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Thread: Blueridge 60, Harley Benton, Martin tenors?

  1. #1
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    Default Blueridge 60, Harley Benton, Martin tenors?

    I'm thinking of buying a cheap tenor guitar, and I'm looking at used Blueridge, new Harley Benton (Thomann bargain basement), and used, the cheapest Mexican 'Little Martin' they used to make. So, two plywood + solid top and one breakfast cereal all round. Any opinions? This will probably be a 'beach and boat' guitar, so kickability and water resistance might be useful attributes

    Thanks, Max
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    Default Re: Blueridge 60, Harley Benton, Martin tenors?

    My guess is you would pay a premium for "water resistance".

    In the US I do not see used Blueridge guitars with cheap asking
    prices, and most of them are 40 models.

    I don't know anything about the Harley Benton. I have been happy
    with the Recording King tenor. I paid a luthier to set it up though.

    Here is my suggestion. Look for a used Yamaha Junior. In the US
    people ask about $75 for those, and no VAT. The scale length is
    21.25 inches. You can give it four tenor strings, and leave two open.
    The overall length is 34 inches. It is easy to carry around. I would
    not mistreat any guitar, even a cheap one. If you can be careful
    and decide to upgrade, you can restring the Yamaha as a 6-string
    and give it to some kid.

    Why don't you take your bagpipes to the beach? No one will be
    distraught if they accidentally get wet.
    Thanks,
    sounds_good

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  4. #3

    Default Re: Blueridge 60, Harley Benton, Martin tenors?

    Have you played a 23" scale fifths-tuned instrument?

    In my opinion, if I really wanted to pursue it and knew it, I'd be going for the best set-up, which would lead me to the best-made platform for that. That to me would mean the Blueridge.

    If I was just doing simple chording below the 7th fret, then cheapest is best.

    They're not in my signature, but I have two 23" tenors tuned as GDAE octaves. It took some experimenting, but I finally found the strap and neck position that lets me play them with no strain for me. (They're slung pretty low, with the neck pretty vertical compared to the norm.) I started with something pretty nice, and never looked back.
    ----

    Playing a funky oval-hole scroll-body mandolin, several mandolins retuned to CGDA, three CGDA-tuned Flatiron mandolas, two Flatiron mandolas tuned as octave mandolins,and a six-course 25.5" scale CGDAEB-tuned Ovation Mandophone.

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    Join the Mandola Social Group!

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  6. #4
    Registered User fox's Avatar
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    Default Re: Blueridge 60, Harley Benton, Martin tenors?

    Blueridge is the best of the bunch and a very good guitar but, not a cheap option in the UK.

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    Unfamous String Buster Beanzy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Blueridge 60, Harley Benton, Martin tenors?

    I have a LXM which I use in CGDA.
    It's a decent sound if you keep it played in & give it occasional string changes to keep brightness to the tone.
    I use a thin pick for the same reason. I think they can sound really dead in GDAE.
    It will put up with moisture really well due to the HPL top, good for humid pubs too & very well behaved in terms of staying bang on in tune.
    Someday I'll stump up for an all wood small-bodied tenor, but because the LXM is so well behaved I haven't really been motivated to look for alternatives yet.
    I'm not into larger bodied tenors as they're delivering something different to what I want.
    Eoin



    "Forget that anyone is listening to you and always listen to yourself" - Fryderyk Chopin

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  10. #6
    Harley Marty
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    Default Re: Blueridge 60, Harley Benton, Martin tenors?

    I have the Harley Benton among my collection of tenors. It’s a nice guitar that sounds good in CGDA and just ok in GDAE. I replaced the tuners with good quality banjo ones. I wouldn’t be confident about bringing it out into the rain but then my latest tenor all carbon fibre…. Marty

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  12. #7
    Registered User fox's Avatar
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    Default Re: Blueridge 60, Harley Benton, Martin tenors?

    Hey Marty, I would like to see a picture and get more info on your new carbon tenor?

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    Default Re: Blueridge 60, Harley Benton, Martin tenors?

    I have a McPherson Touring carbon fiber guitar that I love. Not a tenor, of course, and not cheap, but pretty much impervious to everything but serious blunt force trauma. I can leave it in the locked hot car, take it to the beach where itís 90 degrees with 80+% humidity, play it in the cold, etc, and it holds tune extremely well. The warranty actually says itís voided if you use it as a boat paddle (because of the electronics), lol.

    If you can find a decent CF tenor that would be the best tool for the job. Otherwise, yeah, go with one of the all laminate ones.
    Chuck

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  16. #9
    Harley Marty
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    Default Re: Blueridge 60, Harley Benton, Martin tenors?

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    Quote Originally Posted by fox View Post
    Hey Marty, I would like to see a picture and get more info on your new carbon tenor?
    Here tis. Scale is 23Ē (E) to 24Ē (G). Jumbo body, Cocobolo veneer, gotoh tuners & LR Baggs pickup. Itís a custom built by Emerald Guitars in County Donegal. Really really nice guitar. Expensive but well worth it.

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  18. #10
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    Default Re: Blueridge 60, Harley Benton, Martin tenors?

    Thanks everyone:

    1) Anyone know of an affordable CF tenor that works? The Emerald looks lovely, but I suspect 'affordable' isn't the first word that comes to mind abou it

    2) Most comments suggest these tenors sound better in CGDA than GDAE. I've ordered some John Pearse 'Irish tuning' GDAE tenor strings which I suspect are designed to make a tenor in that tuning sound as good as a string change can. I play a lot of fiddle tunes (on fiddle and mandolin), so I suspect GDAE will be my preferred tuning.

    I ended up ordering the Harley Benton tenor. The available used other makes of tenor here in UK are more expensive than a new HB, and there's always the possibility that a used guitar has a fault, with no guarantee. if tenor goes well I might chase up a CF one.

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    Default Re: Blueridge 60, Harley Benton, Martin tenors?

    Quote Originally Posted by sounds_good View Post

    Here is my suggestion. Look for a used Yamaha Junior...

    Why don't you take your bagpipes to the beach? No one will be
    distraught if they accidentally get wet.
    At one time I had a Vintage 'Viator' 6 string short scale acoustic strung CGDAE low to high with the 6th string left off. It kinda worked, but it sounded like a regular small guitar in an unusual tuning rather than a tenor guitar, and it didn't feeel right somehow.

    Bagpipes - you can get polypenco resin pipes with synthetic reeds and a GoreTex bag, nearly weatherproof apart from wind suspeptibility. Just the thing for the Scottish summer (one reason I don't live there any more), or combining bagpiping and watersports:


  20. #12
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    Default Re: Blueridge 60, Harley Benton, Martin tenors?

    For my Harley Benton tenor today - this is quite weird, its like a tiny Dreadnought but deeper bodied than you might expect. Tried it out in GDAE with the D'Addario OEM strings - meh. Fitted John Pierce 'Irish tuning' tenor strings, and this is much better. What fun - quite rounded and plummy, but with a definite 't' attack to the sound. I once played cello, and cello fingering works great, as does Bach. There are doubtless better tenor guitars to be had for more money but for £150 this is a good deal!

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