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Author Topic:  Who makes the best square necks now?
Josh Yenne


From:
Sonoma California
Post  Posted 29 May 2019 11:11 pm    
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Mostly a pedal steel player but play and teach dobro as well. I have a nice Wolfe resonator. It’s walnut and that’s never been my preferred tone wood in guitars. Kinda looking to get into a new square neck this year. My student has a Beard Jerry D signature. Sounds great. Brighter and more my tone.

Looking to maybe get a mahogany or Birch or maple or something. Who should I look at other than Beard?

This guitar kills for sure and very open to trades. (See for sale section)

Thanks!
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Gene Tani


From:
The Pacific NW,
Post  Posted 30 May 2019 3:37 am    
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Gryphon is a long drive but has a bunch of Beards and 1 Scheerhorn to try. Course if you're also playing mando, banjo, dread etc you could spend a few days there
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Brad Davis


From:
Texas, USA
Post  Posted 30 May 2019 8:49 am    
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Scheerhorn (now in partnership with National Guitars) is kind of the other big name in resos. There are still a few other good builders out there, like Red Line.
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Josh Yenne


From:
Sonoma California
Post  Posted 30 May 2019 9:18 am    
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Oh yea.. didnt even think about Scheerhorn... and yes ill check out Gryphon.. totally fine driving down there. thanks!
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Gibson Hartwell


From:
Missoula, Montana, USA
Post  Posted 30 May 2019 9:26 am    
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Clinesmith
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Mark Eaton


From:
Sonoma County in The Great State Of Northern California
Post  Posted 30 May 2019 10:28 am    
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I was at Gryphon a couple weeks ago. They don't have "a bunch" of Beards, they have three of the newish Deco-Phonic line. Nice guitars and good values, the concept is high quality design and execution with the vibe of a prewar Dobro. I played all three.

Josh, since you already have a good guitar made by Bobby Wolfe, and you like the Beard JD model owned by your student, then I'm thinking when it comes to a builder like Beard you'd be more interested in the higher end models and these are going to be in the $4K range and above.

Gryphon currently has one National Scheerhorn which I like to refer to as "Nati-horn" for short. It's the mahogany, $2900. Respectable guitar, but I wasn't that "taken" with it. Since the Nati-horns hit the market around 5 1/2 years ago I believe I have test driven about 15 of them. Including a few when I visited the National shop in San Luis Obispo about a year and a half ago. The one that really blew me away that day was a custom job, Brazilian rosewood back & sides and Adirondack spruce top. I would have loved to have brought it home with me except for one problem - they were asking around $8500 for it.

Most of the new Nati-horns I've played could use an aftermarket setup from one of the handful of "setup wizards" around the country. There are a few stories out there about Nati-horn owners having Tim Scheerhorn himself go through the guitar and give it a fresh setup and it will give one of his highly coveted hand-built guitars from the past a run for its money.

I would love to have another Clinesmith myself, but if you were serious about getting a new one built by Todd you need to check with him as far as how long the wait would be.
I have a feeling that unless he has one up at his place for sale that isn't spoken for, he would't be able to have one ready for you in 2019. And they hardly ever come up for sale on the used market. If you're willing to wait - great. But as I commented above, get a hold of Todd to see what the timeline would be.

I have to get out the door right now, so I don't have the time to list them all, but there are several other builders I would look at. Check out for sure Kent Schoonover in Oklahoma. He has a website and is on Facebook. Kent is making some great guitars.
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Last edited by Mark Eaton on 30 May 2019 10:37 am; edited 1 time in total
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Jim Bates


From:
Alvin, Texas, USA
Post  Posted 30 May 2019 10:36 am    
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I have a Ported Wolf in Quilted Cherry wood which is bright like maple.

Also, an Adams in flamed maple, also bright.

Try before you buy if at all possible! Have a luthier set up your instrument, and then DON'T change anything. Keep the strings and gauges the same, bridges the same, etc.

One of the best sounding reso's I have is a "Jasper" made from Brazil and India rosewoods, with a baffle and small body. Bass(not boomy) and treble not weak. Limited production.

There many,many reso's out there - forget the brand and try as many as possible. Make it sound like you!!

Thanx,
Jim
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Mark Eaton


From:
Sonoma County in The Great State Of Northern California
Post  Posted 30 May 2019 10:51 am    
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Jim Bates wrote:
forget the brand and try as many as possible.

Thanx,
Jim


Jim, even where Josh and I live in the greater Bay Area with its population of over seven million, and some dobro players dotted through the region - "try as many as possible" is easier said than done.

With high end squareneck resonators you often have to go with online video demos and take a leap of faith and just place an order with a builder after discussing with him what you are looking for in a new instrument.

Gryphon in Palo Alto was mentioned earlier. Many customers with big Silicon Valley buying power. Were I test driving flattops, I could get there when they open in the morning and stay all day until they kick me out at closing time. When I was there a
couple weeks ago, I was done with the squareneck resonators in about 20 minutes.

I asked the sales manager one time since they are a Beard dealer if they were going to bring in some of the most expensive Jerry Douglas signature models and he replied that he didn't think he could sell them. But they can sell $6000 flattops to Tesla driving guitar players all day long.
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Last edited by Mark Eaton on 30 May 2019 12:04 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Steve Lipsey


From:
Portland, Oregon, USA
Post  Posted 30 May 2019 11:35 am    
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check out Ben Bonham...beautiful work, reasonably priced, lots of options, single cone or tricone...‭(541) 490-5447‬, he is happy to chat with folks about all aspects...He's made a Style 3.5 Weissenborn (black acacia and 1,000 year old Doug Fir top) and a Style 3 tricone (myrtle and rosewood) for me..the tricone even has a hollow neck like the old metal Nationals, sounds really rich... bensound@gorge.net



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Jerry Overstreet


From:
Louisville Ky
Post  Posted 30 May 2019 12:40 pm    
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Rayco, Fishhook, among others. Tom Warner's Appalachian is an outstanding value right up there amongst 'em.

I have one of his mahogany/cedar lg. body guitars that everyone around here raves about, but they can build any combination of woods.

Frank Harlow jumbo cherry, Tooter Meredith's builds. I don't think either are currently building any more but nice used ones can be found.

Several more, mostly cottage builders and custom builds that are not that well known but make excellent guitars.
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Howard Parker


From:
Clarksburg,MD USA
Post  Posted 30 May 2019 1:31 pm    
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Don't know what "best" is but based on some hands on playing and peeking "under the hood" I admire. Spider bridge dobro style only.:

Beard (former employer fwiw) with a multitude of models.

Kent Schoonover - Very impressive builds.

I won't list least favs because, well, it's only a personal thing you know.

FWIW, Fishhook retired and I believe that Todd Clinesmith is focusing on his steels. His spider bridge guitars are wonderful though.

I can't think of anyone else that really excites me but heck, that's just me.

h
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Joey Ace


From:
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Post  Posted 30 May 2019 1:35 pm    
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Gibson Hartwell wrote:
Clinesmith


Strongly Agree!
Todd Clinesmith makes excellent Square Neck Reso Guitars.
I've had one since 2007. I had a Beard Mike Auldridge before that.
I sold it once I got the Clinesmith.

The Beard was an excellent instrument. To my ears the Clinesmith sounds better.
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Steve Marinak


From:
Ocean Ridge, Florida, USA
Post  Posted 30 May 2019 2:29 pm    
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I recently got a Clinesmith dobro, (new to me), Todd said it was built around 2002-2003. Just fantastic build, feel, and tone. His stuff is fantastic.
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Mark Eaton


From:
Sonoma County in The Great State Of Northern California
Post  Posted 30 May 2019 2:40 pm    
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Howard Parker wrote:


... I believe that Todd Clinesmith is focusing on his steels. His spider bridge guitars are wonderful though.


h


Yes, but unless it has changed very recently and if it has perhaps Todd will chime in - if you get a number in the order queue, when it comes up he will build you a resonator just like he has going back to the late '90s.

When I visited him a couple years ago there were definitely a lot more electric steel guitars that were works in progress, but he also had a few resos going in the queue.

What really takes up the time for Todd (and no doubt for Paul Beard as well) is going through the design process for a new model. I know when Todd was designing his cast aluminum lap steels a few years ago it swallowed up a lot of his time and energy, not to mention dealing with fabricators and vendors.
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Jim Bates


From:
Alvin, Texas, USA
Post  Posted 30 May 2019 4:26 pm    
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Josh,

If you haven't yet, try Reso-Hangout www.resohangout.com/classifieds

Many brands for sale, forums to about woods, builders, lot's of info. Some will let you 'try it out'.

Thanx,
Jim
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Emmons LeGrand,Sho-Bud Super Pro, SB ProII - E13th,C6th on all. Many Resonator guitars
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Jim Sliff


From:
Lawndale California, USA
Post  Posted 31 May 2019 9:38 am    
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I play a solid maple Appalachian with post-and-baffle construction (no tone ring) and a Beard Cone that is the equal of any Beard or Scheerhorn I've ever played...at a fraction of the price. Tom Warner does amazing work.
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Joshua Clements


From:
Tifton, Georgia.
Post  Posted 1 Jun 2019 12:00 pm    
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I would look at Weber's too if you can find one. I have a Renegade and it sounds better than many of the other resos I've played though I haven't played a Beard or Clinesmith.
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Hugo Knef


From:
Vallejo , California
Post  Posted 6 Jun 2019 9:49 am    
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I am def no expert but I just got my first dobro. It is a recording king Phil Ledbetter sig model. All maple. Only 600. Sounds great.
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Josh Yenne


From:
Sonoma California
Post  Posted 8 Jun 2019 1:48 pm    
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thanks guys!

Yea I don't play a lot of dobro... and I like mine but thinking of swapping out.. I only need one as I'm generally just teaching beginners on it... its sort of like the lap steel.. i HAVE to own one for teaching, recording etc... but if i get any time and am sliding I'm always on the pedal steel... but these are great recommendations!
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Olli Haavisto


From:
Jarvenpaa,Finland
Post  Posted 15 Jun 2019 8:01 am    
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Josh, send the Wolfe to Beard for a set up and a new cone.
Maybe the Fishman pick up, too.
You`ll be pleasantly surprised!
Might not need a new guitar, who knows....
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Finland
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Josh Yenne


From:
Sonoma California
Post  Posted 15 Jun 2019 9:03 am    
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oh it has nothing to do with "needing"

Just wanting.

Smile

This thing sounds great.. nothing "wrong" with it in any way....just my only dobro i've ever had and sort of looking for something different is all.
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Olli Haavisto


From:
Jarvenpaa,Finland
Post  Posted 15 Jun 2019 9:09 am    
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Oh, I see...
I know that feeling very well😀
I have two Beards, a solid mahogany R and a maple E. Both are excellent, as is my Rayco...
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Olli Haavisto
Finland
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Greg Booth


From:
Anchorage, AK, USA
Post  Posted 16 Jun 2019 1:02 pm    
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Phil Leadbetter's signature Recording King is a killer dobro and probably the best value now at $599. https://www.elderly.com/products/recording-king-phil-leadbetter-signature-squareneck-resonator-guitar
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Josh Yenne


From:
Sonoma California
Post  Posted 16 Jun 2019 1:09 pm    
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Yea I'm not looking for "best value" really....

Not that that hurts the thread... others maybe looking for that...

If I'm going to own one dobro I want it to be one of the absolute best... I don't mind spending 2-3k on a quality instrument. Plus I'll be selling the Wolfe which will bring some money back towards it.
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Jim Sliff


From:
Lawndale California, USA
Post  Posted 18 Jun 2019 12:22 pm    
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Well,, you won't get a Scheerhorn or an upper-level Beard for $2-3k, but you can get a custom, solid-wood Appalachian for $2k or so - Tom deliver a hell of an instrument at a fraction of some of the other prices.
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