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Taylor and Tenor
May-09-2010, 5:53am
I have been looking at new tenor guitars on the internet and local shops in the $500.00 price range to be played at traditional Irish music sessions. Although I have seen and played the Martin tenor, I have yet to find a BlueRidge BR40T tenor guitar, only pictures. No local shops have or will stock a BlueRidge.

The body of the Martin is high pressure laminate with a laminated wood neck. Whereas the BlueRidge is all wood. The street prices are $449.00 for the Martin and $369.00 for the BlueRidge.

Looking for opinions on both of these instruments from a sound, playability and overall quality point of view.

flatt
May-09-2010, 7:36am
This is the place for all those questions - http://theunofficialblueridgeguitarforum18213.yuku.com/

I have a new Blueridge BR 43 which is down the bottom end of the Blueridge catalogue. I also have a 60's Martin 0018, so that's not really comparing like for like, but the Blueridge is certainly a lovely instrument. From all accounts the Blueridges are better than the new Martins, and in my personal experience the few new cheaper Martins that I've heard sound a lot more like "a new guitar" (i.e. thin and flat) than my Blueridge which sounds already mature and full.

I would personally suggest the Blueridge.

big smiley guy
May-09-2010, 8:06am
It's hard to say what one will sound better because with large factory guitars finding the one that really sounds great is usually a bit of a crapshoot. The Blueridge is solid wood which will be more aesthetically pleasing. Unfortunately, it's hard to find someplace where you can test drive tenor guitars.

Cary Fagan
May-09-2010, 8:39am
I've tried both in stores more than once and liked the Blueridge much better. Both Better sounding and better looking. Very nice neck. And certainly more for your money, given the woods.

northfolk
May-09-2010, 8:41am
I have not played the Martin tenor, but I recently purchased the Blueridge tenor and like it very much; seems to be a pretty good value for the money. :mandosmiley:~o)

sunburst
May-09-2010, 9:10am
While this price range get's close to the range of "throw-away" guitars (who want's so spend $350 for a neck reset on a $350 guitar?), a Martin has a life time warranty to the original owner, and at least can be repaired. I don't know what the Blue Ridge warranty is, or whether they can be repaired economically.

Charles E.
May-09-2010, 2:29pm
The Blue Ridge is basicly a copy of a Martin O-18 T, at that price point it is probably a better deal. Getting a real O-18 T is going to cost alot more.

SincereCorgi
May-09-2010, 7:43pm
Although I haven't heard their new tenor, I haven't been that impressed by the sound of the other low-end laminate Martins. By contrast, I've been very impressed with the quality and sound of the Blueridge guitars. If I didn't already have a Gold Tone TG-18 as my 'B' tenor guitar, I'd be all over a Blueridge.

mikeyes
May-10-2010, 12:15pm
I have both and I play the Blueridge much more than the laminate Martin. I like the Martin and I am fascinated by the fact that they can make an instrument out of what appears to be engineered wood and make it sound good but the Blueridge feels and sounds better.

You may be able to play the Martin underwater, however.

grumpycoyote
May-10-2010, 1:57pm
I played the Martin this weekend - while I was pleasantly surprised at the MDF top (it didn't sound too bad), pound for pound I think BR makes a better guitar (than the LXM series). I've played several of the BR 6 strings and the fit, finish, and tone were very good for the price.

Note on value that the BR does not come with a case, and the Martin does come with a gig bag - so you have to add a bit to the BR price, but it's still cheaper over all.

I'm very tempted to pull the trigger on the Blue Ridge over the Gold Tone or the Martin... I keep an old Harmony tenor Chicago strung, and want one in 5ths in a very bad way.

Wildflower
May-15-2010, 11:02am
It sounds like the Blueridge has a better tone than the Little Martin LXM but how does it compare in volume? I have a little Martin LXM and it is a very nice instrument but I mainly it play it at home or just with a few friends as I think that it would have a hard time holding up in large sessions.

Joe Mendel
May-15-2010, 11:11am
I tried the LXM Martin Tenor a few months ago & thought it had a very "autoharp-ish" quality to the sound. It wasn't what I was expecting to hear, I didn't care for it. I have not heard the Blueridge

grumpycoyote
May-16-2010, 2:42am
I got my Blueridge in the mail this morning, played a live set this afternoon. I was mic'd through the PA with a cheap vocal mic - and the little Blueridge filled the hall. Blew me away. I stand by my assessment so far - the LXM is good only if you need a water-proof axe. Pound for pound, the Blueridge is easily twice the value.

The BR is louder, and has a much more complex sound than I expected. Currently tuned CGDA - with daddarios. Full, loud (for a tenor) and rings like a bell, great sustain. I'll do a review and a video in a couple of days.

For now I can't put it down.

Wildflower
May-16-2010, 9:48am
According to the Martin Company, recommended string gauges for the Little Martin Tenor LXM was .010p, .014p. 023w. .030w.

What string gauges does well for the Blueridge Tenor guitar? (for fifths).

grumpycoyote
May-16-2010, 12:12pm
The J66's are 010 014 022w 032w - work great for CDGA and are supposed to be fine for down-tuning to GDAE as well (although I suspect they'll be a little spongey that low).

I think the 30 would be too light for my taste.

WoodyCTA102
May-16-2010, 8:21pm
I have a Blueridge Br-40T. Several years ago I owned an early 1930s Martin 018T. I love tenor guitars. I think the Blueridge sounds very good and plays well. It has a nice big neck. Sure, the Martin sounded a little bit better, but not a whole lot. And it had a bowed neck, higher action and was rapidly approaching a neck reset which would have cost more than the Blueridge -- so I sold it.

I tune the Blueridge CGDA usually. I tried GDAE (with thicker strings), but I think the GDAE tuning was pushing the guitar's structure a bit, so it's CGDA now.

There are some tenors out there with a little more mojo than the Blueridge, but it'll cost you. For example, I have a 1960s Gibson tenor that feels better and looks nicer than the Blueridge. I really like playing the Gibson, but I can't really say it sounds a whole lot better than the Blueridge. The Blueridge is definitely louder.

If you are interested in a tenor, and don't want to pay over $1000, I think the Blueridge 40T is a real deal at under $400 new. Oh yea, mine has a truss rod. I understand some of them do not.

Good luck.

Jean Fugal
May-16-2010, 8:44pm
Anybody make a case for them? What size?

grumpycoyote
May-16-2010, 11:55pm
Anybody make a case for them? What size?

The "Canadian" size 0 fits great. Over on Elderly.

PicknFool
Nov-24-2011, 11:02am
I have been looking at new tenor guitars on the internet and local shops in the $500.00 price range to be played at traditional Irish music sessions. Although I have seen and played the Martin tenor, I have yet to find a BlueRidge BR40T tenor guitar, only pictures. No local shops have or will stock a BlueRidge.

The body of the Martin is high pressure laminate with a laminated wood neck. Whereas the BlueRidge is all wood. The street prices are $449.00 for the Martin and $369.00 for the BlueRidge.

Looking for opinions on both of these instruments from a sound, playability and overall quality point of view.

The Blueridge is all wood but laminated mahogany back & sides.

Elwood Garrett
Nov-24-2011, 1:16pm
I`m diggin` the Blueridge! Maury`s Music has it for $362.00 US.

Blueridge BR-40T Tenor (http://www.maurysmusic.com/inc/sdetail/89209)

BBarton
Nov-25-2011, 1:19pm
I recently acquired a mid-60s Martin 0-18T -- 'love the sound and had to have the mojo!. Indeed the J66 strings did sound spongy so I cobbled up some strings I had around the house and ended up with .011, .018, .027W and .039W. 'Sounds fine for EADG, except the bass string is still a bit sloppy. Got it without case and just ordered a "Canadian" 0 case for it. Elderly has two "Canadian" 0 models -- a flattop and an arch-top; they do indicate that the flattop with 13-1/2" lower bout capacity might be a squeeze for the Martin, which has lower bout just a bit wider (about 13-3/4) than other brands; I ordered the archtop to be safe. All that said, if I was to buy new between the Blueridge and the Martin LXM, I would probably go with the solid top Blueridge. I haven't played a BR tenor, but their regular guitars are quite nice for the price. Is the LXM also laminated mahog back and sides, or solid?

Ed Goist
Jan-30-2012, 11:04pm
Here is a very good (and impressive, IMO) demo video for the Blueridge BR-40T. It also provides some basic history on the tenor.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2hjsfK69S3w

thinnestman
Mar-02-2012, 7:25pm
The Blueridge is all wood but laminated mahogany back & sides.

All Blueridge tenor guitars are laminate back and sides!

Beanzy
Mar-12-2012, 2:48am
All that said, if I was to buy new between the Blueridge and the Martin LXM, I would probably go with the solid top Blueridge. I haven't played a BR tenor, but their regular guitars are quite nice for the price. Is the LXM also laminated mahog back and sides, or solid?

I wouldn't worry about the solid/laminate thing. I thought I was buying a decent learner's instrument but the sound out of the LXM I bought is really rich with lovely sustain. I don't know how they get it like that, they must have put a lot of effort into making the technique work. Best suggestion I have is to get a chance to play both if you can, so you really know the difference 1st hand.

kevinw
May-04-2012, 11:52am
I play both a Martin LXM tenor and a Blueridge 40T. The Blueridge is definitely a better guitar in almost all aspects: better sound, playability, volume, appearance. There are a couple of reasons to go with the Martin (which is also a fine guitar): 1. the Martin is smaller in size and so easier if you are petite or have small hands; 2. the Martin is all laminate, so will probably hold up well if traveling a lot or exposing it to big temperature/humidity changes.

For the price of a Martin LXM tenor, you could buy the Blueridge 40T, a nice case, and a decent Epiphone mandolin.

Ed Goist
May-04-2012, 2:15pm
Thanks for the comments Kevin, and welcome to the Cafe!
Just last night, after an extended playing session, I again found myself amazed by my Blueridge BR-40T.
What an GREAT tenor guitar, at any price...And it's just a remarkable value!

mrmando
May-04-2012, 2:33pm
Hm. I finally had the chance to play a BR40T and was underwhelmed. Perhaps I'd like it better after a setup job (action seemed high and tone was thin).

Ed Goist
May-04-2012, 2:56pm
Martin, mine has a great set-up, but it's much more than that...
Crisp, clean, and rich tone across all strings, and substantial volume. It's every bit as good (well, frankly better) than my 2009 Martin 000-15M (which I also love).
Maybe I just got lucky and got a good one! :)

Beanzy
May-05-2012, 4:09am
For the price of a Martin LXM tenor, you could buy the Blueridge 40T, a nice case, and a decent Epiphone mandolin.

The above doesn't hold water in the UK BR-60 RRP 479 and the Martin LXM tenor is RRP 499 (Though I got mine in a clearance sale for 350)

markjosephs
May-06-2012, 12:14pm
I own the Blueridge BR40T and it is the best acoustic tenor guitar made for the price. Buy it while the price is low and they still make them. It plays and sounds great. The prices range from under $400 to around $500 and you get a guitar that looks and sounds like a $1500 guitar in my opinion.

Banjer
May-10-2012, 9:11am
I just purchased my Blueridge 40T (used) and love it. Coming from a banjo background I find it easy to play, not as loud as my banjo, but that is to be expected.