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Thread: Are tenor guitars slightly evil?

  1. #1
    Lord of All Badgers Lord of the Badgers's Avatar
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    Default Are tenor guitars slightly evil?

    Click bait title... sorry

    But who amongst you got so seduced by tenor guitar, like me, found yourselves playing mandolin family LESS? Almost to the point that Mando family instruments just don’t get picked up when at home.

    I just find it speaks to me. I was always a fingerstyle player, and tenor gave me that perfect combo of playing in fifths but without needing a plectrum.

    So.... is that your experience or not?
    My name is Rob, and I am Lord of All Badgers

    Tenor Guitars: Acoustic: Mcilroy ASP10T, ‘59 Martin 0-18t. Electric: ‘57 Gibson ETG-150, ‘80s Manson Kestrel
    Mandolins: Davidson f5, A5 "Badgerlin".
    OM: Paul Shippey Tone.
    Bouzouki: Paul Shippey Axe
    My band's website

  2. #2
    Registered User fox's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are tenor guitars slightly evil?

    I was happily strumming a six string when someone said a tenor banjo would suit me so being gullible I bought one and via a forum discovered there was a guitar version..... never looked back.

  3. #3
    Lord of All Badgers Lord of the Badgers's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are tenor guitars slightly evil?

    ooh fun. journey stories.
    don't think mine's that exciting.

    I do first recall seeing tenors at hobgoblin & thinking "what's the point in that sort of thing". I was knee deep in my mandolin crazy stage - determined to get every flavour of mando bar soprano & cello.

    But somewhere along the line i saw there was a buchanan tenor (not sure i should ever have sold it as i inevitably did) in scotland, and something appealed.

    My next tenor was my mcilroy. I'd heard some vintage Gibsons on tfoa in the Netherlands, and i was idly comparing one of those to the mcilroy they had for sale.

    I pinged my six string loving mate (he's obsessed by Brook Guitars) and said... which is best out of these. For some reason he opted for the Mcilroy. I guess it's the Lowden connection that made him think that.

    Compared to the Gibson it had a more polite sound, but it was a new one, so I knew it'd need to open up.

    Since picked up a Martin 0-18T, and my Manson electric.

    I'd DEARLY LOVE A TG50 or an ETG150 - I know the ETG isn't loud, but how cool they are...

    I honestly feel the limitations of the four strings is what makes it sing for me. I now find six strings overwhelming & somehow stifling musically. I've effectively stopped playing six string now.
    My name is Rob, and I am Lord of All Badgers

    Tenor Guitars: Acoustic: Mcilroy ASP10T, ‘59 Martin 0-18t. Electric: ‘57 Gibson ETG-150, ‘80s Manson Kestrel
    Mandolins: Davidson f5, A5 "Badgerlin".
    OM: Paul Shippey Tone.
    Bouzouki: Paul Shippey Axe
    My band's website

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Are tenor guitars slightly evil?

    I started off playing guitar horribly for ten years...picking it up at 40. Then (long, strange story) picked up mandolin but always disliked the high e's as I did not play BG. Finally cut off the e's and had my luthier/builder Steve Rossow retune and compensate my custom 2pt mando to dola tuning (he wasn't all that thrilled about it but humored me). From there it was to tenor guitar. I can hardly play with a pick anymore. Finger picked tenor guitar just hits the right place for me. A major influence has been Will Fly. Main instruments now are an upper grade late 20's Regal. A custom Jessen deep body 16" scale four string. And my beater Kala tenors. And my retuned Rossow. The Passernig Dola at Fiddlers Green almost came home with me a couple of times.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Are tenor guitars slightly evil?

    Guilty as charged, especially if you count up the number of mandolins I own compared to the number of tenor guitars!

    Thanks,
    Baron
    MandoLessons: Free Online Mandolin Lessons
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  6. #6

    Default Re: Are tenor guitars slightly evil?

    My oldest mando instrument is my Flatiron mandola. I'm not much into playing ITM or bluegrass, but basically used either it or guitar for melody rhythm and chord-melody. I do have some octaves and mandolins, but the mandolas get the most use.

    I have had a few tenor guitars, but since the mandolas all have nice easy action, I can use them fingerstyle as well. That means it's easier to travel with something more compact in the same tuning.

    I do like that more tenors are available though, because I find CGDA tuning to be great for Freddie Green jazz comping, interpretation of medieval and Renaissance music, Gypsy jazz and further. I always like to hear where people go with it.

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    Default Re: Are tenor guitars slightly evil?

    Not my experience exactly, but I find that my very inexpensive Goldtone tenor has become my inspiration machine and my go to, so...in essence yes, but I came from guitar originally so perhaps that could help explain.
    The registered user formerly known as 1-2-many.

  9. #8

    Default Re: Are tenor guitars slightly evil?

    I just got my Pono yesterday but it’s definitely getting a lot of playing time

  10. #9
    but that's just me Bertram Henze's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are tenor guitars slightly evil?

    I was under the impression that anything tuned to GDAE is mando family...
    the world is better off without bad ideas, good ideas are better off without the world

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    Lord of All Badgers Lord of the Badgers's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are tenor guitars slightly evil?

    The other question is where next... as alluded to, I’ve always wanted a TG50 or ETG150 (the latter would kill stagewise), but also a National / Dobro (the latter I NEVER see in the UK!)

    Archtop or resonator. One choice. Aargh !
    My name is Rob, and I am Lord of All Badgers

    Tenor Guitars: Acoustic: Mcilroy ASP10T, ‘59 Martin 0-18t. Electric: ‘57 Gibson ETG-150, ‘80s Manson Kestrel
    Mandolins: Davidson f5, A5 "Badgerlin".
    OM: Paul Shippey Tone.
    Bouzouki: Paul Shippey Axe
    My band's website

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    Default Re: Are tenor guitars slightly evil?

    yes - tenor guitars are slightly evil, but tenor banjos are really evil - at least according to the people who hear me practice.

    I think the big problem with tenor instruments is that there are too many options and I want to buy them all - I have a tenor banjo - but its an openback so I need a resonator instrument as well. I have a hollow-body electric tenor guitar and I want an acoustic and a solid-body electric and after that maybe a resonator. And once you learn some chords in a 5ths tuning then you need a mandolin, mandola and mandocello, and perhaps one of those Eastwood baritone tenors...

    I think tenor guitars are definitely evil, at least with respect to my budget and storage space.
    Addicted to 4-string instruments - Ukulele was the gateway drug, followed by bass and now onto the hard stuff - tenor guitars and banjos (plus a little mandolin on the side)

  13. #12

    Default Re: Are tenor guitars slightly evil?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord of the Badgers View Post
    The other question is where next... Archtop or resonator. One choice. Aargh !
    Rob,
    For me it was an archtop first, THEN a resonator.

    Both exude a certain style or look that gives an added factor (flair) when you play.

    Archtops are just crazy wicked cool and resonators are in a league of their own.

    First got a Harmony H950T & then I got my Republic resophonic tenor.

    I'll probably pick up another Harmony (H1215T) at some point as well.

    I'd imagine a Dobro will be several times the cost of the Gibson. Get the Gibson now and save for the Dobro of your dreams later. Don't forget to buy a second Gibson and several other tenors along the way!

  14. #13
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are tenor guitars slightly evil?

    Slightly?

    I think tenor guitars have a niche, and I sometimes wonder if it is a niche for those who play mandolin who did not come from a guitar background, and secretly or not so secretly want to play guitar, or at least play guitarishly.

    Or not.
    Indulge responsibly!

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    funny....

  15. #14
    Lord of All Badgers Lord of the Badgers's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are tenor guitars slightly evil?

    I caved. It was a bargain. How could I not?
    Click image for larger version. 

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    1957, couple of repairs to check & get work on.. bizarrely the jack socket is under one’s chin....
    My name is Rob, and I am Lord of All Badgers

    Tenor Guitars: Acoustic: Mcilroy ASP10T, ‘59 Martin 0-18t. Electric: ‘57 Gibson ETG-150, ‘80s Manson Kestrel
    Mandolins: Davidson f5, A5 "Badgerlin".
    OM: Paul Shippey Tone.
    Bouzouki: Paul Shippey Axe
    My band's website

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    Default Re: Are tenor guitars slightly evil?

    Cheers Rob! Hope you get years of joy!

  18. #16
    Lord of All Badgers Lord of the Badgers's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are tenor guitars slightly evil?

    Quote Originally Posted by Huck View Post
    Cheers Rob! Hope you get years of joy!
    Thanks mate... now i really must eBay the Eastwoods....! No that’s not an ad. I haven’t done it yet!
    My name is Rob, and I am Lord of All Badgers

    Tenor Guitars: Acoustic: Mcilroy ASP10T, ‘59 Martin 0-18t. Electric: ‘57 Gibson ETG-150, ‘80s Manson Kestrel
    Mandolins: Davidson f5, A5 "Badgerlin".
    OM: Paul Shippey Tone.
    Bouzouki: Paul Shippey Axe
    My band's website

  19. #17
    bass player gone mando
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    Default Re: Are tenor guitars slightly evil?

    They must be evil, because their appeal induced me to buy my first one today! A Gibson TG-25 or 25N (it's natural finish), made in 1965-67 (exact year not determinable because of some kind of overlap in Gibson serial numbers during those years). It's had some work done and is in serious need of a string change and set-up, but it's basically in very good condition. First time I've ever played a tenor and I liked it immediately.
    Collings MT O
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    Weber Bitterroot Mandola
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  20. #18
    bass player gone mando
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    Default Re: Are tenor guitars slightly evil?

    Click image for larger version. 

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    sorry - can't figure out how to rotate it on this site
    Collings MT O
    Collings MF5 0
    Weber Gallatin Mandola
    Weber Bitterroot Mandola
    Weber Sage Octave

  21. #19
    Registered User mreidsma's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are tenor guitars slightly evil?

    That’s a beauty! Welcome to the madness.

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    Default Re: Are tenor guitars slightly evil?

    I gig more on tenor guitar than mandolin (country/western/swing), but mandolin is always my first love. Given the price, it's easier to find "deals" on tenor guitars and end up with a collection

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  25. #21
    Lord of All Badgers Lord of the Badgers's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are tenor guitars slightly evil?

    Quote Originally Posted by djweiss View Post
    I gig more on tenor guitar than mandolin (country/western/swing), but mandolin is always my first love. Given the price, it's easier to find "deals" on tenor guitars and end up with a collection
    That’s the spirit brother - welcome indeed to the dark side.
    If you’re tuned CGDA just capo up and do the whole mandolin thing anyways!
    My name is Rob, and I am Lord of All Badgers

    Tenor Guitars: Acoustic: Mcilroy ASP10T, ‘59 Martin 0-18t. Electric: ‘57 Gibson ETG-150, ‘80s Manson Kestrel
    Mandolins: Davidson f5, A5 "Badgerlin".
    OM: Paul Shippey Tone.
    Bouzouki: Paul Shippey Axe
    My band's website

  26. #22
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    Default Re: Are tenor guitars slightly evil?

    I use either FCGDA, FCGD, or GDAE....I prefer the guitar range of notes, with the transferable mandolin chords/scales.

  27. #23

    Default Re: Are tenor guitars slightly evil?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord of the Badgers View Post
    ooh fun. journey stories.
    Okay Rob, here's another:

    My first tenor guitar was a Harmony Stella H929TG. It was in fairly good condition - I paid $50 for it, then had some luthier work done for another $55. It came back to me with that bell-like sound quality of a solid Birch guitar.

    I was quite the novice and the fretwire saddle scared me off. I sold it locally for a nice little profit and moved on to an Ibanez PFT2.

    I've sold many guitars over the years but that little Stella tenor is the only one I regret getting rid of.

    Nothing I've played since has given me the same bell chime type of sound that the Stella did.

    Found one online cheap last week - a little battered. Came 3 days ago,. I let it acclimate and now I've been having oh the joy! My daughter was clapping at my playing, a first. Maybe it was the guitar maybe it's just the energy I'm feeling to be so happy to have this model back in my hands again.

    The action is low, and it came with a hard case. Under 120 quid.

    It's not in nearly as good a condition as the one I sold but it sounds absolutely wonderful. If I ever find a higher-quality one maybe I would buy it but I don't know. This old Stella might start to be my new kick around guitar I think.

    She's now evil #13 in my corral.

    1. Aria AF-10
    2. Blueridge BR-60T
    3. Eastwood Astrojet
    4. Fender Tenor Tele
    5. Gold Tone TG-10
    6. Harmony H950T (Archtop)
    7. Harmony H1210T
    8. Ibanez AVT1
    9. Ibanez AVT2E
    10. Ibanez PFT2
    11. Kala KA-GTR
    12. Martin O18-T
    13. Republic Highway 49 Resonator

    Time to sell off the laminates.

    Best wishes!
    Huck

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  29. #24
    Lord of All Badgers Lord of the Badgers's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are tenor guitars slightly evil?

    Did you say 120 quid?? I’m assuming you & I are on different sides of the pond?

    Lovely little arsenal that.

    My regret is probably around my Forster guitar bouzouki, but that is a tale I don’t tell in public.

    Tenor guitars? Maybe I regretted the little Buchanan - I just never put the right strings on it methinks. I had it tuned GDAE but it was a short scale, and i think it would’ve liked being in CGDA.
    My name is Rob, and I am Lord of All Badgers

    Tenor Guitars: Acoustic: Mcilroy ASP10T, ‘59 Martin 0-18t. Electric: ‘57 Gibson ETG-150, ‘80s Manson Kestrel
    Mandolins: Davidson f5, A5 "Badgerlin".
    OM: Paul Shippey Tone.
    Bouzouki: Paul Shippey Axe
    My band's website

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  31. #25

    Default Re: Are tenor guitars slightly evil?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord of the Badgers View Post
    Did you say 120 quid?? I’m assuming you & I are on different sides of the pond?

    Lovely little arsenal that.
    Yes Rob, I'm in the Eastern US.

    It seems I'm able to find a few bargains on old Chicago made instruments. (Which I've recently taken an interest in.) $150 seemed like a good deal to me. A lot of these all solid wood guitars are being sold at a premium, with asking prices around $500.

    Thanks for the compliment.

    Huck

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