"Republic" or "Hot Rod. That's the question...

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"Republic" or "Hot Rod. That's the question...

Postby SouthernSounds » Tue Sep 06, 2011 2:06 am

Hi folks:

I'm new here and I write these lines, because i'm captivated by the sound of the resonators. I've been reading for a while, about the diferences between the designs and the materials, in terms to have an idea of what i want and how "i want to sound". So after reading in this site and other similars, i decided that I want to have a Tricone, among the mid price range. And from all the info that it's possible to find in the web, i'm choosing between the Republic Guitars -Model #200- (http://www.republicguitars.com/guitarso ... ducts.html) and Hot Rod (http://www.nationalguitar.com/hot-rod-s ... me-tricone).

And you probably are asking yourself, what is his point?... Well, i came to this space to ask for your help, your experience and your advices. Why? Well, because where i live (Chile), i don't have the chance to prove them and there is not much info about this wonderful instrument.

So, if you were in my place: Which one would you choose? Why? Have you tried it?

Any help will be highly appreciated...

Thanks in advance. Kindly from Chile,

Bruno

* I've started this new topic because most of the topics that i found are a little bit old and no many of them are related with "Hot Rod Guitars"
* Sorry for those who find this post pretty similar to other, in another site. I just want to have opinions...
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Re: "Republic" or "Hot Rod. That's the question...

Postby zhyla » Tue Sep 06, 2011 4:55 am

SouthernSounds wrote:Well, because where i live (Chile), i don't have the chance to prove them and there is not much info about this wonderful instrument.


You're not much worse off than the rest of the world. If we're lucky in the U.S. there is a shop within 50 miles that has a couple resonators. Many people buy blind over the internet.

SouthernSounds wrote:So, if you were in my place: Which one would you choose? Why? Have you tried it?


There's not much feedback on the Hot Rod's yet (very new, and most people are too broke to buy guitars these days). Someone here may have one but I doubt it's a tricone. I think the general consensus on the Republics is they're good enough and a good value. I've played a few Republics, I don't think you'll be disappointed. Not sure I care for their wood finishes but hard to go wrong with plated metal.
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Re: "Republic" or "Hot Rod. That's the question...

Postby 29er » Tue Sep 06, 2011 10:47 am

I've owned a Republic Tricone, and as Zhyla mentioned, it was just "OK" It sounded nice but the set up left a lot to be desired due to rough fret ends and a poorly cut nut. I'm not complaining because a trip to the work bench for an hour fixed those issues.

I sold that guitar several months ago in hopes of buying a National, but times being what they are I have decided that I can't justify spending that much money (SOMEDAY!) :D

I am currently waiting delivery on a new Hot Rod Steel single cone (wood body) I've got high hopes for the Hot Rod. If I like it enough I'll probably get a Tricone as well. Lenny seems to have a good thing going with the Hot Rod concept.
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Re: "Republic" or "Hot Rod. That's the question...

Postby gaucho » Tue Sep 06, 2011 12:29 pm

I have 2 Republics (a single cone resolian and a tricone) a National '32 Style O and a USA Dobro. My Republics hold there own with the National and the Dobro, but I did have to do some tweaking on the tricone. If I were going to buy another one, I'd definitely want to go in a shop with several and play them all and pick the one I like best. Even with Nationals, you can play 4 or 5 identical models and they'll all sound different. That's not even a realistic option here in the states tho, so in Chile I know it's not even remotely an option. I've read really good things about Lenny and his Hot Rods. The Republics, Hot Rods and Michael Messers (Busker Guitars) are all basically the same guitars. the BIG difference is the set-up. Lenny has Mark Schellenburger (sp?) doing the set-up on the Hot Rods and he's one of the best in the business. I don't know how extensively he works on them, but set up is everything in a resonator.

Here's what I would do in your situation. Contact Lenny at Vintage Nationals. He sells Hot Rods, Republics and Nationals. See if you can set up a Skype session where he shows you what he has available and plays them for you to pick the one with the tone you like. That would be helpful, but still not as good as playing them 1st hand. Also look into the Michael Messer/Busker line. They are out of England and maybe shipping would be cheaper? Here's m Republics:
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Re: "Republic" or "Hot Rod. That's the question...

Postby Disciple » Tue Sep 06, 2011 2:08 pm

Another source for Republic is the Twelfth Fret in Toronto, very reputable shop, perhaps the best in Canada.

I purchased a Republic Tricone thru them, had it set up by Grant, he is the owner of the shop and one of the foremost resonator guys in the game.

His approach to getting my wants figured out was excellent, all done thru phone calls and e-mail with one visit to the shop beforehand to sort out just what sort of resonator I wanted in terms of body shape and cone / bridge style. I knew nothing before doing that.

Since you already know you want a Tricone it's just a matter of getting a a set up you like, the differences in the mid grade models is pretty minimal. I'd recommend Grant at the Twelfth Fret, he really has an intuition for finding out what you want and setting it up.

The suggestion of skype seems like a good way to do this also, except perhaps the odd sound quality that I have sometimes heard thru skype phone calls, might be better to use sound clips sent via e-mail.

These guitars tend to have a wholly different sound when your standing right in front them as opposed to hearing them in some other way. Tough guitars to get a sense of unless you actually pick one up and play it.

Good Luck
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Re: "Republic" or "Hot Rod. That's the question...

Postby SouthernSounds » Tue Sep 06, 2011 7:19 pm

Welly, welly, well. First that all, thanks for your answer guys... I appreciate it...

So let's go:

zhyla wrote: You're not much worse off than the rest of the world. If we're lucky in the U.S. there is a shop within 50 miles that has a couple resonators. Many people buy blind over the internet.


I'm not sure if i should be happy of my situation in Chile, but thanks for contrast my reality with yours... Sad, for such a great instrument...

29er wrote:I've owned a Republic Tricone, and as Zhyla mentioned, it was just "OK" It sounded nice but the set up left a lot to be desired due to rough fret ends and a poorly cut nut. I'm not complaining because a trip to the work bench for an hour fixed those issues.


Mmm, that's the reason why now i'm deciding to order a Hot Rod more than a Republic... Don't want to involve my hands in the instrument until, at least, i have a little bit more experience, and of course i doubt if someone in Chile have the experience needed in order to do that kind of fixes...

29er wrote:I am currently waiting delivery on a new Hot Rod Steel single cone (wood body) I've got high hopes for the Hot Rod. If I like it enough I'll probably get a Tricone as well. Lenny seems to have a good thing going with the Hot Rod concept.


Let us know about your experience, your thoughts and feelings...

@ Gaucho: Thanks for your suggestion, I'm gonna have it in mind... With respect to Busker Guitars and i had seen them, but i wasn't considering them, thinking that it would probably quite more expensive than a USA one, but actually it's not so much. So i wrote to Robin in order to know how much expensive could it be the deliver...

Nice guitars, by the way...

@ Disciple: Thanks for your words and advices... With respect to 12th Fret, i couldn't find anything in his catalog right now...

Anyway, thank you guys for your comments and impressions... We still in touch!

Kindly, B.
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Re: "Republic" or "Hot Rod. That's the question...

Postby k1w1 » Wed Sep 07, 2011 8:25 am

SS, I have a Republic tri, the saddle and nut needed a little work but not a great deal, and I am very happy with the sound, and it is light years ahead of the Johnson and Regal I owned years ago. I am eyeing a Hot Rod single if I can't get a Michael Messer Lightning, although the new Republic offerings are tempting, I would certainly buy one again.

Don't bother trying to ship from the UK, I have talked to Robin at Busker on that, it is 2-3X the price greater than the USA down to here, so to Chile would probably be similar.

But I do have some friends travelling back here to NZ next year so may be able to get one back here that way as stowed luggage.

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Re: "Republic" or "Hot Rod. That's the question...

Postby SouthernSounds » Wed Sep 07, 2011 6:23 pm

@ k1w1: Thanks for your advice related to Busker... And with respect to Republic, that's exactly what i don't want to do. I dont' have any previous experience with Resos, and as i said previously i doubt if in Chile exists someone able to do that kind of things properly...

Well, we'll see... Thanks for your words... Nice guitar...

Kindly, B.
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Re: "Republic" or "Hot Rod. That's the question...

Postby zhyla » Thu Sep 08, 2011 4:36 am

SouthernSounds wrote:And with respect to Republic, that's exactly what i don't want to do. I dont' have any previous experience with Resos, and as i said previously i doubt if in Chile exists someone able to do that kind of things properly...


I wonder... how stuck are you on getting a tricone? They're complicated beasts and they're hard to get right. Whereas, say, a cheap spider can be had from a number of brands for less than half the price. They're less likely to require any tweaking. Same goes for the regular single-cones, but I suspect you're after the sustain of the tricone and spiders are the next best thing. My Recording King spider came perfect, I haven't done a thing to it but strings, and I'm an amateur luthier of sorts so I would if it needed anything.
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Re: "Republic" or "Hot Rod. That's the question...

Postby k1w1 » Thu Sep 08, 2011 7:47 am

As Zhyla said, that could be an option, I have limited experience with spiders, but they do seem more forgiving.

I didn't specify action to Frank for the Republic when I ordered, as I like to set that myself, so I lowered the saddle and opened the nut slots for heavier strings. But like Zhyla I have a bit of experience with these and guitar repairs.

Lenny from Hot Rod is a member here, and if you know what action you like I reckon a PM to him would get what you want done before shipping, as I am sure Frank at Republic would also accommodate.

I just saw the wooden single Lenny has, and am MIGHTY tempted. Owned a Johnston (crap) and Epiphone (great after substantial mods) wood body single cone and that Hot Rod looks great.
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Re: "Republic" or "Hot Rod. That's the question...

Postby gaucho » Thu Sep 08, 2011 12:09 pm

I agree with the above comments regarding the tricones. They are untamed beasts and, I feel, a good bit harder to play well than a single cone spider or biscuit. There's alot going on in there, lots of room for rattles, buzzes and weird overtones, even when well set up. Like I said earlier, I also have a Republic Resolian, a '32 Style O and a USA Dobro and they are all easier (for me) to play well. I've done work on the action, nut and saddle plus I've put Hot Rod cones in my Tricone and I'm still not sure I'll keep it. That's more of a personal thing and not a dig on the Republic guitar tho. If had had to choose one right now to keep. Based entirely on tone and how well I can play it, I'd go with the Dobro (spider bridge), hands down! If not set-up right tho, they are almost as complicated as a tricone. The Biscuit bridges are simplest, with less to go "off" in my experience. The Republic Duolians and Lenny's biscuit models look interesting....
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Re: "Republic" or "Hot Rod. That's the question...

Postby zhyla » Thu Sep 08, 2011 6:30 pm

One more thing about tricones that may not be immediately obvious from watching videos etc: they're kind of quiet. They make up for it with a really unique sound and amazing sustain, but from a volume point of view they are much inferior to the other types.

I'd certainly recommend a spider as a first resonator guitar to anyone. It takes a bit more technique to make biscuit resos sound good. And besides... you'll want one of each eventually :).
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Re: "Republic" or "Hot Rod. That's the question...

Postby 29er » Thu Sep 08, 2011 10:08 pm

After a bit of a delay, my new wood bodied Hot Rod Steel is on the way. I'll play it for a few days & then post up a review and some pics. Really looking forward to getting this one! Currently, the only reso I own is a Beard Gold Tone spider bridge model. It's a great guitar but the spider tone is not what I grew accustomed to and I've been missing the biscuit tone since I stupidly sold my National a few years ago :cry:
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Re: "Republic" or "Hot Rod. That's the question...

Postby SouthernSounds » Thu Sep 08, 2011 11:11 pm

Hi guys:

@ Zhyla: You're right, i like the Tricone's sound, and actually, at instances of your comment, i've been listening some reso guitars, including, of course, spider and biscuit bridge, and i'm not really convinced with their sounds, i mean, I'm still sticked with tricones, as you know, that sound is a little bit "dirty" and that's what i'm looking for...

Respect to tweaking, that's why i thought in "Hot Rod Steel", trusting in Lenny's Setup, in Lenny's work. Other way is, spend more money and trust in the "tradition" and buy a National Reso. The problem, I've not been able to find a good deal in the used market... So still have nothing in my hands...

Now, talking about Dobros, i don't like how they look, it's just a matter of likes :roll: And with respect to Single Cones, i like how the Tricone's sound...

zhyla wrote:And besides... you'll want one of each eventually :).


I hope that desire to have one of every model, occurs when i have a better financial situation... Time, time will tell...

Sorry guys if this topic is a little bit stucked, but at this moment the decision is just in terms of likes. I appreciate every opinion and, of course, your time and kindness!... Thank you!

We still in touch! Regards,

B.

* @ 29er: I'll stay tuned in order to know your opinion about Lenny's guitars. A hug, B.
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Re: "Republic" or "Hot Rod. That's the question...

Postby k1w1 » Fri Sep 09, 2011 5:22 am

29er wrote:After a bit of a delay, my new wood bodied Hot Rod Steel is on the way. I'll play it for a few days & then post up a review and some pics. Really looking forward to getting this one! Currently, the only reso I own is a Beard Gold Tone spider bridge model. It's a great guitar but the spider tone is not what I grew accustomed to and I've been missing the biscuit tone since I stupidly sold my National a few years ago :cry:


I'll be real interested to hear your opinion 29er. I had a Johnson wood body, but you couldn't adjust string height very much, they had set the neck wrong and the break angle was bad over the bridge. Looking to get a single cone after christmas, and wood might just be the go.

Southern Sounds, like you my first choice is a tri.
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