First up on my list today is your Resonator Guitar Survival Guide .
Because I think there's a lot of myths surrounding resonator guitars .
And it's like , oh , well , I can't , I can't play a resonator guitar .
I'm not good enough or I can't play a resonator guitar because I don't play slide or I can't play a resonator guitar because I have to learn a whole new style of play .
That's just not true because resonator guitars , you can tune them to standard tuning and play everything that , you know , on a regular guitar , on a resonator guitar and it's gonna sound awesome .
It's another , it's another sonic flavor to add to your arsenal .
So I wanna discuss Resonator guitars today because I want you to be able to walk into your local guitar store or shop online and know what you're looking at and be confident enough to give them a shot because they're really fun .
I mean , Resonator guitars are truly magical instruments .
So let's dig in the first choice that you're gonna need or the first choice that you'll be confronted with when it comes to Resonator guitars is neck type .
Now , what I'm talking about here is the actual profile of the neck .
You're either gonna see a round neck resonator guitar or a square neck resonator guitar .
And luckily for us here , I've got both on hand .
This is a round neck if I can get out of the stand .
This is a round neck resonator guitar .
The neck is round .
You play it like the standard guitar .
This over to my right is can get this one out of the stand is a square neck resonator guitar .
You can't fret .
I mean , you , you literally can't fret this .
The , the nuts sitting the in the , the strings are about a half inch off the fret board and square neck resonator guitars are made to play flat in your lap .
So think um like Dobro style or like bluegrass dobro .
Um Sometimes people call it lap slide .
All of those names .
Suffice for a square neck resonator guitar .
So first choice round neck or square neck , square neck is exclusively for lap style playing round neck .
You can play your standard stuff , uh , that you play on your normal guitar or you can play with a bottleneck slide or something like that .
So now that we got that out of the way , now let's get into the meat and potatoes of the dish , ok ?
Because Resonator guitars have resonator systems in them .
That's what help them make the sound that they do and you're probably gonna run into three of the most common resonator systems when you're out there looking at resonator guitars .
And I want you to be able to tell the difference between the two and I want you to be able to hear the difference between , I'm sorry , between the three , I said two , there's three .
So let's start with the most common resonator system and that is a single cone resonator that is of a biscuit style .
Now you're gonna be looking at a picture and you'll see that the single cone resonator , it's like a aluminum speaker cone that's pointed inside the guitar's body and the strings go over this wooden saddle that sits on top of a wooden disk and that's lovingly referred to as the biscuit .
Now , these particular guitars sound extremely distinct because they're , they're very barky .
They have this beautiful kind of thump and , and really strong projection , but they decay really quickly .
They don't have a ton of sustain .
They may have a little bit more sustain than a standard flattop acoustic guitar .
But in the resonator guitar world , single cone biscuit style resonators have a very quick decay .
So they're really good for slide .
They're great for blues .
Uh If you , if you find yourself , uh , finger picking like rag Timey or real Thumpy blues .
A single cone biscuit style resonator is the one that I definitely think you should check out .
And it's probably the most common out there .
If you look at many national guitars , oftentimes they are a single biscuit cone style guitar .
In fact , the one that I have here next to me is a single cone biscuit style resonator guitar .
This is a uh a super Collegian that was actually made by National and under the hood .
It is a single cone biscuit style resonator and it has just a beautiful thumb , just a really nice projection , good , strong sustained , rather , I'm sorry , good , strong projection , but a little bit shy on the sustained end of things .
Uh So the notes die pretty quickly , but they're very strong right off the get go .
The next resonator style that you're gonna run into is called a Spider bridge or a spider cone resonator style .
Now , this particular resonating system is a lot different than the biscuit style because the cone is actually inverted .
The cone of a spider bridge is actually outward like much like a speaker .
So think of the guitar as a speaker cabinet and that aluminum resonator cone is shooting out .
And on top of that resonator cone looks like , uh actually looks like a spider web and the strings go across that on top of a wooden saddle .
I happen to have an example of a spider cone bridge here .
And this is my beard bell beard guitar , uh from the front , you , you'd never be able to know .
But if you look under the cover plate , you'll start to see that spider web kind of bracing system that the saddle sits on and that is what indicates a Spider bridge resonator guitar .
These guitars are common on square neck guitars , obviously .
Um , and also round neck and what's significant about these Spider Bridge resonating systems is that they're very long unsustained .
They're very good at note articulation .
They're really lush and huge sounding .
They might not be as loud as a single cone biscuit style resonator guitar , but for what they lack in volume , they make up for in sustained .
So if you like doing slide really long kind of sensitive uh passages , if you will uh Spider bridge resonator guitar would be a great option for you .
And last , but certainly not least , probably the most intimidating of all the resonators is a tri cone .
So a tri cone as the name suggests is three resonators .
There's 3 10 inch resonator cones kind of oriented like the biscuit style or resonator , but they're three , right ?
There's two on the base end of the side , uh the base side of the guitar and a single one on the side of the guitar and running across them is a metal or like a cast aluminum T and that's what the strings actually run over .
Now , the beautiful thing about tri cones is that they actually marry the bark of a single cone biscuit and the sustain of a Spider bridge resonator .
So you get this beautiful projection , this strong projection , but also this nice long uh tail on the note , they're great for slide , awesome for alternate tunings .
And I actually happen to have one here .
This is a Mule tri cone and from the front , you'd say , well , tone , that's not much of a tri cone , but this is actually modeled after a 1927 national where they put a tri cone resonating system in a single cone body more on this guitar here in a second .
In fact , you'll be able to hear it much better than um if I played it with this microphone .
So that's , that's the basics of resonator guitars .
Can you play a resonator guitar right now ?
You don't need any special skills .
You just need to want to make beautiful sounding music and grab a resonator guitar and you absolutely will be able to just a quick run over again .
So neck profile is , is the first option you're gonna run into , uh you're gonna run into round next or square , next square , next are exclusively lap style playing and round next , you can do pretty much whatever with and then you go into the resonating systems .
You've got a single cone biscuit bridge which is real barky think , single cone biscuit for bark .
Then you have a spider bridge , resonator think spider bridge for smooth and sustain .
And then you have a tri cone which is kind of that , that middle ground of sustain and bark .
And uh you're actually gonna hear somebody play a tri cone here when we get to who I'm listening to this week .
But I digress , I want you to now be able to go into your local guitar store and con take a resonator guitar off the wall .
Be able to look inside it and know what you're looking at .
More importantly , be able to play it and have fun with it because it's resonator guitars are so cool .
It's like an instant sonic addition to your guitar arsenal and you don't have to learn anything new .
It just sounds amazing .