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  #16  
Old 12-19-2016, 09:30 AM
Rob Anderlik Rob Anderlik is offline
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Default Set Up is the key

The one thing I would add to this discussion is that the playability/responsiveness and quality of sound coming out of a resonator guitar is incredibly dependent on the skill of the person doing the set up.

To be sure, parts matter, but I've seen and played guitars with high quality parts which still played and sounded like crap because the person doing the setup didn't know what they were doing.

What constitutes a good set up varies depending on who you ask, but the parts are a good quality cone, a bone nut and good quality saddle. In the case of squareneck resonator guitars, ebony or ebonex capped saddles sound significantly better than an all maple saddle.

In any event, just using HQ parts is no guarantee of a good set up. In the case of squareneck guitars one of the main objectives of a good set is to "load the cone," create maximum pressure on the cone by using a high nut and setting up the saddle so it sits high in the cone slot and creates a good break angle as the strings pass downward from the saddle. Raising the nut higher creates more string tension, but beyond a certain point diminishes the quality of tone. The nut on my squareneck resonator sits about 3/8" above the fingerboard.

The ability to cut a good string slot in both the nut and saddle is super critical in setting up a resonator guitar. Much more so, than commonly realized.

As an example, I know a world class studio musician who plays a fairly inexpensive metal bodied import resonator guitar which compares more than favorably with a vintage National resonator. In this specific case the difference is due to his guitar being set up by a top notch guitar builder who has done literally 1000 set ups on resonator guitars over the years.

This is not to say that the design and material used for the guitar body doesn't matter. It definitely does matter. But it's truly astonishing how sensitive resonator guitars are - in terms of playability/responsiveness and tone - to a good set up
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  #17  
Old 12-19-2016, 09:56 AM
blue blue is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob Anderlik View Post

In any event, just using HQ parts is no guarantee of a good set up. In the case of squareneck guitars one of the main objectives of a good set is to "load the cone," create maximum pressure on the cone by using a high nut and setting up the saddle so it sits high in the cone slot and creates a good break angle as the strings pass downward from the saddle. Raising the nut higher creates more string tension, but beyond a certain point diminishes the quality of tone. The nut on my squareneck resonator sits about 3/8" above the fingerboard.
You are so right. I've seen National roundnecks where you couldn't fit a lace slimline under the strings.
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  #18  
Old 12-21-2016, 07:59 PM
donter donter is offline
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Went to McCabes in L.A. and played a Gretsch G9221 steel body spider cone interesting sound almost like two different guitars when plugged in. I hear some songs in it, they made a good deal brought it home. Usually I play a bunch when looking for something new but all well old blues it is.
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  #19  
Old 12-21-2016, 08:45 PM
blue blue is offline
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Originally Posted by donter View Post
Went to McCabes in L.A. and played a Gretsch G9221 steel body spider cone interesting sound almost like two different guitars when plugged in. I hear some songs in it, they made a good deal brought it home. Usually I play a bunch when looking for something new but all well old blues it is.
Chris Thomas King regularly plays a spider cone for traditional blues. I've seen him live a couple of times. he always sounds amazing.
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  #20  
Old 12-25-2016, 12:02 PM
Paoli Paoli is offline
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I own a Gretsch Honey dipper and a National tricone polychrome.I like the HD but it gave me lots of problems,varnish chipping after a few weeks,a nickel allergy and at the moment I dont know why the area arond the twelve fret buzzes a lot.The National it's simply perfect! I like it so much that I'm selling a couple of Martins to get an M1 wooden tricone.Both HD and Polychrome weight a ton

Last edited by Paoli; 12-25-2016 at 12:27 PM.
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  #21  
Old 12-25-2016, 12:09 PM
blue blue is offline
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Originally Posted by Paoli View Post
The National it' simply perfect! I like it so much that I'm selling a couple of Martins to get an M1 wooden tricone.Both HD and Polychrome weight a ton
Part of me wants a wooden tricone to go with my German Silver. The other part of me is all "dude... Enough with the guitars already!"

They are nice. I know it's hard to demo ANY of the Nationals unless you live near a specialty shop, but if you are looking at the M1, the wood resorocket is worth a look too.
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  #22  
Old 12-25-2016, 12:21 PM
Paoli Paoli is offline
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Originally Posted by blue View Post
if you are looking at the M1, the wood resorocket is worth a look too.
The problem is that I have to rely on what gets through an UK trustworthy dealer,no chance to try a National here in Barcelona Spain.I'd actually like to get an El Trovador first but for now the M1 will do ,I had to let go of a D18 and a 00015 sm to finance it but I am totally in awe of National guitars ,sound and construction wise.Resorocket seems very nice,all National seem very nice actually

Last edited by Paoli; 12-25-2016 at 01:42 PM.
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  #23  
Old 12-25-2016, 12:49 PM
blue blue is offline
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Originally Posted by Paoli View Post
The problem is that I have to rely on what gets through a UK trustworthy dealer,no chance to try a National here in Barcelona Spain.I'd actually like to get an El Trovador first but for now the M1 will do ,I had to let go of a D18 and a 00015 sm to finance it but I am totally in awe of National guitars ,sound and construction wise.Resorocket seems very nice,all National seem very nice actually
I understand. And I have to tell you, even in America there are only 5 or 6 places where you could try 4 or 5 different Nationals. I actually really enjoy the OO size of the "normal" Nationals, so the El Trovador isn't for me. But other than that, I appreciate why everyone loves them!

Like you, I find something to love in all the Nationals. I won't be getting one unless I find a trade for something I own, but I love the triolian polychrome with the spray painted hawaiian scene!
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  #24  
Old 12-25-2016, 08:43 PM
Dotneck Dotneck is offline
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Originally Posted by Paoli View Post
I like it so much that I'm selling a couple of Martins to get an M1 wooden tricone.Both HD and Polychrome weight a ton
I had a couple different Nationals until I learned what sound I liked. I ended up with an M1 Tricone. I think its a great choice. Someday I would like to come across an El Trovadore to try...but I really prefer a tricone.
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  #25  
Old 01-07-2017, 01:09 PM
norseman norseman is offline
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Default Alligator?

I'm just getting into this. I have a basic understanding of biscuits - which I guess connects the bridge to the cone or cones. Is that correct? In that context, what is an alligator biscuit? Thanks.
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  #26  
Old 01-07-2017, 01:18 PM
blue blue is offline
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I'm just getting into this. I have a basic understanding of biscuits - which I guess connects the bridge to the cone or cones. Is that correct? In that context, what is an alligator biscuit? Thanks.
Think of a biscuit style resonator as a National Style O type guitar. A piece of maple sitting on the top of a single concex cone and the strings run over the top of the maple. Alligator is just a model name, like style O is a model name

A spider style, think dobro, has multiple metal legs sitting on the Edge of concave cone. So think of a speaker cone facing forward out of the guitar with a metal "spider" straddling the speaker and the strings running over the spiders back.

A tricone is three smaller convex cones with a three legged spider with one foot on each and the strings run across its back.
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Last edited by blue; 01-07-2017 at 01:59 PM.
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  #27  
Old 01-07-2017, 01:31 PM
norseman norseman is offline
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Default Thanks.

Thanks. Alligator seems to be associated with Regal resonators - maybe others as well. It helps to know it is a "brand" name, not a different type altogether.
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  #28  
Old 01-07-2017, 02:00 PM
blue blue is offline
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Originally Posted by norseman View Post
Thanks. Alligator seems to be associated with Regal resonators - maybe others as well. It helps to know it is a "brand" name, not a different type altogether.
I miss typed above by the way. Spider cones are concave. Hence looking like a speaker cone when viewed from the front of the guitar. Sorry if that caused any confusion
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  #29  
Old 01-07-2017, 02:08 PM
norseman norseman is offline
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Default no problem

I saw a useful video explanation on YouTube that explores the different cones and how they link to the strings. Lots of info to process in this arena. I own two square neck resonators so I have a start on the basics. Round necks represent a somewhat different domain.

Thanks.
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  #30  
Old 01-08-2017, 07:04 AM
Mr. Jelly Mr. Jelly is offline
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I've owned a National tri-cone some time back. Good quality and a great guitar. The neck was fat and I didn't get into it at that time. I do own a very old Johnson. I've been thinking of getting a G9220 as I like the sound of the wood and spider cone. So I've been playing with my Johnson :-). I used to like it but now I find it shrill and so heavy. Being heavy is one thing but it's like I have to fight it to keep it on my lap. I hate that. It's one of those guitars that's to heavy and to cheap to sell on EBay.
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