Republic vs Recording King Tricones?

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

Republic vs Recording King Tricones?

Postby bluespiderweb » Sun Oct 26, 2008 5:29 pm

Hope you can help me out here, gang, because I'm starting to get the Tricone itch again (happens every few years or so)! First I thought I'd get a single cone steel body, but now I'm more interested in the Tri's, but I've never played one or heard one in person-only recordings. Some sound OK, some don't sound great. I realize some can be made better too, with some new cones, and tweaking, etc, but I'd like one to sound pretty good without much work to begin with, and then you always have the customizing option later (when you have more $$).

I did a search and couldn't find much about the newer Recording King Tricones (new Johnson name), and whether anyone has compared them with the Republic Tricones yet.

So, has anyone been able to compare them both at all, if not side by side? The Recording King's seem to have more aesthetic appeal (at least to me in some aspects), but it seems the Republics have a better tone from what I've been reading. The Recording Kings are cheaper, at least on Ebay, so that's an incentive for me. Any thoughts or experiences about choosing between them?

Thanks, Barry
Last edited by bluespiderweb on Sun Oct 26, 2008 11:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
bluespiderweb
Regular
 
Posts: 10
Joined: Sat May 14, 2005 3:35 am
Location: SE PA near Philly

Re: Republic vs Recording King Tricones

Postby leftyguitarman » Sun Oct 26, 2008 5:55 pm

I've not played either, but I've heard both. I know the Republics come with better cones, so I'd be willing to bet that the Republics will have a better sound out of the box. Plus, Frank at Republic will set up your guitar prior to shipping it, so when you get it, it should be ready to play. The Johnson might need a set up. Based on my experience with playing Johnson guitars, I would never spend money on one. I've played several of their acoustics and several electrics, and they were all not that great. I guess if you're spending more money that the quality may be better, but I wouldn't be so sure. Plus, too many people recommend Republics so I wouldn't buy anything else.
User avatar
leftyguitarman
Regular
 
Posts: 3183
Joined: Fri Mar 17, 2006 3:48 am
Location: Washington State

Re: Republic vs Recording King Tricones?

Postby bluespiderweb » Mon Oct 27, 2008 12:27 pm

Thanks for your reply, Lefty. I hadn't heard that, about the cones being better in the Republics-was that based on recent experience with the Recording Kings, or is that more about the older Johnsons? Edit: Just read on Elderly's site that they are listed as being Continental cones. Sometimes specs change, and newer info is always best if you can get it-basically why I'm asking about the Recording Kings now.

Yes, that's a good point about the setup work Frank does at Republic-should make a difference out of the box.

I've seen some of the cheaper Johnsons, and I wasn't impressed either, but there have been happy Tricone owners before, with just a little tweaking, so I'm encouraged by that, unless quality has gone down since then-but I don't have any idea about that either.
User avatar
bluespiderweb
Regular
 
Posts: 10
Joined: Sat May 14, 2005 3:35 am
Location: SE PA near Philly

Re: Republic vs Recording King Tricones?

Postby leftyguitarman » Mon Oct 27, 2008 10:14 pm

I didn't know the Recording Kings had Continental cones. That is what the Republics have also.

Either way I'm sure you'll be happy. I know Ric really likes his Johnson. :lol:
User avatar
leftyguitarman
Regular
 
Posts: 3183
Joined: Fri Mar 17, 2006 3:48 am
Location: Washington State

Re: Republic vs Recording King Tricones?

Postby jamesfarrell » Mon Oct 27, 2008 11:06 pm

Recording King = Johnson = Regal

Order it, a box gets taken off a pallate and thrown on the UPS truck.

Republic - at least someone looks at it before it gets boxed.
User avatar
jamesfarrell
Regular
 
Posts: 738
Joined: Thu May 18, 2006 10:37 pm
Location: In your mind, disconnecting neurons

Re: Republic vs Recording King Tricones?

Postby Troubleman » Tue Oct 28, 2008 12:44 pm

jamesfarrell wrote:Recording King = Johnson = Regal

Order it, a box gets taken off a pallate and thrown on the UPS truck.

Republic - at least someone looks at it before it gets boxed.



What he said... EXACTLY what he said..

pEAcE,
jb
User avatar
Troubleman
Regular
 
Posts: 280
Joined: Tue Sep 30, 2008 4:38 pm
Location: Remulon V Beta Colony

Re: Republic vs Recording King Tricones?

Postby abhinav » Tue Oct 28, 2008 12:54 pm

I have a Republic Tricone (bought it about a month back), and it SINGS! I live in India, which is basically
the other end of the world from where Frank and his company are located. It was a big investment for me, and
a big risk as well, as I had never ever seen a resophonic guitar. However, Frank of Republic guitars was
extremely responsive to my queries over e-mail. There were a lot of problems at my end with PayPal (problems
peculiar to using PayPal from my part of the world, nothing to do with Republic Guitars), which Frank patiently helped me sort out.
His service is very personalized, which is extremely important, if it is an important (and expensive) investment for you.
I received the guitar in one piece, and ready to play out of the box(after tuning it up, that is). I have never dealt with Johnson or Regal,
but I can definitely assure you that Republic is an excellent deal.
If you are curious as to how it sounds when played by a rank amateur (which is me!), here is a link, which I had posted before in a thread:

http://soundclick.com/share?songid=6977956
User avatar
abhinav
Regular
 
Posts: 291
Joined: Thu Jun 15, 2006 6:38 pm

Re: Republic vs Recording King Tricones?

Postby ricochet » Tue Oct 28, 2008 2:22 pm

Dunno whether anyone including Frank REALLY handles them and sets them up, but I think they all come from the same place with minor cosmetic changes. The cones in Johnsons have been 100% Continental since the beginning of 2005, and many 2004s had them as well.
User avatar
ricochet
Regular
 
Posts: 10256
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 1970 12:00 am
Location: Bristol, Tennessee, USA

Re: Republic vs Recording King Tricones?

Postby bluespiderweb » Tue Oct 28, 2008 6:56 pm

Yep, I guess it's open to debate about what exactly is checked, adjusted or set up on the low end guitars before they ship. It may not be such a big difference, as you guys suggested-so it seems just price and personal appeal are the deciding factors mainly.

There are many here who like the Republics, but it would be nice to hear from someone who has actually played a Recording King recently-but no big deal I guess.

Abhinav, yes, dealing with a concerned and helpful vendor no doubt makes it a better experience, especially if you live that far away! Glad it worked out for you and you are happy with yours. By the way, very nice playing-you do the tricone proud-seems you were ready for one!

Take it easy, Barry
User avatar
bluespiderweb
Regular
 
Posts: 10
Joined: Sat May 14, 2005 3:35 am
Location: SE PA near Philly

Re: Republic vs Recording King Tricones?

Postby Robin » Wed Oct 29, 2008 12:08 am

I thought that I might just chip in here to help this debate along.

Just about everything that you do to a resonator effects the tone of the guitar. Republic and Recording King (AXL) are not built in the same factory. I know that Frank's guitars are essentially hand built in a small workshop and not built on a CNC machine (including the fact that every neck is hand spoke shaved and sanded). A good surfboard shaper can sand a foam blank to within a few thou" of perfect symmetry by feel and eye alone and so can a skilled neck shaper when making a neck. The result is that each guitar from that workshop has a little life of its own. As part of my research, I played a lot of original 1930s Nationals and, guess what, each had its own character - there were notable differences even between guitars of the same model and year.

Now the flipside in that sort of hand building process it is very difficult to get perfection in the final finish of a guitar (the glossy cosmetic stuff that a computer can do it every time) unless you spend a very long time working at it, which is why expensive guitars are expensive. But a straightforward hand process is the way that factory production guitars used to be built, and many of us have just gotten used to 21 Centry perfection in everything, forgetting that the original 1930s National guitars were, well, not perfect but perfectly acceptable in build quality - but, Oh!, what instruments to use to create your music!

Frank will provide you with a great guitar that will sound fantastic and have a real "life" of its own. Also, I'm sure that if there are any issues he will go out of his way to sort them out. (Even if the guitar has been inspected and set-up, it is sometimes possible to miss an problem - I have done it myself and our set-up check list is now as long as your arm and takes up to an hour per guitar).

This debate reminds me of a conversation between Winston Churchill and Mrs Braddock:

“'You are drunk Sir Winston, you are disgustingly drunk."
"Yes, Mrs. Braddock, I am drunk. But you, Mrs. Braddock are ugly, and disgustingly fat. But, tomorrow morning, I, Winston Churchill will be sober.”


It is worth considering that the guitar that looks a better proposition now may not do so in 5 years time. The small cost differential will be be forgotton (so will any difference in cosmetics) and what will be important is character and musicality.

Like I said - everything effects the tone of a reso (neck set angle, mushroom placement, break angle etc). So there will be a difference between a Republic and a Recording King - even if they use the same cones. I can't say that you will make a "bad" choice by selecting one over the other - but it will be a different choice.

Just a few thoughts,

Robin
User avatar
Robin
Regular
 
Posts: 34
Joined: Tue Apr 17, 2007 9:17 am
Location: Cymru

Re: Republic vs Recording King Tricones?

Postby Troubleman » Wed Oct 29, 2008 2:59 pm

Robin wrote:I thought that I might just chip in here to help this debate along.

Just about everything that you do to a resonator effects the tone of the guitar. Republic and Recording King (AXL) are not built in the same factory. I know that Frank's guitars are essentially hand built in a small workshop and not built on a CNC machine (including the fact that every neck is hand spoke shaved and sanded).
Just a few thoughts,

Robin


Robin,

Well spoken - thanks for your insight. I learned something about Frank's operation.

Thanks,

jb
User avatar
Troubleman
Regular
 
Posts: 280
Joined: Tue Sep 30, 2008 4:38 pm
Location: Remulon V Beta Colony

Re: Republic vs Recording King Tricones?

Postby bluespiderweb » Wed Oct 29, 2008 3:11 pm

I don't think this has quite gotten into any debate as yet, but more of an ongoing discussion (just like in the title of the forum!), but thanks for weighing in with your thoughts Robin.

Whether one guitar made in a small workshop will have more of a "life" than one made in a factory-now that's debatable! I think it's more in the hands of the player to put the life into any musical instrument.

Can't argue about little differences between guitars (etc) making each instrument unique though, so in that regard, you might have more of a range of different voices in the more handmade products, but I still think the player has more to do with the sound than those little differences.

What it probably comes down to in the end, is whether you want to spend a little more and support the little guy, and have a little more unique instrument, or go to the big guys and whomever is hawking their wares (could be a little guy too), and save a little upfront. No doubt about the small difference in price paid for a more handmade instrument meaning less over time-valid point too, Robin, but then there's always the guy who is stretching his budget just to get the less expensive one.

So, sure, I agree with supporting the little guy, like you (Robin) and Frank, if you can, because without some of your efforts, we wouldn't have some nice choices to make. Thank you for that too! I would really love to try out your Busker Hobo, Robin-looks great! Too bad I'm on the wrong side of the pond.

Be well, Barry
User avatar
bluespiderweb
Regular
 
Posts: 10
Joined: Sat May 14, 2005 3:35 am
Location: SE PA near Philly

Re: Republic vs Recording King Tricones?

Postby birddog » Wed Oct 29, 2008 6:00 pm

Robin wrote:I thought that I might just chip in here to help this debate along.

This debate reminds me of a conversation between Winston Churchill and Mrs Braddock:

“'You are drunk Sir Winston, you are disgustingly drunk."
"Yes, Mrs. Braddock, I am drunk. But you, Mrs. Braddock are ugly, and disgustingly fat. But, tomorrow morning, I, Winston Churchill will be sober.”


Wow, I haven't read that before but I may have heard it. We have a truck in the Bodyshop here that has a bumper sticker on it and it says....................

"You can drink an ugly girl pretty, but you can't drink a fat girl thin"

Churchill was a smart man :lol:

Wally
User avatar
birddog
Regular
 
Posts: 567
Joined: Thu May 22, 2008 9:14 pm
Location: Mid-Michigan

Re: Republic vs Recording King Tricones?

Postby kiwiblues » Wed Oct 29, 2008 7:51 pm

Enough of this sexist stuff.
I thought most Americans were overweight, especially male rednecks! :evil: :roll: :lol:
birddog wrote:
Robin wrote:I thought that I might just chip in here to help this debate along.

This debate reminds me of a conversation between Winston Churchill and Mrs Braddock:

“'You are drunk Sir Winston, you are disgustingly drunk."
"Yes, Mrs. Braddock, I am drunk. But you, Mrs. Braddock are ugly, and disgustingly fat. But, tomorrow morning, I, Winston Churchill will be sober.”


Wow, I haven't read that before but I may have heard it. We have a truck in the Bodyshop here that has a bumper sticker on it and it says....................

"You can drink an ugly girl pretty, but you can't drink a fat girl thin"

Churchill was a smart man :lol:

Wally
User avatar
kiwiblues
Regular
 
Posts: 934
Joined: Tue Apr 29, 2008 5:59 am
Location: Aotearoa (New Zealand) - Shaky Ground!

Re: Republic vs Recording King Tricones?

Postby birddog » Wed Oct 29, 2008 9:01 pm

Kiwi
My apologies, to Robin, didn't mean to offend anyone.

On the other hand, you may have been looking at way to many magaizines and never been to the states.

Wally
User avatar
birddog
Regular
 
Posts: 567
Joined: Thu May 22, 2008 9:14 pm
Location: Mid-Michigan

Next

Return to Guitar

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests

cron