Re: Comparing the Currently Available Production Tenor Guitars
I've played the Gold Tone and a Blue Ridge 40 and both were comfortable players but not overwhelming in sound. I almost always play in C tuning and found both instruments to be a bit on the light side of output. I took a chance on an Aria AT Sunburst and was overwhelmed with the sound and after a modest tweaking of the saddle (bone) was amazed at the playability up the neck. I got it as it reminded me of my first tenor (most likely Tonk Brothers but unlabled) from the mid 1930's which finally become unplayable (no truss rod and the neck bowed badly).
The Aria is a bit different from almost all the production instruments currently offered as it's built on an auditorium sized body (virtually an OM size) with a very comfortable neck / fretboard. I have it strung with the same gauge strings as it came with ... equal in size as Elixer Light Mandolin and have been delighted with the playability, volume and intonation. I've checked every string, on every fret with my chromatic tuner and ... they are all spot on. While not common in the US, Aria has a huge following in Europe and GB and seem to be a more known marque over there. What helped me spring for it was a review I found in Acoustic Magazine (GB) from last year http://issuu.com/oysterhouse/docs/acoustic_issue_49 This site is a bit difficult to navigate around in but the review is pretty much spot on and worth the effort.
As an Auditorium sized instrument which you can travel with - this is an amazing buy, for a reasonable price.
Definitely not my Grandfathers tenor ...
Mandola fever is permanent.