Spiders In My Brain

A discussion of techniques, and equipment for guitar. Fretted, bottleneck or slide, acoustic or electric, this is the place.

Spiders In My Brain

Postby Johnny DobroBoy » Mon Dec 03, 2012 6:31 pm

It's kind of a broad observation, but it would appear as though most reso-playing folks around here have a preference for Single Cones or Tricones. I was wondering two things: I have a Regal RD-40V Spider Bridge resonator, and was wondering what difference a new cone and spider would make. (I was hoping to invest in a quarterman cone and what would appear to be a higher quality spider bridge soon.) The second thing I was wondering is who else around here has spiders in their brain and loves their Spider Resonator! :mrgreen:
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Re: Spiders In My Brain

Postby texas blues » Mon Dec 03, 2012 8:51 pm

You mean like this Orpheum reso?

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Re: Spiders In My Brain

Postby ricbleu » Tue Dec 04, 2012 8:04 am

Johnny, that's a question that I'd like answered too. I have two Republic biscuit bridge resos, a steel body and a wood body. I bought biscuits because those are what Republic mostly sold and Republic had a good reputation for value for money. Then some further reading told me that biscuits are more raw, raspy and better for playing the blues, whereas spiders are smoother, more mellow with greater sustain and are better for playing bluegrass. But I find that a bit simplistic to hear (or read) people who categorise so readily. In truth, you can play the blues with a tin can half full of pebbles - it's not in the instrument, it's in the heart. However, like you, I would be very interested to hear from those who have both and can make a fair comparison. So for those in the know, which taste better, spiders or biscuits..........??? :D Peace.

ps sorry, Johnny, I didn't even attempt to answer your question about replacement cone and spiderbridge, I'll leave that to those who know something about it.
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Re: Spiders In My Brain

Postby bottleneckjohn » Tue Dec 04, 2012 10:38 am

I really, really love my spiders!!!
Such a sweet tone with huuuuge sustain, for slide it's perfect!
I use spider bridge reso's on almost every gig I play, also for recordings. My new album's gonna feature Dobro's on at least 4 songs out of 14.
3 different guitars will demonstrate the spider tone really well I think!

So, we've gotta bring the spiders into the blues. Give the biscuits a little competition... :mrgreen:
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Re: Spiders In My Brain

Postby Johnny DobroBoy » Tue Dec 04, 2012 3:20 pm

Thanks for the replies, I haven't personally had the chance to go out and try a biscuit or tricone for that matter. Here in Maine (South Canada) The nearest music shop is over 40 miles away so most of my contact with resonators is through the internet unfortunately :oops: But I feel that spiders, (like any other type of reso) gets stereo typed. It's not unreasonable A LOT of people use lapstyle spiders for bluegrass, and A LOT of people use biscuits for old timey blues. I feel like if more people experimented with different reso styles maybe these lines drawn into the communities would thin a little (NOT that I feel as though these lines aren't drawn from a lot of facts and the unique differences between the styles) :lol:
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Re: Spiders In My Brain

Postby kiwiblues » Tue Dec 04, 2012 8:14 pm

My two resos are a National Style O and a Goldtone Beard spider bridged cutaway.
Both bought secondhand on Ebay.
I tend to find myself playing the Goldtone more because of it's adaptablility to most musical styles.
I agree with John that the sustain is marvellous and if you don't want it you just choke it off.
I fitted a Lace ultraslim pickup to mine and it sounds great amplified as well.
I don't play bluegrass, only bottleneck blues and dobro style guitars sound wonderfully haunting to me.
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Re: Spiders In My Brain

Postby j bird » Wed Dec 05, 2012 3:38 pm

Nah, there is no rule! I have both and like the others I find the spider yields a much clearer voice. If you pick up a biscuit bridge right after it almost sounds like it has a distortion pedal built in.

I think it's just natural preference to lean towards the trashy sound when delivering the blues.

Doug Larson, used to be a regular on this board, built me a biscuit bridge several years ago and included both his cone and a Quarterman that I could swap out. I believe what you'll find is that the Quarterman will yield you more volume. Doug told me Quarterman spins his cones very thin so that's how they tend to absorb less vibrations than a thicker cone which allows them to resonate better. It makes since to me.

It's an affordable upgrade...I'd say go for it!
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Re: Spiders In My Brain

Postby Johnny DobroBoy » Wed Dec 05, 2012 6:19 pm

Wow thanks everyone for replying, been a long time lurker on this forum and finally decided to jump into the community after a while. I am hopefully going to upgrade to a quarterman, I currently have .12's on my regal because Musicians Friend shipped me the wrong guage! (I usually use .13's) I have found that with my heavy brass slide i can get a really nice haunting sound, a few of my friends noticed the difference. The only problem is that I can't really beat the blues out of it like I used to! :lol: But it has a nicer more sophisticated sound, once I order the new cone I will post my results and let you know what I think. :) Again thank you for the warm welcome into this very knowledgeable community!
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Re: Spiders In My Brain

Postby Freeman » Mon Dec 10, 2012 5:54 pm

Johnny, I have both a 1932 Dobro type 27 spider (with Quarterman), a 1980 Dobro Duolian (biscuit, currently running a NRP hot rod) and my home made wood bodied tricone (also with NRP's). Some general observations and opinions (you know what they say about opinions)

The spider has a long sustain and what I would call "sweet" voice - the mass of the spider dramatically delays the decay of the note. The spider can withstand higher string tension - that is why you see the so called "resonator" sets being somewhere around 16-56 with the bottom strings tuned up. I usually run plain old mediums but I bump the first up to a 14 and I like an unwound third. The wood body also really mellows the sound compared to the bell brass of the Duolian. I can't tell you if the Quarterman was a good upgrade - when I got the guitar the cone was crushed so that is all I have ever had in it.

I jump back and forth between playing the spider spanish style and lap style, right now it has a nut extender, but still tuned to ordinary open G (not high bass, I am not a bluegrass player). Mine is a roundie - it does slide around on my lap - but the nice thing about a round neck is that you can go back and forth. The intonation is terrible (which is true of almost any reso) - with a slide it doesn't matter.

The Duolian is typical metal bodied biscuit - brash, nasty, loud, in your face. The NRP is definitely a recommended upgrade. It has a short attack and delay compared to the spider - much better for Delta blues. I keep mine in open G with the same medium-heavy string set.

The tricone is kind of an odd ball. It has very long sustain due to the mass of the tee bride and cones, and is almost acoustic sounding when played gently with flesh and nails. When I really dig in the bark comes out, but the wood seems to take away much of that. I usually keep it in open D with mediums and play an equal mix of slide and fretted.

Lastly, I've got a weissenborn copy that I keep in D and play lap style. Here are some crappy clips of all four playing the same song in open G, Fahey's Steamboat Gwen Round the Bend

The spider
http://vom.infocusreviews.com/index.php?p=play&id=Freeman_Keller/Steamboat_-_Dobro.mp3

biscuit
http://vom.infocusreviews.com/index.php?p=play&id=Freeman_Keller/Steamboat_-_Duolian.mp3

tricone
http://vom.infocusreviews.com/index.php ... ricone.mp3

and Weissenborn
http://vom.infocusreviews.com/index.php ... enborn.mp3

Let me add a couple of things if you are going to upgrade your cone (and spider, but unless yours is bent I don't see the advantage). Be very careful about setting the tension screw - if you get it too tight it really chokes the cone - I just snug it and give it about 1/4 more turn. When you have the guitar opened it is a real good time to adjust the neck stick to optimize the angle. Also a good time to replace the bridge inserts (saddle(s)) - I like ebony capped maple. You can fiddle with nut and saddle slots to get the strings flat or radiused the way you like them - a lot depends on whether you will fret and the type of slide that you like. Also a good time to completely de-rattle the guitar - seat the cone and spider, check the little mesh hole covers, adjust the tailpiece so it doesn't rattle.

Get all of that done, open a cold adult beverage and slide on in.....
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