Name: Tenor Guitar.
Type: Lute > Chordophones.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 321.322.6
Country: United States.
Region: North America.
Description: The tenor guitar or four-string guitar is a slightly smaller, relative of the steel-string acoustic guitar. The instrument was initially developed in its acoustic form by Gibson Guitar Company and C. F. Martin & Company so that players of the four-string tenor banjo could double on guitar.
History: The earliest origins of the tenor guitar are not clear, but it seems unlikely that a true four-stringed guitar-shaped tenor guitar appeared before the late 1920s. Gibson built the tenor lute TL-4 in 1924 with a lute-like pear-shaped body, four strings and a tenor banjo neck. It is possible that similar instruments were made by other makers such as Lyon and Healy and other banjo makers, such as Bacon.
In the same period, banjo makers, such as Paramount, built transitional round banjo-like wood-bodied instruments with four strings and tenor banjo necks called tenor harps. From 1927 onwards, the very first true wood-bodied acoustic tenor guitars appeared as production instruments made by both Gibson and Martin.
Currently most major guitar manufactures including Epiphone, Kay, Gretch, Guild and national have manufactured tenor as production instruments at various times. In collaboration with Cliff Edwards, Dobro built the four-stringed round-bodied resonator tenor scale length instrument called the Tenortrope in the early 1930s.
Makers such as Gibson even used to offer the tenor models as a custom option for their six string guitar models at no extra charge. Gibson also produced a line of tenor guitars. During the 1950s and 1960s tenor guitars built by makers such as Harmony, Regal and Stella were produced in large quantities.
|Tenor Guitar Tunings|
|C G D A|
|G D A E|
|D G B E|
|G C E A|
Construction: Tenor guitars usually made in a waisted body as with their larger sized guitar counterpart. They can be manufactured in acoustic [flat top or arch top] or with a cone resonator [as seen on the dobro guitars]. Tenor guitars normally have a scale length similar to that of the tenor banjo of between 53 and 58 cm [21 and 23 inches].