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Author Topic:  resonator suggestion
Maxime Ledon

 

From:
Steelopolis, France
Post  Posted 25 Apr 2020 1:07 am    
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Hi everyone,
I started a topic the other day on acoustic solutions for Lap Steel and after recommendations I think I might get a 6 string resonator that I would tune to A6 for practice during vacation. I know it's best to buy vintage usually as many here recommend buying vintage lap steels like magnatones vs new ones, I figure it might be the same with resonators. I am searching what to look for in a budget price range if possible. Well except Dobro I don't know brand names, all I know is I would like a 6 string square neck, maybe tricone style ... or not ! If anyone has a good advice I'll take it ! Thank you and have a great day.
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Douglas Schuch


From:
Valencia, Philippines
Post  Posted 25 Apr 2020 2:31 am    
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I've recently started playing reso, and have done some research on instruments. Like any musical instrument these days, you can buy them really cheap (around $400) to premium custom made ones at $5000 on up.

Unlike 6-string guitars and lappers, vintage is not considered superior to new instruments, excepting metal body resos, I think. The high quality of workmanship of modern luthiers, the variety of designs available, and the superior quality of modern hardware, in particular, the resonator itself, means modern instruments are generally preferred. You see big name guitar players playing vintage Martin's all the time, but I don't see big name reso players playing vintage Dobros.

Square necks are usually spider-bridge resos. Round necks are usually tricone or biscuit bridge resonators. You can find square-neck biscuit and tricones, but not easily.

Spider bridge resos are almost always set up for standard G tuning. I don't know how much difference in string size/tension tuning A6 would make - someone with more experience than I can answer that maybe.

Here are some options at different prices:

Gretsch Bobtail - $500. Some think they are OK, but certainly not quality.

Recording King Phil Leadbetter - $700. Top of the line Cheap Chinese for that brand.

Gold Tone Paul Beard Signature - $800-1200 - Considered the best of the Chinese instruments. Check Reverb for B-stock versions of these from the importer to get the lower price. The upper price is what Beard charges for ones he has set up in his shop.

Tom Warner - custom builder in FL, excellent reputation. His basic models start at around $1200. Not fancy, but known for sounding as good as resos costing much more.

Of course, you can also buy a Gold Tone or other inexpensive Wiessenborn if you want more of an acoustic guitar sound, but slide setup. And I presume you know that reso techniques are different from lap steel. For example, reso requires a much more aggressive attack on the strings to get volume and good tone, and they have much less sustain than a lapper. So long as you realize it is a different instrument with many similarities, but also some unique playing techniques, I think you will find it fun - I certainly am!
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Guy Cundell


From:
More idle ramblings from South Australia
Post  Posted 25 Apr 2020 3:02 am    
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If you want to play A6, you should consider an 8 string dobro. Goldtones are good and I don't think that the 8s are much more than the 6s.
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K Maul


From:
Mechanicville NY/Hobe Sound FL
Post  Posted 25 Apr 2020 3:07 am    
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Republic or Regal tricone for under $1000. Different feel and sound than spider bridge dobro, less Bluegrass, more blues or Hawaiian although I'm have used both for whatever. Tricones have a special magic. They sing.
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Kevin Maul: Asher, Airline, Beard, Clinesmith, Dobro, Evans, Excel, Fender, Fluger, Gibson, Hilton, Ibanez, Justice, K+K, Live Strings, Martin, National, Peterson, Quilter, Rickenbacher, Sho~Bud, Supro, TC, Ultimate, VHT, Webb, X-otic, Yamaha, ZKing.
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Maxime Ledon

 

From:
Steelopolis, France
Post  Posted 25 Apr 2020 11:40 pm    
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Thanks Douglas for all these infos it is really helping. Thanks also Guy and K Maul for your input. So I didn't know the differences btw spider & biscuit bridges, square/round. I thought it was only a raised nut thing. I am more into lap steel sound, say western swing jazz with a touch of sacred steel love so I'd probably better look towards a tricone rearding what you say. Because that's the idea, have a lap steel feel with acoustic setup. So I am going to aim for a metal tricone square neck. Hope I get it right.
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Bob Watson


From:
Champaign, Illinois, U.S.
Post  Posted 25 Apr 2020 11:54 pm    
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Gretsch makes a couple of square necks that are very reasonably priced, the Boxcar and the Bobtail. The Bobtail comes with the Nashville Resonator Pickup on it and sells for around $500. The Boxcar doesn't have a pickup and is cheaper. Beard Gold Tone makes an 8 string square neck Dobro that, IMHO, is really cool, they go for around $1000. I have one and its a lot of fun to play! They come tuned to G6, E,G,B,D,E,G,B,D. I would bet you could tune it to A6 with the same strings, but perhaps you would want to change the gauges. I think that any one of these instruments would be a good choice for you . I really think you would dig the 8 string the most, but it really depends on what kind of music you want to play. The 8 string would be good for Western Swing and gives you a lot more options for minor chords, and if you tune the 8th string a whole step down to a b7, you can get 13th and #9 chords! Junior Brown plays a C6 that has a Bb for the 8th string, which technically makes the tuning a C13th. I play my 8 string Beard Gold Tone with an F on the 8th string so its a G13 tuning. I hope this helps.
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Nic Neufeld


From:
Kansas City, Missouri
Post  Posted 26 Apr 2020 3:58 am    
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I'd second the recommendation for a Republic squareneck tricone.

You mentioned the general lap steel recommendation for vintage...I think that is very true for lap and console steels, often times great old vintage guitars can be had for a lot less than a new equivalent...for various reasons they don't hold the extremely high price tag vintage six strings do, for instance. However, I've not seen that that is the case with vintage resos. A good National tricone is going to cost you several thousand, from what I've seen. So lap/consoles, vintage is a steal, resos, much less so by comparison.

Personally I love 8 strings, but I don't know that I'd need one for an acoustic or reso...the low strings would get lost more acoustically compared to on an electric. I have mine (Republic squareneck tricone) tuned to C6, A6 certainly doable, you just might have to piece together a custom set of strings.

I also have a Regal spider dobro squareneck in open G that I bought just to play around with bluegrass, it's nice but a different ballgame altogether. I think the tricone sound may be best for what you're after...bit more singing quality I think. Although, listen to them in action! Sol Ho'opi'i of course being one of the main ones to listen to on the tricone. Hawaiian of course, but lots of "swing" in his playing...
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Gene Tani

 

From:
The Pacific NW,
Post  Posted 26 Apr 2020 4:39 am    
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When i was looking, I looked at spidercones for bluegrass, Goldtones setup in the Beard shop, Wechter Scheerhorns, and the RK Ledbetter was new, but there were also some pretty nice looking small maker ones in reverb under $1k. Also classifieds in that, you know, other reso forum.

If there are shops that stock them that are currently closed, probably would wait til they're open so you can try things in person. Spidercone setup is pretty finicky also, if you can find somebody that really understands them, worth the money
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Last edited by Gene Tani on 26 Apr 2020 4:58 am; edited 1 time in total
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K Maul


From:
Mechanicville NY/Hobe Sound FL
Post  Posted 26 Apr 2020 4:57 am    
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I got a great deal a couple years ago on a newer National mahogany tricone roundneck. I like the sound - a little more mellow and a lot less heavy than the metal body. I think there are some out there in the budget lines. Well worth consideration. The tricone sounds more like it has a little built in amplifier than the biscuit or spider cones so it seems that is what you’re looking for.
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Kevin Maul: Asher, Airline, Beard, Clinesmith, Dobro, Evans, Excel, Fender, Fluger, Gibson, Hilton, Ibanez, Justice, K+K, Live Strings, Martin, National, Peterson, Quilter, Rickenbacher, Sho~Bud, Supro, TC, Ultimate, VHT, Webb, X-otic, Yamaha, ZKing.
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Maxime Ledon

 

From:
Steelopolis, France
Post  Posted 27 Apr 2020 12:50 am    
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Again thanks a lot for your advice, it's narrowing it down :
tricone / square neck/ 6 string. Now let's find it ! Very Happy
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Roger Aycock

 

From:
Georgia, USA
Post  Posted 21 May 2020 5:41 pm    
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My brother started playing dobro about 8 years ago and he started out with a Regal he bought new off ebay. I think he got it for around 100.00 with case! It served him well until he moved up to a custom made one.
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Brett Day


From:
Pickens, SC
Post  Posted 2 Jun 2020 12:37 am    
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Both the Gretsch Boxcar and Gold Tone Paul Beard Signature Series guitars are awesome! I play both a Gretsch Boxcar and squareneck Gold Tone Paul Beard Signature Deluxe, and I love both! The Gretsch G9210 Boxcar is a wonderful dobro for any level, and the Gold Tone is a wonderful guitar for any level! I use the G tuning on both of my Dobros, and it works!
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gary pierce


From:
Rossville TN
Post  Posted 3 Jun 2020 9:48 am    
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This one is a heck of a deal, and better act quick.

https://bb.steelguitarforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=342799&highlight=
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