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Thread: Fender Tele Tenor at NAMM

  1. #26
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    Default Re: Fender Tele Tenor at NAMM

    Quote Originally Posted by Verne Andru View Post
    Well if that's their strategy it's doomed to failure. Why would someone buy a 6-string missing 2 of its strings when they can get all 6 for the same price?

    They've effectively eliminated, or at least dramatically reduced, what could have been their main market - tenor guitar players! That leaves the field clear for Eastwood - it's theirs to muck up or not.
    Yeah, I really don't get the popularity of that tuning.
    I think the majority of players who have five string tenors made for a fuller sound/range tend to tune in in 4ths. Go figure...

  2. #27
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    Default Re: Fender Tele Tenor at NAMM

    Five strings in fourths?!? Surely the elephant in the room is to just get a normal guitar...
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  4. #28
    Chief Moderator/Shepherd Ted Eschliman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fender Tele Tenor at NAMM

    I selfishly pre-ordered one of these (Fiesta Red) through my store's Fender dealership, and seeing the 9th fret dot might make me cancel before their June release. The showcase at NAMM called it a "Tenorcaster" but the spec list says more appropriately "Tenor Tele." (Stratocaster vs. Telecaster body). Eastwood pictured there instruments online with a 9th fret dot, but my Classic came in with a 10th fret dot. This was not so on the one they showed at NAMM. Note the scale is 22.75 (578mm) on the spec list which was also wrong at the Show. At $499 I'm expecting something of similar quality to my Eastwood, but we'll see.

    From our Dealer Pricelists: "A modern take on the 4-string tenor guitar, the Fender Tenor Tele has a huge sound that belies its small size. Tuned to the same pitches as the top 4 strings of a 6-string or any of a number of popular alternate tunings, guitar players will feel right at home on this fun-to-play tiny Telecaster. Custom-designed 4-string alnico pickups give this Tele variation its sound—twangy and powerful, it has the authentic sound that’s made the Tele popular since its inception. The usual 3-way pickup switch is there, along with master volume and tone controls to further shape your sound. Comfortable for any playing style, the 22.75”-scale maple neck has a “U”-shaped profile and hosts a modern 9.5”-radius fingerboard with 21 vintage-tall frets. Other features include bonenut, 4-bolt neck plate and vintage-style strapbuttons. Designed to inspire new sounds and fuel creativity, the Tenor Tele is sure to become a permanent addition to your stage and studio arsenal. Includes deluxe gig bag."

    Series: Alternate Reality SeriesBody
    Material: AlderBody
    Finish: Gloss Polyester
    Neck: Maple, “U” Shape
    Neck Finish: Satin Urethane Finish on Back, Gloss Urethane Finish on Front
    Fingerboard: Maple, 9.5” (241 mm)Frets:21, Vintage Tall
    Position Inlays: Black Dots
    Nut (Material/Width): Synthetic Bone, 1.25” (31.75mm)
    Tuning Machines: Standard Cast/Sealed
    Scale Length: 22.75” (578 mm)
    Bridge: 4-Saddle Strings-Thru-Body with Individually Adjustable Saddles
    Pickguard: 3-Ply Black (350), 3-Ply Mint Green (302, 340)
    Pickups: Tenor Tele Alnico V Bridge Pickup (Bridge), Tenor Tele Alnico VNeck Pickup (Neck)
    Pickup Switching: 3-Position Blade: Position 1. Bridge Pickup, Position 2. Bridge andNeck Pickups, Position 3. Neck Pickup
    Controls: Master Volume, Master Tone
    Control Knobs:Knurled Flat-Top
    Hardware Finish: Nickel/Chrome
    Strings: NPS, .009”, .011”, .016”, .024”
    Case/Gig Bag: Deluxe Gig Bag
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  6. #29
    Lord of All Badgers Lord of the Badgers's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fender Tele Tenor at NAMM

    Hi Ted
    As I said, on my McIlroy acoustic I got the dot moved. Yeah you can see it in the light, but could an experienced luthier do a good job if it was really that big a deal?
    That said, Soarse'y make some pretty similar looking teles in tenor config?
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    Default Re: Fender Tele Tenor at NAMM

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord of the Badgers View Post
    Five strings in fourths?!? Surely the elephant in the room is to just get a normal guitar...
    But then you'd be normal!

  8. #31
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    Default Re: Fender Tele Tenor at NAMM

    Quote Originally Posted by AndyV View Post
    But then you'd be normal!
    EXACTLY... Who wants THAT?!
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    Default Re: Fender Tele Tenor at NAMM

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord of the Badgers View Post
    EXACTLY... Who wants THAT?!
    "The trouble with normal is it always gets worse."

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  11. #33

    Default Re: Fender Tele Tenor at NAMM

    Dots aside, I'd like to kick the tires and light the fires on that thang.

    Scott

  12. #34
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    Default Re: Fender Tele Tenor at NAMM

    Does it have side dots?

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    Default Re: Fender Tele Tenor at NAMM

    Dot position aside, is there anything about the fret spacing that would hinder tuning in fifths?

    Always figured the popularity of using guitar tuning on a tenor came from The Kingston Trio. If I were to use fourths, likely would go ahead and move the D-string up to a re-entrant octave and see how it sounds finger picking rolls.

    Am currently playing mandolin in a semi-electrified ukulele-centric band, so this might just fit right in.

  14. #36

    Default Re: Fender Tele Tenor at NAMM

    Tenor guitar evolved from tenor banjo that evolved from mandolin, so they are tuned in 5ths by design. That is the reason for the short scale - there's no need for short scale when tuning in 4ths.

    Chicago tuning (DGBE) largely came about as a consequence of there being more musicians than instruments. A few hundred dollars for a guitar in the 50s and 60s was a lot of money so people had to make do with what was around, and there were tenors kicking about that guitar players retuned as they didn't know 5ths. I remember being handed a tenor as a kid being told it was easier to learn than a guitar because there were fewer strings.

    With Fender I think there are a few things going on. 1) the neck is the same scale length as their mini strat so they probably used that as the basis for the tenor as they didn't have to deal with moving the frets and fret markers, 2) Choosing to sell it as an impaired/lobotomized guitar works for Fender as there are very few who work for them or demo their products that understand 5th tuning, 3) it'll be easier to get stocked as a "guitar" than a tenor.

    Since I don't like telecasters and Fender's stock single-coil pickups tend to be somewhat anemic, I don't have a problem taking a pass, but I'm sure there are others that it suits just fine.
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    Default Re: Fender Tele Tenor at NAMM

    Another current trend is for ukulele marketers to expand their lines into guitar. Someone who has just embraced the uke but wants to move into the guitar can take the Chicago tuning and move seamlessly into tenor. A decade ago, this would have seemed counter-intuitive, but the overwhelming industry wide popularity of the uke (which has inarguably eclipsed that of the mandolin) has become a new tipping point for the appeal of the tenor guitar.
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  17. #38
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    Default Re: Fender Tele Tenor at NAMM

    You are right there Ted, one of the more popular Facebook threads is Called “Tenor guitar and baritone ukulele players”
    There are few members I recognise from here and quite a few old members who don’t post here anymore.
    But that Facebook page is very Chicago friendly!

  18. #39

    Default Re: Fender Tele Tenor at NAMM

    IIRC ukes were the largest selling stringed instrument on the planet a few years ago, so that figures.

    When I went to grade school music class consisted of the age old recorder. Still have mine. When my son went to grade school the principal had changed to uke, which I thought was a more appropriate choice.

    It's a shame if Chicago becomes the tuning of choice for tenors, but that's just me.
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  20. #40
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    Default Re: Fender Tele Tenor at NAMM

    Well I am afraid it does look that way Verne.
    I notice that Soares tenor guitars are now all tuned DGBE as standard.....
    Note the last sentence in the attachment
    Click image for larger version. 

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  21. #41

    Default Re: Fender Tele Tenor at NAMM

    Fox - go where the market is - I get it. And I get ukes but that doesn't mean I take them seriously. Depresses the heck out of me.

    While Soares has been a staple in the tenor world he's not a particularly reliable source. Especially his ad copy. He often states things that are patently wrong - like a laminate top is best for acoustic - but he has his place and the tenor world would be poorer without him.

    After bouncing around I've settled on a 19" 6-string as my electric "tenor" of choice. After getting my head around it, Eb Bb F C G D tuning is extremely versatile. It's lower than a standard guitar and higher than my electric mandolin. I call it double extended range tenor.
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    Default Re: Fender Tele Tenor at NAMM

    Quote Originally Posted by Verne Andru View Post
    ...but that doesn't mean I take them seriously.
    Ha! I do enjoy the ukulele very much, and also completely understand your point. Am currently playing in a band called The Ukulele Brothers (mando/b-vox). These guys can square off any noble groove into a mush of flailing chords. I solidly refuse to play uke in that band, but they sure are great fun, with good songs and happy fans.

    OTOH Darling Wife made the switch from guitar to baritone uke and respectfully treats it as its own instrument, not just a chopped-off guitar. I'll accompany her on a tenor Kanile'a using re-entrant tuning and finger-style fills and rolls. Very different!

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    Default Re: Fender Tele Tenor at NAMM

    Virtually everything I learn to play is done on my 1960s baritone ukulele but it is tuned GDAE.
    I use it mainly because I can quietly practice sitting of the sofa without the wife complaining to much!

  26. #44

    Default Re: Fender Tele Tenor at NAMM

    At $100 less than the Eastwood Tenorcaster ($499.99 vs. $599.00) it should definitely give Eastwood some competition. I realize the standard guitar string spacing on the Fender is different than the wide string spacing on the Eastwood, but that might actually be a plus. Hopefully it sells well so Fender stays in and grows their tenor offerings. That might push Eastwood to tighten up their quality control and lower their prices. Competition is always good for the consumer.
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    Default Re: Fender Tele Tenor at NAMM

    for me, i dislike Eastwood's wide spacing. so this seems virtually perfect. i bought a classic tenor on the basis of it having a narrow neck
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  28. #46

    Default Re: Fender Tele Tenor at NAMM

    I would like to see Fender, Gibson, Gretsch and Epiphone all get serious about tenors. A reissue of the Epiphone Zenith tenor would be awesome as well as some from Gibson's vault.

    I don't mind the wider spacing and like the fact that there are some wide and some narrow. Narrow is better for chording while wider makes finger-style and soloing easier for me. If I have a choice, I'll go wider but can adapt to the instrument, generally speaking.

    Fender has never really taken their mandolin/tenor offerings seriously from what I see. They come close with some but never really follow through, which is a real shame. I'd like to see that change but history isn't on my side.

    Anyone know what's going on with Eastwood? Didn't see any NAMM announcements or pictures from their booth, if they had one. They sold off most of their custom shop tenors before the end of the year and don't have anything in the works that I can see.

    Eastwood's Teleolion has promise, but the site says shipping moved from November to January and we're now 1/2 way through February and they're still not showing it as a shipping product.
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  30. #47
    Lord of All Badgers Lord of the Badgers's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fender Tele Tenor at NAMM

    Hi Verne, well comms with Eastwood tell me my Classic is well on track for imminent delivery. I see they've an Airline tenor due to drop too?
    I don't know, but they have been lovely and answered every question promptly in a friendly manner.
    they aren't the sort of firm that makes big announcements much though? preferring to crowd fund each new model?
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  31. #48

    Default Re: Fender Tele Tenor at NAMM

    Hey Lord - of all the current tenor offerings the Eastwood Classic is top of my list. I prefer a short-scale but may be dead before anybody starts making affordable 21-inchers.

    When you get your Classic could you confirm if it's a full hollow body or semi-hollow as they advertise? Semi-hollow will have a center block running inside from the neck to the tail piece.

    I've tried a few Eastwoods in stores and they are as well made as any Epiphone or Squier, which are well built in their own right. Epiphone has really picked up their game as far as factory setup is concerned but the others require help. I expect pac-rim instruments will need some amount of user-setup so perfection out of the box isn't expected, but I await your report once you've received yours.
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  32. #49
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    Default Re: Fender Tele Tenor at NAMM

    I just looked at my Eastwood Custom. It does have the center block to under the bridge, so I'm not sure which it qualifies as, full or semi.

    Eastwood stop exhibiting at NAMM 3-4 years ago. They told me wasn't cost-effective since most of their sales are direct to consumer. I was trying to talk them into a 5-string hollowbody emando, but gave up after about a year of diagrams and dialogue. Pity, I think they could have made something cool.
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  33. #50

    Default Re: Fender Tele Tenor at NAMM

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Eschliman View Post
    I just looked at my Eastwood Custom. It does have the center block to under the bridge, so I'm not sure which it qualifies as, full or semi.

    Eastwood stop exhibiting at NAMM 3-4 years ago. They told me wasn't cost-effective since most of their sales are direct to consumer. I was trying to talk them into a 5-string hollowbody emando, but gave up after about a year of diagrams and dialogue. Pity, I think they could have made something cool.
    Here's a 335 blueprint which is the definition of a semi-hollow.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Does the center block on the Eastwood look like this?

    Key features are having the pickups and bridge mounted or sitting on something solid. That reduces vibration which reduces feedback. A full-hollow has the pickups mounted to the top which is free floating, like an Epiphone Casino, and can be uncontrollable at gig volumes. A good semi-hollow allows you to control the feedback with your arm, almost like a bellows, adding a sonic texture that can really cut through.

    NAMM is expensive especially with costs of shipping. I respect Eastwood's business model and am glad they've been able to create their own niche in an otherwise crowded field.

    After giving Fender's offering a ponder with what's been said above, it may be more appropriate to call it "Plectrum Baritone Ukulele Tele" as that is what the tuning implies and appears to be Fender's market. "Tenor Tele" seems to me to be a misnomer.

    Since "tenor" originated as a 5th tuned instrument I'll be darned if I'm going to let the Ukulele crowd usurp it!
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