Ian Chisholm

Tenor Guitars

The tenor guitar is an interesting byway of instrument history.  As Dixieland gave way to big band jazz, banjos went out of fashion and guitar players were in demand.  The origin of the tenor guitar is a banjo neck on a guitar body, saving the banjo player the trouble of learning a new instrument.  However this hybrid has a rather unique sound of its own.  It was used by The Delmore Brothers in the 30s, The Kingston Trio in the 50s and is played by contemporary British folkie Seth Lakeman and many others.  Now virtuoso player Richard Durrant is taking it in a new direction.  Encouraged by the C G D A tuning he is playing Bach cello music.  He says: “My four string guitar has a magical, silvery sound that brings a new, almost folky dimension to each concert. Exploring Bach on metal strings played with a plectrum is a fascinating experience!“.

The Uffington Tenor Guitar for Richard Durrant with The Uffington Horse inlaid in silver on the ebony headstock (photos by Kris Pawlowski)

Sue Graves accompanies herself on her redwood and ziricote tenor guitar


Will Fly plays Josefin’s Waltz on tenor guitar.  Maple and spruce, slotted headstock, Waverley tuners.