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Thread: HB Tenor Guitar

  1. #1

    Default HB Tenor Guitar

    Perhaps old news - I see Harley Benton has a tenor guitar ($200-ish) with a solid top and the bridge in the right place, although the copywriters don't seem exactly sure what it is they're writing about. One pick shows the fret marker on the 10th and the specs look promising:

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    https://harleybenton.com/product/clt-20s-tenor/#

    Design: 3/4 Dreadnought
    Top: Solid Sitka spruce
    Body: Mahogany
    Neck: Mahogany
    Fretboard: Pau ferro
    Mother-of-Pearl dot fretboard inlays
    Cream/Black/Cream body binding
    Neck profile: Modified Oval C
    Scale: 579 mm / 22.8"
    Nut width: 32 mm
    20 Frets
    Dual action trussrod
    Compensated saddle made of bone
    Bridge: Pau ferro
    Scalloped X-Bracing
    Open deluxe butterbean machine heads
    Total length: 85 cm
    Standard tuning: CGDA
    Alternative tunings: GDAE, DGBE, GCEA
    Ex-factory stringing: D'Addario J-66 tenor
    Colour: Natural high gloss
    VerneAndru.com | oKee.ComX

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  2. #2
    Registered User Seonachan's Avatar
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    Default Re: HB Tenor Guitar

    Thumbs up for scalloped x-bracing.

  3. #3

    Default Re: HB Tenor Guitar

    Can the price really only be $169.00? The specs say it has a solid sitka spruce top and the audio samples sound good. How can it be this inexpensive?
    Blueridge BR-60T Tenor Guitar
    Eastwood Warren Ellis 2P Tenor Guitar

  4. #4
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    Default Re: HB Tenor Guitar

    Got some great reviews too - now if only the scale was 20-21".

  5. #5
    Registered User Cary Fagan's Avatar
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    Default Re: HB Tenor Guitar

    Verne, I think you may have made this comment about bridge placement before. I don't quite understand it. This tenor and Blueridge and Gold Tone are all essentially the same scale length. All join the body at the 14th fret and have six more frets to the soundhole. So they all have the bridge in the exact same place, same distance from the soundhole. The difference is that some have a bigger lower bout (Gold Tone's is more rounded) giving the appearance of the bridge being in a different place. But they aren't. Am I missing something?

    Alfons, I find that capo-ing a 23 inch at the 2nd fret and tuning GDAE give you that scale length and actually better tone than a 20-21 inch. (Though I've never tried a Fletcher.)

    Just my observations, for what they're worth.

  6. #6
    Registered User fox's Avatar
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    Default Re: HB Tenor Guitar

    Bridge placement is one aspect that can effect performance and overall sound, in theory it should work best when placed dead centre of any hard or none moving parts.
    Generally speaking with traditional guitar design, there is a structural brace right behind the sound hole.
    So if you used a cross (x brace) to mark the centre point between the sound hole brace and the outer guitar edge you would mark the the place where most up-down vibration would be possible.
    Or in other words the dead centre of the lower bout would be in theory the best place to have the bridge.
    So if one was designing a tenor guitar you would layout the desired scale length, how many frets to body and where the sound hole will be placed and then design a body shape to match the bridge placement .... rather than.... design a nice body shape and stick the bridge way off centre.
    Not to say an slightly off centre bridge wont work as certain compromises can be made with bracing design or f holes or perhaps a side mounted sound hole.
    Last edited by fox; Mar-05-2021 at 3:05am.

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  8. #7
    Harley Marty
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    Default Re: HB Tenor Guitar

    My first guitar was this Harley Benton tenor, hence my username on this forum. It’s a great little guitar, well built & well worth the money. I’ve found that it prefers CGDA tuning. One of the tuning pegs gave up up on it after a while so I put a set of quality banjo planetary drives onto it & haven’t looked back.

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  10. #8
    Registered User Cary Fagan's Avatar
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    Default Re: HB Tenor Guitar

    Fox, that's interesting. One of the reasons I mention it is because I have a Gold Tone TG-10 which I recently picked up used. The Gold Tones have had mixed reviews so I've been surprised how good it is to my ears. Nor is it too quiet. In fact, this weekend I'm picking up a used TG-18 (solid top) although if it hadn't become available I would have been happy with the one I have. I wish I could see where the bracing was in relation to your post.
    Last edited by Cary Fagan; Mar-05-2021 at 8:17am. Reason: to elaborate

  11. #9
    Registered User fox's Avatar
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    Default Re: HB Tenor Guitar

    Normally with a fixed bridge, the outside edge of the bridge plate will rest over the top of an X brace and in turn, slightly to the rear of the brace centre, so the force of the bridge is tilted exactly over the X.
    Lots of luthiers have their own ideas and theory’s of exactly where the bridge should be fixed but that is the theory I was taught.

  12. #10

    Thumbs up Harley Benton CLT-20S Tenor Guitar in North America

    Available since April 2015 - Reviews on Thomann's site go back 5 years. All positive.

    $235 delivered to the US. Out-of-stock 7-9 weeks

    https://www.thomannmusic.com/harley_...s_nt_tenor.htm

    $215 CAD + shipping in Canada Verne:https://www.thomannmusic.com/intl/ca...3D%3D&reload=1

    Video:
    https://video2.thomann.de/vidiot/025...8_yd59vq0a.mp4

    Huck
    Last edited by Huck; Mar-05-2021 at 9:04am.

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  14. #11
    Registered User Cary Fagan's Avatar
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    Default Re: HB Tenor Guitar

    Fox, I looked at my wife's Martin 000-17. The bridge is actually a couple of inches higher at least than the spot you suggest. From what I can see, anyway. Interesting.

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  16. #12

    Default Re: HB Tenor Guitar

    Quote Originally Posted by Cary Fagan View Post
    Verne, I think you may have made this comment about bridge placement before. I don't quite understand it. This tenor and Blueridge and Gold Tone are all essentially the same scale length. All join the body at the 14th fret and have six more frets to the soundhole. So they all have the bridge in the exact same place, same distance from the soundhole. The difference is that some have a bigger lower bout (Gold Tone's is more rounded) giving the appearance of the bridge being in a different place. But they aren't. Am I missing something?

    Alfons, I find that capo-ing a 23 inch at the 2nd fret and tuning GDAE give you that scale length and actually better tone than a 20-21 inch. (Though I've never tried a Fletcher.)

    Just my observations, for what they're worth.
    I think it best to defer to Fox on this. He's better at explaining the technical stuff.

    I've found that as the bridge moves closer to the neck/soundhole for 14 instead of 12-frets to the body, the tone tends to thin out and lose volume. Not on all builds, but most as there are other things at play beside bridge placement. 14 frets works on a 6-string because center body placement can and does tend to get boomy and muddy.

    The main issue I've found with most tenor guitars I've tried is the sound is thin and weak and in most cases the designers have chosen to go 14-frets to the body for extra frets putting the bridge closer to the neck/soundhole. This is very noticeable on the Ibanez parlor - great little guitar with the bridge in the wrong spot as most parlors that sound good are 12 not 14 frets to the body.

    I think if Ibanez were to hire fox to redesign their parlor tenor they'd have a winner instead of a meh.

    I got twigged to this when I was playing with placement of piezo pickups on the soundboard of a few guitars. One of best spots is between the bridge and the soundhole leading me to believe that that area is critically important to the sound of an acoustic instrument. The more space and the easier it is for it to vibrate the better the tone you should get.

    That's my theory and I'm sticking to it!
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  17. #13
    Registered User Cary Fagan's Avatar
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    Default Re: HB Tenor Guitar

    Not trying to be contrary, I find all this tenor stuff fascinating and am enjoying all the info. All 23 inch tenors seem to join at the 14th fret--Martin O18s, Blueridge, Recording King, even the small body style 5 Martins. The only tenors I know of that join at the 12th fret are 21 inch scale and they do have their bridge more in the middle of the lower bout or even lower. Also Vintage Gibson TG-1s (at least all the photos I've seen) are joined at the 12th but their bridge is even closer to the soundhole. (Not sure what scale they are.)

  18. #14
    Registered User fox's Avatar
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    Default Re: HB Tenor Guitar

    Well It is an interesting subject and as have already said there are lots of opinions but basic physics points you in the right direction and after that It often comes down to minor details that can be personalised and then justified by the designer.
    As am example... If you tap the guitar on the sound board and move around toward the edges then the tone will change and any sustain will lessen.

  19. #15
    Registered User fox's Avatar
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    Default Re: HB Tenor Guitar

    Cary, I had to do a bit of searching to find a none too argumentative thread but you can read a bit more detail here .... https://www.acousticguitarforum.com/...d.php?t=485595
    Last edited by fox; Mar-05-2021 at 12:25pm.

  20. #16

    Default Re: HB Tenor Guitar

    Quote Originally Posted by Cary Fagan View Post
    Not trying to be contrary, I find all this tenor stuff fascinating and am enjoying all the info. All 23 inch tenors seem to join at the 14th fret--Martin O18s, Blueridge, Recording King, even the small body style 5 Martins. The only tenors I know of that join at the 12th fret are 21 inch scale and they do have their bridge more in the middle of the lower bout or even lower. Also Vintage Gibson TG-1s (at least all the photos I've seen) are joined at the 12th but their bridge is even closer to the soundhole. (Not sure what scale they are.)
    I understand what you're saying. Most traditional Martin, Gibson and other tenors were 6-stringers with a tenor neck slapped on and tend to sound meh. Makers had to move the bridge forward to lesson woofiness for 6-strings but that extra body is exactly what a tenor needs. There are very few purpose-designed and built tenors until you get into the smaller bodies, and as you note they are joined at the 12th.

    There are obvious examples of nice 14-fret designs like Nigels, but you're into boutique building and prices at that point.
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  22. #17

    Default Re: HB Tenor Guitar

    For comparison here's the HB beside the Ibanez PFT2NT and Ibanez AVT1. The Ibanez PFT2NT is plywood the others are solid tops. Ibanez did have a PFT1 that was solid woods but mysteriously disappeared from circulation.

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  23. #18
    Registered User Seonachan's Avatar
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    Default Re: HB Tenor Guitar

    Some of the older Martin 5's had 12-fret neck joins. I have a 5-17T like that - I think the change was during the 1929 production year (for that specific model at least). I was able to compare mine to a 14-fret 5-17T and thought the 12-fret was much fuller sounding - though of course there could be all sorts of things going on with a couple 90+ year-old guitars.

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  25. #19

    Default Ibanez Solid Top Tenor Guitars

    Quote Originally Posted by Verne Andru View Post
    Ibanez did have a PFT1 that was solid woods but mysteriously disappeared from circulation.

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    Verne your not thinking of the solid top AVT2 when you say PFT1 are you?

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    Body shape: Mini Dreadnought body
    Bracing: X Bracing
    Top: Solid Sitka Spruce top
    Back and sides: Mahogany

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  27. #20

    Default Re: Ibanez Solid Top Tenor Guitars

    Quote Originally Posted by Huck View Post
    Verne your not thinking of the solid top AVT2 when you say PFT1 are you?

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    Body shape: Mini Dreadnought body
    Bracing: X Bracing
    Top: Solid Sitka Spruce top
    Back and sides: Mahogany
    That's the one - thanks. Model numbers mess me up.
    VerneAndru.com | oKee.ComX

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