Oh sing me a song 'bout a Dobro
August 21, 2007 7:27 PM   Subscribe

Should I dump my dreadnought for a resonator guitar?

I'm thinking that a resonator would give me more of a banjo voice as opposed to the bigness of the dreadnought. I'll be doing mostly finger picking and much less stumming/flat picking.

Does anyone have any experience with resonators?

Is there anything special that I should look for in it's appearance or construction?

Of course, I will be trying many guitars, but I will feel much more comfortable in the field after reading your comments and advice. Thanks in advance.
posted by snsranch to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (4 answers total)
A resonator has a very specific sound, and plays differently from any other style of guitar. I would not consider using one as my *only* axe. If you want a really sweet-voiced fingerpicking sound, with less boom and resonance and a more defined tone ("banjo-like") your best bet is a small-bodied acoustic along the lines of the classic Martin 00-18 (though you can't afford one of those unless you are Clapton).

Also, resonators are *loud* instruments. They sound awesome in the right context, but not in all contexts. For a sample of the sound of a fingerpicked *and* flatpicked dobro, listen to Dire Straits' "Walking in the Wild West End."

Admittedly, a dreadnought is not the ideal fingerpicking guitar. But a resonator is not a general-purpose instrument.
posted by fourcheesemac at 7:44 PM on August 21, 2007

You should keep the dreadnought and get a resonator, too. You're gonna be able to use them both over the course of your musical career.

I have found I regret having gotten rid of any guitar I ever parted with.
posted by wsg at 9:13 PM on August 21, 2007

What those guys said. Aside from wishing I could get back all of the guitars that I've let go, I've specifically felt burned a couple of times by trading a general-purpose instrument for a very specialized one without making sure I had some backup for the general purpose.

A resonator would make a great second guitar, but I think it'd be rough going as your primary.
posted by COBRA! at 7:10 AM on August 22, 2007

I have an old National guitar that was my grandmother's- steel body, 3 cone resonator, and a big old maple neck. It's a beautiful guitar, but fourcheesemac is right-- it's loud as hell. It might be hard to balance levels if you're playing with someone else on acoustic.

It has a beautiful tone though, very bright and a little harsh. Not as warm as you get from a dreadnaught. That could be the metal body. I think it would sound good on some of the stuff you've posted to Music.
posted by InfidelZombie at 10:14 AM on August 22, 2007

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