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Thread: Build A Tenor Guitar

  1. #1

    Default Build A Tenor Guitar

    Hi my Name is Herman (Not really its Dave Im an Admin on a tech forum) and an aspiring musical person .I play Tenor banjo for many years but not in the traditional form no jigs or reels I play traditional country music mostly from the 60s 70s on it as a back-up player. I do play some mandolin also as well as guitar. I just recently discovered Tenor Guitars. To my surprise a good tenor guitar is worth a pretty penny. So I went to finding out a cheaper way for me to get into one.Looked around at guitar kits but no Tenors. I did find a mini guitar with a 22 inch scale that I am thinking about buying it is a kit also. Will be cheap enough for me it is electric. I know some people have asked this question before about converting a 6 string to a 4 string .Change the nut and the bridge(and possibly the pick ups) narrowing the neck I will get my friendly Lutheir to do for me for hopefully not too much cash. Good idea or am I just barking up the wrong tree. Thanks for reading Herman aka Dave

  2. #2
    Registered User fox's Avatar
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    Default Re: Build A Tenor Guitar

    Hi Dave, are you talking about a solid body electric?

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    Default Re: Build A Tenor Guitar

    Well, it depends on what you mean by "a good tenor guitar", "a pretty penny" and "cheap enough". Then there is the hope that your luthier won't cost too much.... Definitely ask what they'll charge before making the purchase.

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    Default Re: Build A Tenor Guitar

    Probably can buy one for less than converting one.
    Here's a good solid wood acoustic tenor for around $400
    https://reverb.com/item/19572171-blu...br-40t-natural
    I have 2 of these and they are very good.

    If you don't mind laminate, you can get into one for $200
    https://www.musiciansfriend.com/guit...c-tenor-guitar
    Last edited by colorado_al; Feb-24-2019 at 2:20am.

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    My Florida is scooped pheffernan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Build A Tenor Guitar

    Quote Originally Posted by colorado_al View Post
    Here's a good solid wood acoustic tenor for around $400
    https://reverb.com/item/19572171-blu...br-40t-natural
    I have 2 of these and they are very good.
    I believe that the Blueridge features a good solid wood top, but the back and sides are laminate.
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    Default Re: Build A Tenor Guitar


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    Registered User fox's Avatar
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    Default Re: Build A Tenor Guitar

    Quote Originally Posted by pheffernan View Post
    I believe that the Blueridge features a good solid wood top, but the back and sides are laminate.
    And that is a good thing in my books, I don’t think they are made from cheap ply wood but, three equal laminates of hardwood?
    It has been discussed before but I have not read about anyone taking one apart to see for sure.

  11. #8
    Registered User fox's Avatar
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    Default Re: Build A Tenor Guitar

    Quote Originally Posted by colorado_al View Post
    That is crazy cheap......!

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  13. #9
    Harley Marty
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    Default Re: Build A Tenor Guitar

    Crazy cheap because it’s a one off b- stock

    Another idea to keep it (tenor electric) “cheap”, restring one of those electric ukes from eBay & get a decent guitar later

  14. #10

    Default Re: Build A Tenor Guitar

    If you are in fact looking for an electric tenor (as I am), know that fernder is going to be releasing a tenor telecaster in the middle of 2019 for around $500. I'm really looking forward to checking those out!

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    Default Re: Build A Tenor Guitar

    @Baron, you might like this thread.... https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/t...-Tenor-at-NAMM

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    Default Re: Build A Tenor Guitar

    Quote Originally Posted by Harley Marty View Post
    Crazy cheap because it’s a one off b- stock
    Cosmetic blemish on a $200 instrument

  17. #13

    Default Re: Build A Tenor Guitar

    Quote Originally Posted by fox View Post
    Hi Dave, are you talking about a solid body electric?
    Electric

  18. #14

    Default Re: Build A Tenor Guitar

    Quote Originally Posted by AndyV View Post
    Well, it depends on what you mean by "a good tenor guitar", "a pretty penny" and "cheap enough". Then there is the hope that your luthier won't cost too much.... Definitely ask what they'll charge before making the purchase.
    Hi Andy I live in Langley. Most of the electrics I have seen have been 500. bucks or more that I would call a good tenor guitar. And I might spend around the same money by the time Im done changing the nut and bridge.And like you said I should ask my luthier what he will charge to do the work .Hes not cheap but does good work has set up all my instruments 2 flat tops an electric and a mandolin . I can buy the kit for 158. Bucks Canadian so that leaves me with roughly 300 dollars to get it the way I want it .Maybe it wont cost that much I don't know . Dave Click image for larger version. 

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    Registered User fox's Avatar
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    Default Re: Build A Tenor Guitar

    Well there is going to be a certain amount of self satisfaction putting it all together, I would say that is worth something.

    It would not be to hard to modify the head to suit four tuners ( I assume that it come with a 23” scale neck) the main work will be on narrowing the neck, but it will always look like a modified six string with the 6 point pick ups.

  20. #16

    Default Re: Build A Tenor Guitar

    Quote Originally Posted by fox View Post
    Well there is going to be a certain amount of self satisfaction putting it all together, I would say that is worth something.

    It would not be to hard to modify the head to suit four tuners ( I assume that it come with a 23” scale neck) the main work will be on narrowing the neck, but it will always look like a modified six string with the 6 point pick ups.
    Hello Mr. fox its a 22.5 inch scale . I was just going cut off the 2 outer tuner holes high E and low E leaving the rest.Slimming down the neck might not even be necessary. I would change the nut (probably cheap one on there) and I might be able to get away with the bridge the way it is .I don't think leaving the pick-ups in there would hurt either. Heres a pic of a finished one. Click image for larger version. 

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  21. #17
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    Default Re: Build A Tenor Guitar

    Why not look for a used Eastwood tenor?
    Or preorder the Fender tele-tenor?

  22. #18

    Default Re: Build A Tenor Guitar

    Quote Originally Posted by fox View Post
    Well there is going to be a certain amount of self satisfaction putting it all together, I would say that is worth something.

    It would not be to hard to modify the head to suit four tuners ( I assume that it come with a 23” scale neck) the main work will be on narrowing the neck, but it will always look like a modified six string with the 6 point pick ups.
    Hello Mr. fox its a 22.5 inch scale . I was just going cut off the 2 outer tuner holes high E and low E leaving the rest.Slimming down the neck might not even be necessary. I would change the nut (probably cheap one on there) and I might be able to get away with the bridge the way it is .I don't think leaving the pick-ups in there would hurt either. Heres a pic of a finished one. Click image for larger version. 

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  23. #19

    Default Re: Build A Tenor Guitar

    Quote Originally Posted by colorado_al View Post
    Why not look for a used Eastwood tenor?
    500 bucks compared to maybe 300.bucks . They still want big money for used ones. Dave PS not many electrics for sale used and new ones around 800. bucks on EBay Eastwood Guitars Warren Ellis Signature Tenor Sonic Blue - Electric Tenor Guitar $789.78 Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by Herman Munster; Feb-24-2019 at 2:29pm.

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    Default Re: Build A Tenor Guitar

    Quote Originally Posted by Herman Munster View Post
    500 bucks compared to maybe 300.bucks . They still want big money for used ones. Dave
    I think you're fooling yourself if you think you can do it for $300 and end up with a good working instrument. Add in the time it is going to take you to save the fictional $200 "savings" and you're going to spend a lot more than if you buy one ready made

  25. #21

    Default Re: Build A Tenor Guitar

    Quote Originally Posted by colorado_al View Post
    I think you're fooling yourself if you think you can do it for $300 and end up with a good working instrument. Add in the time it is going to take you to save the fictional $200 "savings" and you're going to spend a lot more than if you buy one ready made
    Ya well that was the point of this post .To see what people thought about my idea. And yes it might and probably cost more to build than what I figure but not 800. Bucks . And whos to say if it will turn out to be a good playing instrument. A lot depends on how the work is done. I expected some negativity from some of the more blessed people who have lots of money. I don't so I make the best of the situation and make do with what I can afford. But Thank-You for your input. Dave ps it doesn't matter if its worth a million bucks or a few bucks as long as were all having a good time.

  26. #22
    Dave Sheets
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    Default Re: Build A Tenor Guitar

    I'm not sure when the Fender Tenor Telecaster is due out, it looks like it will sell for around $500. The fender name might make it easier to resell, and get your money back out of it somewhere down the line. A bit more up front, but more chance of recovering it later. The MIM telecasters are pretty decent instruments at the price.
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  27. #23
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Build A Tenor Guitar

    There are two things about this that I like. I like Hot Rods and I like thinking outside the box. You may be able to buy one of these kits on eBay that someone started and never finished. You might consider buying one the necks for one of these Saga kits off that same well known website and do the neck work first before continuing. Lot's of ways to go here. If you already have the kit start with the neck. If that doesn't work out then you still have the rest of the kit. Most of the time we have more time than money so I say have at it. You are going in with your eyes wide open.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  28. #24
    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Build A Tenor Guitar

    I did a quick search on eBay for "3/4 size electric guitar" and there a bunch available for under $100.oo. All set up and ready to have the neck paired down to your liking.
    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

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  30. #25
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    Default Re: Build A Tenor Guitar

    Quote Originally Posted by Herman Munster View Post
    Hi Andy I live in Langley. Most of the electrics I have seen have been 500. bucks or more that I would call a good tenor guitar. And I might spend around the same money by the time Im done changing the nut and bridge.And like you said I should ask my luthier what he will charge to do the work .Hes not cheap but does good work has set up all my instruments 2 flat tops an electric and a mandolin . I can buy the kit for 158. Bucks Canadian so that leaves me with roughly 300 dollars to get it the way I want it .Maybe it wont cost that much I don't know . Dave Click image for larger version. 

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    Well howdy neighbour! I'm a couple blocks from Willowbrook.

    I've never seen any new electrics under $500. Even used Eastwoods are a little more than that. I started a cheap conversion a couple years ago, then got a 60's Teisco. I'll get back to the conversion one day.

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