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Tech: tenor guitars?

mkebenn 23 Sep 14 - 06:34 PM
GUEST 23 Sep 14 - 07:02 PM
Don Firth 23 Sep 14 - 08:14 PM
Mooh 23 Sep 14 - 09:59 PM
Dave Hanson 24 Sep 14 - 03:15 AM
Silas 24 Sep 14 - 03:35 AM
Musket 24 Sep 14 - 03:43 AM
Alan Day 24 Sep 14 - 04:19 AM
GUEST,PeterC 24 Sep 14 - 05:03 AM
GUEST,Desi C 24 Sep 14 - 12:50 PM
GUEST,DrWord 24 Sep 14 - 10:53 PM
Don Firth 25 Sep 14 - 01:19 AM
PHJim 25 Sep 14 - 11:03 AM
GUEST,John P 25 Sep 14 - 09:07 PM
vectis 26 Sep 14 - 01:31 AM
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Subject: Tech: tenor guitars?
From: mkebenn
Date: 23 Sep 14 - 06:34 PM

I remember these from my younger days. Nick Renolds played one with the trio. Martin. I believe. How are they tuned? Do they still exist? Mike


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Subject: RE: Tech: tenor guitars?
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Sep 14 - 07:02 PM

AlbertsLion

yes, I know of a couple of players locally. They both use differant tunings for differant songs and these can range from the top four strings of standard guitar (dgbe), gdae, modified dadgad (dgad) and eaea.


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Subject: RE: Tech: tenor guitars?
From: Don Firth
Date: 23 Sep 14 - 08:14 PM

Probably more than you want to know about tenor guitars:

plink-a-plink-a-plink-a....

A friend of mine in years gone by used to play one. He tuned it in the standard tenor guitar/banjo tuning, C-G-D-A. Really limiting. He could only play in about two keys unless he used a capo. Even then....

I would have tuned it like the top four strings of a regular guitar. There is a precedent for that:   the Renaissance guitar, the first instrument way back that actually looked like a guitar. A little bigger than a baritone ukulele, but you could get a heck of a lot of music out of one. Clicky.

The Renaissance guitar actually had seven strings. But they were doubled, like a mandolin or 12-string guitar, called "courses" and sometimes tuned in octaves. The first string (highest in pitch) was single and called the "chanterelle." ( Not the string, but what they called the string sounds like a fungus!).

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Tech: tenor guitars?
From: Mooh
Date: 23 Sep 14 - 09:59 PM

I don't often get a chance to play one, though a tenor guitar is on my shopping list. Usually i tune it in fifths, either GDAE, or CGDA, depending on how it's strung. There's a mom'n'pop music shop nearby with an inexpensive Gold Tone tenor guitar that's been fun to play, but doesn't have the tone I'm looking for.

For guitar-ish tunings I would just as soon play a baritone ukulele, and I have a decent Kala for that purpose.

Peace, Mooh.


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Subject: RE: Tech: tenor guitars?
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 24 Sep 14 - 03:15 AM

I tried out a Martin tenor guitar in a music shop yesterday, sounded nice but not loud, then I noticed it had a PLASTIC neck, no thanks.

Dave H


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Subject: RE: Tech: tenor guitars?
From: Silas
Date: 24 Sep 14 - 03:35 AM

Sounded nice but had a plastic neck.

So what? Isn't it the sound that is important?


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Subject: RE: Tech: tenor guitars?
From: Musket
Date: 24 Sep 14 - 03:43 AM

If you tune to standard what's the point? The construction makes them easier to play tunes and accompany yourself with arpeggios and runs, so modal and open tunings are eminently suited to them.

I broke my last one but the man who recently made me a guitar that I am pleased with is going to make me a tenor guitar soon. He just hasn't been told yet...


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Subject: RE: Tech: tenor guitars?
From: Alan Day
Date: 24 Sep 14 - 04:19 AM

Have a look at Mr Tenor Guitar on Utube you will find Will Fly playing his.I very much expect he will reply to this posting as he is a regular poster on this site.
Al


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Subject: RE: Tech: tenor guitars?
From: GUEST,PeterC
Date: 24 Sep 14 - 05:03 AM

Tenor guitar has been my first instrument of choice for some years now. As has been already said, there are many tunings possible. My preference is DGBd - open G major chord. With this tuning, you can play chords in any key without a capo - the neck is only 1.125" wide, so a barre is really easy across all four strings. However the main benefit for me is to be easily able to play melody in D or G more or less in 1st position. Tenor guitars are naturally very quiet, but with a pickup, can play in a band, on rhythm or on melody.


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Subject: RE: Tech: tenor guitars?
From: GUEST,Desi C
Date: 24 Sep 14 - 12:50 PM

Oops, sorry, I thought this post was referring to an old Englebert Hum[erdink somg ;)


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Subject: RE: Tech: tenor guitars?
From: GUEST,DrWord
Date: 24 Sep 14 - 10:53 PM

Firth: "standard tenor guitar/banjo tuning, C-G-D-A. Really limiting."   
my 2 cents: the limitation was your friend's, not the tuning.
Is there a reason C-G-D-A is the STANDARD tuning???


['49 Regal tenor, tuned to STANDARD tuning]

Keep on pickin'
dennis


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Subject: RE: Tech: tenor guitars?
From: Don Firth
Date: 25 Sep 14 - 01:19 AM

GUEST, DrWord, I'm not making that up.

The four-string tenor guitar (the six-string "Spanish" guitar had been around for a couple of centuries) was developed so that, back in the early jazz / big band era, string players such as violinists, violists, and cellists could play them in jazz bands and dance bands that wanted a "guitar sound" (as opposed to the "plinky-plinky" sound of the tenor banjo, which was also tuned in fifths) without the string player or converting tenor banjo player having a steep learning curve.

Most people who play the tenor guitar today, tune it like the top four strings of a standard six-string guitar.

My friend inherited a tenor guitar that was tuned in fifths, and he was self-taught. He didn't know any better.

As I say, I'm not making that up.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Tech: tenor guitars?
From: PHJim
Date: 25 Sep 14 - 11:03 AM

Nick Reynolds of the Kingston Trio was a ukulele player, so when he switched to tenor guitar he tuned it like the top four strings of a standard guitar, DGBE. He often capoed to the fifth fret, making his tuning correspond to the uke. This is usually called "Chicago tuning". The great jazz guitarist Tiny Grimes also used this tuning. Today's tenor guitar players seem to be split between "Chicago" and "Standard" (CGDA) tunings.
PeterC.'s DGBD tuning is the same tuning as bluegrass 5 string banjo players use (minus the thumb string) and he's right that there are simple closed chord shapes that make transposing easy.
The tenor guitar seems to be making a come-back and many of the payers are using non-traditional tunings.
The plectrum guitar, an instrument similar to the tenor guitar, but with a longer neck and a different standard tuning (CGBD, I believe) was created at the same time as the tenor guitar to enable plectrum banjo players to switch to guitar with little or no learning curve. Eddie Condon was perhaps the most well known plectrum guitar player. Plectrum guitars, like plectrum banjos, are much rarer than tenors.


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Subject: RE: Tech: tenor guitars?
From: GUEST,John P
Date: 25 Sep 14 - 09:07 PM

I picked up an old Martin tenor guitar a few years back, intending to play French and Breton music on it. I have done so some, but mostly every time I pick it up I spontaneously start playing the blues.

I have it tuned CGCG.


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Subject: RE: Tech: tenor guitars?
From: vectis
Date: 26 Sep 14 - 01:31 AM

I got to play one when I was a student in London in standard DGBE tuning. It was almost the same size as a regular classical (Spanish) guitar but only had 4 strings. I couldn't afford to buy it at the time but always fancied one.

After many tries to find one I liked the sound of I eventually found an Ozark tenor guitar and 'afforded' it a short while ago and love it. Being quieter it doesn't drown me out when I get over enthusiastic on the strumming like my Yamaha dreadnaught tends to do.


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