you, they sure as shootin' ain't ukuleles! No sir, they are not."
;)

igorthebarbarian
09-12-2014, 03:37 PM
This is a great video mds725.

I tried a Tenor Guitar and it just felt too big for me; felt like driving a boat! I had it in Chicago/DGBE tuning so I just played my normal gCEA chords/shapes. The strings weren't that painful, but the overall size was just too big for me.



This video may be helpful. It's a comparison of two nylon string baritone ukuleles (a Pono mahogany and a Makai sprucetop) and a Blueridge BR-40T steel string tenor guitar, all tuned DGBE.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7iXztZXiPIo

Michael N.
09-12-2014, 10:59 PM
You really would hit a serious iceberg if you picked up a full size Guitar! I better not mention a Theorbo.