sliding into resonator guitar --

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sliding into resonator guitar --

Postby un5trung » Thu Jan 20, 2011 4:33 pm

Hi -- I'm in the preliminary stages of working my way into resonator/slide guitar and need some advice. My influences are people like Son House, Fred McDowell, Bukka White, etc. I don't play electric and do not aspire to the styles of Duane Allman or Derek Trucks. Learning material is a second step, but I have to think of gear first. Single-cone National comes right to mind, but I wouldn't rule out Weber. I'm thinking new rather than vintage, as I don't want to have to fix the neck. The least experienced of 'yall likely knows more than I, so any advice re: gear is appreciated. Vintage vs. New? National vs. Weber (or any other that comes to mind)? What guitar will give me that country blues sound? Cheers --
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Re: sliding into resonator guitar --

Postby rustyslide » Thu Jan 20, 2011 7:23 pm

Have never heard of Weber, but they look decent. Priced similarly to National, it seems. Probably can't go wrong with either.

"What guitar will give me that country blues sound?"

Tune to open-G on anything, start learning. You certainly don't need to spend $2500 to get the sound (if you have a pile of money to spend on a guitar, by all means go for it, they're fantastic).

Bukka White and Son House used metal-bodied biscuit resos; Fred McDowell used flat-tops and archtops, to my knowledge.
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Re: sliding into resonator guitar --

Postby bottleneck » Fri Jan 21, 2011 1:37 am

i have a '38 duolian(national)and i like it.but the new nationals are good too.i think any biscuit would do.

you don't need a reso to get started,just put fairly heavy strings on whatever you got now!and don't rule out electric,a lot of us play electric and acoustic exactly the same way,that's the beauty of bottleneck.

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Re: sliding into resonator guitar --

Postby skeetercaster » Fri Jan 21, 2011 3:36 am

Brother, I use a 2010' Dobro Houndog,and although it's my first Resonator guitar it sounds fine to me,I like the mellow "woody "tone. It has an internal pickup attached to the underside of the cone which I find completely useless,instead I use a SM-58 mic through a Behringer X1204USB mixer,for both recording and live sound,when needed. But just for sitting on the couch, playing to myself and my pooch it works just fine by itself.Some people like the metal body sound,but I'm an old guy and just something about a guitar being made out of metal just don't seem right.I'm just learning about these things,and may not know what the heck I'm talking about, but I do know what I like in terms of sound, and I'm completely satisfied with the tones I get out of this one
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Re: sliding into resonator guitar --

Postby blueshome » Fri Jan 21, 2011 9:53 pm

To get the authentic country blues sound you need a wood bodied, ladder-braced guitar. There were few players recorded pre-war who played resonator guitars, fewer still with slide - Bumble Bee Slim, Kokomo Arnold, B.B.Fuller (a couple of songs), Casey Bill (lap style) on single cone Nationals and Tampa Red, Oscar Woods, Black Ace - tricones.

Most guys played wood flat tops. Son House and Booker White played Nationals post-war, but wood guitars on their earlier stuff., Fred McDowell played cheap Harmony F-holes as well as electric, never a National.

It is a myth the the resonator guitar is essential for the "authentic" blues sound. They do however sound great and are fun to play as well as giving plenty of volume. Plenty of good reasons for owning a reso then, but any guitar will do for slide. don't wait for the "right" guitar, just get playing, it's mostly in the fingers not the instrument.
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Re: sliding into resonator guitar --

Postby gaucho » Fri Jan 21, 2011 10:15 pm

I agree with the ladder braced comment. I bought a 50/60's era Stella for cheap (and got a 2nd one for parts free!) and had a blast fixing them up. These things sound awesome played bottleneck style. Much more authentic than any of my 3 resonators (and they are easier to play as a bonus, which makes me play them more!). I just recently purchased a Crucianelli (early 60's) on e-bay and it's very similar to the Stellas. It's louder than the Stella with a short, punchy sustain and a banjo-like quality to the tone. The neck was lifted (which I knew going in) but it's a bolt on neck and I shimmed it. Still a bit high on the action but it's fine for sliding. If I had it to do all over, I's start with one of these little ladder braced guitars for learning Delta/Country/Bottleneck style blues. Still like the reso, but these are better to start with in my opinion.

Stellas:
Image

Crucianelli:
Image
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Re: sliding into resonator guitar --

Postby musichead » Sat Jan 22, 2011 12:30 am

Republic makes some great guitars. I bought a brass bodied resonator last year and it is amazing. New goes for around $650 ... got mine on craigslist for $400.

http://www.republicguitars.com/

http://www.republicguitars.com/images/448_IMG_7623.JPG
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Re: sliding into resonator guitar --

Postby Neal » Sat Jan 22, 2011 2:52 am

While it's nice to have an "authentic" guitar... the only way to get that "authentic" sound is to learn the songs and play them on a guitar. You can do it on an old Epiphone or a new National or a really expensive boutique instrument.

But Stellas are nice to have. Wish I had one, or a clone.
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Re: sliding into resonator guitar --

Postby un5trung » Sat Jan 22, 2011 3:57 am

Some really wonderful information! I like Blueshome's discussion of pre- and post-war instrumentation. I didn't know that McDowell primarily used a flattop, as Rustyslide mentioned. I have pre- and post-war House and McDowell, so I'll have to listen carefully to see if I can distinguish the difference. Single cone biscuit is likely the direction I'm going, but the ladder bracing is a new dimension for me. We have some nice music stores around here and I'll be playing all sorts of resonators to see if any make the sound I'm looking for, but as Blueshome says "it's mostly in the fingers not the instrument."

Robert
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Re: sliding into resonator guitar --

Postby un5trung » Sat Jan 22, 2011 4:39 pm

Interesting link suggesting who played what guitars, and when. If you look at the sources you can see that many listings are just as I described them: suggestions, inferences, suppositions. Even so I find it fascinating. One thing that comes out of this list is the conclusion that many influential blues guitarists used resonator guitars pre- and post-war. Another is that many used flat tops throughout. What I've drawn from this discussion and some research is that:

1. Resonator guitars are not, and never have been, the key to traditional blues slide guitar music,
2. the key (with all) successful guitar work lies with the guitarist, not the guitar, and
3. resonator guitars are way cool anyway, so play what you want and have fun!

http://www.earlyblues.com/Blues%20singers%202009.htm

Robert
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Re: sliding into resonator guitar --

Postby bottleneck » Mon Jan 24, 2011 3:37 pm

true,no piece of gear in the world will make up for hours of practice!

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Re: sliding into resonator guitar --

Postby un5trung » Thu Feb 03, 2011 6:22 am

I'm sooo glad :?: I joined this forum and posted to this group. I was all set to spend the roofing money on a National or Weber resonator when members of the group mentioned Repuplic. I finally found one and played it and I was sold. new they are cheap enough, but as it's my first resonator I thought I'd try used, $300 later a used biscuit was delivered to my door! I've played it in open D and G, and in standard. Might not have the reputation of the National or the cache of the Weber, but I don't really need either. I think it sounds great, but I have to get used to the new balance.

Again, thanks for the great advice that delivered to me a great box that exactly meets my needs! Cheers, Robert
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Re: sliding into resonator guitar --

Postby Disciple » Thu Feb 03, 2011 10:23 pm

I have to admit I'm pretty green to guitar in general but after reading here for a while and talking around to dealers and other reso owners I also landed with a Republic. Now I know that any reasonably satisfying resonator would have probably drawn me a little deeper into playing but this guitar has done more for me in the 4 or so months I've had it than any other I've owned or had access to. Thats entirely worth the extra in my mind. From what I know and have heard something like a $200.00 offshore job would have fooled me into liking it's sound but the playability would have eventually revealed the quality and I'd be back shopping or worse would have lost interest due to slower progress.

Lets face it guitar done well is a life long pursuit and an obstacle like poor playability just robs you of time. Republic seems to have found the balance from what I've seen here and experienced with mine.

There are definitely others brands and clearly a great player can draw so much out of a lesser instrument but for folks who can afford a moderately priced instrument the reward of choosing something in this middle ground is there.

Enjoy that thing, they make a beautiful sound, there is mojo hiding in that tin for sure :)
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