Best new metal Resonator under $500?

Discussion in 'Acoustic Instruments' started by soandso, Mar 4, 2006.

  1. soandso

    soandso Member

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    Johnson, Regal and Fender all have new metal resonators under $500. Don't know if I want a single or tri-cone because (with exception of a fender single-cone at Guitar Center) I can't find any other resonators in any S. Florida stores to try. Anybody have any advise on which of these companies have the best low priced resonators or where I can go to play a few so I can see for myself?
     
  2. texasdave

    texasdave Member

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    I've never played a Johnson or a Fender that I'd want. Wood bodied Regal spider cones are sometimes VERY interesting, but just keep tryin' em until you find "the one" ... also consider just snagging a deal on one (keeping cone size in mind) and upgrading the cone to a Quarterman ...

    ...that said, keep your eyes peeled for a gen-u-ine Dobro and you might snag a 70s model for just a few hundred more...

    (I have a 70s Dobro, Crafters of TN spider cone, and an Owens thinbody electric...) Managed to pay $1000 or less for each of 'em

    There's my 2 cents...
     
  3. SarasotaSlim

    SarasotaSlim Member

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    Check these out...
    http://www.deanguitars.com/resonators.htm
    Dean headquarters is now Clearwater, FL.
    They play and sound great and are only slightly more than the cheaper Johnson, and Reagal types and they offer biscut style cones as oppossed to the spider types offered by most elcheapo resos.
     
  4. drolling

    drolling Member

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    The Regal Tricone I ordered from Elderly's was a dog. Beautiful looking instrument, w/nickle (as opposed to the more common chrome) plating. Very stiff action, little volume & lots of buzzes (nothing to do w/the bridge, nut or frets) that I could not get rid of no matter how I repositioned the internal braces & cones. The interior was filled w/masking tape and black electrician's tape (brand new guitar) that had been applied in an attempt to compensate for sloppy tolerances. They're probably inconsistent, so I may have had a particularly bad one (I've recieved many fine gits from Elderly's over the years) but I wouldn't buy one sight unseen as I did.

    Every Fender I've tried left me underwhelmed.

    I have played a number of Johnsons, most of which were fair to poor, with the exception of one that sounded every bit as good as my pre-Gibson Dobro H33.

    So shop around. You don't have to pay a fortune for a decent sounding metal reso these days - but you do have to play before you pay..
     
  5. soandso

    soandso Member

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    Thanks guys-

    I located a Regal Tricone in Jupiter, which I am going to try this week. I'll post the results.
     
  6. SarasotaSlim

    SarasotaSlim Member

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    We're gonna be playing in the Fort Lauderdale soon and I can show you how I've altered my mid 70's Dobro with various pickups and transducer under the cone if you happen to find a metal body without any electric stuff on it.
     
  7. doc

    doc Member

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    You really should try to settle the single cone vs. tricone issue. I would suggest you order the audio sampler CD from National for $10 so you can hear a sampling of the various sounds. If you're playing exclusively slide most people tend toward the tricone. Also if you're playing slide the action isn't quite as critical. Having said that, you might consider looking for a deal on a National wood body model - you could get into the $650 or so range if you got lucky and be guaranteed a quality instrument. Of the budget models you mention, the Regals probably have the best overall reputation. Stay away from the Fenders, but the Regals, Johnsons and Deans aren't bad for the money involved.
     
  8. ceyuh

    ceyuh Gold Supporting Member

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    I have a regal, my complaint is the intonation up the fretboard is less than satisfactory. The dealer who sold it to me tells me "They're all that way" I haven't gotten around to trying others to see if he's right. Anybody else have the same experience?
     
  9. SarasotaSlim

    SarasotaSlim Member

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    Resos in general are a bit weird. Don't know much about intonation on resos and know nothing about tricones. What I look for is -
    What kind of bridge - spider or biscuit? I prefer biscuit.
    How loud is it? The louder the better.
    When you pluck and pull on the strings do they stay in the saddles?
    Try to compare it to a known reso that you like. I once compared mine to one of the new National Steels and it held it's own fairly well but I liked the National Steel better.
    Here's a cool link I found while googling for the reso guitar of my dreams
    http://www.provide.net/~cfh/national.html

    If I ever get rich here's a link to the site where I will spend some of it...
    http://www.forbiddenguitars.com/creations.html


    [​IMG][​IMG]
     
  10. drolling

    drolling Member

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    OK, the intonation problem's mainly a result of the bridge being perfectly paralell (90 degrees) to the strings. This holds true for all standard resos, be they bisquit or spider - even the tricone's 'T-bar' bridge.

    The most basic guitar bridges are at an angle, with the high string lengths being closer to the nut - on better acoustics there's some compensation built in, and many electrics have bridges that allow each saddle to be individually adjusted.

    If you've got a good ear, this'll drive you nuts, as no guitar can be perfectly intonated, and resos are among the worst offenders. But you might want to try a different string guage and/or lowering the action, as both these elements also factor into intonation.

    I generally play my resophonic guitars in open tuning w/a slide. I've noticed that I unconciously slant the bottleneck a bit as I slide up the neck. This'll help, but it takes a bit of practice before it starts to come naturally.
     
  11. ceyuh

    ceyuh Gold Supporting Member

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    Thanks for the insight. Those pictures are pretty sweet.
     
  12. Zuma

    Zuma Member

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    I would check into Paul Beard's "gold tone" series. He imports bodies and installs his components (cone etc) from his custom built resophonic guitars. I think these start around $550 and go up to around $850. For the price these are suppose to be one of the better values out there.
     
  13. Bryan T

    Bryan T Guitar Owner Silver Supporting Member

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    I'll second Zuma's recommendation. I have a square-neck, spider-cone Goldtone Paul Beard that is a really phenomenal instrument. It gets nothing but compliments from recording engineers and audience members. I just checked the Goldtone site and see that they make a metal bodied instrument that should be in your price range. I haven't played it, but would imagine that it would sound great.

    If you don't know who Paul Beard is, you might read up on him, as he is very highly respected in the resonator world. In my mind, the quality of the cone is what seperates the decent guitars from the great ones. In fact, a lot of people replace the cones on cheaper models with Beard cones. The Goldtone instruments start out with them, so they sound great to begin with. Check them out if you can.

    Bryan
     
  14. texasdave

    texasdave Member

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    I haven't seen the Goldtone series yet, but I will "+1" the concept in a heartbeat. Gotta find some to play ASAP!

    Thanks for that!
     
  15. Hank Linderman

    Hank Linderman Supporting Member

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    A friend brought over one of the new Fenders - not pretty, but it actually sounded great. I have a Beard roundneck that I love, much more sophisticated tone, but the Fender was cool in a very different, crude way. I think I want one!

    ....H
     
  16. bluegrif

    bluegrif Member

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    You might look at the Libertys. I haven't personally examined one but my partner just ordered one and they appear to be an amazing value. Handcrafted with many models only costing about $400 (plus another $100 for the case). I can update when my partner gets his.

    http://www.libertyguitars.com/models.htm
     
  17. doc

    doc Member

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    I disagree on the Liberty guitars. They are mostly imported (Tyler Mountain, if I remember right) guitars that Mr. Blue does a few simplistic mods to and then resells. They aren't horrible, but I'd suggest one of the other previously mentioned brands.
     
  18. lord preset

    lord preset Member

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    I recently played a Regal RC-1 round-neck Doulian clone that was amazingly good for a sub-$500 resonator. It had a plain painted metal body but both the volume and tone were excellent. The music store said that they had adjusted the cone and done some setup so I don't know if they sound this good out of the box.
     
  19. bluegrif

    bluegrif Member

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    Actually, you're not disagreeing. I just said they might be something to check out. I have no actual experience with them. I will say, however, if that's the case, his website appears to be rather misleading. The impression given is that he builds the guitars.
     
  20. bluegrif

    bluegrif Member

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    Once again regardng Liberty: I asked my partner (who's ordered one) and what he was told is Mr.Blue imports the necks and the pre-bent wood for the sides and tops then puts it all together, braces etc. So that does sound like a little more than just a few "simplistic mods". But again, I'm not endorsing them in the least. It just sounded like something to consider in that price range. If I were buying for myself I would first look at the Regal Tricones or the Beard "Gold Tone" line.
     

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