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. Insert the banjo joke of your choice here.  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!“.

Sue Graves with her tenor guitar in ziricote and sequoia
Will Fly tells us about the tenor guitar I made for him in 2009, my first.