Resonator Guitar: who makes the best sounding, affordable full metal body resonator?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by echo unit, Jun 19, 2006.


  1. echo unit

    echo unit Member

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    I am looking for a resonator guitar that is all metal body and has the classic F hole look.

    What comapny originally made the first ones that Delta Blues slide guitarists used way back when?

    I am looking to spend around $1000 maximum and want to know what comapny will make one of these that sounds best and is the best quality for around $1000?

    I have taken note of 4 comapnies making these:

    Epiphone
    Regal
    Johnson
    Dobro

    If any of you are experts in this area, please inform me. I am new to resonator guitars but love the sound.

    Thanks for your help folks!
     
  2. notpetrucci

    notpetrucci Member

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    Can you not find an old National Duolian for around 1000?

    Seems like you'd be able to

    -Jon
     
  3. Mullet Kingdom

    Mullet Kingdom Senior Member

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    As far as I know NATIONAL made the first resonator/dobros.

    Dean makes two different models that list for $799. Dean Heirloom Resonators

    Gold Tone is another one you should definitely checkout. Gold Tone

    For more manufacturers and other assorted info go to Resoguit.com

    I've got a Regal RD-52 Black Lightning square neck dobro that's a great instrument for the money.

    Good luck.
     
  4. SarasotaSlim

    SarasotaSlim Member

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  5. RickC

    RickC Gold Supporting Member

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    +1 on the Deans; they are generally great out of the box, and you can upgrade the cone if you want and still come in well under budget.

    /rick
     
  6. bek

    bek Member

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  7. echo unit

    echo unit Member

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    Splatt,

    Thanks for the advice.

    Which National Metal Body Resonator do you have?

    I hear that the Tri-cone design is superior? National Tricones are pricey

    I was thinking that the Johnson or Regal ones may be close in sound but maybe not?

    Which Resonator guitar does Michael Brook have? I see he is pictured with one on the back cover of the Djivan Gasparyan album Black Rock.

    What is your method for recording this instrument?

    Ribbon Mic? Tube Condensor?
     
  8. Bryan T

    Bryan T Guitar Owner Silver Supporting Member

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    Definitely check out the Gold Tone metal body models. Paul Beard does the cones and they end up sounding great. My gigging/recording resonator is a square-neck Gold Tone and I've been really impressed with it.

    Bryan
     
  9. straightblues

    straightblues Member

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    I did the same search about 2 years ago. I played everything at that time. I bought a Johnson. I put a real National cone and biscut in it and had it professionally set up. It is a very nice instrument for the price. +/-$700 including new National cone, National biscut, professional setup, case and shipping. It is a bell brass body like the original National Style "O". I am a happy with it. A National is still the best but they are also $2,000.
     
  10. retro

    retro Member

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    My favorite's recently have been the steel bodied, biscuit bridge, spun coned Regals. The RC-1 and 2's I have played seem way underpriced and sound good

    I have to say I also dig the way the RC-1 looks too...not that that matters.

    http://www.elderly.com/new_instruments/items/RRC1-GREEN.htm


    Some video samplers of some reso's here.

    http://www.folkofthewood.com/page2520.htm


    I do have a National Tri-Cone I like a lot and it's one of my favorite guitars. But I wouldn't call the Tri-Cone design superior. Different is a better word. Mostly they sustain a little better.

    And sometimes this guy has some good prices on vintage Nationals also, if you haven't been here already.

    http://www.vintagenationals.com/
     
  11. echo unit

    echo unit Member

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    I can't afford a National but which of these two is generally a better sounding and playing instrument from user expereicne over the years?

    Johnson Tricone

    Regal Tricone
     
  12. screamtone

    screamtone Supporting Member

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    I used to work in a shop that sold both. We initially carried the Johnson because the Regal was to expensive. Saga dropped the price on the Regals and we added them. The Regal was WAY better than the Johnson in construction and playability. Not much difference in the sound. They're both made in China, and I'd guess that the bodies are made in the same factory. The necks are totally different, however, and that's where the Regal really kicks ass on the Johnson (as much ass as one Chinese guitar can kick another Chinese guitar's ass). However, if you can spend $1000 you should really just be patient and wait for a National Delphi (I sold those, also) on eBay. The difference between the Nationals and the Chinese guitars is huge. Nationals are real musical instruments, while the Chinese guitars really just resemble a musical instrument. Unless you just want one to make funny sounds with every once on a while. BTW, most of the classic blues recordings you hear resonator guitars on were done with single cones. Tricones sound great, but they are a lot smoother and less gritty than single cones.
     
  13. jayhawk

    jayhawk Member

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    If you know of any old National Duolians for $1k lemme know! In my experience they sell for around $3k, maybe $2,500 if you're lucky.
     
  14. straightblues

    straightblues Member

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    My experience has been the opposite. The Regals felt cheap and have a thick poly finish on the neck. The Johnson just felt way better to me. So I would recommend that you play both and decide for yourself.
     

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