The two main four string models offered by Selmer included a regular tenor guitar, with a 23 inch scale length, tuned CGDA, and the Eddie Freeman Special, with a larger body and a longer scale length, using a re-entrant CGDA tuning. The Eddie Freeman Special had been designed by English tenor banjoist Eddie Freeman to have a better six string guitar sonority for rhythm guitar work than the normal tenor guitar with its very high A string. However, it was still tuned CGDA so that it could still be played by tenor banjoists.
The Eddie Freeman Special was based on a six string model and it had a larger six string body and a six string scale length of 25.25 inches, rather than the tenor's smaller body and normal 23 inch scale length. The CGDA tuning used was re-entrant with the C and D tuned in the same octave and the G and the A tuned in the same octave, lowering the overall tone. The tuning and scale length give this very unusual four string guitar a sonority that is very close to that of the six string guitar, compared to a regular tenor guitar.
Unfortunately, this guitar was not commercially successful in the 1930s due to concerted resistance by the British six string guitar fraternity, particularly Ivor Mairaints. Many were subsequently converted to much more valuable six string models because of the Django Reinhardt connection. Originals of the Eddie Freeman Special are now very rare and are consequently highly valuable.
Recently, modern Maccaferri-style Luthiers, such as the late David Hodson in the UK and Shelley Park in Canada, as well as others, have started building this four string model again due to demand from their customers. Many have now been made and they are becoming more widely played. They are considered to have a beautiful sound and offer a very broad range of tuning possibilities including CGDA, GDAE, DGBE, CGBD, DGBD and ADGB.
As the six string guitar eventually became more popular in bands in the 1930s and 1940s, tenor guitars became much less played, although some tenor guitar models had been made in very large numbers throughout this period and are now still common. Tenor guitars came to prominence again in the 1950s and 1960s, possibly due to the effects of the Dixieland jazz revival and the folk music boom. At this time, they were made by makers such as Epiphone, Gibson, Guild and Gretsch as archtop acoustics and/or electrics, as well as a range of flat top models by Martin.