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Thread: High Quality Short Scale Tenor Guitar?

  1. #26

    Default Re: High Quality Short Scale Tenor Guitar?

    I have a Girouard tenor, which is tuned GDAE. Sounds great in that tuning. I also have a Collings tenor tuned CGDA. The Collings is a longer scale, but I have found that you need to play around with the string gauges on these instruments in order to dial in the sound you are looking for. There are no hard and fast rules. There are also some great vintage tenor guitars out there: old Martins, Gibsons, even some really nice old Regals (I have one with a carved mahogany top).
    There's nothing better than first-hand experience.

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  3. #27
    Lord of All Badgers Lord of the Badgers's Avatar
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    Default Re: High Quality Short Scale Tenor Guitar?

    Oh I dunno. For me my 23" mcilroy is always GDAE. If I want CGDA I capo. Hey presto... Short scale CGDA tenor
    That's why I like being in GDAE apart from finding I can use alt tunings without 'too soon' string breakages!
    My name is Rob, and I am Lord of All Badgers

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  4. #28

    Default Re: High Quality Short Scale Tenor Guitar?

    Quote Originally Posted by crisscross View Post
    I was thinking about having a tenor guitar built by Fletcher, Foster or Girouard...
    First, may I say that I applaud your methology trying different strings and picks, etc.

    fox builds guitars, so I tend to listen to his advice often. That being said, why not send an email to these three builders expressing exactly what you want and need? I'd imagine their responses will be more reassuring than ours.

    Nigel Forester contributes to the tenor guitar forum as well. You might try messaging him.

    I think most would agree that off the shelf - mass production guitars can be hit-or-miss as far as tonal qualities. Tinkering with the setup, such as you have, will get most guitars to where we are satisfied. In your case it seems to be the instrument not the player.

    I wish you luck in your search.

  5. #29

    Default Re: High Quality Short Scale Tenor Guitar?

    Thanks again for your thoughts. Well, first of all, I've got to decide whether a tenor guitar is so important to me, that I will spend the money for a handbuilt tenor guitar. Until now, tenor guitar was just an instrument for a little diversification, that I used once in a while, for me...

  6. #30

    Default Re: High Quality Short Scale Tenor Guitar?

    Sorry to necro but were you able to find anything?

  7. #31
    Registered User bruce.b's Avatar
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    Default Re: High Quality Short Scale Tenor Guitar?

    I have two Herb Taylor archtop tenors, #174 and #205. 21.5” scale, tuned GDAE. I love them, they are powerful, and cut through other instruments quite well. Great sound, wonderful necks, and you can reset the neck yourself in maybe thirty minutes. I took my neck off just to see, but didn’t need to reset it. I have never played his flattops so I can’t comment on them. He does all sorts of experimental builds too, so you can get almost anything you want. Check out his site..... http://www.herbtaylor.com/instruments/tenorguitar/

    NK Forster makes gorgeous guitars that tempt me. I haven’t played one, but they look and sound fantastic in the videos on his site.

    Both of these builders make lots of tenor guitars, something you might want to take into consideration if you go custom. My Herb Taylor tenors blew away the two other small shop luthier built tenors I’ve played, in both sound, volume and playability.

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  9. #32

    Default Re: High Quality Short Scale Tenor Guitar?

    21.5" or thereabouts is great for CGDA, and yes, I do make a lot of tenors these days. If you've not sat through them all, here is a playlist of my tenor and plectrum guitars on YouTube:




    I have to say, the basic Session King and Parlour King are great guitars. And they're the most affordable instruments I make.

    Nigel
    https://www.nkforsterguitars.com/ins.../tenor-guitar/

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  11. #33
    Registered User Jim Roberts's Avatar
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    Default Re: High Quality Short Scale Tenor Guitar?

    I have small scale Fletcher tenor guitar tuned GDAE and I am really enjoying it. It is a joy to play and has sustain that is incredible and volume to spare including the G string. I also like the fact that there is no plastic on the instrument except for the tuner buttons. It has maple binding. I am new to tenors and wondering what capo folks suggest for the tenor? I’ve not played an instrument that requires a capo.
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    Last edited by Jim Roberts; Feb-18-2021 at 2:18pm.

  12. #34
    Registered User Cary Fagan's Avatar
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    Default Re: High Quality Short Scale Tenor Guitar?

    Hey Jim, nice Fletcher! I've just used a banjo capo on every tenor. My question to you: how do the chords sound?

    The reason that Fletchers and Regal short scale tenors work is that they use a tailpiece and floating bridge rather than a guitar-style bridge. This allows the strings to stretch farther and have more tension. I wish one of the manufacturers would build a less expensive version of this kind of tenor. Regals seem to be about $1,000 these days (O for the three I had and sold a few years ago!).

  13. #35
    Registered User Jim Roberts's Avatar
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    Default Re: High Quality Short Scale Tenor Guitar?

    Cary, the two and three finger chords sound lovely.

  14. #36
    My Florida is scooped pheffernan's Avatar
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    Default Re: High Quality Short Scale Tenor Guitar?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Roberts View Post
    I have small scale Fletcher tenor guitar tuned GDAE and I am really enjoying it. It is a joy to play and has sustain that is incredible and volume to spare including the G string. I also like the fact that there is no plastic on the instrument except for the tuner buttons. It has maple binding. I am new to tenors and wondering what capo folks suggest for the tenor? I’ve not played an instrument that requires a capo.
    That’s a beauty, Jim. Where did you score it? I don’t remember seeing a Fletcher used in three or four years of looking.
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  15. #37
    Registered User Jim Roberts's Avatar
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    Default Re: High Quality Short Scale Tenor Guitar?

    Pheffernan, I got on Jamie's list a few years ago and he built this one in his latest batch last fall. Come to think of it, I don't think I've ever seen a used Fletcher for sale. I am currently dealing with some wicked nerve entrapment issues in my right forearm and the lighter string tension of a tenor over a mandolin is keeping me playing these days.

  16. #38
    My Florida is scooped pheffernan's Avatar
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    Default Re: High Quality Short Scale Tenor Guitar?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Roberts View Post
    I got on Jamie's list a few years ago and he built this one in his latest batch last fall. Come to think of it, I don't think I've ever seen a used Fletcher for sale.
    There are a couple of expired ads from Elderly and listings from Reverb (at attractive prices), but I don’t think that I’ve seen a live offer either. I ended up buying a used tenor built by David Newton in the hopes of fusing some of my acquired mandolin knowledge with my original guitar background, and it’s everything that I could want in a secondary or tertiary instrument, but I remain curious about a Fletcher with its 21” scale. Enjoy it in good health!
    1924 Gibson A Snakehead
    2005 National RM-1
    2007 Hester A5
    2009 Passernig A5
    2015 Black A2-z
    2010 Black GBOM
    2017 Poe Scout
    2014 Smart F-Style Mandola
    2018 Vessel TM5
    2019 Hogan F5

  17. #39
    Registered User Cary Fagan's Avatar
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    Default Re: High Quality Short Scale Tenor Guitar?

    Thanks for letting me know!

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