The Acoustic Guitar Forum

Go Back   The Acoustic Guitar Forum > General Acoustic Guitar and Amplification Discussion > Other Musical Instruments

Reply
 
Thread Tools
  #1  
Old 06-07-2020, 07:44 AM
seangil seangil is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Sep 2018
Posts: 78
Default Tricone resonator guitars

Hello everyone,

I am thinking about getting a tricone resonator guitar. However, one shop warned me that I would need to be patient because the tricones can slip in their position relatively easily. They quite regularly get tricones needed adjustment from National on down to budget lines.

For those who have/do own tricones, what has been your experience? How often do they slip in position and what is most often the cause?

I'm trying to do decide whether to go tricone or single cone. I play mostly fingerstyle music.

Thanks
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 06-07-2020, 07:58 AM
drive-south drive-south is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 4,528
Default

I have no idea what they mean by slip. Are they referring to the bridge? Unlike a single cone the resonators on a Tricone can't rotate so they are less likely to spin out of adjustment than either a biscuit or spider. Tricones have the best tone of the 3 types. Fat bass which spiders lack and sustain which biscuits lack. The best of both worlds.
__________________
"Vintage taste, reissue budget"
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 06-07-2020, 08:09 AM
Dotneck Dotneck is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Raleigh, NC
Posts: 2,618
Default

I had a National M-1 for about ten years and never had a problem
__________________
Collings 0002H & C10 Custom - Gibson J-200 Jr
Halcyon 000 - Larrivee 00-70 - Martin 000-15S
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 06-07-2020, 08:46 AM
Cameleye Cameleye is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,223
Default

I owned a vintage National Style 1 tricone for about 30 years. Never had any kind of a problem with anything.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 06-07-2020, 08:48 AM
seangil seangil is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Sep 2018
Posts: 78
Default tricones "slipping"

I should have asked the tech person in the shop more clearly. I was talking to a National dealer and one of the shop people who seemed knowledgeable about resonators in general. The person noted that they see quite a few more tricones coming back into the shop needing a refresh on the set-up than single cones. I understood the person to be saying that the tricones slip slightly in their position relative to each other, which leads to buzzing or other such minor problems. I may have misunderstood the fixes needed, but he was very specific that they see considerable more traffic in tricones coming in for adjustment than single cones and attributed to the design.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 06-07-2020, 09:03 AM
gregc gregc is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: NY, USA
Posts: 405
Default

No problems with my National Tricone.... ever. Buy the one that give you the tone & sustain you want. Forget the rest.
__________________
Greg_C
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 06-07-2020, 09:42 AM
Robin, Wales Robin, Wales is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Nov 2019
Location: Eryri, Wales
Posts: 3,013
Default

Just a quick reply as I have another job on the go.

The cones in a tricone are only held down by the pressure of the strings. They are free to 'float' in the cone well. During play, and with the strings at tension, the cones will not move. However, if someone takes all the strings off to undertake a string change then the cone assembly can move. In fact if you picked up the guitar and held it in a playing position with all the strings off then the bridge and cone assembly will most certainly fall completely out of place.

This is not a show stopper as it is easy to reposition everything.

However, it is best to change the strings one at a time when you put on a new set.

On some tricones (not National Resophonics) the neck angle may be too weak to create enough downpressure to hold the cones effectively in place - particularly if lighter gauge strings or a low action are used. A good check is to look over the tail of the guitar towards the bridge. The strings should climb visibly from the tailpiece to the saddle. The steeper this climb the more downpressure exerted on the cones.
__________________
I'm learning to flatpick and fingerpick guitar to accompany songs.

I've played and studied traditional noter/drone mountain dulcimer for many years. And I used to play dobro in a bluegrass band.



Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 06-07-2020, 10:25 AM
seangil seangil is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Sep 2018
Posts: 78
Default Robin

Thanks for the explanation Robin. That makes sense. Whenever you have a moment again, two additional questions if you don't mind.

1) How much skill do you need to position the tricones properly if they do slip (e.g., during string changes)?

2) Sounds like this should not be a show-stopper in your view for a first resonator purchase, am I right?

Thanks
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 06-07-2020, 11:54 AM
yaharadelta yaharadelta is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2019
Location: across town from easy street, Wisconsin
Posts: 204
Default

Repositioning the cones wouldn't be a problem, here's a Youtube video that shows the interior setup. The cones are just set in the three holes on the plate, you just take the cover off make sure that they are sitting right.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-9-sjNq5POg
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 06-07-2020, 12:13 PM
nootis's Avatar
nootis nootis is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Battle Born State
Posts: 958
Default

After pining for one forever, I finally bought a National Tricone (Mahogony) a few weeks ago. I play mostly fingerstyle too, but the tricone comes alive when played with a pick. I find that my fingers alone can't drive the cones like they are supposed to be driven. That's not to say that you can't enjoy it playing fingerstyle. I've never played a single cone, but I imagine the same principle applies.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 06-07-2020, 01:57 PM
jt1 jt1 is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 1,859
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by seangil View Post
...However, one shop warned me that I would need to be patient because the tricones can slip in their position relatively easily.
Tricone cone slippage! One of the stranger things I've heard about tricones. It, quite simply, is not true. While the strings are on the guitar, the cones cannot slip. If you do decide to remove all of the strings at the same time, the cones are no longer held down. But, removing and positioning them is very simple. Replacing them is very simple. Oh and the same is true of singe cone resonators.

I've owned a 1929 Style 1 tricone for a decade or two. I've gigged with it regularly. Taken it places. No slippage.



__________________
John
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 06-07-2020, 04:15 PM
Robin, Wales Robin, Wales is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Nov 2019
Location: Eryri, Wales
Posts: 3,013
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by seangil View Post
Thanks for the explanation Robin. That makes sense. Whenever you have a moment again, two additional questions if you don't mind.

1) How much skill do you need to position the tricones properly if they do slip (e.g., during string changes)?

2) Sounds like this should not be a show-stopper in your view for a first resonator purchase, am I right?

Thanks
As has been said - repositioning is pretty straightforward and you most likely would not need to take off the cover plate. And it is certainly not a show stopper for your first resonator purchase.

Quote:
After pining for one forever, I finally bought a National Tricone (Mahogony) a few weeks ago. I play mostly fingerstyle too, but the tricone comes alive when played with a pick. I find that my fingers alone can't drive the cones like they are supposed to be driven. That's not to say that you can't enjoy it playing fingerstyle. I've never played a single cone, but I imagine the same principle applies.
That is a good observation Nootis. Tricones have a great potential dynamic range but to really make use of it then a flat pick or thumb pick and finger picks can help you find the full volume and tone within the guitar.

Personally, I think that tricones are wonderful instruments. The original squareneck tricones were made for 1930s Hawaiian bands and the round neck versions were popular as the rhythm section for jazz bands. I think they sound great when playing vamped chords to back up a small jazz ensemble. Gypsy jazz or swing would sound great! With thumb pick and fingerpicks then driving barrelhouse blues sounds amazing. Of course, you can use them for bottle neck slide but don't limit yourself to that - they are far more versatile.

About the only thing I would say a tricone is not great for is open strumming - there's just too much going on with all those overtones! But if you keep things a little more damped and vamped then there's a lot you can do.
__________________
I'm learning to flatpick and fingerpick guitar to accompany songs.

I've played and studied traditional noter/drone mountain dulcimer for many years. And I used to play dobro in a bluegrass band.



Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 06-07-2020, 04:20 PM
SpruceTop SpruceTop is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Rochester, New York
Posts: 10,741
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by seangil View Post
Hello everyone,

I am thinking about getting a tricone resonator guitar. However, one shop warned me that I would need to be patient because the tricones can slip in their position relatively easily. They quite regularly get tricones needed adjustment from National on down to budget lines.

For those who have/do own tricones, what has been your experience? How often do they slip in position and what is most often the cause?

I'm trying to do decide whether to go tricone or single cone. I play mostly fingerstyle music.

Thanks
For a good-quality entry into metal-bodied resonator guitars, look at Republic Guitars, which I feel will bring you as close to getting a National or Mule resonator as you can get for a fraction of the price. Republic Guitars
__________________
Martin HD-28 Sunburst/Trance M-VT Phantom
Martin D-18/Ultra Tonic
Adamas I 2087GT-8
Guild F-212XL STD
Huss & Dalton TD-R
Taylor 717e
Taylor 618e
Taylor 614ce
Larrivee D-05
Larrivee D-40R Sunburst
Larrivee C-03R Tommy Emmanuel/Trance M-VT Phantom
RainSong BI-DR1000N2
Emerald X20
Ovation Elite Plus
Avian Skylark 2A
Republic Duolian/Schatten NR-2
Reply With Quote
Reply

  The Acoustic Guitar Forum > General Acoustic Guitar and Amplification Discussion > Other Musical Instruments

Thread Tools





All times are GMT -6. The time now is 04:42 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.11
Copyright ©2000 - 2022, vBulletin Solutions Inc.
Copyright ©2000 - 2022, The Acoustic Guitar Forum
vB Ad Management by =RedTyger=