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Post new topic The pitfalls of the Asian knock-off resos
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Author Topic:  The pitfalls of the Asian knock-off resos
Dan Beller-McKenna


From:
Durham, New Hampshire, USA
Post  Posted 6 Sep 2019 2:02 am    
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Guitar Center is blowing out Rogue resonators these days: $199 for round or squareneck. Just took delivery of one. If I had intended this instrument as a player, I'd have to chalk this up to "you-get-what-you-pay-for." Fortunately, I have no intention of taking this to a gig; I bought it partly for some lecture demonstrations I have to do in the near future--so I could show people the inner components--and partly just to experiment with new parts and practice drilling a hole for a jack before I even think about taking a drill to my McKenna.

One often hears that the quality control on the Asian imports is hit or miss. This one was a miss. No: this one was like the cartoon where the villain shoots the gun and it blows up in his face. I tuned it up and it had a significant cone rattle. "Oh," I think, "They must have loosened the tension screw for shipping." Went to tighten the screw: it won't budge. Won't go tighter, won't go looser. Did they glue it in?? So, I go to take the spider and cone out for a better look (I planned to replace the cone right away anyway). First, the cover plate screws are not tight (perhaps the real source of the buzz?). Then, when I pull it out, the bridge inserts practically fall out of the spider (another source of buzz?). Finally the kicker: the edge of the cone only as a wooden lip to sit on for roughly half the opening. The sound well and lip are so poorly fitted to the top that someone was compelled to glue in some kerfing around the bridge side of the sound well to hold up the cone. I mean, at least they took the time to do that so the cone doesn't just fall into the well, but....wow!

So, this is never going to be a "good" sounding guitar, no matter how many parts I change. So be it: it's not meant to be heard outside of my study. But I had to order a cheap spider right away to even have something to work to go with the cones I want to try in here: I never could get that screw to budge, and the phillips-head slots look pre-stripped(!). Fortunately, I happen to have a pair of Beard slotted bridge inserts on hand to drop in the new spider.

The next one off the line might have been fine: who knows? But this is a good data point in the community assessment of the cheapo resos. Some are good; some are bad; and some are amusingly slipshod.
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Brad Davis


From:
Texas, USA
Post  Posted 6 Sep 2019 7:42 am    
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I had one maybe 15 years ago when I was first getting started. At the time I had gone through and returned 2 or 3 lower end Saga (Regal) guitars and was disappointed with all the quality issues. I just bought the Rogue because it was cheap, on sale even, and I didn't know how it could be any worse. As far as "clean" construction it was fine and didn't have any visible defects. The body was some sort of cheap mystery laminate with a painted on sunburst. It had a no-name cone and cheap Asian dobro hardware. It was a sort of odd looking "Chicago" body size and style, slotted head stock and cheap open gear tuners. Anyway, it played okay. The tone was not that spectacular. The cover plate had the thinnest nickel finish and would tarnish very easily. The plastic nut developed a hairline crack down the middle. One of the plastic tuner buttons stripped out and came off the shaft. For what it cost I can't complain. I got started on it for a few months and then gave it away.

Overall I don't think much of any Rogue instruments but they can serve a purpose. For reso's and other instruments in general you have to spend about $1K to graduate from mostly hit-or-miss junk.
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Greg Booth


From:
Anchorage, AK, USA
Post  Posted 6 Sep 2019 9:12 am    
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Brad Davis wrote:
For reso's and other instruments in general you have to spend about $1K to graduate from mostly hit-or-miss junk.


By all accounts from known players these are very nice for $600.
https://www.guitarcenter.com/Recording-King/RR-75PL-SN-Phil-Leadbetter-Signature-Resonator-Guitar.gc
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Brad Davis


From:
Texas, USA
Post  Posted 6 Sep 2019 9:18 am    
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I've heard they are very good and I've had good experience with the RK brand. I do wonder that they'll be able to keep it at that price point, as they haven't been able to do so with banjos for a few years now. But in the mean time it may prove the exception to the rule.
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John DeBoalt


From:
Harrisville New York USA
Post  Posted 6 Sep 2019 5:22 pm     Pitfalls of Asian knockoff resos
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I have a Wechter Scheerhorn. I've had it several years and was always happy with the sound, it barks pretty good. Last winter I decided it was time for a new cone, so I ordered one form Beard. I was in for a huge surprise when I took off the cover plate. The cone, and spider were nothing like the American version. I ordered a new spider and bridge set for the guitar. In order to get the new stuff to fit, I had to trim a shade over a 32nd of an inch off the cone, and sand about 3/16s off the bottom of the bridge inserts so they would clear the cover plate. When I got it back together, and the correct screw tension on the spider screw ( which reminds me the old screw was a metric version ) I've been very pleased with the sound, and the intonation is improved as well. Just one of those things you get into some times.
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Gene Tani


From:
The Pacific NW,
Post  Posted 7 Sep 2019 11:06 am    
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Music link, Eastman, Saga and Goldtone have somewhat similar business models, importing a variety of instruments under different labels (except GT). Eastman and GT have very good QC, they refuse to sell defective instruments.
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Jerry Overstreet


From:
Louisville Ky
Post  Posted 7 Sep 2019 11:20 am    
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I ordered one of the black Rogue squarenecks from Musicians Friend for $125 a few years back. The first one was just splinters in a poorly packed carton. The second one was just fine except the screen routes were too big and the screens had fallen out.

This guitar was nicely finished, fully bound, inlaid fretboard, had a bone nut, a decent spun cone and a spider with ebony over maple inserts. I played it for a year or so then did a set up, installed a bone nut and a new Q cone. I sold it a couple years later to another gentleman when I found something else I wanted.

He replied that he was surprised to find the guitar in such nice condition, sound and playability....that it was a much better guitar than he expected.

I also have a cheap Rogue A style mandolin that plays and sounds just fine to me.

Of course I'd be a fool to think or say that any of these would compare to the better instruments out there, but they are a lot better than the cheap instruments I used to run across back in my young days of the 50s and 60s.
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Howard Parker


From:
Clarksburg,MD USA
Post  Posted 7 Sep 2019 11:30 am    
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With regards to resonator guitars,

The Goldtones are USA designed and setup domestically using Paul Beard spun cones, bridge inserts and his No 14 spiders.

I'd estimate that 90% + of these guitars are setup by Goldtone, the balance by the Beard shop, where he sells direct or through his dealers.

Full disclosure.

Former Beard "bizguy" I am and still occasionally join him on the road.

h
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Michael Johnstone


From:
Sylmar,Ca. USA
Post  Posted 10 Sep 2019 8:06 pm    
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I bought a top of the line Regal around 2003 and put a Q cone in it right away. Maybe I just got lucky but that thing records great with a Neumann U87 and has a fat, articulate hi/midrange honk. I've heard and played somewhat better sounding instruments but not by much. After a reasonably good tone, it's how well you play.
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Dan Beller-McKenna


From:
Durham, New Hampshire, USA
Post  Posted 11 Sep 2019 1:30 am    
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Yeah, I suspect there is a large gap in quality and quality control between Rogue and Regal.

I did get the spider separate from the cone. The tension screw was seriously twisted (hence not budging). I ditched the spring around it, put it an old Dobro cone, put Beard bridge inserts in, and gave it some decent D'Addario strings. It sounds a lot better! Still wouldn't be confused with a high end reso (or even a Goldtone), but way better than a week ago when it arrived. Still has poor bass response: probably because the edge of the cone on the bass side has no lip under it(!).

I would put a bone nut in, but the original is pretty low (which is a drag for playability), and I worry that the strings would not have much of an angle over the saddle if I made them higher at the nut. Thoughts?

Next up, take a drill to the little guy and route a Lace sensor pick up. Not top of the line sound reinforcement, but I have some experiments I'd like to try.....
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Brad Richard


From:
Chisago City, Minnesota
Post  Posted 11 Sep 2019 4:58 am    
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I picked up a used RK rr-60-vs for $450 a few years back. It was very well made and sounded great. I've never regretted it. The only semi-regret I've got is that I decided to replace the cone, bridge and inserts with top quality American made parts. It still sounds great, but, honestly, I kind of prefer the original sound. Can't say why exactly, maybe just my ears. I did learn one thing though - replacing parts and setting up correctly is a whole lot easier on an electric instrument than on an acoustic!
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Dennis Brion


From:
Atwater, Ohio USA
Post  Posted 11 Sep 2019 5:40 am    
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I bought a gretsch square neck to use while my pedal steel was being repaired. Sounds great plays smooth, funny thing is the more I learn on pedal steel, 5 months in, the more I learn on the gretsch much more easily! And all for $359 on special at guitar center with free shipping!
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