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Thread: Vintage Viaten Tenor Guitars?

  1. #1

    Default Vintage Viaten Tenor Guitars?

    Wasting time on Reverb, I ran across a couple of these Vintage Viaten Tenor Guitars by Paul Brett that look interesting. Anyone know anything about them?

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    https://reverb.com/item/1608627-vint...-by-paul-brett
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  2. #2

    Default Re: Vintage Viaten Tenor Guitars?

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  4. #3
    Registered User Martin Jonas's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vintage Viaten Tenor Guitars?

    Yes, I own one which I tune GDAE. Great little instrument which is just a joy to play -- it's a parlour sized body which feels and sounds quite different compared to larger bodied tenors. I bought it about a year ago and now use it on most of my home recordings. Lots of character in the tone, good for melody lines and rhythm playing -- it's particularly good for basso continuo parts in Baroque music. Here are a few tracks that feature it prominently:

    Telemann: Duetto Affetuoso
    Coilsfield House
    Corelli: Sarabande in E Minor (playing the continuo)
    Nathaniel Gow's Lament For The Death Of His Brother

    As an added bonus, it's also I believe the cheapest tenor guitar currently available in the UK. I paid GBP190 including a nice quality fitted gig bag.

    Martin
    Last edited by Martin Jonas; Nov-19-2016 at 8:51pm.

  5. #4

    Default Re: Vintage Viaten Tenor Guitars?

    Thanks Martin. What's the scale length? Prices look good but shipping over the pond may be expensive.
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    Registered User fox's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vintage Viaten Tenor Guitars?

    I would not trust that video as a true sound check, it seems very enhanced!
    Also note he said the body was the same as their six string travel guitar, so very likely over braced too!
    Of course that does not mean that in the hands of a good player (like Martin Jonas) it would not work well.
    Sure looks neat

  7. #6

    Default Re: Vintage Viaten Tenor Guitars?

    Hey Fox - I agree that videos can be doctored, but in the section where he's singing and playing, the volume of his voice is nicely matched to the tone and volume out of the tenor, so I'm less suspect than I'd normally be.

    I do note that of the tenor's available, that one appears to have the bridge placed to optimize the sound coming from it, so from a design POV it should sound as good as it does on that video.

    Be nice to fondle one ...
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    Registered User fox's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vintage Viaten Tenor Guitars?

    It appears very similar in looks and size to a 1920s Regal?

  9. #8
    Registered User Martin Jonas's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vintage Viaten Tenor Guitars?

    It's a 22" scale, which is why it works fine with GDAE (my 20.5" Ozark struggles with the G string). There's also a review from Acoustic Magazine here.

    Not sure whether the official Paul Brett video is enhanced, but as he plays with steel finger picks in Chicago tuning the sound is pretty different from flat-picked in fifths anyway. My own recordings are completely unenhanced -- I don't use any post-processing or compression in my recordings.

    I don't think it's overbraced: it's pretty responsive, the top is really thin, and the small body makes for a nice crisp attack. It looks and feels very wooden, with a thin matt finish and no gloss around. I would have preferred ebony bridge pins rather than plastic, but that's minor.

    What I wasn't prepared for when I got it was just how small the body is. Somehow the video and photos didn't quite get that across compared to holding it in your hands. The design is definitely based on 1920s parlour guitars, with a nice old-fashioned air to them.

    Martin

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  11. #9

    Default Re: Vintage Viaten Tenor Guitars?

    Hello. Having read great reviews and impressions on the Viaten I ordered one last october.
    I was attracted by its looks, 35 mm nut width (same as ukulele) and size-scale.
    I returned it inmediately because:
    - No truss rod. I think this is a must.
    - A few factory cosmetic flaws (scratches, dents, etc).
    - Sound was not bad but muted compared my other short scale, the Kala TG.

  12. #10

    Default Re: Vintage Viaten Tenor Guitars?

    Good to know ukespain - thanks!
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  13. #11

    Default Re: Vintage Viaten Tenor Guitars?

    Hi - what string gauges are you using for your GDAE tuning please? I just bought one of these Viatens and plan to set it up similarly- thank you

  14. #12
    Registered User fox's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vintage Viaten Tenor Guitars?

    This is quite an old thread, there might be more info about this guitar elsewhere or the forum but it has a small body and a 22’’ scale so you will need quite a thick G string.
    I would try the standard 12p 20w 30w 45w and see how you get on.

  15. #13
    Registered User Martin Jonas's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vintage Viaten Tenor Guitars?

    I've just double-checked what I have on my Viaten:

    13p 22w 33w 45w

    These are measured gauges with my calipers, not necessarily the nominal gauges when I bought them. Customs d'Addario singles, not a stock set. This reminds me that I should really order new strings as the ones on it are getting a bit tired.

    Martin

  16. #14

    Default Re: Vintage Viaten Tenor Guitars?

    Thanks to both of you for this information. I'm assuming that some setup will be required and possibility a nut swap. It'll be good to have these numbers handy. I recently got a Fender Tenor Telecaster (short scale). Lots of fun but the out of factory setup was crap. Swapping the 22p for a 22w made a BIG difference as did a petty major truss rod twist. It plays great now. I'm curious to see what this new little one will be like. Thanks again, hope all is well in your area.
    Girouard A5
    Gibson A3 - 1917
    Eastwood Mandocaster
    Fender Tenor Telecaster (GDAE)
    Vintage Viaten Tenor (GDAE)
    Collings O1A
    Martin OOO17-SM
    Martin DJr
    G+L ASAT Classic

  17. #15

    Default Re: Vintage Viaten Tenor Guitars?

    Right along the same recommendstions above:

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