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Old 12-21-2017, 07:39 AM
MartinMan1990 MartinMan1990 is offline
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Default Resonator Suggestions

Hey all, I'm hoping that some of you more knowledgeable folks can help answer a few questions that I have. To begin, I currently own a Gretsch Bobtail (Spider cone) which I honestly must say I really do enjoy playing-in fact I find myself playing this guitar more often then my way more expensive acoustics, partially due to the size and comfort of the smaller bodied resonator but also due to the swampy tone that you just can't get out of an acoustic guitar. Being said, from my research I have read that many people just swap out the cone and bridge and upgrade to something better. In fact, I have read many people that claim they would never buy an 'expensive' reso due to the fact that the majority of the sound is coming from the cone/bridge which can always be modified-do you agree?

I would also like to point out that I use my current Gretsch for fingerpicking with little to no slide (hopefully I will soon incorporate a bit more slide as I am beginning lessons) and play the majority in standard tuning-occasionally open tunings as well. The majority of my playing consist of fingerpicking blues. Being said, I do believe I want either another spider coned resonator or a single/biscuit coned resonator since I find the tricone more effective for longer sustain slide playing with more complexity and overtones which I do not desire at the moment. I also know that I want a wood body so that I do not completely separate myself from the woodiness of the acoustic world.

I have been primarily looking at both Paul Beards and National Resonators at the moment and I'm finding that many of Beards resonators are made of solid wood construction rather then laminate. Does this have any major tonal impact on tone? From what I've read is that laminate is often better for resonators because the wood is not as important to the tonality as the actual cone is. Is this true? Is it worth spending the extra money on a solid wood constructed piece?

I know that I ultimately need to play all different types to find out for myself what I prefer but I was just hoping to get some ideas and pick your brains. This hunt for the next resonator is not something I need this minute and I actually really do enjoy doing the extensive research and taking the trips to play as many as possible. Thanks in advance for any responses and feedback!
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Old 12-22-2017, 11:41 AM
OnTheLedge OnTheLedge is offline
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I have this Gold Tone Paul Beard Roundneck Wood resonator.

https://goldtonemusicgroup.com/goldtone/instruments/pbr

I love it. In my opinion it is a significant upgrade from a Gretsch and I have no desire to get a National. These go for $800 new and can be found used for $500. I believe they are made from laminated wood. Solid wood is not as much of a factor with a resonater, as its the cone that does the vibrating. Good luck with your search.
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Old 12-22-2017, 12:50 PM
rockabilly69 rockabilly69 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MartinMan1990 View Post
...I have been primarily looking at both Paul Beards and National Resonators at the moment and I'm finding that many of Beards resonators are made of solid wood construction rather then laminate. Does this have any major tonal impact on tone? From what I've read is that laminate is often better for resonators because the wood is not as important to the tonality as the actual cone is. Is this true? Is it worth spending the extra money on a solid wood constructed piece?
The reason National uses laminate woods is because they want the primary tone coming from the cone, not as a cost cutting measure. I got that right out of the mouth of the late Don Young the founder (along with McGregor Gaines) of the modern National company! Some people may like solid body wood in the tone, but personally I've always preferred the laminates. Along with a few metal bodied Nationals, I currently have a custom National M2 and a Western Model D and I couldn't possible imagine better sounding resos. Recently while on vacation in NY, I've played the Boxcar Gretsch reso and I had fun with it, but it felt like a toy next to my Nationals. National just seems to have the setup and construction down when it comes to building resonators. I would say go play a National locally to see if that difference is important to you. To me, it was, and like you, I generally fingerpick tunes on mine just because, many times, I prefer the tone over a conventional acoustic guitar.

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Old 12-25-2017, 05:51 PM
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Rumblefish Rumblefish is offline
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Nationals are worth every penny if itís within your means. They have it down.
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Old 12-25-2017, 06:15 PM
Tony Done Tony Done is offline
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Originally Posted by rockabilly69 View Post
The reason National uses laminate woods is because they want the primary tone coming from the cone, not as a cost cutting measure. I got that right out of the mouth of the late Don Young the founder (along with McGregor Gaines) of the modern National company!

I also have nothing against laminates, especially in this kind of context, and apart from tonal considerations, they have the advantage of structural stability and strength.

I have a National Estralita, and it is very loud with 14-58 electric strings. Something to consider is neck profiles and neck angles. My Estralita is fairly old and has a somewhat chunky soft V neck that wouldn't be to everyone's tastes. The action on mine is 2.0 mm treble, 2.4 mm bass, and I would be struggling to get it much lower without doing something about the neck angle. I don't know if the newer ones are similar.

Last edited by Tony Done; 12-26-2017 at 01:21 PM.
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