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Resonator Guitars?


BoyVader

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As a reward and for giving up the dreaded smoking habit, I'm thinking of getting a resonator, but don't really know much about them?

 

Can anyone recommend any? Not sure I can stretch to a National but what about Martinez? Regal? Any help appreciated... [thumbup]

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Guest Farnsbarns Wunterslausche

Kinda like the look of the Gibson/Dobro Hound Dog Deluxe - it's made in China but for around $350-400 new it should be a value

 

How odd. I gave up smoking 2 days ago and today I posted a video in the lounge of my playing my Dobro hound dog deluxe, I called it nicotine blues. I don't suppose its an issue to post it hear too. Excuse the sound quality, YouTube did something strange st about 1:17. It sound even more clangy than it was...

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pVKWBtRtfXA

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How odd. I gave up smoking 2 days ago and today I posted a video in the lounge of my playing my Dobro hound dog deluxe, I called it nicotine blues. I don't suppose its an issue to post it hear too. Excuse the sound quality, YouTube did something strange st about 1:17. It sound even more clangy than it was...

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pVKWBtRtfXA

 

cool playing and congratulationsmsp_thumbup.gif

 

I smoked 40 plus a day for almost a decade and then gave up in 2000. I actually had a toke on one the other day though (under the influence), it felt so naughty like meeting an ex, the temptations in life msp_scared.gif My wife wasn't very pleased with me, but I have cast iron will and wont go back to it.

 

Matt

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Regals are great for the money, in that they are low cost and cheap. I wouldn't think it being a resonater would make a lot of difference from one guitar to the next, but I have played SOME Regals that sounded a lot better than others. I have actually played a couple REAL sweet sounding Regals that were far better than the average stock.

 

The Gibby's used to be made in the USA, and they sounded and played pretty good. I had no idea they were made in China now. I wonder if the recipee is the same and if that translates into being good sounding like the American ones were.

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National Reso-Phonic in San Luis Obispo, CA, USA. Pure and simple. The pac-rim jobs (Regal, Johnson etc) tend to have dicier cones and hardware. Gold Tone and Republic, which are set up stateside, are better options, if you need to to shop bargain bin. But you can't beat an NRP.

 

Two other things. Resos are good for more than slide , so unless you are playing Hawaiian, set it so you can fret it. 2nd, you dont need to string 'em heavies. Paul Rishell uses lights.

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What do you want to play on it? There's round-necks and square necks and single-cones and tri-cones and biscuit bridges and spider bridges and wood bodies and metal bodies. Each combination has its own voice and some work better for some types of music than for others.

 

Nationals, by the way, are great. They can be had fairly reasonably used from time to time. If you want to fret in addition to using a slide, check intonation. Especially older resonator guitars can have serious intonation problems. The cones can settle and throw everything out of kilter. Also, if you get one, be sure never to have markedly uneven tension on the two ends of the bridge (like you would if you took off the 3 high strings but left the others tuned to pitch). The lop-sided tension will crush one side of the cone. It's one of those "I can't believe I did that" moments that reso-players can run into and then regret big time.

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Excuse my ignorance, but what are the cones?! yeah, I'm new to resonators....just want to play some slide blues, mellow Ry Cooder type stuff..

 

Also round neck v squareneck? Is that just the neck profile? hehe...spot the newb!!!

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Resophonics use a spun (or stamped) aluminum cone that mimics the paper cone of a loudspeaker - Where an traditional acoustic guitar produces its sound within the body and the soundboard (Top) the resophonic transfers the sound, via a saddle to the aluminum cone which amplifies the sound and gives the instrument its characteristic sound. While getting a good sound out of a resophonic is a neat trick getting a good or great sound out of a traditional flat top or arch top guitar is a real art as the size, shape, weight, bracing and woods used must all be carefully planned and flawlessly executed to obtain said great sound.

 

Nationals are the industry standard for factory built resonators but I've seen some nice Regals and Dobros. If you want to drool google Resophonic Guitar makers and check out this unique corner of the guitar building market - there are some awesome builders out there doing reso guitars.

 

Last - Ry Cooder? Mellow? - I'll give you this - you're aiming high if your planning on playing like Ry - God bless ye lad - we need more serious players!

 

Round neck - this style will have a neck like a regular guitar and is meant to be played like a regular flat top - Fretted and chorded, but also using slides, steels, etc.

 

A squareneck has a massive squared off neck with a very high action, usually fretless, played across your knees like a lap steel guitar - Can't be chorded or fretted. If you want to see a master of the squareneck laying it all out for you google Jerry Douglas on youtube - Definitely worth the listen if you're curious about squareneck ( or Dobro) resophonics.

 

 

 

Bob

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...just want to play some slide blues, mellow Ry Cooder type stuff..

 

Not that it matters but ol' Ry doesnt mess with resos to speak of. He cut his acoustic 70s sides on a Martin D45. These days he has a Gibson Roy Smeck 12-fret Jumbo and a Martin 00018, among others. No reason not to get one, tho, if the sounds moves you http://www.rycooder.nl/pages/ry_cooder_Instruments_gear_amps_effects.htm

 

Hang around here long, you'll probably end up with more info than you need or can process! Get down to your local shop and play some guitars. Slide on wood as well as steel, see what tickles your ear.

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Bob Marsh has provided great information. The difference between single-cone and tri-cone is just what it sounds like. A single cone resonator has one relatively large cone in the center of the guitar body while a tri-cone has 3 smaller cones. In the latter case, there's a T-shaped bracket with its three ends resting on each of the three cones and the bridge is on top of that bracket. This configuration gives a very smooth tone, like what you hear in Hawaiian music.

 

The two types of bridge used on single-cone systems also have different sounds. The biscuit bridge is a round wooden disk (like the brown part of an Oreo cookie) that sits on the apex of a rear-facing cone. There's a wooden saddle glued to the biscuit and the strings run across it. The spider bridge configuration has the cone turned so that it is forward-facing. There's a multi-armed metal piece, called a spider, that attaches to the edge of the cone and has a central junction that is suspended above the center of the cone. There's a slot in it and a wooden saddle fits into that slot. These two configurations have to do with the history of the National company and the Dopyera brothers. As the company evolved (or devolved), different patents were filed and eventually National spun off Dobro (as in Dopyera Brothers). The Dobro-branded instruments are generally wooden-bodied spider bridge designs (both square neck and round neck) and the Nationals are biscuit bridge. National/Dobro licenses their spider bridge design to Regal, a Chicago-based company (National/Dobro was based in California) for production and sales in the eastern US. The modern company National Reso-Phonic, makes instruments in all the configurations that have been mentioned so far.

 

The National Style O metal-bodied, single-cone biscuit bridge guitar is perhaps the configuration most strongly associated with blues played on slide guitar but it's by no means the only resonator guitar up to the task. Bob Brozman prefers tri-cones (and is very fond of Hawaiian music as well as blues), for example.

 

Wood-bodied resophonic guitars aren't made like regular acoustic guitars. The body is functionally more like a speaker cabinet than a guitar body. They're typically laminated wood and very heavy. Metal bodies can be steel, nickel-silver, plated brass, or other metals. Each has its own sound, although all sound unmistakably like resonator guitars.

 

Learning to play slide takes some effort but is worth the trouble. Of course, you can play slide on any guitar that has high action and people sometimes get started playing slide on a cheapo guitar with a warped neck that can't be used for anything else because the action is so high.

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Wow..I knew this was the place to ask...thanks devellis...

 

I have been practicing slide on an 'old' Epiphone G400 electric (SG) that has a high action..both glass and metal.slides...and also a Yamaha acoustic, but I just love the sound of resonators..

 

Most of the ones I have seen are spider bridge...

 

There aren't that many in the stores near me, except for one shop, but most of them are 'rare' Nationals with $4000-5000 price tag!...

 

The Dobro Farnsbarns posted is more in my price range having just splashed out on a Hummingbird...I think my wife would kill me if I went too expensive!...

 

I get get the same one as Farnsbarns for $600 australian dollars...does that sound reasonable?

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Guest Farnsbarns Wunterslausche

That's about right. Tiny bit high but it's Oz so it will be.

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There are some renowned reso-makers in the merry old land of Oz, though, Vader my boy, so it may well be worth checking out the (relatively) local builders. Beetons look a bit expensive to beat up on, though. Also, a thought: might be cheaper to import a Beltona from New Zealand to Oz than to do so to Europe or the US.

 

Develis is indeed a devil in the details, but anything he hasn't covered should be accessible through this link, to the expert's expert:

 

Michael Messer

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I posted this link before but thought it might be interesting given the thread's content - My boss and I put hundreds of hours into this baby, and I think it's a pretty good example of a round neck, single cone, biscuit bridge Reso.

 

 

B

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I have been playing resos for alot of years and tried out more than a few. I found I prefered steel body single cones and happily settled down with a 1932 National Duolian.

 

While it is hard to characterize the sound particularly of a single cone, one of the biggest differences I hear between a single cone and a tricone is that the single cone guitar has a quicker note decay, particularly in the lower end. They are brasher sounding with more thump to them. The tricones sing a bit longer and I guess can be characterized as being a bit more subtle and sweet.

 

This is an instance though where if you have the loot spring for a National.

 

As far as "budget" resos - the best I have ever held in my hands was an older Regal Tricone which was made by Amistar in the Czech Republic.

 

Can't speak from experience but Lenny's Hot Rod Steels are getting alot of nods.

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Guest Farnsbarns Wunterslausche

There are some renowned reso-makers in the merry old land of Oz, though, Vader my boy, so it may well be worth checking out the (relatively) local builders. Beetons look a bit expensive to beat up on, though. Also, a thought: might be cheaper to import a Beltona from New Zealand to Oz than to do so to Europe or the US.

 

Develis is indeed a devil in the details, but anything he hasn't covered should be accessible through this link, to the expert's expert:

 

Michael Messer

 

Yes indeed Vader, I should have mentioned, that video in my PM of Kirk Lorange has him playing a resonator by Michael Palm, unfortunately his website is being re-done at the moment but I'm sure you can find him somehow, that said, the budget you mentioned would not get any where near it!

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Thanks to Bob Marsh for that maple beauty.

 

Here is a video of me playing my metal body single cone Dobro. I bought it in the 80's and played the heck out of it since. It was my only acoustic guitar for a while.

It was always a challenge live - feedback issues with the metal body, blinding the audience if the stage lights catch them. Unbeatable sound.

Heavy though. Remember doing a few 'Spinal Tap lost in the corridor' treks with it. I would have to pick my Gibson LG-0 if I was hitchhiking!

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=65vAvVwofzc

 

Regards

BluesKing777

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Thanks fir the PM Farnsbarns....that Kirk Lorange vid was very enjoyable...

 

BluesKing...I love watching you play...as I said before, you have such a nice relaxed style..

 

Not sure about the Ferrari hat though.. [biggrin]

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