Which Resonator is Right for You?

There are a lot of things to consider when shopping for a resonator guitar. We’ve created this guide to help you better understand which resonator is right for you!

 
 

Terminology

Square Neck: Square neck instruments are designed to be played lying flat in one’s lap, typically in open tuning, and with a steel bar. Typically used for Bluegrass, Country, Americana, and some Blues.

Round Neck: Round neck instruments are designed to be played like a conventional guitar in standard or open tuning. Many players employ a “combo” technique where the use both a slide and conventional fretting techniques are employed. Typically used for Country, Americana, and Blues.

Wood Body: Wood body resonators are at the warmer side of the tonal spectrum, and are comparatively lighter than their metal bodied brethren.

Metal Body: Metal body resonators are on the brighter side of the tonal spectrum, and are louder than their wood bodied brethren.

Tricone: Tricone instruments employ three cones connected by a t-bar. With a complex tone, the existence of more overtones, and a generally greater sustain, the tricone is favored by slide players.

Spider Bridge: Paired with a single “W” shaped concave cone, a spider bridge equipped resonator is known for its long, sweet sustain favored by Bluegrass players.

Biscuit Bridge: Paired with a single convex cone, a biscuit bridge equipped resonator is known for its woody “bark” favored by Blues, Americana, and Country Blues players.

Cone: The cone is the “speaker” of a resonator guitar, replacing the function of the soundboard on a traditional flat top instrument, giving the resonator its signature tone.

Open Pedestal Soundwell: An open pedestal soundwell employs posts to support the top of the instrument. The result is an open tone that is thick in the mid-range. Instruments equipped with this soundwell are nicely suited for Blues and Americana.

Enclosed Soundwell: An enclosed soundwell is typically used in spider bridge equipped instruments and are favored among bluegrass players. Expect a crisp attack and minimal overtones.