I want to take one last swipe at the term “steel string Baritone”. First, let me say that Rick or anyone else should be able to call their instrument what they want. Therefore, in the final analysis, the term is legit. Given the present popularity of the Ukulele vs the Tenor Guitar, “SSB” (try that for a model name, Rick) should make for more successful marketing, and we all wish for success for our fellow instrument builders.
Nonetheless, a Tenor Guitar player will feel a sense of encroachment. Taking an “organological” approach, I don’t think you have to apply “guitar classifications” to every member of the guitar family. In other words, just because guitars can be guitars regardless of their stringing/bracing, doesn’t mean the Ukulele and Tenor Guitar should be forced to adopt “guitar rules”. They have their own history, and to me, it’s pretty evident that the only exclusive difference between the two is the stringing & bracing. Classifying by tuning is a lot more nebulous, and in the case of these two, there was no need for a 4-string instrument that could be played in Linear G – it already existed.
“Chicago tuning” (same as standard Baritone tuning) refers to the early era when Jazz first flowered in Chicago - when fellows largely from here in New Orleans brought the music north. That was the mid to late 20s, coincidentally when the instrument factories in Chicago started building those first Baritone Ukulele sized Tenor Guitars.
That’s when the “guitar”-based Chicago tuning really took off – likely because once you had something that looked like a guitar rather than a banjo, it was more likely to be played that way, as opposed to 5ths tuning. But Chicago tuning actually predates the term itself.
The “Tenor” Guitar was, indeed based on the “Tenor” Banjo, but just as it’s you shouldn’t diminish Chicago tuning on the Tenor Guitar, it’s also a mistake to think a lot of people didn’t use that set-up on the Tenor Banjo.
Some of the earliest Jazz bands here in New Orleans featured banjos tuned that way and it’s always been one of the two most popular ways to tune the Tenor Banjo (along with 5ths). I wouldn’t know how to put a percentage on it, but the first I heard of was Johnny St. Cyr in the very beginning, and it continued through Danny Barker (who started out hustling in the Quarter as a boy on a Banjo-Uke). I know a lot of banjo players still use it now.
These players also often played guitar, but again, it’s a “guitar-centric” view to think of them as guitarists playing banjo. Most here thought of them as banjo players who also played guitar. After all the banjo was the band instrument, the guitar was the solo instrument, and the good paying jobs were band work. No one here would dream of using a term like “cheaters” for some of Jazz’s great originators.
So, if a 4-string instrument of a Baritone Ukulele size and scale already existed, why create the Baritone Ukulele? The one thing Tenor Guitars never have had was classical strings. I suppose by “guitar rules” you could say they never should have never taken on the "Baritone Ukulele" name to begin with – they should have just started making classical strung Tenor Guitars. Still, the folks in those days had the same “right of a builder” to choose the name they wanted. They decided the different stringing & bracing justified a new name, and I’m sure some marketing considerations went into that decision as well. Those who play Tenor Guitars will likely stick to the traditional division, but then again, the SSB isn’t going to be marketed to them anyway.
Things do change, however, and the Tenor Guitars in production today are larger instruments (mainly to accommodate the deeper C note of 5ths tuning). Maybe since the original small size Tenor Guitars haven’t been made in such a long time, a new name (the SSB?) can fill the void.