Educate me on metal body resonators

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by TheGoodTexan, May 18, 2019.

  1. TheGoodTexan

    TheGoodTexan Moderator Staff Member Ad Free Member

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    I want one. If I tried to buy one any time this year, it would probably end up being more of a budget model.

    If I'm patient, I'd be able to spend a little more money.

    I play tons of acoustic slide on a 12-fret parlor style guitar with a slotted headstock, and I love it.

    I owned a wood body resonator about 15 years ago, and it was -ok-. I can't remember the brand.

    I play a some lap slide too, but that's mostly if I'm not playing alone.

    What metal body resonator should I be looking for? Something newer? Something classic? Where is the classic sound found?
     
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  2. Obsessed

    Obsessed Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I spent two years, playing over 15 different metal resonators before I found mine. It is tough to find ones to try and most of them are set up with way high action for slide. I would first recommend establishing two things. Spider or cone? The other being brass or steel? Both of these greatly change the voicing, so it all depends on what kind of music do you plan to play. Decide on those first and then I'll help you with the brand and budget next.

    You are onto a fun hunt. Enjoy the adventure.
     
  3. RodeoTex

    RodeoTex Poster Extraordinaire

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    Maybe not the Gretsch Honeydipper.
    Sounds plinky at best.
     
  4. TheGoodTexan

    TheGoodTexan Moderator Staff Member Ad Free Member

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    Old man on the front porch, foot stompin, country blues.

    No bluegrass whatsoever.

    Is that specific enough?
     
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  5. trev333

    trev333 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    One of these perhaps?..;).... start small and work your way up.. :)

    my gf turned up with this dobro uke one day last year.. incredibly well made, too.. I had to educate her on open tunings and slides...:)

    Dobro Uke in case.jpg

    Dobro Uke front.jpg
     
  6. Flaneur

    Flaneur Friend of Leo's

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    Be patient..... ;)

    93baa7e2b4be40edb9dfd556d07807cf_r.jpg
     
  7. Mike Eskimo

    Mike Eskimo Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    What do you want to spend ?

    Then I can point you in the right direction .

    I have owned over a dozen in the last 20 years including 8 or so from the 30’s.
     
  8. Bones

    Bones Telefied Ad Free Member

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    All I know is the cheap ones have stamped cones and sound like ass compared to ones with spun cones. I have a Dean down in my basement, never got around to getting a good cone for it.
     
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  9. TheGoodTexan

    TheGoodTexan Moderator Staff Member Ad Free Member

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    I have no idea. I’m trying to develop an idea for a budget.

    It might be 2020 before I pull the trigger... if that’s what it takes to get the right one.
     
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  10. TC6969

    TC6969 Friend of Leo's

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    They weigh 16 pounds!
     
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  11. Obsessed

    Obsessed Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    That's the spirit. I ended up spending 4x my original budget, but you don't have to do that. I have not regretted it for one second. Okay, foot stompin' on the porch country blues. That suggest steel with a cone. Okay, next decision ... and not a simple one, is a tri-cone or single cone? The difference in voicing is tremendous. Downright cotton field blues is a single cone, but, the tri-cone adds a very special sweetness to the voice and is louder to make sure the neighbors hear it clearly from your porch. Also, you need to think about 12 fret or 14 fret and shoulders or single cut. These decisions really have to do with how much of those high notes do you need and if you use a capo.

    At this point you have about four price points. Cheap ... meaning under 5 bills. Medium ... meaning under ten bills. Boutique ... meaning low production and under 20 bills .... and high end ... meaning National.
     
  12. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

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    .

    I have a couple of nylon string classical parlor-type cheap guitars sold to kids that tried stringing with steel and busted them apart -- they can make great mod platforms for a resonator project. Not metal like you are looking for but you might have something sooner and for a lot less cash.
    The second video here the builder says $13 in parts plus a donor guitar, which peaks my interest ;)

    https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=how+to+build+resonator+guitar







    .
     
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  13. Geoff738

    Geoff738 Poster Extraordinaire

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    There’s a guy named Micheal Messer that has a forum that among other things discusses resos. He also makes resos. So I don’t know how much other current makers are discussed.

    I’ve used it very briefly to look at some Supro stuff. I can’t really vouch for what the forum overall is like. I just know it exists. Whether or not it’s a useful resource for what you are looking for I can’t really tell you. Maybe someone else here can chime in?

    Cheers,
    Geoff
     
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  14. TheGoodTexan

    TheGoodTexan Moderator Staff Member Ad Free Member

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    Playing my small body (00?) 12-fret acoustic has become a pleasure to me. I LOVE that feel and tone. I do miss being able to play in E minor pentatonic at the 12th - 15th fret... but the 14 fret parlors that I've played just don't have the same feel and tone to me. So I've learned to deal with it.

    I play most of my slide in standard E tuning. Occasionally I'll tune the A string down to G for a semi-open G feel.. but I rarely go full on open G.

    I rarely use a capo... only when I'm playing with someone else who is never using a capo.. in which case I'll capo up so that we can have different open strings. But when I'm by myself, I do not capo.

    So... National is the brand then?
     
  15. fnkmstr

    fnkmstr TDPRI Member

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    "Shining Like a National Guitar" Paul Simon. Must be true.
     
  16. ReverendRevolver

    ReverendRevolver Tele-Meister

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    So, I'll someday own a duolian. Played stuff with 3 "cones", 1, and I like this style the best. Basically just for delta blues, both slide and not.

    I have no intention of buying more than 1 ever. So I'm specifically after one of these:

    https://www.musiciansfriend.com/fol...z6ToLvq0Z7gHdLjZiyGvluFOq1IJk1o8aAkU_EALw_wcB

    Because why wouldn't I want the shiny one?

    Just do research, by which I mean play a bunch. Dont drop one on your foot though.
     
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  17. John Owen

    John Owen Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    Here's a link to the TDPRI of resonator guitars if you really want to go deep. http://www.reso-nation.org/

    I had an old 1930's National which sounded amazing and worked great with bottleneck but if I played without the slide the intonation was squirrley. Someone told me that some of the old Nationals had the frets placed inaccurately so that might be something to check for if you go the vintage route. If that's the sound you want (which is what your description implies) then the biscuit bridge style of resonator is what you want vs a spider style.

    Have fun with the search and keep us posted!
     
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  18. Grant Austin

    Grant Austin Tele-Meister

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    I have a cutaway steel single cone Mule resonator. Similar money to a National. Neck meets the body at the 13th fret.

    I like the neck better than the Nationals I’ve played.
     
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  19. Mike Eskimo

    Mike Eskimo Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    *The following all deals with biscuit resonators , not spider ones (dobro style)

    **National made ‘em in the 30’s and NRP is the modern company.

    ***The only tricone I ever owned was an Amistar-made Continental . A mid priced model, it was fantastic . I do prefer a 9.5” single cone though. Tampa Red’s records were cut on a tricone for a sonic reference.


    NRP’s are the best modern ones. By far.

    New ? Crazy expensive . Used ? They hold their value ! :lol:

    I visited their shop in San Luis Obispo in 2016 and they couldn’t have been nicer. Jason and the boys make a hell of a product line .

    My favorite of recent NRP’s is the Thunderbox but that’s wood bodied. I do love metal bodied ones . My favorite was a 1933 rolled f hole Duolian (steel) that had the sound.

    My second favorite was an early 90’s NRP Islander with a 30’s cone in it . Plywood but was unbelievably funky. the great Corey Harris made his rep playing one of these.

    The notes stop a little sooner with the wood ones - not as much clanging around/reverb like the metal ones. But they can be warmer.

    I had a 1931 Style O (12 fret version of the knopfler guitar) . Style O’s are brass which is its own thing altogether. Tons of reverb with that one. The brass was sooo thin on that guitar.

    By the way - the recent NRP’s and especially the old 30’s ones are NOT heavy. Most of the ones I had were Tele weight - or less.

    12 fret models are not necessarily better than 14 fret ones. My buddy Larry has a ‘36 Silver 14 fret Duolian that is a bench mark for Son House clanging sound. National went all 14 fret after ‘34 or so.

    Crazy enough, if I was in the market for another reso I’d investigate what Republic and/or Imperial guitars were offering .

    They range in price from $550-$900-ish and are some of the best import ones out there.
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2019
  20. Obsessed

    Obsessed Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Well, during my search, I kept trying every National as more of an A-B comparison to the ones I was looking at within my budget ... and then I picked up a National that grabbed my soul and I could not let go. Unfortunately, it was not just a National, but a special order combining features of two different models. The guitar store owner worked 8 years at National before opening his store and this was the combo he liked the most and can custom order them straight from National. Can you say, "ouch"? I have never played a reso even close to this one, so beware, your soul is in the line.

    Since it sounds like you are after something very similar, I love open G and have one electric and one acoustic always in open G, but the steel reso wants to be in open D, so if you play fingerstyle with the thumb playing the drone/bassline notes. Of course everyone has a different preference, but that open D drone in the steel-biscuit bridge-cone reso is the most haunting blues sounds IMHO.

    Oh, the Mules are great players and do have a faster neck, whereas most of the Nationals are very chunky wide necks at least from my limited experience. I have smallish hands, but it was just a matter of how much I wanted to play that got me over that hump, but no doubt, I found the Mule very comfortable to play. Something to consider and you might want to play a steel reso just to feel the weight. Talking about electrics with neck dive, my National has lower bout dive in a major way. My 8.5 pound MIM tele seems so light after playing my reso, that reading threads about "heavy guitars" always make me laugh after getting the reso.
     
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