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Thread: What to do with 25" scale tenor guitar?

  1. #1
    Registered User SincereCorgi's Avatar
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    Default What to do with 25" scale tenor guitar?

    I've got a Gold Tone resonator tenor guitar from several years ago with a 25" scale. I can't get it anywhere near CGDA mandola tuning, so I thought I'd solicit suggestions. As far as I can tell, the options are:

    1) CGDA reŽntrant tuning.

    2) Plectrum tuning?

    3) Octave mandolin.

    4) Vanilla DGBE guitar tuning.

    I remember reading that Benedetto builds his tenor as a 25", but I don't know what tuning he suggests.

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    Default Re: What to do with 25" scale tenor guitar?

    Normally a 25 inch four string guitar would be considered a plectrum. If you want to play it in fifths, you might be successful if you tune it down a whole pitch to BFcg. Or you could tune it a half step lower to Bb. As far as the string weights, got me, I've never worked that out for that scale length. It seems that John Lawlor already does play his longer scale tenors tuned that way. (I don't know if that would be an F on the third string or an F#?)
    Mandola fever is permanent.

  3. #3
    RedKnucklesUnclesCousin GKWilson's Avatar
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    Default Re: What to do with 25" scale tenor guitar?

    MY Breedlove is a little over 24".
    It is made to be tuned GDAE.
    You can buy a set of strings from Elderly that are made for the longer Breedlove neck.
    Then if you capoed to the seventh fret you would have CGDA.
    And a playing scale of about 19"'s.
    Might be the best of both worlds.
    Gary
    vincit qui se vincit

  4. #4
    Registered User SincereCorgi's Avatar
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    Default Re: What to do with 25" scale tenor guitar?

    Quote Originally Posted by GKWilson View Post
    ...then if you capoed to the seventh fret you would have CGDA.
    And a playing scale of about 19"'s.
    I think this was a weird prototype- long scale and no cutaway, so a capo at 7 would leave very little fretboard, but I appreciate the idea. Plectrum tuning is really interesting to me, but it seems very specialized (bowtie... sleeve garters...) and I don't want to fool with it for a while. Are typical chords uncomfortable on your Breedlove? I feel like I'm really stretching.

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    Default Re: What to do with 25" scale tenor guitar?

    Worth trying it as a single-course mandocello CGDA ?

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    Registered User Martin Jonas's Avatar
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    Default Re: What to do with 25" scale tenor guitar?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandocarver View Post
    Worth trying it as a single-course mandocello CGDA ?
    I agree. You can then capo at the fifth fret for a GDAE tenor guitar with a 19" scale length -- a bit short but just about workable, similar to Irish tenor banjos in GDAE.

    Martin

    [Edit: Oops, that should be seventh fret, making it 17" scale. Maybe a bit too short.]

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    Registered User bruce.b's Avatar
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    Default Re: What to do with 25" scale tenor guitar?

    Two of the three common tenor guitar tunings, DGBE and GDAE will work fine with that scale length. If you're going to use a capo then you can get whatever you want. If you go GDAE, CGDA will work great with a capo at five.

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    Registered User MdJ's Avatar
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    Default Re: What to do with 25" scale tenor guitar?

    Dear Corgi,

    Bb-A-C-G ( john Lawlor tuning) would be my first choice - i often tune down anyway for vocal purposes.
    G-D-A-E would seem to make a lot of sense -
    F-C-G-D would be another option (the 4 lowest strings of a 5 string tenor) - on a resonater this could sound great

    Just an aside - i have gotten a usable (not ideal) 'A' on a 24.75" scale instrument with a .008

    All the best,

    MdJ

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    RedKnucklesUnclesCousin GKWilson's Avatar
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    Default Re: What to do with 25" scale tenor guitar?

    Quote Originally Posted by SincereCorgi View Post
    Are typical chords uncomfortable on your Breedlove? I feel like I'm really stretching.
    I have left hand issues anyway. When I first got it I tuned it to F and capoed on the second fret. As I played it for some time I became more comfortable and learned more 1, 2, and 3 finger cords. I have often thought that I would still prefer a shorter scale Tenor. But, I've never found anything that could produce the kind of sound or volume that the Breedlove can. Maybe the new
    Collings but I haven't seen one. And, I couldn't afford one anyway.
    Gary
    vincit qui se vincit

  10. #10
    RedKnucklesUnclesCousin GKWilson's Avatar
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    Default Re: What to do with 25" scale tenor guitar?

    Quote Originally Posted by GKWilson View Post
    MY Breedlove is a little over 24".
    It is made to be tuned GDAE.
    You can buy a set of strings from Elderly that are made for the longer Breedlove neck.
    Then if you capoed to the seventh fret you would have CGDA.
    And a playing scale of about 19"'s.
    Might be the best of both worlds.
    Gary
    Just noticed I said 7th fret. I meant 5th. Sorry for any confussion.:reface:
    I did get the approx. scale though.
    This would only cost a set of strings to try.
    Good luck.
    Gary
    vincit qui se vincit

  11. #11
    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: What to do with 25" scale tenor guitar?

    Sell it?
    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

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    Lord of All Badgers Lord of the Badgers's Avatar
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    Default Re: What to do with 25" scale tenor guitar?

    typical zouk tunings maybe? GDAD / ADAD.

    OR

    Have you not seen this one before (it's filmed by a member i think?) - open G... if memory serves
    My name is Rob, and I am Lord of All Badgers

    Tenor Guitars: Acoustic: Mcilroy ASP10T, Ď59 Martin 0-18t. Electric: Ď57 Gibson ETG-150, Ď80s Manson Kestrel
    Mandolins: Davidson f5, A5 "Badgerlin".
    Bouzouki: Paul Shippey Axe
    My band's website

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    Registered User PT66's Avatar
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    Default Re: What to do with 25" scale tenor guitar?

    Why not try lighter strings to get it up to pitch. I would try .009 (a), .012 (d), .020w (G), .028w (C) If the .009 won't make it to "a" try .008 . You would have to buy them as singles but if it works you can buy bulk and make your own sets.
    Dave Schneider

  15. #14
    Registered User PT66's Avatar
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    Default Re: What to do with 25" scale tenor guitar?

    Or tune one full step lower (Bb, F, c, g) with regular strings and capo at the 2nd fret.
    Dave Schneider

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    Registered User DavidKOS's Avatar
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    Default Re: What to do with 25" scale tenor guitar?

    Quote Originally Posted by PT66 View Post
    Or tune one full step lower (Bb, F, c, g) with regular strings and capo at the 2nd fret.
    Why not just tune like an octave mandolin, GDAE, and capo at the 5th fret?

  17. #16
    Registered User PT66's Avatar
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    Default Re: What to do with 25" scale tenor guitar?

    What strings would you use for GDAE on a 25" scale? Mandocello?
    Dave Schneider

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    Default Re: What to do with 25" scale tenor guitar?

    I currently have Eddie Freeman Special CGDA on my old National tenor (which is up for sale in the Classified, FYI), and it's a fantastic sound for swing rhythm comping. Probably a one-trick pony, but it's a hell of a trick.

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    Default Re: What to do with 25" scale tenor guitar?

    In response to the question about whether mandocello strings could be used for GDAE OM tuning on a 25" tenor, the answer is no, they'd need to be much lighter - 25" is right around the proper scale length for CGDA mandocello.

  20. #19
    ISO TEKNO delsbrother's Avatar
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    Default Re: What to do with 25" scale tenor guitar?

    Hey JPL, how 'bout some tips on swing playing in Freeman tuning? (Maybe a new thread?) I actually have an EFS replica, and to me it sounds odd - but I'm probably not playing it correctly (TB chords). What kind of voicings are you using? Are you playing all four strings? Straight ahead, Texas style, or Jazz Manouche?

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    Default Re: What to do with 25" scale tenor guitar?

    Delsbrother, I'm just faking it as best as I can. To me, four-note closed chords sound best, and that Texas Fiddle Backup PDF (you know the one?) appears to have enough of those to keep a man busy.

    As far as a "correct" approach, I think the key must be to think about that transition from 1920s classic jazz (and the tenor banjo) to the 1930s swing players (and the acoustic archtop guitar), with the latter including some "regional variants" like Western swing and Gypsy and Chicago jazz. This tuning came about as a reaction to that evolution of the music. So I think that if you're coming at it from the standpoint of starting with tenor banjo chops and then trying to make it sound as much like Freddie Green or Joseph Reinhardt or Eddie Condon as possible, you're probably on the right track.

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  23. #21
    ISO TEKNO delsbrother's Avatar
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    Default Re: What to do with 25" scale tenor guitar?

    Yeah, you're probably correct about what Freeman himself may have sounded like (no recordings I know of). Since I actually have a Selmer EFS replica, there's a temptation to play it Gypsy style, which may not really suit the tuning when all is said and done. I hadn't thought to try the Texas voicings on the EFS, but now I'll give that a shot.

  24. #22
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    Default Re: What to do with 25" scale tenor guitar?

    I think the very existence of Selmer-Maccaferri EFS tenor guitars is a good argument for your approach, and I'd love to hear it.
    On the ELS reso, there's just so much of that midrange punch that I like to hear from an acoustic rhythm guitar.

    Damn, now I'm not sure I want to sell it.

  25. #23
    Oscar Stern s11141827's Avatar
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    Default Re: What to do with 25" scale tenor guitar?

    Quote Originally Posted by MdJ View Post
    Dear Corgi,

    Bb-A-C-G ( john Lawlor tuning) would be my first choice - i often tune down anyway for vocal purposes.
    G-D-A-E would seem to make a lot of sense -
    F-C-G-D would be another option (the 4 lowest strings of a 5 string tenor) - on a resonater this could sound great

    Just an aside - i have gotten a usable (not ideal) 'A' on a 24.75" scale instrument with a .008

    All the best,

    MdJ
    John Lawlor's Tenor Guitar is a Converted 6 string Guitar w/ a Super long 25 in scale (like the Eddie Freeman Special Tenors) so the highest he could tune to on the 1st string was a High G like on a 12 String Guitar (it's a step below the High A String on a Tenor Guitar).

  26. #24
    Oscar Stern s11141827's Avatar
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    Default Re: What to do with 25" scale tenor guitar?

    Quote Originally Posted by s11141827 View Post
    John Lawlor's Tenor Guitar is a Converted 6 string Guitar w/ a Super long 25 in scale (like the Eddie Freeman Special Tenors) so the highest he could tune to on the 1st string was a High G like on a 12 String Guitar (it's a step below the High A String on a Tenor Guitar).
    Octave4plus makes a special high A string for a longer scale that's made out of a super strong alloy

  27. #25
    Oscar Stern s11141827's Avatar
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    Default Re: What to do with 25" scale tenor guitar?

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	racyha5aa8z6tielu0rl.jpg 
Views:	19 
Size:	60.1 KB 
ID:	205848 There are 4 String Resonator Tenors out there w/ a 25 in scale so it's a Semi-Tenor/Plectrum Guitar. It can be tuned C, G, D, A, because Octave4Plus makes Special High A4 Strings for these Long Scale Guitars out of a Special AlloyName:  0.59 gauge High A String.jpg
Views: 214
Size:  41.4 KB, thankfully these strings come w/ instructions on how to install them properly.

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