Considering resonator - Will I PLAY IT??

Freeman Keller

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Boreas, if you decide to buy a reso I would like to bounce some ideas off of you. They are amazingly different and its pretty easy to make the wrong choice. In that case the answer to your first question probably will be no.

Noise makers

Sporty & 'bro.JPG
 

Edgar Allan Presley

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My nicest guitar by a lot is a roundneck resonator made by Bruce Weber. It was my main guitar for several years. It's not any more limited in application than any other guitar. If something sounds good on a D-18 or a telecaster, it will also sound good on a resonator guitar.
 

Old Deaf Roadie

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I wanted a solid body electric mandolin & was going to make it my next build. Will I play it? Hmm, probably not enough to warrant the time & expense of the build...so I bought an Epi Mandobird from a friend who was downsizing. Do I play it? Not as much as I romanticized that I would. Do I regret it? Not so much, it's pretty fun to play at jam night.
 

Boreas

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Boreas, if you decide to buy a reso I would like to bounce some ideas off of you. They are amazingly different and its pretty easy to make the wrong choice. In that case the answer to your first question probably will be no.

Noise makers

View attachment 977384
Thanks! Perhaps in the Fall. May depend on the price of fuel oil at that time. 😟
 

Boreas

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I wanted a solid body electric mandolin & was going to make it my next build. Will I play it? Hmm, probably not enough to warrant the time & expense of the build...so I bought an Epi Mandobird from a friend who was downsizing. Do I play it? Not as much as I romanticized that I would. Do I regret it? Not so much, it's pretty fun to play at jam night.

They look awesome on display though!!😁 And less prone to splitting in winter! 😉
 

mystichands

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They are interesting instruments, and I have one, Gretsch brass body. I bought it on a whim because I used to play slide in open G on electric once in a while. I dove into it for a couple years, but realized the rabbit hole I was looking down. I’m glad I have it, but I’m also glad I didn’t drop a couple thousand bucks into a premium instrument. To each his own I suppose. I like open tunings but more Rich Robinson style stuff on my electrics.
 

redhouse_ca

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Title is pretty much it. I have many instruments I thought I would be interested in because I like the sound, but they just collect dust. Does a resonator (steel roundneck) offer enough interest to become a regular player, or will I just get rust in addition to dust?
I have a 1930’s National Style O round neck I bought a long time ago. First I’ll say it sounds spectacular. I was literally shocked at how rich and textural it sounds anywhere on the fretboard. When I first got it I was not much of a slide player (I’m still not) but I started down that path and never got very far (it was just way more satisfying for me to pick up another guitar. It’s one of those things where I keep telling myself I will get to it and than life gets in my way. That said, I feel very lucky to have this guitar and there’s nothing like it to add a cool track to some garage band stew I brew up with other guitars. Finally, there’s a guy on YouTube (Justin Johnson) I recently discovered. He is a really exceptional player and he does a lot of really cool things with resonators or songs that would work great with resonators and so between this thread and his vids (which I highly recommend) this may finally be the day/week for that old national and me.
 

Deeve

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They are interesting instruments, and I have one, Gretsch brass body. I bought it on a whim because I used to play slide in open G on electric once in a while. I dove into it for a couple years, but realized the rabbit hole I was looking down. I’m glad I have it, but I’m also glad I didn’t drop a couple thousand bucks into a premium instrument. To each his own I suppose. I like open tunings but more Rich Robinson style stuff on my electrics.
I missed out on a generous offer to buy a Duolian from a well known/respected forum member last year.
Took some time off, then a Gretsch Honeydipper kinda fell into my lap.
Surely, experts will tell you, there's a world of difference between the two, but I'm not able to go back in time to nail down the other deal, so here I am.

What to look out for?
First, like a 12 string, it's probably not a daily player, but I'm still glad I have it.
Second, like a banjo, a resonator guitar is heavier than a Norlin era Les Paul.

Peace - Deeve
 

Freeman Keller

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I missed out on a generous offer to buy a Duolian from a well known/respected forum member last year.
Took some time off, then a Gretsch Honeydipper kinda fell into my lap.
Surely, experts will tell you, there's a world of difference between the two, but I'm not able to go back in time to nail down the other deal, so here I am.

What to look out for?
First, like a 12 string, it's probably not a daily player, but I'm still glad I have it.
Second, like a banjo, a resonator guitar is heavier than a Norlin era Les Paul.

Peace - Deeve
Glad you found yourself a reso. Nothing wrong with the Gretsch.
 

tfarny

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OP I totally get it - nobody can tell if you will become a reso guy or not. I have an acoustic 12 string, it's a nice one, but I haven't touched it in over a year. My reso is a keeper though - for me and for what I like to do. Mine is a brass body tricone with a pickup added and a cone upgrade. Nothing sounds like it and only you will know if that is a sound you cannot live without.

I will say, mine is horrible as an instrument - it is always going out of tune, intonation is pretty wonky above the 7th fret, action is a nightmare, frets are soft and tiny. Weight of a boat anchor and the 12 fret neck join means the dusty end stays dusty. If it didn't sound like a choir of angels in sexy cowboy outfits I would chuck it in the Hudson tomorrow.
 

NBS2005

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I tried one briefly in 2020; a used Michael Messner 14 fret. It was fun, but it was big and heavy and sounded only OK to me. I sold it after 6 months for what I paid for it. In the last year or so I've gotten rid of most of my electric stuff (I have one partscaster Esquire) and cheaper acoutics and have been concentrating on a few nice guitars.

About 3 months ago the Burlington ON L&M had a National Tri-cone that I agonized over buying. Loved the tone (not the price) and it was also a heavy monster. I had gotten to the point were I was ready to maybe pull the trigger and it sold. Nothing worse then a primed guitar buyer. I found a 12 fret National Raw Steel (demo, but sold as new) for a good price and jumped.

So far, love the size and tone and can live with the weight. It's set up more for fingerstyle (though of course you can play slide). Tone is top notch and it's LOUD which is kind of fun. Can't wait to take it to the next outdoor song circle as I like playing with fingers only and the potential volume of this gives me a lot of dynamic range. Of course since everyone will be able to hear me, my chops will need to be in top form ;-) It does require a refined technique to keep the extraneous noises to a minimum. I think it will get a lot play as a country/bluegrass box, but I want to use it for just about everything including my unsophisticated jazz. Oddly, I'm not sure how much slide I'll play.
 

Charlie Bernstein

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Good thoughts above. Mine:

I have an OMI-era Dobro roundneck and love playing it. Here are some things to think about before you decide whether to take the plunge:

- Do you like slide?

- Do you like (or are you interested in learning) open tunings?

- Do you like Delta blues? (Resos aren't very useful for Chicago-style playing.)

- Do you like playing finger-style?

- Do you like using (or are you interested in mastering) that signature dampened bass string thump?

- Do you like practicing and developing new techniques?

If you can say yes or maybe to all of those, might as well go for it.

Roundneck resos can be used for any style, of course, but they don't especially shine for full-on strumming or for single-note soloing. They mainly lend themselves to finger-style slide playing.

If that's a direction you want to take, do it. If not, I wouldn't bother.

Let us know what you decide. Operators are standing by!
 

Maguchi

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Title is pretty much it. I have many instruments I thought I would be interested in because I like the sound, but they just collect dust. Does a resonator (steel roundneck) offer enough interest to become a regular player, or will I just get rust in addition to dust?
Most of the one's I've played sound awesome. But unless you're playing strictly slide on them, it takes a little more work to play them than other guitars.
 

Charlie Bernstein

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. . . Also .... you have to find other musicians willing to utilize the resonator skills you come up with. . . .
Yup, that's my biggest frustration. I do have a few friends who let me pull out my resos occasionally, but I haven't been able to pull together a local acoustic blues act.

Around here, most blues fans think "Wonderful Tonight" qualifies.
 




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