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Thread: What under $1200 used tenors would you look at?

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    Registered User Bunnyf's Avatar
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    Default What under $1200 used tenors would you look at?

    I'm looking for a nice used tenor in the 1K vicinity but not sure what direction I should go in. I had a Pono but disliked the wide nut. I'm used to the closer spacing of mando and guitar. i play mixed genre but heavy on bluegrass. I'm drawn to vintage but don't know enough to make a wise choice. I hear good things about Blueridge but my preference is to buy an US instrument. Any thoughts on some makes, models, yesrs to look at? Any tips?

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    Default Re: What under $1200 used tenors would you look at?

    Take a look at the Kala Tenor Guitar. Dirt cheap but well made. Sometimes their setup is iffy (I have two and a friend bought another one. One of mine had a horrible setup but was a great learning experience for me. The other two were fine). They do have an adjustable truss rod and a short scale of about 22".

    And I do mean dirt cheap from the factory. With Kala always order from the factory.

    For vintage I'd look for old Regal's from the late 20's but they might not really be that great for bluegrass. They are very lightly made and a hoot to play. The base models usually run from 250 to 400 and are fairly good sounding but not loud. There are better grades of the Regal but you really have to look for them.

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    Default Re: What under $1200 used tenors would you look at?

    I've got a small collection of 1930's era tenor guitars, and I haven't paid more than $1200 for any of them...that includes Gibson, Epiphone, National, and Dobro branded instruments. They're all great, though very different than each other. I find the National's most versatile...
    d

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    Default Re: What under $1200 used tenors would you look at?

    I really like the short scale tenors and mandolas. djweiss.....that sounds like a trove to me.

    The tenor range leaving off the high e is where I found home. What I have found is that if you don't play bluegrass you don't need the high e. You can snip it but still get to it when you need/want it.

    As "they" used to say...YMMV.

    If you want to play around with tenor/mandola tuning CGDA....those Kala's are a fantastic deal for 200-300. They are really nicely made.

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    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: What under $1200 used tenors would you look at?

    I would look at a Martin O-17 tenor (all mahogany), they can sound very good and are usually less expensive then the O-18 (spruce top) tenors.

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-195...4AAOSwxW9dxrxK

    This Gibson made Kalamazoo looks pretty good...

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-Kal...cAAOSwBpJd-sBF

    It is in FL but I don't know how close to you.

    I would avoid Gibson tenors from the 60's and 70,s. They usually just stuck a tenor neck on a six string body and are way over built. I have never played one that would hold up in a jam session.

    If you can find a National Triolian tenor they have plenty of volume, cool tone but often need to have the necks reset.

    Good luck with your search.
    Charley

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    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: What under $1200 used tenors would you look at?

    I realize that the Martin O-17T is slightly above your stated price range but the condition looks very good.
    Last edited by Charles E.; Dec-19-2019 at 9:41am.
    Charley

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    Registered User Bunnyf's Avatar
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    Default Re: What under $1200 used tenors would you look at?

    funny, i just saw that kalamazoo pop up on ebay too. It's 3+ hrs away. He also has it on CL, but for $1200, which I thought was odd cuz usually you'd expect it to be less sold locally (no fees,shipping,ins).

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    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: What under $1200 used tenors would you look at?

    Looks he removed his "buy it now" price of $900.oo from the ebay listing and now has it on craigslist for $1200.oo?

    Me thinks he is reading this thread on the Cafe.
    Charley

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    Registered User Bunnyf's Avatar
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    Default Re: What under $1200 used tenors would you look at?

    Quote Originally Posted by Charles E. View Post
    Looks he removed his "buy it now" price of $900.oo from the ebay listing and now has it on craigslist for $1200.oo?

    Me thinks he is reading this thread on the Cafe.
    oh well, if it's meant to be, it's meant to be

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    Registered User Bunnyf's Avatar
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    Default Re: What under $1200 used tenors would you look at?

    Quote Originally Posted by Charles E. View Post
    I realize that the Martin O-17T is slightly above your stated price range but the condition looks very good.
    That Martin looks very nice. Too bad it doesn't have a "make offer" option on it. I sold my Pono for $800 and didn't want to have to kick in much more than a few hundred to replace it, especially with xmas expenses.

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    Default Re: What under $1200 used tenors would you look at?

    I understand you want made in the USA, but I always hear great things about Blueridge Guitars. The BR-40 is supposed to be a great machine for the price.
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    Default Re: What under $1200 used tenors would you look at?

    Quote Originally Posted by Charles E. View Post
    Looks he removed his "buy it now" price of $900.oo from the ebay listing and now has it on craigslist for $1200.oo?

    Me thinks he is reading this thread on the Cafe.
    The buy it now price went away because someone put a bid in on it. On eBay, whenever there is a buy it now in an auction, the buy it now goes away after the first bid.

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    Default Re: What under $1200 used tenors would you look at?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Sanderson View Post
    The buy it now price went away because someone put a bid in on it. On eBay, whenever there is a buy it now in an auction, the buy it now goes away after the first bid.
    I see it also changed to local pickup only

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    Default Re: What under $1200 used tenors would you look at?

    Quote Originally Posted by Charles E. View Post
    Looks he removed his "buy it now" price of $900.oo from the ebay listing and now has it on craigslist for $1200.oo?

    Me thinks he is reading this thread on the Cafe.
    Looks like I am wrong about this, he posted the craigslist ad well before this discussion.
    Charley

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    Default Re: What under $1200 used tenors would you look at?

    I'd keep your eyes out for a players grade pre 1967 0-18T. Set up ebay and reverb alerts and put a wanted ad in the classifieds here and on UMGF. They're out there, and I think the spruce topped 0-18T will suit BG a little better than a mahogany 0-17T, but thats just my guess.

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    Default Re: What under $1200 used tenors would you look at?

    Quote Originally Posted by djweiss View Post
    I've got a small collection of 1930's era tenor guitars, and I haven't paid more than $1200 for any of them...that includes Gibson, Epiphone, National, and Dobro branded instruments. They're all great, though very different than each other. I find the National's most versatile...
    d
    Wow. If only they cost that in the UK
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    Lord of All Badgers Lord of the Badgers's Avatar
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    Default Re: What under $1200 used tenors would you look at?

    Quote Originally Posted by Charles E. View Post

    I would avoid Gibson tenors from the 60's and 70,s. They usually just stuck a tenor neck on a six string body and are way over built. I have never played one that would hold up in a jam session.

    If you can find a National Triolian tenor they have plenty of volume, cool tone but often need to have the necks reset.

    Good luck with your search.
    I'm in the hunt for a tg50 or ETG150 (prob more the latter)... I quite like the fifties ones as I'm not so into the banjo tuner look.
    Do these fall into your comments about gibson tenors or are you referring to flat tops?

    I have a 59 O-18t which is beat up but rules!

    My downside is lack of choice for resonators or archtops In the UK.
    My name is Rob, and I am Lord of All Badgers

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    OM: Paul Shippey Tone. Mandola: Davidson 2 point.
    My band's website

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    Default Re: What under $1200 used tenors would you look at?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord of the Badgers View Post
    I'm in the hunt for a tg50 or ETG150 (prob more the latter)... I quite like the fifties ones as I'm not so into the banjo tuner look.
    Do these fall into your comments about gibson tenors or are you referring to flat tops?

    I have a 59 O-18t which is beat up but rules!

    .
    Mostly referring to flat tops. I had a nice Gibson TG50 with a floating DeArrmond pick up that was great. I should have never sold it. However it is the case that gibson took a tenor neck and put it on a six string arch top body. While it sounded great through an amp, acoustically it was to quiet in a jam.
    Charley

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    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: What under $1200 used tenors would you look at?

    Looks like the Kalamazoo sold, Bunnyf did you end up with it?
    Charley

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    Default Re: What under $1200 used tenors would you look at?

    Quote Originally Posted by Charles E. View Post
    Looks like the Kalamazoo sold, Bunnyf did you end up with it?
    Charley, I did!

    It was way under my budget and in pristine condition except for a bit of shrinkage on the pick guard. I like the scale and the neck and most importantly, the sound. The neck was straight and the intonation good. I'm gonna lower the action a tad (plenty of saddle hieight). The The main factor that pushed me toward this one was the ability to try before I buy. The gentleman drove over to my house to show it to me. I guess it was meant to be.

    Anyway, thanks to all you knowledgeable folks who gave me advice.

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    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: What under $1200 used tenors would you look at?

    Congratulations!

    Post a sound clip some time if you get a chance.
    Last edited by Charles E.; Dec-20-2019 at 10:30am.
    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

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    Default Re: What under $1200 used tenors would you look at?

    Congrats on that Kalamazoo tenor! That's real sweet looking. Would love to hear a sound clip too.

    Thanks,
    Baron
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    Default Re: What under $1200 used tenors would you look at?

    I took your advice (ajh) and ordered a Kala tenor and am really pleased. For anyone wanting to experiment with a tenor but not wanting to commit a ton of resources, this is a great option. My setup was great by the way - it was in tune when I took it out of the box! Thanks for letting us know.
    Last edited by Dave Kirkpatrick; Jan-12-2020 at 12:27pm.

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