As far as I know the tenor guitar first appeared at the start of the 20th century where they became popular with tenor banjo players who could transfer to the instrument without having to learn new fingerings or chords since the two instruments shared the same tuning. The sound is, however, completely different and I'm happy with that! The tenor guitar was popular in dance bands in the 1930's on but faded out of popularity later. Few people make or use them now so I was delighted to get an order for one
This beauty shares a body shape with my ASAST archtop guitar (17" wide. 3.25" deep) but the scale length is shorter at 22 7/8ths inch and the neck is slimmer as it only has 4 strings to fit on it. Tuning in this case is GDAE (same as the Irish tenor banjo) but a more common tuning would be CGDA (regular tenor banjo). Construction? A hand carved and tap tuned Canadian sitka top sits on a back and sides of quilted maple - the back is a hand carved arch too. The neck is flamed maple with a center strip of ebony which compliments the facing (front and back) of the headstock, the tail, bridge, scratchplate and fingerboard. The binding is rosewood on the body, neck, headstock and inside the large F holes. A custom made Armstrong floating humbucking pickup is attached to the fingerboard end with volume and tone controls. How does it sound? Acoustically it is very loud, projects wonderfully and has excellent sustain. It works for single line playing, chords and vamping with the typical rich tone that a good archtop guitar has. Amplified it is a jazz guitar.
I really enjoyed making this and hearing it played by it's owner was a revalation. Hope to do some more!
The shape of the narrow headstock echos that of the tailpiece and the polished brass bracket that holds the tailpiece to the body. Lovely stepped buttons on the Schaller gold vintage tuners