Welcome to the wonderful world of the mysterious and unusual TENOR GUITAR. You have ventured upon the first independent website that is dedicated to providing answers to any questions you may have about this unique instrument.
Epiphone Tenor Guitars
In 1915 Epi Stathopoulo took over his father's musical instrument company, and combining his name with the Greek word for sound, 'phone', produced the first Epiphone instrument. Up until WWII Epiphone was to rival Gibson in the guitar market, but on Epi's death in 1943 the company began to lose its way and was eventually aquired by Gibson's parent company, Chicago Musical Instruments, in 1957. Epiphone guitars have been played on some of the most famous recordings ever, including the most recorded song of all time - Paul McCartney's 'Yesterday'. Today, Epiphone is the brand Gibson uses on its imported instruments, which include modern versions of classic Gibson and Epiphone designs, and Epiphone claims to be the world's No.1 seller of fretted instruments.
Epiphone made archtop tenors as early as the late 1920s, and was one of the first to attempt to market electric tenors, first under the Electar label, then as Epiphones (probably to avoid confusion over Rickenbacker's Electro brand)
Masterbilt Series-spruce tops, f-holes, mahogany, walnut or maple back & sides, rosewood fingerboards except where noted. Tenor bodies are usually smaller than their 6-string equivalents.
Empire: (1931-39) tenor version of Deluxe, curly maple back & sides, sunburst.
Bretton: (1931-54?) tenor version of Broadway, sunburst or blonde, ebony fingerboard, renamed Broadway Tenor c.1937, plectrum version available.
Hollywood: (1934-58?) tenor version of Triumph, maple back & sides, sunburst, renamed Triumph Tenor c.1937, plectrum version available.
Regent: (1934-1937) tenor version of Spartan (but always with f-holes), sunburst; model replaced by Spartan Tenor (1937-50?), which has the larger 6-string Spartan body; plectrum version available.
Melody: (1934-58?) tenor version of Zenith, sunburst; model replaced by Zenith Tenor (1937-50?), which has the larger 6-string Zenith body; plectrum version available.
Blackstone tenors and plectrums available (1937-50?), sunburst.
Olympic tenors and plectrums available (1937-50?), sunburst.
Beverley tenors and plectrums available (1931-37), sunburst.
Gibson made a flattop under the Epiphone label called the Cabellero (model No. FT-28) (1963-68); all mahogany, rosewood fingerboard and bridge, very similar to Gibson's own TG-O.
Zephyr: tenor and plectrum versions of the one-pickup archtop Zephyr were available (1939-58?) in a non-cutaway version only.
Electar Banjo: (1937-54?) horseshoe pickup, maple top, sunburst, tenor and plectrum versions available, renamed Zephyr Banjo (1939).
Century Banjo: (1939-50?) blade pickup, natural finish, pickguard.