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Thread: Recommendations for a great Jazz tenor guitar?

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    Default Recommendations for a great Jazz tenor guitar?

    Hey folks - I have a completely useful Recording King OOO TG and I'v been having a ball sussing out standard jazz tunes on mandolin then trying the same tune on tenor guitar, tuned GDAE. Of course, not all the shapes work, so then I have to figure out adaptations that WILL work. It's been a terrific learning exercise. I do have a Fender Tenor telecaster too but interested in finding an acoustic archtop tenor, so I don't have to get that Fender out of the case and plugged in each time inspiration strikes. Any suggestions? I imagine Gibson will come up (vintage) but also wondering if any newer instruments with fewer vintage issues come to mind?
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  2. #2
    Fingertips of leather Bill McCall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Recommendations for a great Jazz tenor guitar?

    So, you can’t store the Fender in the manner you’d store an acoustic tenor and plugging a cable into the Fender is too hard?

    I’ve noticed that the chore of taking the electric Mando out of its case on one side of the room is no more difficult than taking the acoustic Mando out of its case on the other side of the room. Of course, my practice chair is in the middle of the room and the plugged in, cabled up amp is within arm’s length of the chair. Just sayin….

    You could make it work.

    On the other hand, everyone needs another instrument.
    Not all the clams are at the beach

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  3. #3

    Default Re: Recommendations for a great Jazz tenor guitar?

    I didn't claim that this was question with great logic involved :-) but in New England where everything has to be humidified through long winters, floor space becomes a bit of an issue in a small office room. So I tend to have a beater on the wall that I don't really care about and then something nearby in a case but when it becomes 2, 3, 4 cases it gets out of hand and also, seeking acoustic sound vs. electric. Plus I like arch tops. I'm sure I'm missing some points in my defense but these come immediately to mind.
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    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Recommendations for a great Jazz tenor guitar?

    Earnest Instruments.....

    http://www.earnestinstruments.com/veronica/

    NFI

    And if you are looking for a Gypsy Django style, Shelley Park...

    https://www.parkguitars.com/tenor-guitar.html

    NFI
    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

  5. #5
    Fingertips of leather Bill McCall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Recommendations for a great Jazz tenor guitar?

    Quote Originally Posted by shaundeane View Post
    I didn't claim that this was question with great logic involved :-) but in New England where everything has to be humidified through long winters, floor space becomes a bit of an issue in a small office room. So I tend to have a beater on the wall that I don't really care about and then something nearby in a case but when it becomes 2, 3, 4 cases it gets out of hand and also, seeking acoustic sound vs. electric. Plus I like arch tops. I'm sure I'm missing some points in my defense but these come immediately to mind.
    It just struck me as funny, but I hope you find something that suits you. Give us a budget and many folks here will be more than happy to help you spend it
    Not all the clams are at the beach

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    Default Re: Recommendations for a great Jazz tenor guitar?

    I suggest a vintage Epiphone tenor. While I don''t play tenor, I do have a decent collection of vintage Epi archtops, which sound marvelous, and am aware they made tenors on a fairly regular basis. You could ask over at the Unofficial New York Epiphone FB page(if you're not already aware of it), to see if any members have one for sale. Heck, I've been tempted to buy an old Epi tenor, just to try one out.

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  9. #7
    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Recommendations for a great Jazz tenor guitar?

    Your avitar shows Riley Puckett playing a National guitar. National made quite s few tenor guitars in different configurations that are suited for jazz. I have a 1928 Triolian that is an absolute beast.
    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Recommendations for a great Jazz tenor guitar?

    Quote Originally Posted by Charles E. View Post
    Earnest Instruments.....

    http://www.earnestinstruments.com/veronica/

    NFI

    And if you are looking for a Gypsy Django style, Shelley Park...

    https://www.parkguitars.com/tenor-guitar.html

    NFI
    Actually Earnest (Joel Eckhaus) also makes a Maccaferri (gypsy jazz) style tenor. I am proud to own one pictured here:
    http://www.earnestinstruments.com/se...-tenor-guitar/
    Jim

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    Default Re: Recommendations for a great Jazz tenor guitar?

    Hasn’t Joel retired? Last I checked on his web site it appears that way.
    If you’re looking for a selmer-style, check out Craig Bumgarner. https://bumgarnerguitars Also, I’m a fan of del vecchio resonator tenors - one is listed on reverb now, from someone in Brazil from whom I’ve purchased.

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    Lord of All Badgers Lord of the Badgers's Avatar
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    Default Re: Recommendations for a great Jazz tenor guitar?

    Alex Bishop, but he's in the UK in my nearby city of Bristol, is a selmer/maccaferri sort of luthier - and he's made some serious kick a** GJ tenors

    As you might see, I personally like an archtop, don't play jazz (though I love jazzy chord sequences... er....); but I have a Gibson etg150 (hard to get in Blighty!!)
    My name is Rob, and I am Lord of All Badgers

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    Default Re: Recommendations for a great Jazz tenor guitar?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord of the Badgers View Post
    Alex Bishop, but he's in the UK in my nearby city of Bristol, is a selmer/maccaferri sort of luthier - and he's made some serious kick a** GJ tenors

    As you might see, I personally like an archtop, don't play jazz (though I love jazzy chord sequences... er....); but I have a Gibson etg150 (hard to get in Blighty!!)
    Thank you! I should have been more specific as I am actually hoping to locate a tenor archtop. Hey, I like a challenge. Have my eye on an Apitius but his build schedule is out on 2023....
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    Registered User mreidsma's Avatar
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    Default Re: Recommendations for a great Jazz tenor guitar?

    You should be able to find a 1950s or 1960s Kay or Harmony tenor archtop for a few hundred dollars on Reverb. The nice thing about archtops is that you can make a smaller bridge if the guitar needs a neck reset and you're not able to do the work yourself.

    Alternatively, you could buy a beater and run the neck through the bandsaw, frets and all! I've done that a few times and it works great, With a full size archtop, you can play it tuned down like John Lawlor or capo it at the 3rd fret and tune to GDAE for a 23"ish scale length.

    Here's a beater on Reverb right now for ~$125 shipped (NFI). The back is loose above the neck block, so when you glue it up you can do a "cheater's neck reset" before you slice the neck down thinner.

    -Matthew

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    Registered User Scotter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Recommendations for a great Jazz tenor guitar?

    Hey, Shaun! I feel yer pain. I'm GASin' for a Northfield Archtop OM (maple back and sides) for mostly the same reasons. That new Octolindo OM might fit the bill too. I've been helping a buddy search for a Tenor guitar but he's hunting for a flat top to be used in "Chicago Tuning" or in 4ths. Have you given any thought to a Tenor Banjo for some fifth tuning swinging? Having said, that I just re-read mreidsma's post and I'm already giving that some crazy thought...

    -Scotty
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    Default Re: Recommendations for a great Jazz tenor guitar?

    This Gibson Es-175 Tenor (Used, 1954) at The Music Emporium right now is pretty cool. And very pricey.

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Recommendations for a great Jazz tenor guitar?

    Quote Originally Posted by shaundeane View Post
    Thank you! I should have been more specific as I am actually hoping to locate a tenor archtop. Hey, I like a challenge. Have my eye on an Apitius but his build schedule is out on 2023....
    Sounds like the OP is looking for an upper-end archtop, not a flattop or lower-end TG.
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    Default Re: Recommendations for a great Jazz tenor guitar?

    There's been a 1947 D'angelico listed on Reverb for years. Way expensive, probably why it hasn't sold.
    But a fraction of the price of the D'angelico 6-strings from the same era!

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    Registered User mreidsma's Avatar
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    Default Re: Recommendations for a great Jazz tenor guitar?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    Sounds like the OP is looking for an upper-end archtop, not a flattop or lower-end TG.
    Ah, good point! In that case, here's a heck of a deal from Gryphon on eBay - a slight project but it could be had at a very nice price (again, NFI): https://www.ebay.com/itm/353735779654

    For posterity, ca. 1934 Gibson TG-50 starting bid at $500.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Recommendations for a great Jazz tenor guitar?

    This one just listed in the classifieds: Gibson Tgl-7 Tenor Archtop Guitar, 1934
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    Default Re: Recommendations for a great Jazz tenor guitar?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber;[URL="tel:1841144"
    1841144[/URL]]This one just listed in the classifieds: Gibson Tgl-7 Tenor Archtop Guitar, 1934
    I used to own that guitar (actually, I’m the one bought it from retrofret. Sold it to current owner this spring). Great guitar - perfect jazz-era jazz box.

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    Default Re: Recommendations for a great Jazz tenor guitar?

    Quote Originally Posted by Scotter View Post
    Hey, Shaun! I feel yer pain. I'm GASin' for a Northfield Archtop OM (maple back and sides) for mostly the same reasons. That new Octolindo OM might fit the bill too. I've been helping a buddy search for a Tenor guitar but he's hunting for a flat top to be used in "Chicago Tuning" or in 4ths. Have you given any thought to a Tenor Banjo for some fifth tuning swinging? Having said, that I just re-read mreidsma's post and I'm already giving that some crazy thought...

    -Scotty
    Scotty! Good to hear from you, amigo. And, thank you. I also had my eye on one of those Northfields. Joe K. Walsh uses one in the Peghead Octave class I took and it sounds great. Nothing to do with him, I'm sure :-) And yes, I did experiment with tenor banjo. I bought a nice Paramount and did a neck reset, fret job but then passed it along. Looking for something a little more soothing at the end of a day and also, it was HEAVY. I dropped out of an eBay auction on a Gibson 150 last week. It had issues but could have been nice. Shoulda hung in, as it sold for just a little bit more than I dropped at. Oh well. Hope to see you in a class again soon and hope the new office is going great.
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  29. #21

    Default Re: Recommendations for a great Jazz tenor guitar?

    Quote Originally Posted by mjbee View Post
    There's been a 1947 D'angelico listed on Reverb for years. Way expensive, probably why it hasn't sold.
    But a fraction of the price of the D'angelico 6-strings from the same era!
    Thanks, I have seen that and yes, a bit north of comfort zone
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  30. #22

    Default Re: Recommendations for a great Jazz tenor guitar?

    Quote Originally Posted by mreidsma View Post
    Ah, good point! In that case, here's a heck of a deal from Gryphon on eBay - a slight project but it could be had at a very nice price (again, NFI): https://www.ebay.com/itm/353735779654

    For posterity, ca. 1934 Gibson TG-50 starting bid at $500.

    Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	196996
    Very interesting! Thank you, I'll dive in on this one. Luckily, there are two great builders in Vermont who could help bring this back at a reasonable price. Thanks a lot for the heads up. Currently high bidder with a long way to go
    Girouard A5
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  31. #23
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Recommendations for a great Jazz tenor guitar?

    What is a Gibson 150? Not sure I have heard of that for a TG.
    Jim

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  32. #24

    Default Re: Recommendations for a great Jazz tenor guitar?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    What is a Gibson 150? Not sure I have heard of that for a TG.
    Gryphon was selling it on eBay last week - very similar to the one mentioned here, yesterday, but it was a 1953. Here's the original listing: https://www.ebay.com/itm/35371078768...rdt=true&rt=nc
    Girouard A5
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  33. #25
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Recommendations for a great Jazz tenor guitar?

    I guess I was thinking of primarily acoustic archtop. I actually had an EST-150 From the 1930s with the CC pickup which I sold along with other CC instruments.

    I would assume Gryphon knows what they are doing but would have called that 1953 a ETG-150. I also wonder by the 50s if that was a solid carved archtop. Come to think of it I think I did have one if those back in the 1980s and it didn’t have great acoustic sound.
    Jim

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