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Post new topic tricone versus regular dobro
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Author Topic:  tricone versus regular dobro
Paul Sutherland


From:
Placerville, California
Post  Posted 15 Mar 2019 11:05 am    
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Is a metal body tricone as loud or louder than a comparable quality wood body dobro? Just idle curiosity.
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Erv Niehaus


From:
Litchfield, MN, USA
Post  Posted 15 Mar 2019 11:26 am    
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A metal bodied tricone has a much brighter tone than a regular wood bodied resonator guitar.
You can also get a wood bodied tricone.
Erv
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Brooks Montgomery


From:
Idaho, USA
Post  Posted 15 Mar 2019 11:53 am    
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Here’s a great sounding wood tricone. Scheerhorn. Rare as hen’s teeth.
https://youtu.be/jucCvtcmrV8
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Joe Burke


From:
Toronto, Canada
Post  Posted 15 Mar 2019 12:16 pm    
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Check out this series from Toronto’s 12th fret guitar store. It goes through many tricones.

https://www.12fret.com/audio-video-features/national-resophonic-the-hollowneck-report-part-2/
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Erv Niehaus


From:
Litchfield, MN, USA
Post  Posted 15 Mar 2019 12:51 pm    
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Here's my metal bodied tricone:

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Steve Lipsey


From:
Portland, Oregon, USA
Post  Posted 18 Mar 2019 9:17 am    
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I got the tricone bug after playing single cones for a while...and started my search...I actually owned one of the three Tim Scheerhorn wood tricones for a short while (I was too scared of damaging it to take it to a gig), a National Scheerhorn wood tricone for a while (one of two they made), a National M1 wood tricone for a while (the least interesting sound of all of them, but still fine), and a couple of hollowneck metal body tricones (a '29 and a '32, I think they were). All squarenecks.

They all are less loud than a single cone, but with a more complex sound. The difference between wood and metal is one of the nature of the sound, not so much the volume, so I'd say that the perceived volume depends a bit on the acoustical setting they are played in...

I let all of those go and got one made that is exactly the dimensions of the National metal ones, but is made of myrtle and rosewood. It is quite loud, louder than the metal ones, I believe, and retains both the complexity of the tricone sound and the warm overtones of the wood body. Plus the luthier was able to make it with a hollow neck, giving it the airiness of a Weissenborn. And it was the cheapest of all of the tricones I've had!

Maker was Ben Bonham in Hood River, Oregon. He's great to talk to, if you want a much more informed comparison of wood and metal - he makes wood ones, but plays metal ones himself, playing all kinds of music. I'm not sure why he doesn't make one for himself, but maybe it is just that whatever he makes gets sold...

You can see examples of his work (mine is pictured below) at https://www.instagram.com/bonhamdesign/, and chat with him at ‭(541) 490-5447 or bensound@gorge.net.



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Chris Boyd


From:
Leonia,N.J./Charlestown,R.I.
Post  Posted 18 Mar 2019 12:59 pm    
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Steve...Your tricone is magnificent ! Wow.. Whoa!
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Paul Sutherland


From:
Placerville, California
Post  Posted 18 Mar 2019 1:25 pm    
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Thanks for all the responses. I was hoping the tricone (whether metal or wood) would be louder, but that's apparently not the case. Obviously I've never played one. Maybe someday I'll be rich.
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Steve Lipsey


From:
Portland, Oregon, USA
Post  Posted 18 Mar 2019 3:08 pm    
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Paul-
With the tricone, you get sort of a chorus and reverb and sustain effect from all those cones...much less percussive than a single cone - but the sacrifice is some of that focussed attack volume from that one huge cone.

That is why John Dopyera made only tricones for a number of years - he tested every number and determined that 3 was the ideal. Only after quite a while did he design a single cone, to satisfy the less affluent buyer (actually, he designed both the biscuit and the spider models, one in his new company when he left his first company after an argument with his partner...

Really, though, tricones are PLENTY loud, and in the same class as a single cone, compared to a regular guitar...so you might be surprised. Worth giving some a try...the original late 1920s and early 30s ones are great, and have dropped a lot in price since National started making them again some years ago...A Style 1 with a new set of cones (National or Beard) might fit your budget and your need...and the old ones are hollow metal neck, most of the new ones are a solid wood neck, not as nice...
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Brad Davis


From:
Texas, USA
Post  Posted 19 Mar 2019 8:00 am    
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I think maybe Brother Oswald briefly started on a metal body National tricone, which probably made some sense with his early Hawaiian influence. But when he went to play for Acuff it just didn't cut through the mix. He said something like "you couldn't hear it 10 feet away." And then he soon "upgraded" to a Dobro(TM).
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Mike Neer


From:
NJ
Post  Posted 19 Mar 2019 9:04 am    
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A tricone has a more full bodied sound, more pronounced bass and treble and is a little more throaty, whereas dobros tend to be more midrange focused, and nasal.

I love both sounds but have a real weak spot for a good tricone.
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Paul Sutherland


From:
Placerville, California
Post  Posted 19 Mar 2019 12:15 pm    
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Does anyone make a pickup system for a tricone that is of the caliber of the Fishman Nashville pickup for a single cone/spider cone resonator? If so, I wonder if it would be any less prone to feedback.
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Erv Niehaus


From:
Litchfield, MN, USA
Post  Posted 19 Mar 2019 12:32 pm    
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On the Reso Hangout, they talk about using the Fishman Nashville on a tricone.
Erv
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Steve Marinak


From:
Ocean Ridge, Florida, USA
Post  Posted 19 Mar 2019 1:35 pm    
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Steve
That wood hollow neck tricone looks amazing!
Would you be able to share a sound clip of it?
Thank you.
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Steve Lipsey


From:
Portland, Oregon, USA
Post  Posted 19 Mar 2019 2:32 pm    
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sorry, I haven't got a good recording that would do it justice - check in with Ben Bonham, I believe he has a recording of an identical one he made earlier...
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Todd Clinesmith


From:
Lone Rock Free State Oregon
Post  Posted 19 Mar 2019 4:14 pm    
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Ben's tricones are great. I've played em... and he plays them well too. His prices are super affordable, and his skill is high.

I got the Tricone bug again last year, and picked up a Style 1 from a friend .

I will say even if they had equal volume to a single cone (which they generally do not), they do not cut in a mix as well. There is a big difference between volume and how an instrument "cuts" or holds it's own in a musical setting. They do project well though , and have a sweet and unique tone that you cannot get from a single cone instrument.
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Last edited by Todd Clinesmith on 19 Mar 2019 6:57 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Steve Lipsey


From:
Portland, Oregon, USA
Post  Posted 19 Mar 2019 6:12 pm    
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Paul-
I use Krivo pickups on my tricones...originally made for gypsy jazz guitars. Unique construction lets the body vibration feed through. Totally non-invasive install. Perhaps not as perfect as Fishman/aura, or a microphone, but very, very good, and quite acoustically realistic.

You'll note the space in the prior pic between the neck and the cones where my tricone was designed to have the Krivo fitted...and you can see the pictures of them installed on my National Scheerhorn and National M1 on the Krivo website...and on the tricone below...(I put a Baggs M1 pickup on the Weissenborn in the pic, because it had a sound hole to put a pickup in...not sure which I prefer).

Check them out at https://www.krivopickups.com/store/p2/Krivo_Humbucking_Pickup_for_Resophonic_Guitars..html

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