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Resonator Guitar

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Resonator Guitar

Postby Gordon Bellerose » Sat Dec 02, 2017 7:38 pm

What can the repairmen on this site tell me about a resonator guitar?
I just got one in for some TLC, and I've never opened one up before.
I can imagine that it will tell me a story as I take it apart, but is there anything I need to know before starting?
I need your help. I can't possibly make all the mistakes myself!
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Re: Resonator Guitar

Postby Peter Wilcox » Sun Dec 03, 2017 12:43 am

It somewhat depends on what kind it is - spider or biscuit bridge, round neck or square neck. Basically, take the strings off, take off the tailpiece, unscrew and remove the cover plate, lift out the bridge and cone (carefully - the cones bend and dent easily).

Here's a couple of links from Stewmac that might help:

http://www.stewmac.com/How-To/Online_Re ... Setup.html

http://www.stewmac.com/How-To/Online_Re ... iques.html
Maybe I can't fix it, but I can fix it so no one can fix it
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Re: Resonator Guitar

Postby Gordon Bellerose » Sun Dec 03, 2017 2:10 pm

Thanks Peter.
I've now watched a few videos, so I think after watching the ones you posted, I should be OK.
I need your help. I can't possibly make all the mistakes myself!
Gordon Bellerose
 
Posts: 946
Joined: Wed May 30, 2012 11:47 pm
Location: Edmonton AB. Canada

Re: Resonator Guitar

Postby Freeman Keller » Tue Dec 05, 2017 1:02 pm

Gordon, a couple of comments. I build, repair and play resonators and there are some things that are totally different from normal acoustics. First, it makes a big difference whether its a spider, biscuit or tri cone. Second, it also makes a huge difference how its going to be strung, tuned and played (lap or Spanish style, strictly fretted, strictly slide, combination). Tuned "standard", an open tuning (please don't tune up to A or E unless you've evaluated strings and break angle), or maybe "high bass G" for lap slide.

Most resonators have very little action adjustment at the saddle - you do the rough action setting with the neck angle which is normally set by shimming the neck stick (somewhat like a banjo). A few PacRim reso's have conventional necks but most are some sort of stick. The neck extension is usually screwed down with the screws hiding under marker dots.

Most resos have the saddle exactly at the scale meaning they intonate terribly. There are some minor things that you can do but mostly it doesn't matter since you have the ultimate compensator on your little finger or in the palm of you left hand. However for fretted play it can be bothersome.

The only way to do a decent setup on a reso is to take the coverplate off and restring it - its almost impossible with the cover on. If the cone is damaged (or its a cheap pressed cone) this is a good time to replace it. Spiders have a little tension screw that holds the spider to the cone - it should be just barely snugged (too tight will choke the cone sound). You can get either one or two piece saddles - two piece are easier to adjust the tension screw (you can do it thru a hole in the palm rest with the cover on), one piece is a little easier to set the string height and curvature. Most reso players like the string plane pretty flat if they are going to play slide - a lap style should be dead flat. For fretted play its a bit of a compromise.

Resonators have all sorts of rattles. Glue a piece of felt or leather under the tail piece, look at the string balls for clearance on the cover plate, make sure everything is nice and snug. If you are doing a spider bridge there was a great video at Paul Beards site.

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Re: Resonator Guitar

Postby Gordon Bellerose » Wed Dec 06, 2017 12:24 am

Wow Freeman. Thanks for all the info. I had 3 other guitars in the line up, so I haven't op3ned it up yet.
Definitely need to talk to the owner about how he wants to play it.
I need your help. I can't possibly make all the mistakes myself!
Gordon Bellerose
 
Posts: 946
Joined: Wed May 30, 2012 11:47 pm
Location: Edmonton AB. Canada

Re: Resonator Guitar

Postby Freeman Keller » Wed Dec 06, 2017 12:23 pm

Gordon Bellerose wrote:Wow Freeman. Thanks for all the info. I had 3 other guitars in the line up, so I haven't op3ned it up yet.
Definitely need to talk to the owner about how he wants to play it.


Before you take it apart measure everything, including the string radius and the gauge of strings he has on it now. Measure the neck angle relative to the top and to the bridge. Also, as Peter said, what kind of reso is it (both bridge type and brand)
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