Thursday, October 16, 2014

Tenor Guitar: Did it in a Minute

During the 70s and 80s, Daryl Hall and John Oates were hitting it big on the national charts with a plethora of hits. The early 80s were especially good for the “blue-eyed soul” duo. The 1981 album “Private Eyes” produced a number of hits including two number one singles: “Private Eyes” and “I Can’t Go for That (No Can Do).”



These two chart topping singles were followed by “Did it in a Minute” at #9 and finally “Your Imagination” which peaked at #33. While “Did it in a Minute” wasn’t the biggest song from the album, this 1982 Top 10 hit utilized our feature instrument – the tenor guitar.

From listening to the studio version, you might not realize that a tenor guitar is present on the recording, but if you saw the video or saw Hall & Oates live, you would have seen Daryl Hall playing a Gibson ES-345T (I believe) tenor guitar. From a distance it is difficult to determine the model, as the ES-335 and ES-345 guitars have much in common. While I know Gibson had a 345 tenor in production, I am not sure about a 335; but, it could have been a custom model. I haven’t seen any documentation on this particular guitar.

Daryl Hall, John Oates, & Ray Harrah
the author & Will Shumate


As you can tell from the video, the guitar is a thin line semi-acoustic electric with two Humbucking pickups and a cherry red finish. If I remember correctly, Hall (or maybe Oates or both) had a Les Paul TV Special tenor from the 1950s as well. When I met the band in 1982, I asked Hall about his tenor guitars; however, after 32 years it escapes me what he said about these elusive instruments.

As far as tuning is concerned, I would venture to say that he is using standard guitar tuning on the four strings as (D-G-B-E). I have no way of confirming this. Hall uses a six-string on this number these days.

Although it charted at the same position as Rick Nelson’s “Hello Mary Lou,” I would consider that “Did it in a Minute” is the second most popular tune to utilize a tenor guitar. I surmise this because “Hello Mary Lou” was backed with a number one song – making the single more accessible to a wider audience. In Hall & Oates defense, they did it in a minute; how marvelous is that?





2 comments:

  1. Let's not leave out: kudos for recording a Mike Oldfield song, and doing a video of same! Ensures a money flow for Mike, though I'm guessing "Tubular Bells" does pretty well on an annual basis.

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    1. That they did on their next LP "H2O." Thanks for the reminder about "Family Man."

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