Paramount also made what was essentially a banjo with a wooden body and called it a 'tenor harp'.
Another very important type of transitional instrument of this period of the late twenties and early thirties were the metal bodied resonator tenor and plectrum guitars made by National and Dobro.
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tenor guitar is a fretted four stringed instrument, most commonly shaped like a guitar, sometimes smaller than a normal guitar, which usually has a scale length of 23 inches and which is tuned in "fifths" to CGDA.
The violin, viola and cello all have four strings each, whereas mandolin family instruments have eight strings in four pairs or 'courses' that are each tuned to the same note, usually in unison but sometimes an octave apart, similar to what is seen in the tuning of the various pairs of strings on the twelve string guitar, the two highest of which are unison and the four lower of which are octaves apart.
A mandolin, like a violin, is tuned to the highest pitch, to GDAE, a mandola, like a viola, is tuned lower to CGDA, (which is exactly the same tuning as the tenor banjo and guitar) and a cello, like a mando-cello, is also tuned to CGDA but exactly one octave below the mandola CGDA tuning.
It has been around for 100 years or more, built by some of the most famous companies and played by several well-known musicians in a wide variety of musical styles.
Although it is now quite hard to pinpoint when the very first tenor guitar was built, and very early models seem to be quite rare, Gruhn and Carter, in their superb book 'Guitars and Other Acoustic Instruments - A Photographic History' state that one of the major instrument manufacturers at the latter part of the nineteenth century, 'Lyon and Healy', whose main guitar brand name was 'Washburn', claimed to have invented the tenor guitar just after the turn of the twentieth century.
Two of the major guitar manufacturers of the twenties that still exist today, Martin and Gibson, along with some other banjo manufacturers of the period, started to manufacture tenor guitars in significant numbers towards the end of the 1920s.
In the case of Martin and Gibson this was in 1927, and it is undoubtedly linked to the beginnings of a trend away from the banjo, as the main rhythm instrument in jazz bands and dance orchestras, and towards the guitar, whether four or six string.
However, the popularity of the tenor banjo (or 'tango banjo', as it was sometimes called) significantly began to overshadow that of the mandolin family towards the end of the second decade of the twentieth century.