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View Full Version : Was I crazy to buy this tenor?



Cary Fagan
Mar-06-2010, 10:47am
I saw this ebay listing last night and as I'd never seen a tenor for only $80 before I jumped and bought it. I've never had a real tenor (I use a baritone uke tuned as an octave mando) and would like to try it. What do you think? The colour leaves something to be desired.

http://cgi.ebay.ca/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=360241081709&ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT

JEStanek
Mar-06-2010, 11:47am
Heck if it's playable and sounds OK its probably a great price for getting into the tenor guitar. Losing $80 bucks is like a couple tanks of gas. If you can get more than a month's worth of learning/pleasure out of it, it's paid for itself. Luck (potentially) deal for you!

Jamie

MikeEdgerton
Mar-06-2010, 11:52am
Even with the shipping... 61.00.... it doesn't seem that bad.

rico mando
Mar-06-2010, 1:17pm
he is in ontario. thats only one tank of gas.

Charles E.
Mar-08-2010, 6:47pm
Given that it has a St. Christopher madalion in the headstock it should arrive safely. ;)

mrmando
Mar-08-2010, 6:56pm
To answer the original question, you have to be crazy to buy any tenor. If you're extra crazy, you have two tenors, one of which is electric, and are contemplating a third. Like me, for instance.

Rob Gerety
Mar-08-2010, 7:08pm
Sure is cool looking. Hope the neck angle is ok.

Jim Garber
Mar-08-2010, 7:36pm
Looks like a Chinese made something. it doesn't look bad but the proof is in the playing. I saw Jinko tuners mentioned on an acoustic guitar forum and there were mixed reports. You can see when you get it if they function well or not. Despite what the seller says, I doubt it was refinished. It looks like a paint finish possibly to hide cheap wood. Butm, as those mentioned above, you don;t have lots in it so enjoy.

Ravenwood
Mar-09-2010, 12:42pm
He's in Toronto - that's only parking!

For $80 that can be a really great way to start. I started playing mando on one of those $60 specials. It didn't take long to replace it, but it was a cheap way to find out if I really wanted pursue it.

Cary Fagan
Mar-09-2010, 1:52pm
Well, I'll let you know when I get it. Probably end of week or start of next.

Life is such an adventure.

Pete Martin
Mar-10-2010, 11:48am
To answer the original question, you have to be crazy to buy any tenor. If you're extra crazy, you have two tenors, one of which is electric, and are contemplating a third. Like me, for instance.

You are nowhere near crazy unless you own into double figures...

EdSherry
Mar-13-2010, 8:40pm
Aside from the general proposition that one has to be at least a little bit crazy to want a tenor in the first place (I have a VERY bad case -- I own six of them, admittedly not Pete Martin's "double figures," but still enough to cause normal people to question my sanity), that one looks like a pretty good deal for $80.

Cary Fagan
Mar-17-2010, 9:00am
Okay, I've received it.

It's certainly an economy model, no doubt Asian made. It's in extremely good shape, almost no wear, neck straight, tuners fine. Just as orange as it looks in the pictures. The neck is probably standard nut width but but a little heavier (deep?) than modern tenors I've tried. Despite the big body it isn't loud--no doubt because of the laminate top. Seems to already be strong for gdae.

But as a first time instrument, to give a tenor a try, it's fine and I'm having fun with it. I've quickly realized that mandolin fingering won't cut it with a 23" scale length. So I've just started to get used to using my third finger on the fourth fret, pinky on the fifth, with various instinctive modifications depending on the tune. And I can see how you'd want to do as many double stops or drone strings as possible to enlarge the tenor sound. Which I'm liking. And finding playing a fun, though a challenge at the moment.

Which has already got me wondering; in the future a new tenor (I've seen Martin, Gold Tone, and Blueridge and like the Blueridge best) or a vintage? I like the smallness of those old Regals--plus they have a shorter scale--but wonder if they'd be awfully quiet and unuseable in a jam. Anybody have experience with less costly vintage instruments? And with shorter verses longer scale lengths?

Cary Fagan
Mar-17-2010, 10:06am
I've tried it with a lighter pick, rather than the extra heavy that I use for mandolin, and the sound is louder and brighter.

flatt
Mar-18-2010, 3:35am
Getting new instruments is always stressful; "am I going to like it? Is is a good one?" - but for the money, you've done the right thing. My tenor is a one-off trainee-luthier's first instrument - cheap; sounds good but the neck's a bit weird. However, it certainly has a place in my musical life, and I enjoy playing it - although not that often, I have to say. But I've written some songs on it, used it on recordings and generally had fun with it. If I'd spent 300 or more on one, it would be burning a hole in my brain now, but for under 100 it was a great purchase.

I'm sure you will find the same - unless, of course, it becomes your primary instrument. Have you listened to Seth Lakeman?





Okay, I've received it.

It's certainly an economy model, no doubt Asian made. It's in extremely good shape, almost no wear, neck straight, tuners fine. Just as orange as it looks in the pictures. The neck is probably standard nut width but but a little heavier (deep?) than modern tenors I've tried. Despite the big body it isn't loud--no doubt because of the laminate top. Seems to already be strong for gdae.

But as a first time instrument, to give a tenor a try, it's fine and I'm having fun with it. I've quickly realized that mandolin fingering won't cut it with a 23" scale length. So I've just started to get used to using my third finger on the fourth fret, pinky on the fifth, with various instinctive modifications depending on the tune. And I can see how you'd want to do as many double stops or drone strings as possible to enlarge the tenor sound. Which I'm liking. And finding playing a fun, though a challenge at the moment.

Which has already got me wondering; in the future a new tenor (I've seen Martin, Gold Tone, and Blueridge and like the Blueridge best) or a vintage? I like the smallness of those old Regals--plus they have a shorter scale--but wonder if they'd be awfully quiet and unuseable in a jam. Anybody have experience with less costly vintage instruments? And with shorter verses longer scale lengths?

Ken Sager
Mar-18-2010, 8:14am
Congrats and welcome to the Tenor Fold. I'm glad you lucked out and found a cheap playable tenor. That's no small feat when you really give it some thought. You've also already figured out that once you own one you need to continually look for another one, no matter how good yours is, or how well you play it. Fight the urge to be reasonable and surrender completely to the lovely tug of the longer scale 4-string joy that is the Tenor Guitar. Tuning one as GDAE, another as CGDA, another as DGBE... You get the picture. Your reward may not come in this decade, so be patient.

All the best to you and your new tenor,
Ken

fred d
Mar-21-2010, 10:37am
I've seen barritone uke strung up this way that sounded good not loud but good I took and old cheap guitar and strung it up with 4 strings tuned gdae and it sound deep and loud people look at me straing but oh well best of luck

Cary Fagan
May-09-2010, 8:48am
For those who read this thread, I thought I should do follow up. I was glad to have this tenor for a while, especially as it convinced me to switch my fingering to 'guitar style' which turns out to be not that hard to adapt to. After just a couple of weeks I realized this thing was too big for me--the scale length and the body. I sold it locally for what I paid (with shipping) minus 20 bucks--figured I should pay something for the lesson. Then I got what I'd been thinking about for quite some time, a 1920s regal tenor. Off ebay. spruce top, birch body, 21 inch scale. It had some cracks that I've fixed and needed a bridge. It turns out to be exactly what I wanted. Wonderful sound, playable size. It takes a while to find what you want. Fortunately the journey is a pleasurable one.