Price paid: £ 150
Purchased from: eBay Seller
Sound — 7
On the tenor guitar, you can play backup, to whistle or fiddle tunes, or you can branch out, and play lead/melody, in songs intended for either instrument. It does rhythm very well, and lends itself nicely to choppy strumming, but it simply does not have the projection or body size required to be heard as a melody instrument, over other instruments in a Folk session. I know, because I foolishly tried, alongside about 5 violins, guitar, accordion, mandolin and banjo. Overall, it has a bright, crisp tone, from the spruce top, and body size. When recording, I have to add a bit of bass, with an onboard EQ, because it is lacking a bit in bass resonance, but with a small bodied instrument, this is to be expected, and for the price I paid, it is a great sounding instrument.
Overall Impression — 7
Overall, the Ozark 3372 Tenor Guitar has many ups and downs. It's a versatile instrument by nature, and can take on the role of many different instruments in a folk/jam band setting. This is because noone has really set a benchmark with the instrument, or given it an identity, but plenty of artists, such as Seth Lakeman, Eliza Carthy, Warren Ellis and Nick Reynolds have used it an a multitude of ways. This particular model can hold up fairly well, when practicing and playing alone, or in small groups, but doesn't really have the volume or Drive to stand out in a musical crowd. This might explain why it hasn't really caught on, and become a staple of Folk sessions, and why the instrument is considered fairly obscure. If stolen, I would be certainly annoyed, but I doubt I would buy another. I have definately had fun experimenting with it, but it wouldn't be worth spending another 150 on another one. That said, I find it a fun and whimsical instrument, and perfect for jamming on, when you can't be bothered to get the full sized guitar out. The only thing I wish mine had, would be a pickup, but for what I use it for (mostly home playing), it suits me fine.
Reliability & Durability — 5
For live playing, this tenor guitar is very, very quiet. I have not played it at a gig, because it is completely acoustic, and I dislike using microphones on such small instruments. The hardware feels like it would last, and both strap buttons are solid enough to support the guitar, on a thin strap, but I would still be hesitant about using it live, because of the fuss needed to amplify it properly.
Action, Fit & Finish — 7
Action and finish have both held up well. The previous owner installed a pickup and second strap button, but removed the pickup before selling it to me, so I have a small hole in the top, next to the bridge, and marks from where the pickup was attached, but this doesnt't bother me at all. No real flaws with construction, or set up, but you have to be very careful when calculating string tension, as each tuning will require careful consideration on string gauge, due to the fragility of the instrument.
Features — 6
Now for a start, I realise that not many people know what a tenor guitar is. It's an instrument, with a limited niche, because really, it can be used as a substitute for a great deal of instruments, such as the tenor banjo or the mandolin, and can be used for rhythm playing, as well as lead picking, in a Folk environment. With a scale length of 21.75", 18 frets and 4 strings, this versatile instrument can be placed in a huge array of tunings, such as the classic CGDA (tenor banjo), all the way through to mandolin/bouzouki tunings, such as GDAE, GDAD, GDGD or open tunings of your own invention. Mine is currently in open G (GDBD), but has been in open D (F#DAD) and others. It is a completely Acoustic model (though Ozark make a version with a pickup), with a solid spruce top and laminated rosewood back and sides. It also offers a rosewood fingerboard, and maple binding on the neck and the body. Very much a simple, basic instrument. I got a free, snugly fitting hard case in the package I bought, which is always an added bonus, but it won't be winning any prizes for most features anytime soon.