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Tenor guitars...

I'm currently building three gypsy jazz style tenor guitars at the moment, all are D-holes, 584mm scale length tuned CGDA (non-reentrant tuning).

Does anyone here play much tenor guitar in this style? What tunings do you use, and more importantly what strings do you use??

I'm hoping they will work well with strings found in the usual gypsy jazz sets (savarez argentines, D'addario gypsy strings etc), but would love to hear some first hand experiences.



Wim GlennBuco


  • Wim GlennWim Glenn oƃɐɔᴉɥƆModerator 503
    Posts: 1,155

    Interesting project! Do they have the same body as 6-string, looks like it?

    There were actually a bunch of selmers built like this too, but history wasn't so kind to them. Tenor guitars fell so much out of fashion that many of those old selmers have had their necks torn off and replaced with 6-string necks (kind of a shame if you ask me...)

  • everetteverett san francisco✭✭✭
    Posts: 116

    I tune my tenor archtop to 5ths CGDA. I just use these D'addario bronze tenor strings. I would love to have a nice tenor...mine is a cheap harmony. I've seen some cool Dimauros, favino, etc, but I don't play enough to justify buying a nice one (yet). Yours look awesome!

    I would love one with enough clearance for a dearmond. I have a tenor monkey-on-a-stick, but it doesn't fit the harmony unless it's way down by the bridge.

    The headstock also cracked on mine, so I just sloppily glued it back. I play with a strip to the headstock since they're a little smaller and it's hard to grip chords without support.

  • BonesBones Moderator
    Posts: 3,001

    Kale Stiles of Black Market Trust plays a tenor guitar he built himself. You might try to contact him to see what strings he uses.

  • Thanks for the info everyone that's great.

    @Wim Glenn Yes the body size is similar but not the same, about an inch narrower at the waist, but not too far off. It's based on the original selmer tenor, but not the Eddie Freeman one - which I think was the same as a six string full size body. Not sure how they made that work with the thinner neck though.

  • billyshakesbillyshakes NoVA✭✭✭ Park Avance - Altamira M10
    Posts: 388

    @alexbishopguitars Thanks for sharing your works in progress. Are you just building these on spec or do you have buyers? I ask not as a buyer (Only tenor guitar I've seen was played by Sims from Harmonious Wail), but it is interesting to see you have a few different wood choices going on here both for the neck and for the back (and presumably sides) as well as soundport options. It also appears that you have built in the bevel on the lower bout for all the instruments. I have seen that on some of your other models. Is that something you are planning to do for all your instruments now? Does it affect either the tone or the stability of the guitar or are there any specific bracing/support techniques required when building that in? Is it much more difficult to execute? Thanks!

  • benswanbenswan New
    Posts: 1


    I've been using a Blue Ridge tenor to play manouche rhythm. I tune it GDAE and use Argentine strings- I leave the D and high E strings off. I'd consider getting a Selmer style instrument depending on how it sounds in GDAE tuning. I believe the scale length on mine is also 584mm.

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