RE: Buying a resonator

Required: Just registered? Give us a short introduction. You won't be able to post anywhere else until you have an approved post here.

Everything else -- questions, comments, observations -- should find a home in the other forums.

RE: Buying a resonator

Postby rwlyo » Thu Mar 28, 2002 3:59 pm

SmokinSteve,

Check out the "resonator guitar?" post in this conference for some great advice from great folks. I had the same problem in my area. Too few choices for a big decision. I went the Liberty route. Bill Blue, the owner, was really helpful to me in the decision. He asked me about my style of play, and the sound I was after. He then told me about the models he made, and their characteristics. Then, I was able to make my decision. I do gotta admit that I was pretty nervous about a "sight and sound unseen" purchase. I was very relieved, when it got here. It looks and sounds every bit as good as I'd hoped for. Yes, I'll probably make some minor changes of strings and such, but overall, I'm having the time of my life with it!

Of course, I'm a newbie myself, so listen to the advice of the more experienced others here. This is the place for great advice and comments. Good luck with your purchase!


ardubya

"top of the world one minute, haunted by meagers the next"
User avatar
rwlyo
Regular
 
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 1970 12:00 am

RE: Buying a resonator

Postby ricochet » Thu Mar 28, 2002 10:22 pm

My first piece of advice is to do lots of listening to the kind of music you like played on different sorts of guitars. If you like blues, you'll hear the spider-bridge dobros played on Keb' Mo's first album and Eric Clapton's "Unplugged." (Walking Blues and Running On Faith.) Most everything else using resos is biscuit-bridge single cone Nationals of one sort or another. Not much recently recorded has a tricone on it. Some of the old Tampa Red classics were done with a tricone, but the sound quality's poor. Catfish Keith records his slide stuff on a new National polychrome baritone tricone. There's a CD called "The National Resophonic Project" that I recommend, a sampler of various artists playing tunes on different models of new National guitars. You can really get a good feel for what single cone and tricone Nationals sound like with this one. (Catfish plays one tune on his baritone tricone, and somebody else has one on one of the normal shiny tricones.) If you've ever listened to any bluegrass or country music, you know what a dobro sounds like. Nice, singing tone with good sustain. Not a really sharp attack, not real strong on the bass, either. Single cone (biscuit) Nationals have a really sharp, short "bark" (some folks prefer to call it a "bite") that cuts off quickly, a bit like a banjo. They're really loud, too. The tricone has a definite family resemblance in sound to the single cone Nationals, but isn't as harsh on the attack and has much longer sustain. Not quite as loud, but plenty loud for sure. It has a beautiful balanced sound all across the spectrum, from deep booming bass to lovely treble. And I've discovered that if I really beat on my tricone I get a sound just like an electric played through a good old Fender amp with the gain turned up for just a moderate level of distortion, a great bluesy tone. :-)

Anyway, here's my second piece of advice: Get what you want, even if you have to wait a while. If you've already got an acoustic guitar, you can play fine blues on it, slide or otherwise. I hurriedly bought an inexpensive roundneck dobro because I could afford it. It's a nice guitar, but I'd've rather had a metal bodied National copy, I think. What I REALLY was in love with was the Tricone, but felt like they'd be forever out of reach of what I could justify spending for a hobby instrument. The ones made by the new National Resophonic company and several small semicustom builders will always be in the unobtainable zone for me. When I bought my dobro last year, even the Johnson tricones that were made in the Czech Republic were way too high. But since they've started building them in China, they've dropped into the range I could swing. And mine is very well built and finished, I'm very happy with how it looks and sounds. So, try to be patient and keep saving up if you want something that costs just a little more than what you're ready to spend right now. Don't be in a hurry to buy the first resonator you can afford if it's not what you'll be happiest with in the long run.

Third piece of advice: When you figure out what you want and could likely afford, SHOP AROUND! Search the internet, make lots of inquiries and don't be afraid to negotiate and pit one dealer against another. You can get a LOT better price than a local dealer can give you. Buying sight unseen isn't a big deal. You can normally send them right back if you're unhappy. In the bargain price ranges you'll always have to do some setup and tinkering to get the best sound. You can do it yourself easily, and we're all happy to offer advice and steer you to helpful resources. It's unlikely that you'll find a local shop where the personnel are any more experienced with resos than you are, so they won't be much help. (Kinda like when I got into recumbent bicycles.) You're going to be a bit of a pioneer, although with the cheap Chinese resos becoming so affordable and the general resurgence of interest in blues that I see occurring, that may become less important in a few years. We're always going to be a tiny minority, though. The Net's great, we can help one another out. :-)

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."
User avatar
ricochet
Regular
 
Posts: 10256
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 1970 12:00 am
Location: Bristol, Tennessee, USA

RE: Buying a resonator

Postby dougtheslug » Fri Mar 29, 2002 1:40 am

Ric's right (as usual),

Don't be afraid to use (= really use) the music stores to testdrive the equipment. At first, if you're like me, you're all butter fingers because the staff are right there watching you. Politely ask them to go away so that you can play by yourself. Pick one piece, even a simple 12 bar instrumental will do, then try exactly the same licks on the various guitars. Start with one guitar until you get it right, then switch. Immediately you'll notice things about the neck profile, about the tuners, about the balance and heft etc. that you would not notice if you just stick with one instrument. I build for a hobby, and I've now got quite an arsenal of resos. Man every one is different and I'd be hard pressed to pick a sound that's perfect. But neck shape, weight, appearance etc. are all impt. too. So use the stores to give you those close comparisons.

dougtheslug
dougtheslug
Regular
 
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 1970 12:00 am


Return to A Bit About You

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests

cron