In terms of genealogy… if the mandolin, the banjo, and the guitar had a long lost sibling, it would be the tenor guitar. This four-string sibling not only has a voice all its own, but its open tuning invites instantaneous pick-it-up-and-play-it enjoyment, whether played solo or with other stringed instruments.

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Of all the Artwood Vintage collection, the story of the tenor guitar’s development is the most mysterious. The notion most popular among historians centers on the often utilized open tuning (CGDA) and its similarities to other instruments of that era. It’s likely that the mandolin craze of the late 1800s, followed by the widespread adoption of the tenor banjo by swing jazz musicians in early 20th century, set the stage for this similarly tuned but less sonorous instrument.

The lower five frets of a tenor guitar plays in the same musical range as the highest ordinary male voice.

The word “open” comes up a lot when describing the sound of the tenor, owing in large part to the open tunings that are most often used. These tunings make it possible to play chord shapes that span three octaves, creating a harmony that contributes to that sense of acoustic airiness as well. When played in accompaniment with a six-string guitar, the two instruments combine to create a very lively, shimmering quality.

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  • A solid Sitka Spruce top ensures fullness of tone and plenty of projection.

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  • The tenor’s concert shaped body style features a Mahogany back and sides.

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  • The AVT1 features a classic bone nut and saddle, long considered to provide pure, balanced tone.

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  • White “butterbean” style tuning knobs and chrome open gear tuners marry old world style to modern precision-built reliability.