Educate me on metal body resonators

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

  1. Obsessed

    Obsessed Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Yup, I agree with everything here too. My steel National (NRP) is still very heavy though. Republic is by far the best reso for the buck that I have found too. My understanding is that a few reso companies take the imports and improve them, which pays in spades for the addditional cost.

    @Mike Eskimo brings up some important points. The clanging and reverb takes some new palm and fretting finger muting skills especially considering the cover over the biscuit bridge that is in your way compared to acoustic playing. At first it feels kinda foreign, but it did not take long for me to learn how to tame it. The tricone has sustain that will blow your mind. A consideration and worth trying before a decision is made.

    It is odd how the twelve fret OOO grabbed me so much, that I had to get a twelve fret reso for the same reason. There is a sound that grabs with the twelve frets for some reason.
     
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  2. Mike Eskimo

    Mike Eskimo Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    NRP started using lighter gauge metal 10-15 years ago . Picking up one of the old NRP Delphi’s after playing one of their recent steel bodied offerings is pretty surprising . Delphi’s can be crazy good sounding though.
     
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  3. Mike Eskimo

    Mike Eskimo Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Also - if you have a reso guy or like to work on guitars in general , you can get an old one .

    Really , all things being equal I would take a well-set up 30’s one over a modern one . That’s if you’re going in that price range. I think a lot of old ones don’t sell or they take forever to (and not at asking price) because people don’t want to take the risk or do the work .

    I have seen many sell for far lower than a new NRP.
     
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  4. WingedWords

    WingedWords Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    I got hooked on resonators after playing guitar for nearly 50 years and ignoring them.
    A strong recommendation for Michael Messer guitars. https://www.michaelmesser.co.uk/home. A range of models designed by him, made under close supervision in a small Chinese workshop, and carefully set up on arrival in the UK by a reso expert. No US dealers, but Twelfth Fret Guitars in Canada has them and they sometimes show up used in the USA. He does ship worldwide I think. Prices are budget and you'd certainly get a great playing and sounding instrument to test the water with. You may find you need nothing else. I sold my MM Lightning (they sell used very easily) when I moved "up" but wish I hadn't. The forum on his website is very helpful and some people who really know resonators are contributors. Well worth browsing.

    National is the iconic brand of course. I love the sound and feel of my brass singlecone Mule though. The waiting list is building and his prices are going up. He aims to build a versatile guitar for standard and open tunings, fretting with fingers or slide. Mine is best with slide and has a huge dynamic range from a sweet late night, partner asleep whisper upwards.

    Buying used or vintage is a real minefield. So many things can go wrong with resonators and so few people around who really understand them and so many who can really mess them up.

    Some useful knowledge on this forum too if you search. eg here http://www.tdpri.com/threads/resonators.250338/

    Whatever you get, I do hope you enjoy it as much as I have and enjoy trying different string guages and slides too. My resos, open D tuning and a good slide from http://www.diamondbottlenecks.com have really breathed new life into my playing.

    20190513_075157.jpg
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2019
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  5. Mike Eskimo

    Mike Eskimo Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Yeah , the Messer ones are an example of import models that had some thought go into their design and more importantly, ones that are checked out/set up well upon them hitting our shores.

    Republic too and from what I hear, Imperial guitars Royall line.

    Another way of saying, your itch may be scratched for far less money than you thought.

    Especially if you primarily play slide/open tunings on one.

    Mules are made in-state here and while I have never played one, they do have a great rep in the higher price range.
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2019
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  6. Flaneur

    Flaneur Friend of Leo's

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    It pays to play a heap of guitars, to get a feel for what you like and don't. I guess you know about this place.....and maybe others like it, in your neighbourhood?
     
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  7. KC

    KC Friend of Leo's

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    lots of good advice here. in the National Reso-Phonic vs. everybody else case, I would go with National every time -- I've never played a bad one, or even a mediocre one. Expensive / worth it. Old vs. new? This gets harder. I have a '37 14-fret Duolian that's super-light and super-loud, I'll never let go of it. But the NRP Tricone is just as good in a different way -- better for slide, to my ear, with a smoother sound & more sustain. Tuned to open D, that thing barks like a big dog, too.

    The other one to look for is an Alumilite (church window) Dobro. I have played three of these and two were total dogs but the third was angelic. I wouldn't dream of buying one I couldn't play first. But a good one of these is a special instrument.

    And if you see a 30s German Silver tricone while you're out looking, let me know. Played one of these once and it's been haunting me since.

    Here's a tip: change your strings one at a time and never ever let the pressure off your cone. Rattles are the bane of these things, especially the old ones, and you don't want a rattle to get started on you. Good luck. Fun voyage.
     
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  8. Mike Eskimo

    Mike Eskimo Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Another brand that Elderly used to stock was Beltona. Fiberglas reso’s.

    Was never crazy about their cover plate but I have to admit - I never played a bad one.
     
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  9. Mike Eskimo

    Mike Eskimo Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Oh baby , it hurts so good.

    This page has photos of a bunch of my old ones, photos I have no idea the whereabouts of...

    Including a photo of my 6’4” son when he wasn’t that tall at Son House’s grave with an old Duolian



    http://www.tdpri.com/threads/resonators.250338/page-6
     
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  10. TheGoodTexan

    TheGoodTexan Moderator Staff Member Ad Free Member

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    You know... I am not familiar with that place. It's about 50 mins from my house. However, I was seemingly about one block from it yesterday afternoon, and didn't even know it. I'll have to plan to go back down there next weekend maybe.
     
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  11. Tommy Biggs

    Tommy Biggs Friend of Leo's

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    I'll weigh in on Brass bodies - if you're used to banging out slide on any old acoustic (like I was) the Brass body sound may kinda scare you at first, especially if you are thinking of that Johnny Winter 'trash can' resonator sound that I love.
    Mine is a National Model O 14 fret, I bought it without playing enough other reso types. It's iconic, but I might have been better served with a wood body, Tri cone, biscuit or steel body. I have no regrets, I love this thing - but I would have done even more research and played more styles if I had been smarter. I didn't skimp, spending a few days at Mandolin Brothers, but I had cash burning a hole in my pocket...
    [​IMG]

    https://www.nationalguitars.com/style-o
     
  12. Flaneur

    Flaneur Friend of Leo's

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    Tommy is right....a wood-bodied Reso is also a thing of extreme fabulousness. Hence the need to try and compare a ton of guitars. The research time is never wasted, even, as in my case, this involves a lot of driving. Sometimes a great instrument comes onto the market when you don't expect it- and it pays, to know what you're looking at.

    IMG_20161112_141753621.jpg
     
  13. Mike Eskimo

    Mike Eskimo Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Yeah - Musicians Friend had this thing called a Rogue Triolian 15 yrs ago or so.

    Sold the snot out of them.

    Perfectly serviceable 14 fret wood body biscuit bridge.

    The cones were even ok, though you could throw an NPR hot rod cone in if you wanted.

    First time I ran into the Wood Bros at an outdoor gig in a tiny tent Oliver Wood was using one.

    The cheapest blowout price I remember them at was less than $150.

    When they show up on Reverb, they’re gone in an instant.
     
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  14. wulfenganck

    wulfenganck Tele-Holic

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    I was lucky with my first try - a Johnson JM994EA.
    Have tried others in shops just for curiosity, but never thought about buying another.
    The Johnson has a smaller body, so it isn't as loud and bassy unplugged as traditional resos, but it sounds great with my amp, rich, full and beefy.
    I use it mainly for slide with open D and open G tunings for Seasick Steve, Memphis Minnie and Keb Mo tunes in a duo.

    P1050141.JPG
     
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  15. String Tree

    String Tree Doctor of Teleocity

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    image.jpeg
    I built an electric one.
    Works pretty good.
    Place it on a table and it resonates like crazy.
    Low to high
    G B D G B D
     
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