The ideal combination of Sound, Body and Design

Expanding the Craven Tenor Guitar vision into 2024 and beyond.

Craven Tenor Guitars owner, Fredrick ( Ledfreddie) Nelson’s background prior to reviving the tradition of crafting large true wood Archtop Tenor Guitars was clinical research and development of positioning products and materials used in operating rooms and home care settings. From early 1990’s to 2010, his company documented, clinically trialed and reported to the FDA and Canada Health on products used in surgical wards and health care settings. If you’ve been on an operating table in the U.S, Canada and many EU nations in the past 20 years, it’s likely they laid you on positioning tools designed by Mr. Nelson.

While enjoying his retirement from clinical studies, Ledfreddie took a passion for Tenor guitars and by 2022, Craven Tenor Guitars was born. While developing his first model, the 327 Big Jake, Ledfreddie experienced Carpal Tunnel and then a debilitating Rotator Cuff injury last year. Soon he dusted off his membership to multiple clinical forums and clinical studies while juggling the development of the Craven Tenor Guitar line. He began the trip down the Science-based wormhole of muscular/skeletal injuries and the effects of stringed instrument playing on different age groups.

Being clinically minded, he also diligently follows the demographics of the Tenor population worldwide to better understand how this information relates to the Tenor Guitar community. The culmination of available clinical information and his knowledge of the demographics of the Tenor community worldwide, Mr. Nelson has taken to exploring applying this knowledge to the development of ongoing Craven Tenor Guitar designs.

We may hate to admit it but time does a little damage as it marches on.

The numbers don’t lie.
Tenor guitar players fall into the demographics most likely to experience, Clavical fractures, Rotator Cuff Injuries, Shoulder bursitis, Adhesive Capsulitis, Tendentious, Arthritic joints in the shoulder, elbow, wrist, and fingers, and post-injury chronic pain.

Whats that really mean?
While we’ve been busy with all our present product line, Mr. Nelson has been researching the health aspects of guitar design and how best to apply improved ergonomics to our guitars.

What changes are coming?
Each of our archtops as you know them will remain full-size, full-bodied crafted guitars however, the Full Size Archtop series will no longer expand. With Big Jake, The John Lawlor Signature 350JLS and now Sister Etta ( with SBD Neck) , our archtop series are completed.

The focus of Craven Tenor Guitars will be to address the needs of our demographics through a full range of handcrafted Tenor guitars that align with Sound Body Ergonomic Design and full Body Sound performance expected from premium guitars. Our objective is simple, to keep you playing your instrument longer per session and for many more years.

From the Neck to Body of our guitars, our focus is on your body.
Those who own a Songbird know what is possible with the right woods combined with the right size. It’s not as simple as scaling down one size of guitar to make another, there’s a lot more to it. Altered bracing, neck widths, and tonewoods all play a factor when combined with the aesthetics of the design. Everything has to be balanced and combined to create a guitar that is Incredibly voiced, esthetically pleasing and designed to reduce player fatigue and repetitive injury.

Body Sound Design doesn’t mean Orthopedic.

We’re not talking about converting your favorite sneakers into Grandma’s orthopedic loafers. Our objective is to reimagine designs and incorporate elements that satisfy premium playability requirements while improving comfort while you play, and maximizing the sound you expect. You’ll soon discover comfort along the neck while playing and the end to player fatigue allowing longer practice time, and longer playing sessions through a guitar body that nestles into you as you play. Our focus is SOUND, BODY, DESIGN.

The Shari Ulrich 265 Wide Neck and our archtop Sister Etta are the first to quietly introduce Sound Body Design elements. The wider neck comforts aging or wider fingers while at the same time benefiting those who play fingerstyle, a simple win for everyone. ~ Sister Etta arrives in July, and the 265 Wide Neck arrives in late August.

Altering the size means reconstructing bracing and rethinking tone woods for maximum quality.

Le Belle Creole combines ergonomic body size, SBD Wide Neck and Michael August’s directed Buiscut Cone design to create a Resonator Tenor that paired with Solid Mahogany and Canadian Maple will have the true sound of resonators played by the greats in Blues and early Hawian guitar. No Country Western Spyder cone twang, but the real eathy snare of the originals. ~ Start playing for hours without discomfort, coming Late August/ September.

Model 1919. The Parlor Tenor That Never Was.
Based on the construction designs of the 1919 Gibson parlor guitar, Model 1919 is body smart, 33mm neck Tenor Guitar crafted for ease of playing, crafted for a robust voice and tone. One color pallet only. ~ Estimated October – February 2024.

The 350SBD Jazz Archtop.
All the sound you expect from a Jazz guitar but reenvisioned in our Sound Body Design. Solid woods, Solid Body ergonomics, Solid electronics. ~ now in the prototype stage.

Craven Tenor Guitars began as a dream of reviving the Great Quality Tenor Guitars of the past just over 16 months ago. The support shown by our loyal customers has allowed the dream to grow organically. Craven Tenor Guitars has no intention of becoming the biggest, the dominant force, but fully intends on staying quality and innovation-oriented, crafting to the finest of our ability, and implementing our Sound Body Design to our heirloom-quality designs, so we can all keep playing longer with every session, longer into our later years without losing the quality sounds we expect from hand crafted heirloom quality guitars.

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