Looking for a Resonator/Dobro

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Looking for a Resonator/Dobro

Postby Jehuty » Fri Jan 05, 2007 3:50 pm

So yea. I've been looking around on websites for nice guitars to play some delta blues on, but I'm having some troubles. My budget is around 500 Euro's (don't mind to pay a lil extra), which comes down to around 660 Dollars.

I've been looking at some Johnson guitars, but I don't know if they're worth it or not. I don't know too much about brands like Rogue or Johnson, given the fact that I mostly play Electric guitar.

Can anyone shed some light on Johnson guitar's tone? And what are the tonal characteristics of a Tri-Cone and other cones? (Dont know that much about them as stated before.

I've been looking at this one:

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/product/ ... sku=511191

Any help is granted.
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Postby maxx england » Fri Jan 05, 2007 4:07 pm

Can't advise you much, as I've not been into resos, but Ozarks keep getting mentioned favourably here.
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Postby bignick » Fri Jan 05, 2007 5:01 pm

I have a Johnson Squareneck and I like the sound of it a lot. They have Continental cones in them now, and the Wechters even feature those cones. They are a nice sounding modern cone.

Ric would be the one to ask on that particular model, and I know he favors his Johnson. He has tweaked it a lot.

I have tried a couple of those Rogue models that were Used and they did not impress me. For the price they are not bad though. Pick N Slide music on ebay has some very good prices on Beards. They have some 2nds that are incredible for the money.
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Postby ricochet » Fri Jan 05, 2007 7:16 pm

I'm a Johnson Tricone fan.

Mine is one of the first Chinese-made Johnsons. (Earlier, Johnsons were Amistar-made and cost about 3 times as much.) I bought it in early 2002, so it may have been made in late 2001. That was the time of the switchover. As an early production model, mine had a few flaws I've fixed up. About 2 1/2 years or so ago, I bought a new one for my teacher from our forum host PappyJ (John Watts of Coast to Coast Music, linked on the "Please Click Here to Support Our Sponsor" above), and IMO that guitar was absolutely perfect as it came. Wouldn't change a thing about it. And the price has actually come down since I bought mine.

As you may know, there are three main types of resonators: Tricone, biscuit-bridge single cone (National style,) and spider bridge (Dobro style.) It's dangerous to generalize, but the way I see it generally, the biscuit has the loudest sound, with a sharp attack and short sustain. A loud, sharp bark, with a ringing after. Some call it banjo-like. More like a banjo played in the bottom of a tall stairwell, I'd say. Sorta has a banging on a trashcan lid quality, too. Great for playing nasty old blues. Spider bridges are the familiar dobros used in bluegrass and country music. They work well for blues, too. Underrated IMO. They're loud, with better sustain than biscuits. Some describe their sound as "sweet." To me they have a peculiar "hollow" tone that indicates a lot of the lower odd harmonics like third harmonic. Nice instruments. Then there's the Tricone, which though it was the first type sounds to me like a combination of the others. Not quite as loud as either, with good long sustain. Sounds a bit more "civilized" than biscuits generally do, but still can get that banging on a trash can sound when you whang on it hard.

There are lots of variations among instruments of each type, and big differences between brass, steel and nickel silver bodies, wood bodies...

National Resophonic used to sell, and may still sell, a CD with recordings produced with all of their different types of resos. It's useful for getting a feel for what they sound like.
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Postby mickeypainless » Fri Jan 05, 2007 7:42 pm

Nice break down Ric, sums em all up well!
I'm a wood bodied spider bridge fan myself but own a couple biscuits as well. My Rogue spider is my go to git when I wanna slip and slide and my window breaker is my Washburn ES20. My Rogue biscuit has pretty much been a wall ornament after the first 2 weeks I had it and was completely replaced by my Johnson Swamp Stomper which I play both plugged and unplugged.
Good luck in yer search!
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Postby Jehuty » Fri Jan 05, 2007 8:31 pm

Thanks a lot for the help guys. So it is worth the money? It's gonna be hard to find a dealer here that I can get it though, probably gonna have to order it.
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Postby ricochet » Fri Jan 05, 2007 8:43 pm

Mighty few of us have bought a reso after seeing and playing it. Usually you have to research it and order. Then you've got to do any needed work on it yourself, because local guitar techs rarely are knowledgeable. Fortunately they're very easy to work on, and many of us like to tinker with them just because we can. You can get lots of help with that right here.
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Postby bignick » Fri Jan 05, 2007 8:47 pm

I would definitely think it is worth the money. If you want a Spider I know that Pappy sells the Chicago, and Delta Blues roundneck models and has them in stock. The Chicago is fairly cheap, the Delta is a bit better. It sounded pretty good out of the box but I cannot stand to leave budget resos stock.

I'm also a wood-bodied spider fan. I've never even owned or considered owning a biscuit. I have a Beard Goldtone and that is my go-to guitar when I play resos.

It took a long time to find the reso I wanted and I modified the HELL out of mine. Bone nuts, saddles, pickups, the works. If I could do it all again, I would probably have bought a Swamp Stomper off Pappy, but they were not being produced at that time.
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Postby Jehuty » Fri Jan 05, 2007 10:05 pm

So, where is this Pappy located then? And what would it cost for said model?
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Postby zhyla » Fri Jan 05, 2007 10:21 pm

Jehu, I have played a lot of resonators at stores (I'm blessed with a local store that stocks Nationals and Dobros), the only ones I've found that really suck are the Fenders and the Deans. That's my two cents.
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Postby ricochet » Sat Jan 06, 2007 12:46 am

Jehuty wrote:So, where is this Pappy located then? And what would it cost for said model?

I just explained above that PappyJ, whose real name is John Watts, owns this forum and the store Coast to Coast Music. He's a Johnson dealer. Click on the blue text with a line on it near the top of your page that says "Click Here to Support Our Sponsor, Coast to Coast Music!" Look around on that page. The prices advertised are minimum advertised prices required by Johnson of all their dealers. If you E-mail John at coast2coastmusic@yahoo.com and tell him you're from the BRB board, I'll bet he'll quote you a lower price than advertised. If there's a Johnson model you don't see on his page, ask him about it. John's a good guy to deal with. I bought that Tricone from him 2 1/2 years ago, and several other things since. He's a nice guy and gives good customer service.
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Postby Jehuty » Sat Jan 06, 2007 12:31 pm

Oh, okay. Sorry, I didn't see that. Thanks for the help and I'll check that out.
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Postby maxx england » Sat Jan 06, 2007 3:13 pm

Advise me; I have a Strat, and my dearly beloved acoustic, but I'm interested in a resonator too when my future is more settled. My acoustic playing has been described , in a kindly and knowledgeable way, as "primitive" in it's tone. I do want some sustain, and perhaps some sweetness of tone too.

And how easy/hard is it to get hold of a lefty?
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Postby mukluk » Sat Jan 06, 2007 4:25 pm

MickeyP, just wondering if you could possibly record a small sample of your Rogue Biscuit and your Swamp Stomper, and post it somewhere or even email me a copy? I'd really like to hear the difference between a biscuit vs spider cone setup. Does the Swamp Stomper have decent volume unplugged? I've read on different forums both spiders and biscuits described as having a banjo like tone (I'm confused). It would really help me decide which guitar I'd like to order from coast to coast. Thanks in advance if you can help me out!

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Postby mukluk » Sat Jan 06, 2007 4:39 pm

Oops, I should have said "Rogue Spider " ,.. not Rogue Biscuit. The Swamp Stomper is a biscuit I think?

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