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)

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

Will plays his own tenor, hear it on YouTube:
Staten Island.
And together with a matching mandolin:  The Sweetness of Mary

Will Fly’s tenor guitar:
walnut back and sides
sitka spruce front
ebony fingerboard
580mm scale length
295mm lower bout width
maple bindings with single black side stripe
mahogany neck with maple centre stripe
pyramid style bridge
unbound headstock, walnut veneer to match back,
Grover Imperial tuners