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Thread: 5 String Archtop Tenor

  1. #1

    Default 5 String Archtop Tenor

    Mostly a lurker around this and other forums, and venturing now into Tenor guitars and possibly other mandolin family instruments.

    This is an archtop nearing completion that I guess you could say is a hybrid of styles and building techniques.

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    The body is Beech (sinker wood from Great Lakes), the neck is Maple and Cherry, and the top is Western Red Cedar.

    The scale length is 22.5". It will have 5 strings and I expect tuning to be GDAEA.

    Any one have other suggestions for tuning? I don't believe I will be able to go lower than "G".

    I set it up today with one string for a test drive. I think it's gonna sound pretty good.

    I do hope to offer instruments for sale in the near future, and no, I don't have a waiting list.

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  3. #2
    Registered User Ben Vierra's Avatar
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    Default Re: 5 String Archtop Tenor

    That's the tuning I would try first, if I had a 5-string tenor. Glad you're trying the beech - I'd like to know how that works out. Looks like a fun project!

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  5. #3
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    Default Re: 5 String Archtop Tenor

    I have a few 5-string tenors with that scale. I use FCGDA and find it really accessible. Straight 5ths across the strings.

    -DJW

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  7. #4
    '`'`'`'`'`'`'`'`'`'`' Jacob's Avatar
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    Default Re: 5 String Archtop Tenor

    I would tune it GDAEB, all 5ths.

  8. #5

    Default Re: 5 String Archtop Tenor

    Quote Originally Posted by djweiss View Post
    I have a few 5-string tenors with that scale. I use FCGDA and find it really accessible. Straight 5ths across the strings.

    -DJW
    I'd love to see what your tenors look like. What scale length and what do you use for your F string? Who made them?

  9. #6

    Default Re: 5 String Archtop Tenor

    Quote Originally Posted by Jacob View Post
    I would tune it GDAEB, all 5ths.
    If I can ask, what do you use for your B string, and what is your scale length?

  10. #7
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    Default Re: 5 String Archtop Tenor

    Quote Originally Posted by Brett S. View Post
    I'd love to see what your tenors look like. What scale length and what do you use for your F string? Who made them?
    My 5-strings were all made by Paul Lestock of Arrow Guitar & Mandolin. Scale length is ~22.75" if I recall (I'm not near them at the moment).

    I generally use a regular guitar pack and drop the "D" string:

    For my acoustics (flat-top and arch-top), I currently use 0.050, 0.040, 0.023-wound, 0.015, and 0.011.
    For my solid-body electrics, I currently sue 0.046, 0.036, 0.026-wound, 0.013, and 0.010

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  12. #8
    '`'`'`'`'`'`'`'`'`'`' Jacob's Avatar
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    Default Re: 5 String Archtop Tenor

    Quote Originally Posted by Brett S. View Post
    If I can ask, what do you use for your B string, and what is your scale length?
    Sorry, I don't have a 5 string tenor, but, if I did, it would be tuned in 5ths.

  13. #9

    Default Re: 5 String Archtop Tenor

    A little late to this conversation...why a 5-string tenor? What are the advantages over a 4-string besides a slightly fuller sound? I've been playing CGDA for a few years off-and-on and am always interested in a new experience.

    I also am interested in an acoustic archtop tenor but a smaller body than the 50's era Gibsons. Any suggestions on builders or vintage I might want to look for?

    Thanks to all.

  14. #10
    My Florida is scooped pheffernan's Avatar
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    Default Re: 5 String Archtop Tenor

    Quote Originally Posted by malarz View Post
    I also am interested in an acoustic archtop tenor but a smaller body than the 50's era Gibsons. Any suggestions on builders or vintage I might want to look for?
    Herb Taylor http://www.herbtaylor.com/instruments/tenorguitar/
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  15. #11

    Default Re: 5 String Archtop Tenor

    Quote Originally Posted by Brett S. View Post
    Mostly a lurker around this and other forums, and venturing now into Tenor guitars and possibly other mandolin family instruments.

    This is an archtop nearing completion that I guess you could say is a hybrid of styles and building techniques.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_20211203_162751077.jpg 
Views:	76 
Size:	612.1 KB 
ID:	197931Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_20211203_162733488.jpg 
Views:	77 
Size:	665.4 KB 
ID:	197932Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_20211205_142859308.jpg 
Views:	81 
Size:	1.10 MB 
ID:	197933

    The body is Beech (sinker wood from Great Lakes), the neck is Maple and Cherry, and the top is Western Red Cedar.

    The scale length is 22.5". It will have 5 strings and I expect tuning to be GDAEA.

    Any one have other suggestions for tuning? I don't believe I will be able to go lower than "G".

    I set it up today with one string for a test drive. I think it's gonna sound pretty good.

    I do hope to offer instruments for sale in the near future, and no, I don't have a waiting list.
    Iím having a 5 string solid body built for me. I plan on tuning to open G a la Keith Richards, G D G B D.
    Tenor Guitar & Lap Steel Freak
    https://papadafoe.com/tenor-guitar-tunings

  16. #12
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    Default Re: 5 String Archtop Tenor

    5-sting provides a low F below CGDA. For me, I like the frequency range closer to 6-string guitar, and transposing between mandolin (GDAE) and 5-string tenor (FCGDA) is really easy. Most of my 4-string tenors are tuned either FCGD or GDAE (octave mandolin)....


    Quote Originally Posted by malarz View Post
    A little late to this conversation...why a 5-string tenor? What are the advantages over a 4-string besides a slightly fuller sound? I've been playing CGDA for a few years off-and-on and am always interested in a new experience.

    I also am interested in an acoustic archtop tenor but a smaller body than the 50's era Gibsons. Any suggestions on builders or vintage I might want to look for?

    Thanks to all.

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