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Harmony Tenor Guitar

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khandu 10 Oct 00 - 12:33 PM
Naemanson 10 Oct 00 - 12:40 PM
GUEST,Luther 10 Oct 00 - 12:46 PM
GospelPicker (inactive) 10 Oct 00 - 12:49 PM
Wesley S 10 Oct 00 - 01:24 PM
Rick Fielding 10 Oct 00 - 08:24 PM
raredance 10 Oct 00 - 11:49 PM
Clinton Hammond2 11 Oct 00 - 10:46 AM
catspaw49 11 Oct 00 - 11:15 AM
Uncle Jaque 11 Oct 00 - 01:57 PM
GUEST,John Leeder 11 Oct 00 - 02:06 PM
GUEST,Al Weisman 21 Jan 05 - 08:47 PM
Once Famous 21 Jan 05 - 08:56 PM
Cluin 22 Jan 05 - 12:51 AM
DonMeixner 22 Jan 05 - 01:40 AM
Kaleea 22 Jan 05 - 01:48 AM
RangerSteve 22 Jan 05 - 12:51 PM
Terry Allan Hall 22 Jan 05 - 05:09 PM
GUEST 22 Jan 05 - 10:21 PM
Once Famous 23 Jan 05 - 03:22 PM
GUEST,Eric 23 Jan 05 - 03:38 PM
Bobert 23 Jan 05 - 04:02 PM
GUEST,Daniel 15 Feb 05 - 12:36 PM
khandu 15 Feb 05 - 01:22 PM
GUEST,marny 03 Dec 10 - 09:19 PM
GUEST,marny 03 Dec 10 - 09:22 PM
PHJim 03 Sep 11 - 09:24 AM
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Subject: Harmony Tenor Guitar
From: khandu
Date: 10 Oct 00 - 12:33 PM

I , while driving down the street, saw a guitar neck sticking out of a trash container. I normally do not rummage through other's trash, but I could not resist this. I quickly plucked it from the trash and found it to be a Harmony tenor guitar (four stringer). It was in sound condition (no pun intended) except for a missing bridge. I replaced the bridge with a bridge I had. I do not know what this bridge came from, but it worked. I strung the guitar with banjo strings which gives it an unusual sound. However, it has very low volume. Could this be caused by the bridge, or could something else be the problem?

Tracing the numbers on the inside, I found that it was made in 1965. I do not know if it has any value dollar-wise, but I value it because so many people have never even heard of 4 stringers before. Any 'catters have of play tenors? khandu


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Subject: RE: BS: Harmony Tenor Guitar
From: Naemanson
Date: 10 Oct 00 - 12:40 PM

If you study the album covers for the old Kingston Trio you will note that one of the guys plays a four string guitar like instrument. I've always heard it was a derivitive of the ukelele.


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Subject: RE: BS: Harmony Tenor Guitar
From: GUEST,Luther
Date: 10 Oct 00 - 12:46 PM

heh, cool! String it up with the DGBE from a guitar set, that might help the volume a little.

The height of the saddle does have some effect on volume, but it's probably not a very responsive instrument to start with.

Harmonys do have some collector value, not much, but enough so that you want to keep it as authentic as possible. I've restored a few junkers and sold them (electrics), three to four hundred for a restored semi-hollow electric is pretty much top dollar. Dunno what a tenor in good shape would bring, probably quite a bit less.


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Subject: RE: BS: Harmony Tenor Guitar
From: GospelPicker (inactive)
Date: 10 Oct 00 - 12:49 PM

GREAT FIND!! I had a Stella brand, Harmony model tenor guitar... Like a dope I sold it and have been mad ever since... Not cause it's valuable (they're NOT) but because I loved to play it. Used light or medium gauge guitar strings and it rang like a bell! If you ever want to sell it, I am in the resale music business and I can offer you the best price you'll find! The volume problem is most likely with the strings... banjo strings are made to vibrate along a narrow, thin bridge... a guitar bridge or similar one will not vibrate enough for banjo strigs to be effective... use silk and steel guitar strings or a light regular guitar string set and you should be OK... and if you ever want to rid yourself of that piece, come find me... :)

GospelPicker

@:()>[+]


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Subject: RE: BS: Harmony Tenor Guitar
From: Wesley S
Date: 10 Oct 00 - 01:24 PM

Khandu - Something else you might want to consider. If you play often with other folks and you want a slightly different sound I've heard that some people restring a tenor like a mandolin. Thats G D A E from low to high. Some of the chords might be a bit of a strain but the chord voiceings would sound nice played with other guitars. It would be a sort of octave mandolin.

PS - I'd check that trash can regularly from now on.


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Subject: RE: BS: Harmony Tenor Guitar
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 10 Oct 00 - 08:24 PM

Great find! I have a nice old Regal Tenor guitar from the thirties. I've strung it many different ways, and it's a neat instrument to play. I guess the two most famous "folkie/country" tenor guitarists were Nick Reynolds and Rabon Delmore. Both played Martins. The reason that yours is not louder is that they were braced for heavier strings. Try a set of tenor strings, and you'll probably hear quite a difference.

Rick


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Subject: RE: BS: Harmony Tenor Guitar
From: raredance
Date: 10 Oct 00 - 11:49 PM

I had one of those harmony tenors that I bought new in the mid 60's. I recall it being around $75. It was stolen in 1974

rich r


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Subject: RE: BS: Harmony Tenor Guitar
From: Clinton Hammond2
Date: 11 Oct 00 - 10:46 AM

I also have a harmony tenor... But We're not sure the date... I have yet to see another Harmony look just like it...

Fun wee thing to play...

enjoy!

{~`


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Subject: RE: BS: Harmony Tenor Guitar
From: catspaw49
Date: 11 Oct 00 - 11:15 AM

I have a story about a Martin Tenor that I am not going to tell. Pain is a terrible thing.

On the other hand, I never find any of the garbage can guitars. Someone always has a story about trash treasures and I'm always on the outside looking in. Don't get me wrong, I have sifted a fair amount of trash and stopped by several piles on the street, but every time I have spied one of those necks, its been attached (or not) to some piece of incredible crap that should have been trashed straight from the factory. So just take your stories and bugger off!

About 20 years back I saw how effective trash pickers can be from an ecology standpoint. There was a covered bridge a few miles out of town and people had taken to throwing garbage off to the side at one end of the bridge. The "Columbus Dispatch" ran a feature on what a mess and what a shame this was on the front page...with a photo. The picture showed a mountain of trash, but prominently displayed at the top was what looked to be a perfectly good chainsaw. A friend sees this and picks me up and we head out to the trash heap somehow oblivious to the fact that half a million other people saw the same article! I mean it was on the FRONT PAGE!!! We arrive to find cars parked in all directions for at least a half mile around the bridge and a throng of pickers sorting through the pile. People are carrying all kinds of stuff back to their cars! It was unbelievable. If the chainsaw was more that a prop for the photo, it was obviously long gone of course, but some were finding their own treasures in this mouldering mountain. A few days later, the county sent a crew with ONE dumptruck and cleaned up what little was left.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: BS: Harmony Tenor Guitar
From: Uncle Jaque
Date: 11 Oct 00 - 01:57 PM

Wife has an old F-hole archtop Harmony tenor since about 1967 - due to a riding injury her hand won't handle a 6-string. I learned to play guitar (after a fasion) with it, then figured out the 2 bass strings when I graduated to an "adult" guitar. It is a sweet little thing, especially for kids or women with small hands. I have yet to find one of those scaled-down kid's guitars that will tune or intone properly - even the pricey ones. That is (I know) really frustrating for a young aspiring guitarist - or the adult trying to teach and encourage them!

The Harmony was pretty much a "Workingman's" (or Woman's) industrial - grade instrument, but they are usually pretty sturdy, if not pretty, and I've heard some really sweet sounding ones.


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Subject: RE: BS: Harmony Tenor Guitar
From: GUEST,John Leeder
Date: 11 Oct 00 - 02:06 PM

The tenor guitar was my father's first instrument -- it was a pretty standard rhythm instrument in 1920s dance bands. He tuned it like a tenor banjo. Somebody in the family still has it, but I couldn't quote the year and make offhand.


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Subject: RE: Harmony Tenor Guitar
From: GUEST,Al Weisman
Date: 21 Jan 05 - 08:47 PM

The tuning on a tenor guitar is (from low to high) C G D A
This is the same tuning as tenor banjo. Tenor guitar method books are almost impossible to find. Most people use a tenor banjo method book. Chords are the same on both instruments.
Check out: www.tenorguitar.com


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Subject: RE: Harmony Tenor Guitar
From: Once Famous
Date: 21 Jan 05 - 08:56 PM

Nick Reynolds of The Kingston Trio, possibly the most well known folk tenor guitar player tuned his like a guitar DGBE.


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Subject: RE: Harmony Tenor Guitar
From: Cluin
Date: 22 Jan 05 - 12:51 AM

Tenor guitars were apparently pretty common instruments in Texas Swing bands too. Probably as replacements for tenor banjos which were more popular way back when before the guitar took over more importance from them as a rhythm instrument.


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Subject: RE: Harmony Tenor Guitar
From: DonMeixner
Date: 22 Jan 05 - 01:40 AM

HI Cluin,

That is pretty much the correct answer for the tenor guitars appearance. To replace the less popular tenor banjo in bands.
I understand it became a crossover instrument for banjo players.

Accoustic Guitar World had a great article concerning tenors about 1 1/2 years ago.

Don


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Subject: RE: Harmony Tenor Guitar
From: Kaleea
Date: 22 Jan 05 - 01:48 AM

I have known several older musicians who also tuned the tenor guitar as a baritone Ukelele--DGBE, or the 4th-1st strings of a 6 string guitar. Seems that there has been quite a bit more interest in tenor guitars lately, & when folks ask me where they can get one which isn't so expensive, I sometimes suggest they try a baritone Ukelele before investing several hundred $$. I also have used the bari Uke to start smaller children who really want to learn guitar. It is surprisingly easy to play chords, & as they get older & bigger, they can usually easily switch over the a 6 string.


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Subject: RE: Harmony Tenor Guitar
From: RangerSteve
Date: 22 Jan 05 - 12:51 PM

I finger-pick mine, using the two low strings for an alternating bass, and play the melody on the other two. It means that I have to play way up the neck on most tunes. I use various banjo tunings. Since my hands are on the small side, it beats trying to handle a six-string guitar. Have fun with it.


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Subject: RE: Harmony Tenor Guitar
From: Terry Allan Hall
Date: 22 Jan 05 - 05:09 PM

I also tune my tenor guitar (and tenor banjo) an octave below a mandolin (G-D-A-E)...learned this tuning while I was in Ireland, where it seems a pretty popular tuning.

And, being a mandolinist for more than 40 years, it made for a 10 minute "learning curve"... ;-)


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Subject: RE: Harmony Tenor Guitar
From: GUEST
Date: 22 Jan 05 - 10:21 PM

It is my understanding that the tenor guitars were developed as an instrument that the tenor banjo player could easily play when a guitar sound was desirable. Tenor banjos were common in vaudeville type acts and other types of bands (see above) in the early parts of the 20th century. So its origins were as a 4 string guitar, tuned as a banjo. When everybody started playing folk guitar in the 50's, it became common for the tenor guitars around to be strung up and tuned to match the 6 string guitar so all those guitar players could easily use it. So the tuning rules are pretty much use whatever you are most comfortable with. As mentioned above, Nick Reynolds has been probably the most visible practitioner of the tenor guitar in the last 40 years. Nick grew up in a 4 string tradition playing Martin ukuleles. He originally played a Martin 0-17T with mahogany top back and sides. It was soon replaced by a Martin 2-18T that was used on many of the Trio's early albums. That guitar had been built in 1929. In 1959 he added a martin 0-18T to his performing and recording collection. In 1961 he had the 1929 2-18T converted to an 8 string version. Later he had another 0-18T also converted to 8-string. He usually used thick felt ukulele picks on the 4-string models and flexible plastic picks for the 8-string. The 8-string didn't show up much in photo shoots. The one exception being a group of photos of the "Guard" trio taken at a beach setting. One set had a wooden pier in the background and a blond girl on the pier or sitting in the sand. The other set had white and yellow sailed sail boards in the background. Those photos became album covers for reissues of Trio material under the titles of "Tom Dooley" and "Scarlet Ribbons"


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Subject: RE: Harmony Tenor Guitar
From: Once Famous
Date: 23 Jan 05 - 03:22 PM

Guest, appreciate your knowledge of Nick Reynolds, who always was and always will be one of my favorites.


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Subject: RE: Harmony Tenor Guitar
From: GUEST,Eric
Date: 23 Jan 05 - 03:38 PM

I have a close up foto of one of Nick Reynolds tenors from a couple of years ago when John Stewart did a music festival in Kilkenny and he brought Nick with him. They did an additional gig in a pub across the road from the Watergate Theatre and I found myself sitting three feet from it.


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Subject: RE: Harmony Tenor Guitar
From: Bobert
Date: 23 Jan 05 - 04:02 PM

I play a '30's Dobro/Reagal tenor resonator and tune it DBGD which gives me a slidable open G and also a dropped D for chording...

I've had two Harmony tenors over the years. One was an arched top with then "F" holes and the other was a flat top. Also have had a '50's Martin and a 1935 Gibson...

I love 'um, especially the resonator. Ir makes fir a nice swithch during a performance...

Bobert


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Subject: RE: Harmony Tenor Guitar
From: GUEST,Daniel
Date: 15 Feb 05 - 12:36 PM

I know this is an old thread but.....they do make tenor guitar strings. I have something that some people think is a baritone ukelele, but I think is a small tenor. I got some tenor guitar strings, and they're CGDA, but I've heard some people tune it to GDAE like a mandolin. Nonetheless CGDA is played the same as a mandolin as far as fingering goes. It's also how violas are tuned.


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Subject: RE: Harmony Tenor Guitar
From: khandu
Date: 15 Feb 05 - 01:22 PM

I still have the old trash can find. I have never replaced the banjo strings I put on it when I found it. It is more of a conversation piece than anything else. But I'll be keeping it for the days when I become too feeble to play the old six-string!

ken


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Subject: RE: Harmony Tenor Guitar
From: GUEST,marny
Date: 03 Dec 10 - 09:19 PM

me too...had one in the sixties...I'd played a uke before and tuned the guitar like that top four strings of a regular guitar...thus could use regular chords that I already knew. I discovered another girl in grad school who played a four string and ended up marrying her brother and we were married for 40 years before he passed away three years go....so there you go...MY four string brought me VERY good luck.
I've played mine ever since...it still lives...


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Subject: RE: Harmony Tenor Guitar
From: GUEST,marny
Date: 03 Dec 10 - 09:22 PM

me too...had one in the sixties...I'd played a uke before and tuned the guitar like that top four strings of a regular guitar...thus could use regular chords that I already knew. I discovered another girl in grad school who played a four string and ended up marrying her brother and we were married for 40 years before he passed away three years go....so there you go...MY four string brought me VERY good luck.
I've played mine ever since...it still lives...


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Subject: RE: Harmony Tenor Guitar
From: PHJim
Date: 03 Sep 11 - 09:24 AM

Nick Reynolds must have been a uke player, since he is usually seen with a capo on the 5th fret, making his Chicago tuning (DGBE) a ukulele tuning (GCEA)
Another tenor player who used the Chicago tuning was jazz guitarist Tiny Grimes. Tiny played with the Art Tatum group as well as backing such musicians as Billie Holiday and Charlie Parker.


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