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Thread: All opinions welcome for Custom Carbon Tenor project!

  1. #1
    Harley Marty
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    Default All opinions welcome for Custom Carbon Tenor project!

    9 months ago I made an enquiry to Emerald guitars for a Custom build Carbon Tenor & the time has come to place my order. Essentially when l'm playing tune melodies on the Tenor Guitar at noisy pub trad sessions in Ireland if I can't be heard I would at least like to be able to hear myself.

    What I'm thinking: Carbon fibre is going to give it more volume, a large body should increase volume & fatten out the sound since it'll be tuned GDAE, Longer scale length equals more volume , the placement of the sound hole to the top of the guitar helps the player hear better.

    The first thing I've been agonising over is the body, whether I should get the lighter nylon braced body or order the jumbo body. I've played around putting 4 steel strings on cheap nylon guitars & the sound improvement is impressive! The guitar I currently play the most is a Harley Benton jumbo that I've altered (some say butchered) to work with 4 strings, it sounds gorgeous but lacks volume.

    The other decision is the choice of scale length 23" or 24" or both or maybe something in between? I like the idea of a Webster nut that could be adjusted up or down. Up & you hear that bigger 24" sound. Down to 23" & the fingers are more dexterous for complicated tunes. I keep coming across this idea of Fan Fretts which I know nothing about, maybe that could be a solution? Maybe a 23" or a 23"plus to 24" fan frett could be the ticket

    The two things I want to avoid is very heavy gauge strings & a capo. I have tried all the thickest strings the guitar can take, still can't hear it & don't like the sound. I'd rather get 12 guitars than 1 capo :-) This guitar is going to cost quite a few thousand €€€ so I'm keen to hear anybody & everybody's tips & opinions

  2. #2
    Registered User fox's Avatar
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    Default Re: All opinions welcome for Custom Carbon Tenor project!

    Most luthiers will have thier own ideas about what makes the best guitars but I doubt if many would dispute that the larger the body the more potential for volume there will be.
    Speaker box design... ridged body and back (easy with carbon) ridged in the centre of the soundboard and flexible edges (hidged top design).

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  4. #3

    Default Re: All opinions welcome for Custom Carbon Tenor project!

    Add a resonator to it.

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    Registered User bruce.b's Avatar
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    Default Re: All opinions welcome for Custom Carbon Tenor project!

    I think you should pick a builder you like, tell him what you want and let him make most of these decisions. You need to play a fan fret guitar to see what you think. I personally couldn’t play fiddle tunes as well with such a long scale.

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  8. #5
    Harley Marty
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    Default Re: All opinions welcome for Custom Carbon Tenor project!

    @Cornfield I have 2 resonater tenors & I’ve wondered how a full Carbon Resonator would sound. I have a Jazlab deflector ordered for my saxophones, I’ll see if it will clip onto the resonator:-)

  9. #6
    Harley Marty
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    Default Re: All opinions welcome for Custom Carbon Tenor project!

    @bruce.b I can manage the 24” scale fine for tunes & chords (although chording some swing songs are tough) of course on a 23” it’s better/easier. The low G string on 24” sounds better to my ears though. Most of the dexterous fingerwork is on the higher strings for Irish tunes except the likes of “Paddy Ryan’s Dream” & “Farewell to Eireann” so maybe this fanfret idea has legs. It’s remarkable to see how children with tiny fingers can fly up & down the fretboard of 23” Banjo’s because that’s what their older brother does! There are some crazy good 10yr old tenor banjo players around Mullingar.

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  11. #7
    Registered User fox's Avatar
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    Default Re: All opinions welcome for Custom Carbon Tenor project!

    Every time I build a new tenor guitar (13 so far) I use my Blueridge BR40T as a base to judge my work against.
    I have made two particular tenors that were outstandingly loud compared to the 40T, both have ridged body’s and one even has a 21” scale!

    I am no expert and I only build for fun but it seems to me a few factors effect volume, arch back, deep body epoxied over all the internal surfaces with a falward set sound hole in a flat top. That seems be be a good recipe.

    The soundboard is obviously a big factor, I use a tapering design with around 3mm thick in the centre tapering to 1.5mm around the edges. The bracing follows the theme and fall short of reaching the soundboard edges.

    To be fair my designs are more guesswork rather than scientific but I have read as much as my time allows and used that accumulated information to experiment with.
    I am far more obsessed with sustain than volume but they seem to go hand in hand when looking at design.
    I buit one particular tenor that has quite a small body, smaller than the 40T anyway and only a 21” scale, it is really loud and has massive sustain.

    There could be problems with some of my designs though, I don’t think the body’s will ever fall apart but I have no idea about the longtivity of the soundboards and I doubt if a professional luthier would be taking any chances with thin edge tops.

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  13. #8

    Default Re: All opinions welcome for Custom Carbon Tenor project!

    Quote Originally Posted by Harley Marty View Post
    @Cornfield I have 2 resonater tenors & I’ve wondered how a full Carbon Resonator would sound. I have a Jazlab deflector ordered for my saxophones, I’ll see if it will clip onto the resonator:-)
    Take a look at Beltona instruments. They use a glass reinforced resin and carbon product
    .

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  15. #9
    Harley Marty
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    Default Re: All opinions welcome for Custom Carbon Tenor project!

    Quote Originally Posted by Cornfield View Post
    Take a look at Beltona instruments. They use a glass reinforced resin and carbon product
    .
    I like the bouzouki & I like that they are across the pond!

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  17. #10
    Harley Marty
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    Default Re: All opinions welcome for Custom Carbon Tenor project!

    @fox the guesswork is paying off because you're not stabbing in the dark, you have a sound underlying philosophy & that helps a lot!

    My thinking for this guitar is modular & Emerald have the skills to make the pieces blend. It seems to me that they're ahead of the pack on carbon guitars, I gave them a €1000 commitment 9 months ago.

  18. #11
    Registered User fox's Avatar
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    Default Re: All opinions welcome for Custom Carbon Tenor project!

    Thanks, this one is so ridged you could drive a car over it but it is the loudest and clearest one I have built to date.

    In fact there should be a high quality video of it appearing on YouTube very soon.....

    I have this phone vid just before it went to its new owner...

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=p-RjGdbABF4

    The new owner is quite possibly the highest profile tenor guitar player in the world!
    Here she is playing her Martin, this vid only has one million views but her top vid has over 97 million views!
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=I57X1NPQBvQ
    Last edited by fox; Nov-28-2018 at 10:35am.

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  20. #12

    Default Re: All opinions welcome for Custom Carbon Tenor project!

    Threads like this pop up from time to time. My answer is pretty much the same each time. If you've chosen your maker, it is best to have this conversation with them.

    I presume you've picked them because of the sound their guitars make? If that is the case, talking to us won't help. Talking to them will. Address your questions and your desires to your chosen luthier.Tell them the sound you want, what you want to avoid, about how you play, your visual preferences and your budget. Then they can work out what's best for you within their knowledge and understanding.

    Now the great thing about forums is you can get lots of opinions. But by asking "everyone" you'll get is a lot of answers which will only lead to more questions, which will lead to more questions....Also, by gathering up a load of views and opinions from others you undermine the relationship you could be building with the maker.

    So, my suggestion is to direct all your questions to the person who is going to make your guitar. Come up with something between you that will give you the best chance of getting the sound you want.

    I say all this having been a professional maker for some 30 years now, and having made hundreds of instruments and having worked with many many customers.


    Does that help?

    Nigel

    http://www.nkforsterguitars.com/inst.../tenor-guitar/

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