Reso-Maintenance

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Reso-Maintenance

Postby preachingblues » Tue May 13, 2008 11:20 pm

Hey guys. I'm not really a newbie here. I was posting for a while as thepeppermints, but I forgot my account info and just created a new one. Mods, delete the old account if you want.

Quick question. What should I do to my Regal, wood-bodied resonator to improve the sound? I've never had it apart for cleaning or anything like that. I don't think I want to replace anything at this point. Are there any simple maintenance tricks, internally, I can use to make sure it sounds as good as possible?
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Re: Reso-Maintenance

Postby ricochet » Tue May 13, 2008 11:45 pm

Most important part of setting up a spider reso is properly adjusting the tension screw in the center of the bridge. It pulls the spider down against the cone, preloading it to the proper tension. If it's too loose, you may get buzzing, the action will be low, and the strings will feel squishy. Tighter, the action will rise, the strings will have a much more solid, snappy feel, and the tone will change (likely brighter.) Too tight, the screw will strip, the spider legs will bend or break, or the cone will be crushed. Stew-Mac recommends backing the screw out loose (count turns!), and carefully tighten till you just feel a slight resistance as the spider begins to press on the cone. Tighten it in the range between 1/4 and 1 full turn tight. You'll find a sweet spot in there somewhere. Makes a HUGE difference in playing feel, tone and volume!

If it's a biscuit, and you don't want to replace anything like cone or biscuit, make sure the cone is making good firm contact all around the circumference of the soundwell, and adjust the intonation to the best compromise by slacking the strings, rotating the cone to angle the bridge (about like the bridge angle on an acoustic guitar). and sliding it back and forth between the nut and tailpiece till you get it as close as possible on both the bass and treble sides. You'll never get it exactly right on all strings. Works the same way with spider and tricone resos.

If you have great big heavy strings, think about trying SMALLER strings! Excessive downforce from ultra-heavy strings preloads cones into a regime where the cone doesn't move as much for a change in string pressure. Volume and sustain don't increase proportionally for increased string size. Because the resistance of the cone goes up on a sharply upward curve as the pressure increases (before the cone crushes), it springs upward more readily than it pushes down, making a lot of second harmonic distortion. And the lower frequencies are relatively suppressed as the cone's compliance is decreased. You'll probably like the tone better when the cone is more lightly loaded and can move more freely.
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Re: Reso-Maintenance

Postby preachingblues » Wed May 14, 2008 7:19 pm

I've had my reso for a while, but I honestly didn't think much about how they work until recently. I'm starting to learn a bit more about them. It appears mine has the spider bridge. It has the legged assembly that extends out from the center of the bridge above the cone. The bridge cover has a hole to reach the screw that holds the assembly together.

I don't have any buzzing or other weird things going on at the moment. I'm just trying to become more informed in case any problems ever come up. I live in an area where resos aren't abundant in the guitar shops. There may be a few bluegrassers around here who know how to work on them, but I honestly wouldn't trust the local guitar tech guys. They do a fine job with everything else, but I know there's not much call for reso repair or setups around here, at least in the shops.

So other than adjusting the spider-cone assembly as you described, is there anything else? I'm assuming there wouldn't be much of a reason for me to remove the cover plate unless I was going to replace the cone or something.

My ultimate goal is to eventually pick up a new National. That's going to be a while, though, so I want to get the best out of the Regal. I think I may look into replacing the cone eventually with a National brand. I may try to seek out someone with more knowledge to do that, though. If Grady is still around, he may know someone in W.Va.
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Re: Reso-Maintenance

Postby ricochet » Thu May 15, 2008 1:38 am

No, you're not going to need to routinely remove the cover plate for anything. Intonation adjustment and tension screw adjustment can be done without removing the screw.

I wouldn't change the cone or bridge unless the ones you have sound crappy.

Main thing to watch for if you ever do decide to go inside is that you don't bugger the slots in the cover plate screws, or let the screwdriver slip and mar the plate.

It's unlikely that you're going to find a guitar tech near you who's really familiar with resos. But it's easy to work on one. Not rocket science at all.
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Re: Reso-Maintenance

Postby blueslide » Thu May 15, 2008 6:41 am

Hiya
Rico has it pretty well it nailed down ( he advised me previously, smashing guy, extremly knowledgable and helpful ) take a look at this address

http://www.stewmac.com/freeinfo/String_ ... setup.html

it not only shows what rico advises plus spider and saddle adjustments , with the help of the odd picture so thanks stewmac

for the help

regards
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Re: Reso-Maintenance

Postby preachingblues » Thu May 15, 2008 7:51 pm

Awesome guys! Thanks for the info. I'll definitely check out that link!

As I said before, everything seems to be fine right now. There's no buzzing and the strings feel nice and play well. I just wanted to know for future reference because I realized that if something comes up, I wouldn't be prepared ahead of time.

The Regal reso doesn't sound stellar, but it doesn't sound bad. I've had others say they like the way it sounds. Like I said, there aren't many resos around here at all. The main guitar shop here will have one or two occassionally, mostly Fenders with square necks. The shop where I bought mine is one of the smaller, individually owned shops. The owner had two in there when I bought mine. I bought mine, which has a natural wood finish. She also had another one that was pretty much the same guitar, except it was black. My friend bought that one. We both paid around $300. Unfortunately, my friend accidentally destroyed his by stepping on it, crushing the cone and the cover plate. I almost cried when he told me.

Really, I'd like to know exactly what model mine is. It doesn't have anything that identifies it on the body anywhere that I can find. I also can't find much on the Internet about Regal guitars. I know the basic backstory of the company, but they don't have a Web site I could find.

Thanks again for all the tips.
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Re: Reso-Maintenance

Postby ricochet » Fri May 16, 2008 12:04 am

If you want to hear what your reso really sounds like, you're going to have to get somebody else to sit facing you and play it. It'll sound WAY better than you hear when you're playing it.

Lap style gives you a pretty good exposure, but you're in the sonic near field. You get a better idea of how the sounds from the different sources on the guitar blend and interact when you're several feet away. You can't hear it for crap if you're playing "Spanish" style with the guitar top facing out in front of you.

Sitting facing into a corner a few feet away reflects the sound back to you and is the next best thing to someone else playing it for you.
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Re: Reso-Maintenance

Postby preachingblues » Fri May 16, 2008 1:18 am

Rico, yeah I know what you mean. The friend I mentioned in a previous post - the one who smashed his reso - has played mine while I sat listening. He and I play both play the old blues styles. It really gave me a chance to hear what it sounded like.

You're absolutely right about not being able to hear what it really shounds like when you're playing "Spanish" style. That's why I have someone else play a guitar for me before I buy it. I also like letting my guitar-player friends play my axes every once in a while, just to hear what they sound like from the listener's perspective.
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