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Thread: Are there any 5-string tenors exist? Are there any vintage ones?

  1. #1

    Default Are there any 5-string tenors exist? Are there any vintage ones?

    hi

    Recently I'm fascinated by the idea of the 5-string tenor guitar, I like sweetness of the CGDA tuning, but sometimes I'd like to have this low string as well.

    Of course I can tune it GDAE and capo to get CGDA, but it will not be the same, and
    it also could be great for fingerstyle to have this additional string.

    so, are there any 5-string tenor guitars exist? Are there any vintage ones?

  2. #2
    Registered User fox's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are there any 5-string tenors exist? Are there any vintage on

    I have got one but I find it quite difficult to play, its the big fat .70w C string that I find the problem.
    I am sure there are other possible tunings but 5ths tuning is not that easy to span 5 strings.


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  4. #3

    Default Re: Are there any 5-string tenors exist? Are there any vintage on

    Fox,

    thanks, I've just realized there's a nice way to put 5 banjo style tuners on a guitar head

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    Registered User JH Murray's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are there any 5-string tenors exist? Are there any vintage on

    In the guitar world, New Standard Tuning is in fifths. If you google some of their forums you will find a lot of discussions on the merits of five string guitars. Robert Fripp was the first big promoter of NST.

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    Default Re: Are there any 5-string tenors exist? Are there any vintage on

    Paul Lestock of Arrow Guitars & Mandolins makes 5-string tenor guitars...in fact, I have two of them! Tuned FCGDA, they can be strung with a pack of "normal" guitar strings. I like that tuning so much, that I tune my 4 string tenors as FCGD.


    https://photos.google.com/search/Arr...Zx8ca5-_320nYo

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    Registered User DavidKOS's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are there any 5-string tenors exist? Are there any vintage on

    Quote Originally Posted by JH Murray View Post
    In the guitar world, New Standard Tuning is in fifths. If you google some of their forums you will find a lot of discussions on the merits of five string guitars. Robert Fripp was the first big promoter of NST.
    Yes, Robert Fripp's creation:

    CGDAEG or sometimes

    CGDAEA

    Crafty guitar

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    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are there any 5-string tenors exist? Are there any vintage on

    Quote Originally Posted by Roman Pekar View Post
    so, are there any 5-string tenor guitars exist? Are there any vintage ones?
    F.A. Thorp of Houston made the first one I know about, in the late 1950s:
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Emando.com: More than you wanted to know about electric mandolins.

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    Registered User mikeyes's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are there any 5-string tenors exist? Are there any vintage on

    There is a recent thread by Roger Landes showing his Herb Taylor five string tenor guitar (that Roger designed) if you look for it. Very interesting stuff, I might add.

    Mike Keyes

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    Registered User MdJ's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are there any 5-string tenors exist? Are there any vintage on

    Dear Roman,
    I own three 5 string tenors and a 5 string tenor baritone - two are short scale 6 string conversions - tuned FCGDA

    A Gibson ES125 3/4t converted by Joel Eckhaus of Earnest Instruments

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    And a '60s japanese made Lindell cowboy guitar converted by Jim Ellsberry of Ellsberry Guitars

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    And a Paracho built Guitarra de Golpe (a 5 string mariachi instrument) which was modded for FCGDA tuning by Patrick McGrath of McGrath Music

    Click image for larger version. 

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    I also own a related instrment, a Schecter Celloblaster, which has a 26.5" scale and i have tuned BbFCGD - a baritone tenor would probably best describe it. It is the only non conversion/ non modified instrument in the group - this is a pic of the same model as the one i own, but mine is black.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    The guy to talk to about the 5 string thing is Lowell (Banana) Levinger and his custom Giaocomel 5 string is an incredible instrument, probably a benchmark by which other instruments can be judged. I have never heard tell of a vintage 5 string but if anyone could speak with real knowledge on the matter it would be Banana. You probably know this already but his website

    http://www.vintageinstruments.com

    Is a great resource.

    All the best,

    MdJ
    Last edited by MdJ; Nov-14-2015 at 11:46pm.

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    Default Re: Are there any 5-string tenors exist? Are there any vintage on

    There's a 5 string balkan instrument much like a tenor guitar, but I'm drawing a blank on useful details like name, nation, & how its strung. If I recall correctly, it has 3 single and one double course of strings, and comes in a suite of sizes, from approximately mando sized to guitar or even bass sized. I'd think that with a new nut & bridge, you could easily convert one to make a 5 string TG.

    Ah, found it. Here's a pic

    Click image for larger version. 

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    http://www.worldfrets.com/tamburitza.html

    It appears not all tamburitzas are 5 string, but at least a couple of examples on the above page qualify.

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    Default Re: Are there any 5-string tenors exist? Are there any vintage on

    Speaking of Robert Fripp, I just saw him with King Crimson in concert last night with Tony Levin on bass. Absolutely killer band and show. 3 drummers on full drum kits. Sadly he played his Les Paul in what appeared to be normal standard tuning for the whole show - I was watching for some NST magic, but the set-list stayed close to their mainstay catalog.

    Anyway, I've recently been experimenting with what I'm calling "double extended range tenor" on short-scale 6-strings - the Les Paul PeeWee, to be exact.

    They are tiny Les Pauls at 19" scale [19.5 on some]. That means the neck is a Les Paul neck, just shorter, and there are a ton of options for Les Paul upgrades.

    I've mine tuned EbBbFCGD with string gauges from .56 on the bottom to .008 on the top. I was going for FCGDAE but the high string kept breaking past D#, so I settled on everything a full step down.

    If I need FCGDAE, I simply capo at the second fret.

    But I'm quite enjoying EbBbFCGD. It gives me more range than a guitar in standard tuning and more range than my Fender electric mandolin. It's actually got the widest range of any 6-string guitar I know of.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    I found both these on Craigslist very cheap. They come from the factory setup very poorly, and are sold primarily as kids instruments, so the prices are reflective. But a few dollars in off-the-shelf upgrades and a bit of time spent doing the necessary adjustments and they truly shine as super-cool 6-stringers tuned completely in 5ths without any reentrants. In fact, the strings and tuning I'm using are perfectly matched to the scale.
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    Registered User MdJ's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are there any 5-string tenors exist? Are there any vintage on

    Quote Originally Posted by Roman Pekar View Post
    hi

    Recently I'm fascinated by the idea of the 5-string tenor guitar, I like sweetness of the CGDA tuning, but sometimes I'd like to have this low string as well.

    Of course I can tune it GDAE and capo to get CGDA, but it will not be the same, and
    it also could be great for fingerstyle to have this additional string.

    so, are there any 5-string tenor guitars exist? Are there any vintage ones?
    I forgot to mention in my previous post that Herb Taylor builds 5 string tenors ... He has one up on the website right now.

    I was very impressed with the instruments he brought to Astoria a few years back. NFI on my part, but (in my opinion) his prices are very fair for the build quality he provides.

    http://www.herbtaylor.com/instruments/tenorguitar/

    And of course Joel Eckhaus at Earnest Instruments offers a 5 string version of his Radiator model. And i can vouch from personal experience on my Gibson conversion that his work is impeccable.

    Best

    MdJ

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    Registered User MdJ's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are there any 5-string tenors exist? Are there any vintage on

    Quote Originally Posted by djweiss View Post
    Paul Lestock of Arrow Guitars & Mandolins makes 5-string tenor guitars...in fact, I have two of them! Tuned FCGDA, they can be strung with a pack of "normal" guitar strings. I like that tuning so much, that I tune my 4 string tenors as FCGD.


    https://photos.google.com/search/Arr...Zx8ca5-_320nYo
    Dear DJ,

    I've seen photos of Paul's work and it always looks great .... Is he still he building tenors? Is it possible to contact him?

    Many thanks

    MdJ

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    Default Re: Are there any 5-string tenors exist? Are there any vintage on

    He's still building. PM me and I'll send you his contact info. I just saw him last week.

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    Default Re: Are there any 5-string tenors exist? Are there any vintage on

    Now my question is... Where do I find me a five string tenor banjo?

  26. #16
    Registered User MdJ's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are there any 5-string tenors exist? Are there any vintage on

    Rogue makes a 23" scale - 6 string banjitar .... Chinese built .... But Solid. It would be a pretty easy conversion candidate...

    Best

    MdJ

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