View Full Version : My new Blueridge Tenor

Oct-04-2009, 10:32am
Welll I finally got it. Playing with string gauges now, .42 seeems a little light on G, .32 and .22 seem right on A E .12 a little light on E. Fit and finish are very good. Overall I'm very pleased, when I get the strings right I'll be very happy. Here are a couple pics.

Oct-04-2009, 10:49am
I'm envious .... I bought a BR-40 (the Martin 000-18 copy) by Blueridge when I was in the States in the summer .... and I really love it!

Is the BR Tenor solid woods throughout?

Oct-04-2009, 12:09pm
Blueridge are some fine-sounding guitars for cheap...I have a BG-60 that sounds like an old Gibson flattop. If I had known they were producing tenors, I would have sought one when I got my Gold Tone TG.

Oct-04-2009, 12:17pm
Chris, it has a laminate back and sides.

Catmandu2, this is the first one elderly recieved, they are brand new on the market. I've been waiting several months for them to hit dealers shelves.

Nov-15-2009, 5:43pm
How is your Blueridge tenor coming along?

I went and bought one recently and it will be delivered on Nov 17. I chose this one due to the good reputation of Blueridge and the fact that the price point competitors didn't seem to offer anything better, especially the LXM Martin.

I'll work on a review in a week or so.

Nov-15-2009, 9:01pm
I'm really liking it, this is my first tenor, don't know anyone local that has one, so I can't compare. It sounds good to me, I put D'Addario OM strings on it that are working well for GDAE. Let me know what you think of yours when you get it.


Nov-17-2009, 1:01pm
My Blueridge tenor just arrived over my lunch hour, so I have only had a few minutes with it. Nonetheless, here are my first impressions:

The first thing that strikes me about my new Blueridge tenor guitar is how much it resembles the Martin O-18T that I used to have. The second thing is how much it doesn't resemble the Martin.

The Blueridge brand is designed to be Martin East. I have long admired the six string guitars that they make - the value is terrific - and have enjoyed playing them. I never got around to buying one because I have a perfectly good Martin HD-28 that doesn't need replacing. The same can't be said of my current Regal tenor guitar.

I've owned an early Gibson tenor guitar (the one with the extra bridge pin), a Martin O-18T, and most recently a Regal tenor that I put together from an ebay disaster. The latter is a decent instrument and suited me well until I decided to start playing more tenor guitar as both backup and solo. My main music these days is Irish trad and I play the banjo, but there is a movement to play tenor guitar for certain tunes that I am trying to honor. The Regal simply didn't cut it for that kind of music.

Enter the need for a Tenor Guitar. Having foolishly sold my other tenors over the years, I was not in the mood to reclaim them for a lot more money than I had in them in the past. I know that these instruments will most likely accrue more value, but the older Martin and Gibson tenors I have come across have all had problems. I saw that Elderly had the Blueridge for sale for less than $400 and thought I would take a chance.

The reviews that I read on the various newer/cheaper tenor guitars were all very generic ("I played the ----- tenor guitar and it played like a tenor guitar") but I did like the sound of the other Blueridge guitars that I played. I figured that it was worth a trial. Since they were is short supply and I lucked out (it only took two weeks to get one) I figured I could always turn it over.

Back to my first impression: It looks like a Martin with a very modern finish on it. 23" scale, 14" (or so) lower bout, nice if slightly thick neck, and no adjustable truss rod. The inside was immaculate with the exception of a drop of finish on the neck block and some glue showing in the dark wood (ebony?, I doubt it) bridge plate. The workmanship is superb overall with the exception of the setup of the nut which is too high. The instrument has laminated back and sides and the soundboard is spruce which shows a lot of silking. One odd thing is that there seems to be a screw holding the fingerboard to the soundboard that is visible when you look at the top from the inside. This may be a peg that is used to place the fingerboard in the correct place. I can't tell with my mirror right now.

I don't like the finish (very un-Martin), but overall it is well made and solid. Nothing to complain about here with the exception of the setup at the nut. I'll take care of that.

When I first played it I was disappointed with the thin sound. But then, I always think that tenor guitars have a thin sound, possibly because they do. One of the problems was that I was using a thin pick. When I switched over to a Dunlop 207 the sound changed considerably. All of a sudden the C string had more volume and a more complex sound. Individual strings came to life and tone improved a lot.

I think that there are D'Addario bronze strings on the instrument. On another forum there have been a lot of criticism of these strings, mostly because the A strings break with "alarming frequency." They sounded good to me. Intonation was fairly good but the bridge is not compensated for these strings. The problem is minor, however and most of the time the notes sounded true.

Because the nut (and possible the bridge) is setup too high, I could not tell if chording was going to be a problem. Capoing up two frets required a lot of retuning and the tone was not as powerful as the open tuning. But that is not an unusual finding either.

I have a lot to do with this instrument before I can declare that it is the finest thing around, but from my brief experience with the two rivals at this price (Martin LXM and Gold Tone) it is the best of the bunch. If you can get near one, at least play it for a while if you are considering a tenor guitar. It is a good value.

The guitar comes with no case or gig bag. I got the Canadian tenor guitar case from Finecases which has not arrived yet. It should fit as the measurements are the same as the Martin that the case was designed for.

More later.

Nov-17-2009, 9:39pm

I got the same case from elderly and it fits like a champ. How are you tuning your tenor? I'm using the same pick that I use on my mando, a Red Bear C II-XH.


Nov-17-2009, 9:40pm
I lowered mine at the nut as well, may need a little more, but it's close.

Nov-18-2009, 10:21am

I am leaving it in cgda for now as I am looking at learning to play the Weiser style backup for fiddlers and viewing Eddy Davis youtubes for some ideas.

I played my Blueridge some more last night and am becoming a huge fan. With a thick pick this instrument is powerful and resonates, especially at the lower end of the scale. I capoed up two ( one of the tricks that Irish players use in cdga) and was able to find those powerful notes with a little adjustment to my right hand. I don't have the TG-1 anymore, but I think that the sound is as good. It is better than the 0-18t I had, but both instruments are only a memory and, as you know, you tend to love the one you are with when you play good instruments.

I will probably lower the nut today and shave off some of the excess nut in the process. I can't get over how well made it is but that is probably the reason it sounds so good.

At this point I have stopped being a neutral observer and have fallen into the partisan camp regarding the Blueridge.

Nov-18-2009, 2:25pm
When I put the heavier gauge strings on mine it really started booming, it pulled the action a little higher though. May try original gauge and capo as you suggested.