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A resonator guitar or resophonic guitar is an
acoustic guitar
acoustic guitar
that produces sound by conducting string vibrations through the
bridge A bridge is a Nonbuilding structure, structure built to Span (engineering), span a physical obstacle, such as a body of water, valley, or road, without closing the way underneath. It is constructed for the purpose of providing passage over the ...
to one or more spun metal cones (
resonator A resonator is a device or system that exhibits resonance Resonance describes the phenomenon of increased amplitude The amplitude of a Periodic function, periodic Variable (mathematics), variable is a measure of its change in a single Pe ...
s), instead of to the guitar's
sounding board A sounding board, also known as a tester and abat-voix is a structure placed above and sometimes also behind a pulpit A pulpit is a raised stand for preachers in a Christian church. The origin of the word is the Latin Latin (, or , ) ...
(top). Resonator guitars were originally designed to be louder than regular acoustic guitars, which were overwhelmed by horns and percussion instruments in dance orchestras. They became prized for their distinctive tone, however, and found life with
bluegrass music Bluegrass music is a genre of American roots music that developed in the 1940s in the United States Appalachia Appalachia () is a cultural region in the Eastern United States that stretches from the Southern Tier of New York State Ne ...
and the
blues Blues is a music genre and musical form which was originated in the Deep South of the United States around the 1860s by African-Americans from roots in Plantation-era songs, African-American work songs, and Spiritual (music), spirituals. Blues ...

blues
well after electric amplification solved the problem of inadequate volume. Resonator guitars are of two styles: * Square-necked guitars played in
lap steel guitar The lap steel guitar, also known as a Hawaiian guitar, is a type of steel guitar A steel guitar ( haw, kīkākila) is any guitar played while moving a steel bar or similar hard object against plucked strings. The bar itself is called a "steel" ...
style * Round-necked guitars played in conventional guitar style or
steel guitar A steel guitar ( haw, kīkākila) is any guitar played while moving a steel bar or similar hard object against plucked strings. The bar itself is called a "steel" and is the source of the name "steel guitar". The instrument differs from a conventi ...

steel guitar
style There are three main resonator designs: * The ''tricone'', with three metal cones, designed by the first
National National may refer to: Common uses * Nation A nation is a community of people formed on the basis of a common language, history, ethnicity, or a common culture, and, in many cases, a shared territory. A nation is more overtly political than an ...
company * The single-cone "biscuit" design of other National instruments * The single inverted-cone design (also known as a spider bridge) of
Dobro Dobro is an American brand A brand is a name, term, design, symbol or any other feature that identifies one seller's good or service as distinct from those of other sellers. Brands are used in business, marketing, and advertising for reco ...

Dobro
brand instruments and instruments that copy the Dobro design Many variations of all these styles and designs have been produced under many
brand A brand is a name, term, design, symbol or any other feature that identifies one seller's good or service as distinct from those of other sellers. Brands are used in business Business is the activity of making one's living or making mon ...

brand
names. The body of a resonator guitar may be made of wood, metal, or occasionally other materials. Typically there are two main sound holes, positioned on either side of the fingerboard extension. In the case of single-cone models, the sound holes are either both circular or both f-shaped, and symmetrical. The older tricone design has irregularly shaped
sound hole In physics Physics is the that studies , its , its and behavior through , and the related entities of and . "Physical science is that department of knowledge which relates to the order of nature, or, in other words, to the regular ...
s. Cutaway body styles may truncate or omit the lower f-hole.


History


National tricone

John Dopyera John Dopyera ( Slovak: ''Ján Dopjera''; 1893–1988) was a Slovak- American inventor and entrepreneur, and a maker of stringed instruments. His inventions include the resonator guitar and important contributions in the early development of t ...
, responding to a request by the steel guitar player
George Beauchamp George Delmetia Beauchamp (; March 18, 1899 – March 30, 1941) was an American inventor of musical instruments. He is known for designing the first electrically amplified stringed instrument to be marketed commercially. He was also a founde ...
, developed the resonator guitar to produce an instrument that could produce sufficient volume to compete with brass and reed instruments. Dopyera experimented with configurations of up to four resonator cones and with cones composed of several different metals. In 1927, Dopyera and Beauchamp formed the
National String Instrument Corporation The National String Instrument Corporation was an American guitar company, that first formed to manufacture banjos and then the original resonator guitar A resonator guitar or resophonic guitar is an acoustic guitar that produces sound by ...
to manufacture resonator guitars under the brand name "National". The first models were metal-bodied, and featured three conical aluminum resonators joined by a T-shaped aluminum bar that supported the bridge—a system called the tricone. National originally produced wooden-bodied Tricone models at their factory in
Los Angeles, California Los Angeles ( ; xgf, Tovaangar; es, Los Ángeles, , ), commonly referred to by the initialism An acronym is a word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phonemes that can be u ...
. They called these models the Triolian, but made only 12 of them. They changed the body meant for tricones to single-cone models, but kept the name.


Dobro

In 1928, Dopyera left National to form the
Dobro Manufacturing Company
Dobro Manufacturing Company
with his brothers Rudy, Emile, Robert, and Louis, "Dobro" being a contraction of Dopyera Brothers' and also meaning "goodness" in their native
Slovak language Slovak () is a West Slavic language The West Slavic languages are a subdivision of the Slavic language group. They include Polish, Czech, Slovak, Kashubian, Upper Sorbian and Lower Sorbian. The languages are spoken across a continuo ...
. Dobro released a competing resonator guitar with a single resonator with its concave surface uppermost, often described as ''bowl-shaped'', under a distinctive circular perforated metal cover plate with the bridge at its center resting on an eight-legged aluminum spider. This system was cheaper to produce, and produced more volume than National's tricone. Over time, the word "dobro" has become a
genericized trademark A generic trademark, also known as a genericized trademark or proprietary eponym, is a trademark or brand name that, because of its popularity or significance, has become the generic term for, or synonymous with, a general class of Good (economic ...
used to refer to any resonator guitar.


National ''biscuit''

National countered the Dobro with its own single resonator model, which Dopyera had designed before he left the company. They also continued to produce the tricone design, which many players preferred for its tone. Both National single and tricone resonators remained conical, with their convex surfaces uppermost. Single resonator models used a wooden ''biscuit'' at the cone apex to support the bridge. At this point, both companies sourced many components from
Adolph Rickenbacker Adolph Rickenbacker (April 3, 1886 – March 21, 1976) was a Swiss-American electrical engineer who co-founded the Rickenbacker Rickenbacker International Corporation is a string instrument manufacturer based in Santa Ana, California. The c ...
, including the aluminum resonators.


National Dobro, Hound Dog, and Gibson

After much legal action, the Dopyera brothers gained control of both National and Dobro in 1932, and subsequently merged them into the "National Dobro Corporation". However, they ceased all resonator guitars production following the U.S. entry into
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
in 1941. Emile Dopyera (also known as Ed Dopera) manufactured Dobros from 1959, before selling the company and trademark to
Semie Moseley Semie Moseley (June 13, 1935 – August 7, 1992) was an American luthier A luthier ( ) is a craftsperson who builds and repairs string instruments that have a neck and a sound box. The word "luthier" is originally French language, French a ...
, who merged it with his
Mosrite Mosrite is an American guitar manufacturing company, based in Bakersfield, California, from the late 1950s to the early 1990s. Founded by Semie Moseley, Mosrite guitars were played by many rock and roll and country music, country artists. Mosrit ...
guitar company and manufactured Dobros for a time. In 1967, Rudy and Emile Dopyera formed the
Original Musical Instrument Company Original (formerly "Original Musical Instrument Company", also known for its acronym "OMI") is an American brand A brand is a name, term, design, symbol or any other feature that identifies one seller's good or service as distinct from those ...
(OMI) to manufacture resonator guitars, first branded Hound Dog. In 1970 they again acquired the Dobro trademark, Mosrite having gone into temporary liquidation. The
Gibson Guitar Corporation Gibson Brands, Inc. (formerly Gibson Guitar Corporation) is an American manufacturer of guitars The guitar is a fretted musical instrument A musical instrument is a device created or adapted to make Music, musical sounds. In principle, any ...
acquired OMI in 1993, and announced it would defend its right to exclusive use of the Dobro trademark—which many people commonly used for any resonator guitar. , Gibson produces several round sound hole models under the Dobro name, and cheaper f-hole models both under the Hound Dog name and also its
Epiphone Epiphone is an American musical instrument A musical instrument is a device created or adapted to make Music, musical sounds. In principle, any object that produces sound can be considered a musical instrument—it is through purpose that the obj ...
brand. All have a single resonator, and many are available in either round or square neck.


Other National instruments

After the formation of the National Dobro Corporation, the term ''National'' was often used to refer to an instrument with a non-inverted cone, to distinguish these designs from the inverted-cone Dobro. Makers particularly used it for single-cone biscuit designs, as the relatively elaborate and expensive tricone was for some time out of production. Players and collectors also used the term for the older tricone instruments, which despite their softer volume and rarity were still preferred by some players. In 1942, the National Dobro Corporation, which no longer produced Dobros or other resonator instruments, reorganized under the name
Valco Valco was a US manufacturer of guitar amplifier A guitar amplifier (or amp) is an electronic device or system that strengthens the weak electrical signal from a pickup on an electric guitar An electric guitar is a guitar The guita ...
. Valco produced a large volume and variety of fretted instruments under many names, with National as its premium brand. By the early 1960s, Valco again produced resonator guitars for mail order under the brand name ''National''. These instruments had biscuit resonators and bodies of wood and
fiberglass Fiberglass (American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of varieties of the English language native to the United States. Currently, American Englis ...
. In the late 1980s, the National brand and trademark reappeared with the formation of
National Reso-Phonic Guitars National Reso-Phonic Guitars is a manufacturer of resonator guitar A resonator guitar or resophonic guitar is an acoustic guitar that produces sound by conducting string vibrations through the bridge A bridge is a structure A structu ...
. The company produces six-string resonator guitars of all three traditional resonator types, focusing on reproducing the feel and sound of old instruments. Its other resonator instruments include a
12-string guitar#redirect Twelve-string guitar The 12-string guitar is a steel-string guitar The guitar is a fretted musical instrument that typically has six string instrument, strings. It is held flat against the player's body and played by strumming or Plu ...
,
ukulele The ukulele ( ; from haw, ukulele , approximately ) is a member of the lute A lute ( or ) is any plucked string instrument with a neck and a deep round back enclosing a hollow cavity, usually with a sound hole or opening in the body. It ...

ukulele
s and
mandolin A mandolin ( it, mandolino ; literally "small mandola The mandola (US and Canada) or tenor mandola (Ireland and UK) is a fretted, stringed musical instrument A musical instrument is a device created or adapted to make Music, musical sounds ...

mandolin
s.


Non-US instruments


Brazil

Casa Del Vecchio Ltda. of
São Paulo São Paulo (, ; Portuguese for 'Saint Paul') is a city in the Southeast Region, Brazil, Southeast Region of Brazil. Listed by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network, GaWC as an global city, alpha global city, the Municipalities of ...

São Paulo
, Brazil, has produced a wide range of
guitar The guitar is a fretted musical instrument that typically has six string instrument, strings. It is held flat against the player's body and played by strumming or Plucked string instrument, plucking the strings with the dominant hand, while sim ...

guitar
s and other string instruments since Angelo Del Vecchio founded the company in 1902. In the 1930s, they began producing resonator guitars, resulting in their most famous model: the ''Dinâmico,'' (their trade term for resophonic instruments). In addition to the Dinâmico guitar, which is still in production, Del Vecchio also produced Dinâmico
cavaquinho The cavaquinho (pronounced in Portuguese) is a small Portuguese string instrument in the European guitar The guitar is a fretted musical instrument that typically has six string instrument, strings. It is held flat against the player's body ...

cavaquinho
s, approximately like a
resonator ukulele A resonator ukulele or "resophonic ukulele" is a ukulele The ukulele ( ; from haw, ukulele , approximately ) is a member of the lute A lute ( or ) is any plucked string instrument with a neck and a deep round back enclosing a hollow cavi ...
, and
resonator mandolin up300px, 1930 National Triolian resonator mandolin from Lowell Levinger's collectionA resonator mandolin or "resophonic mandolin" is a mandolin A mandolin ( it, mandolino ; literally "small mandola") is a stringed musical instrument in the lute ...
s. They also produce standard acoustic instruments, as well as Hawaiian-style
lap steel guitar The lap steel guitar, also known as a Hawaiian guitar, is a type of steel guitar A steel guitar ( haw, kīkākila) is any guitar played while moving a steel bar or similar hard object against plucked strings. The bar itself is called a "steel" ...
s.


Czech Republic

In the late 1990s Amistar, a Czech Republic manufacturer, began marketing tricone resonator guitars.


Australia

Wayne Acoustic Guitars produced a spider bridge resonator guitar in the 1940s and 1950s in Australia. They were made out of cheap Australian timber using a tone ring rather than a tone well but they had no neck reinforcement and a pressed (rather than spun) cone, often called a pillow cone due to the shapes pressed into the face to strengthen the cone. Many examples exist today.Barron Clarke, Australia As of 2010, Don Morrison was producing resonators under the Donmo brand name.


Asia

Asian brands such as Regal, Johnson, Recording King, Republic Guitars, and Rogue also produce or import a wide variety of comparatively inexpensive resonator guitars. Johnson has also produced resonator ukuleles and mandolins.


South Africa

A company called Gallotone in South Africa produced resonator guitars in the 1950s and 1960s..


Playing

Resonator guitars are popularly used in bluegrass music and in blues. Traditionally, bluegrass players used square necked Dobro-style instruments played as a steel guitar while blues players favored round-necked National-style guitars, often played with a
bottleneck Bottleneck literally refers to the narrowed portion (neck) of a bottle A bottle is a narrow-necked container made of an impermeable material (clay, glass Glass is a non- crystalline, often transparency and translucency, transparent amorpho ...
. However, some contemporary players disregard these stereotypes and use resonator guitars in a wide variety of musical contexts.


Styles and positions

The resonator guitar is most often played as a lap steel guitar, and the more common square-necked version is limited to this playing position. Square neck instruments are always set up with the high action favored by steel guitar players, and tuned to a suitable
open tuning Guitar tunings are the assignment of pitches to the open strings of guitar The guitar is a fretted musical instrument that typically has six string instrument, strings. It is held flat against the player's body and played by strumming o ...
. The round necked version is equally capable in either lap steel or Spanish guitar position. It may be set up with a variety of action heights, ranging from the half-inch favored for steel guitar (making use of the frets almost impossible) to the small fraction of an inch used by conventional guitarists. A compromise is most common, allowing use of a
bottleneck Bottleneck literally refers to the narrowed portion (neck) of a bottle A bottle is a narrow-necked container made of an impermeable material (clay, glass Glass is a non- crystalline, often transparency and translucency, transparent amorpho ...
on the top strings but also use of the frets as desired, with the guitar played in the conventional position. Many different tunings are used. Some square neck tunings are not recommended for round neck resonator guitars, owing to the high string tension required, which in turn requires the stronger square neck.
Slack-key guitar Slack-key guitar (from Hawaiian ''kī hōalu'', which means "loosen the uningkey") is a fingerstyle genre of guitar music that originated in Hawaii after Mexican cowboys introduced Spanish guitars there in the late 19th century. The Hawaiians did ...
tunings are most suitable for bottleneck playing, and conventional E-A-D-G-B-E guitar tuning is also popular.


Players


In bluegrass music

The resonator guitar was introduced to bluegrass music by
Josh Graves Josh Graves (September 27, 1927 Tellico Plains, Monroe County, Tennessee Tennessee (, ), officially the State of Tennessee, is a U.S. state, state in the Southeastern United States, Southeastern region of the United States. Tennessee is th ...
, who played with
Flatt and Scruggs Flatt & Scruggs and the Foggy Mountain Boys was an American bluegrass band. The band was founded by guitarist Lester Flatt and banjo player Earl Scruggs and is viewed by music historians as one of the premier bluegrass groups in the history of ...
, in the mid-1950s. Graves used the hard-driving, syncopated three-finger picking style developed by
Earl Scruggs Earl Eugene Scruggs (January 6, 1924 – March 28, 2012) was an American musician noted for popularizing a three-finger banjo The banjo is a stringed instrument with a thin membrane stretched over a frame or cavity to form a resonator. T ...
for the five-string banjo. Modern players continue to play the instrument this way, with one notable exception being the late
Tut Taylor Robert Arthur "Tut" Taylor Sr. (November 20, 1923 – April 9, 2015) was an American American(s) may refer to: * American, something of, from, or related to the United States of America, commonly known as the United States The United Sta ...
who played with a flat pick. Tuning for the resonator guitar within the bluegrass genre is most often an
open G Among alternative tunings Guitar tunings are the assignment of pitches to the open strings of guitar The guitar is a fret (in the background, coloured white) and first four frets A fret is a space between two fretbars on the neck (m ...
with the strings pitched to D G D G B D or G B D G B D, from the lowest to highest. Occasionally variant tunings are used, such as an
open D Image:Open D tuning.png, Open D tuning. Open D tuning is an open tuning for the Steel-string guitar, acoustic or electric guitar. The open string (music), string Musical note, notes in this Guitar tunings, tuning are (from lowest to highest): D (m ...
: D A D F# A D. Other notable bluegrass players include
Jerry Douglas Gerald Calvin "Jerry" Douglas (born May 28, 1956) is an American Dobro Dobro is an American brand A brand is a name, term, design, symbol or any other feature that identifies one seller's good or service as distinct from those of ot ...
,
Mike Auldridge Mike Auldridge (December 30, 1938 – December 29, 2012) was a Dobro player and a founding member of the bluegrass group The Seldom Scene. The ''New York Times'' described Auldridge as "one of the most distinctive dobro players in the history of ...
,
Rob Ickes
Rob Ickes
, Phil Leadbetter and Andy Hall.


In country music

The resonator guitar was used in older
country music Country (also called country and western) is a genre of popular music Popular music is music with wide appeal that is typically distributed to large audiences through the music industry. These forms and styles can be enjoyed and performed b ...

country music
, notably by
Bashful Brother Oswald Beecher Ray "Pete" Kirby (December 26, 1911 – October 17, 2002), better known as Bashful Brother Oswald, was an United States, American country music, country musician who popularized the use of the resonator guitar and Dobro. He played with ...
of
Roy Acuff Roy Claxton Acuff (September 15, 1903 – November 23, 1992) was an American country music singer, fiddler, promoter, and freemason. Known as the "King of Country Music", Acuff is often credited with moving the genre from its early string band a ...

Roy Acuff
's band, but was largely supplanted by the
pedal steel guitar The pedal steel guitar is a console Console may to: Computing and video games * Video game console, a specific device for playing video games ** Handheld game console, a specific lightweight and portable device for playing video games * Syst ...
during the 1950s. Despite this, the instrument is still frequently used as an alternative to the steel guitar.


In blues music

The resonator guitar is also significant to the world of blues music, particularly the
Southern The name Southern may refer to: * South South is one of the cardinal directions or compass points. South is the opposite of north and is perpendicular to the east and west. Etymology The word ''south'' comes from Old English ''sūþ'', from earl ...
style of
country blues Country blues (also folk blues, rural blues, backwoods blues, or downhome blues) is one of the earliest forms of blues music. The mainly solo vocal with acoustic fingerstyle guitar accompaniment developed in the rural Southern United States in th ...
that grew out of the
Mississippi Delta The Mississippi Delta, also known as the Yazoo–Mississippi Delta, or simply the Delta, is the distinctive northwest section of the U.S. state In the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United ...
and
Louisiana Louisiana (Standard French Standard French (in French: ''le français standard'', ''le français normé'', ''le français neutre'' eutral Frenchor ''le français international'' nternational French is an unofficial term for a standard ...

Louisiana
. Unlike country and bluegrass players, most blues players play the resonator guitar in the standard guitar position, with the fretboard facing away from the player. Many use slides or bottlenecks. Many players in the 1920s and 1930s, including
Bo Carter Armenter Chatmon (June 30, 1893 – September 21, 1964), known as Bo Carter, was an early United States, American blues musician. He was a member of the Mississippi Sheiks in concerts and on a few of their sound recording and reproduction, recordi ...
, and others like
Bukka White Booker T. Washington "Bukka" White (November 12, 1906 February 26, 1977) was an American Delta blues guitarist and singer. ''Bukka'' is a phonetic spelling of White's first name; he was named after the African-American educator and civil rights a ...
,
Son House Edward James "Son" House Jr. (March 21, 1902His date of birth is a matter of some debate. House alleged that he was middle-aged during World War I and that he was 79 in 1965, which would make his date of birth around 1886. However, all legal rec ...

Son House
,
Tampa Red Hudson Whittaker (born Hudson Woodbridge, January 8, 1903March 19, 1981), known as Tampa Red, was an American Chicago blues musician. He is best known as a blues Blues is a music genre and musical form which was originated in the Deep South ...
and
Blind Boy Fuller Blind Boy Fuller (born Fulton Allen, July 10, 1904 or 1907February 13, 1941) was an American blues Blues is a music genre and musical form which was originated in the Deep South of the United States around the 1860s by African-Americans fro ...
, used the instruments because they were louder than standard acoustic guitars, which enabled them to play for a larger crowd in areas that did not yet have electricity for amplifiers. For the same reason street musicians like Arvella Gray used resonator guitars while
busking Street performance or busking is the act of performing in public places for gratuity, gratuities. In many countries, the rewards are generally in the form of money but other gratuities such as food, drink or gifts may be given. Street performa ...

busking
, e.g. on Chicago's
Maxwell Street Maxwell Street is an east-west street in Chicago, Illinois (''City in a Garden''); I Will , image_map = , map_caption = Interactive map of Chicago , coordinates = , coordinates_footnotes = , ...
. One of the few Delta Blues players to play lap style in the 1930s was
Black Ace Black Ace was the most frequently used stage name of the American Texas blues Texas blues is blues Blues is a music genre and musical form which was originated in the Deep South of the United States around the 1860s by African-Americans fr ...
, also known as B.K. Turner. He toured and recorded with his mentor
Oscar "Buddy" Woods Oscar "Buddy" Woods (born c. 1900–1903, died December 14, 1955) was an United States, American Texas blues guitarist, singer and songwriter. Woods, who was an early blues pioneer in Lap steel guitar, lap steel, slide guitar playing, recorded thi ...
, who also played lap style Resonator guitar and Lap Steel. Woods, who was fifteen years older than Ace, taught him his guitar playing techniques. The instrument is still used by some blues players, notably
Taj Mahal The Taj Mahal (; , ), is an ivory-white marble mausoleum on the right bank of the river Yamuna in the Indian city of Agra. It was commissioned in 1632 by the Mughal Empire, Mughal emperor Shah Jahan () to house the tomb of his favourite wi ...

Taj Mahal
,
Eric Sardinas Eric Sardinas (born November 10, 1970) is an United States, American blues-rock slide guitarist born in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He is noted for his use of the electric resonator guitar and his live performances. He sometimes sets his guitar al ...

Eric Sardinas
, Alvin Hart, The Deacon Brandon Reeves,
Warren Haynes Warren Haynes (born April 6, 1960) is an American musician, singer and songwriter. He is best known for his work as longtime guitarist with the Allman Brothers Band The Allman Brothers Band were an American rock music, rock band formed in Ja ...

Warren Haynes
,
Derek Trucks Derek Trucks (born June 8, 1979) is an American guitarist, songwriter, and founder of The Derek Trucks Band The Derek Trucks Band was an American blues-rock founded by young slide guitar prodigy Derek Trucks, who began playing guitar and touri ...

Derek Trucks
,
Doyle Bramhall II Doyle Bramhall II (born December 24, 1968) is an American musician, producer, guitarist, and songwriter known for his work with Eric Clapton Eric Patrick Clapton, (born 1945) is an English Rock music, rock and blues guitarist, singer, and ...
, Roland Chadwick, John Hammond Jr.,
Roy Rogers Roy Rogers (born Leonard Franklin Slye, November 5, 1911 – July 6, 1998) was an American singer, actor, and television host. Following early work under his given name, first as co-founder of the Sons of the Pioneers The Sons of the Pioneers ...
, and John Mooney.


Varieties

Single resonator guitars with a bowl resonator and spider (''Dobro style'') are often heard in bluegrass music, while tricone (''National style'') instruments are still preferred by many blues players. Single-resonator biscuit (also sometimes called ''National style'') instruments are also currently produced, and give a different sound again. Many bluegrass players prefer wooden bodies, blues players either metal or wood. The early metal-bodied instruments were generally of better quality than the earliest wooden-bodied ones, but this may not be the case with more recent instruments. Metal bodies may be brass, aluminum or steel. Fiberglass has also been used as a body material, and a
marble Marble is a metamorphic rock , a type of metamorphic rock Metamorphic rocks arise from the transformation of existing rock (geology), rock to new types of rock, in a process called metamorphism upright=1.35, Schematic representation of ...

marble
bodied resonator guitar is commercially available. Both metal and wooden bodies are often painted, or wooden bodies may be stained or lacquered, metal bodies may be plated or plain. Bluegrass players tend to use square necks, while blues players tend to prefer round necks. Square-necked guitars give a slightly greater variety of possible tunings, while round-necked guitars give a much greater variety of playing positions. Single resonator instruments can have round sound holes with screens, or round sound holes without screens, which many players used to remove to improve the bass response. They can also have f-holes, often with gauze screens that are also sometimes removed but have an important function in strengthening the belly particularly if the body is of wood. An enormous number of combinations are possible, most can be found either on old or new instruments or both, and many styles of music can be played on any resonator guitar.


Electric resonators

Though the original aim of the resonator was increased volume, some modern instruments incorporate electric pickups and related technology. Many modern makers produce instruments with one of a variety of pickup types—and some players retrofit pickups to non-electric instruments. Most commonly, resonator guitars use piezoelectric pickups (contact type transducers) placed under the bridge or elsewhere on the instrument, or use specialized microphones placed inside the instrument or directly in front of the cone to preserve the resonator's distinctive tone. However, all acoustic and semi-acoustic styles are very sensitive to
audio feedback Audio feedback (also known as acoustic feedback, simply as feedback, or the Larsen effect) is a special kind of positive loop gain which occurs when a sound loop exists between an audio input (for example, a microphone A microphone, coll ...
, making the design and placement of these pickups extremely critical and specialized. Some modern models are manufactured with both piezoelectric and magnetic pickups. In addition, some piezoelectric styles are active pickups, in that they incorporate a preamplifier that increases the output of the pickup to match modern amplifier inputs. More recently, solid body electric resonator guitars have appeared. These instruments incorporate one or more magnetic pickups, and are played via amplification.


Other resonator instruments

As well as resonator guitars, resonators have been used on: * Basses, available from Regal *
Ukulele The ukulele ( ; from haw, ukulele , approximately ) is a member of the lute family of instruments of Portuguese origin and popularized in Hawaii. It generally employs four nylon strings. The Tone (musical instrument), tone and volume of the ...

Ukulele
s, (see
Resonator ukulele A resonator ukulele or "resophonic ukulele" is a ukulele The ukulele ( ; from haw, ukulele , approximately ) is a member of the lute A lute ( or ) is any plucked string instrument with a neck and a deep round back enclosing a hollow cavi ...
) produced by National and Dobro 1928-1940 *
Banjo The banjo is a stringed instrument with a thin membrane stretched over a frame or cavity to form a resonator. The membrane is typically circular, and usually made of plastic, or occasionally animal skin. Early forms of the instrument were fashio ...

Banjo
s *
Tenor guitar The tenor guitar or four-string guitar is a slightly smaller, four-string relative of the steel-string acoustic guitar or electric guitar An electric guitar is a guitar The guitar is a fretted musical instrument that typically has six ...
s *
Mandolin A mandolin ( it, mandolino ; literally "small mandola The mandola (US and Canada) or tenor mandola (Ireland and UK) is a fretted, stringed musical instrument A musical instrument is a device created or adapted to make Music, musical sound ...

Mandolin
s and
mandola The mandola (US and Canada) or tenor mandola (Ireland and UK) is a fretted, stringed musical instrument A musical instrument is a device created or adapted to make musical sounds. In principle, any object that produces sound can be considered ...

mandola
s * Mountain/
Appalachian dulcimer The Appalachian dulcimer (many variant names; see below) is a fret A fret is a space between two fretbars on the neck The neck is the part of the body on many vertebrate Vertebrates () comprise all species of animal Animals (als ...

Appalachian dulcimer
s * Viola guitars


Brands

Historic brands of resonator guitar still in use today include
National National may refer to: Common uses * Nation A nation is a community of people formed on the basis of a common language, history, ethnicity, or a common culture, and, in many cases, a shared territory. A nation is more overtly political than an ...
,
Dobro Dobro is an American brand A brand is a name, term, design, symbol or any other feature that identifies one seller's good or service as distinct from those of other sellers. Brands are used in business, marketing, and advertising for reco ...

Dobro
, and Regal. None of these brands are still owned by their original companies. Each returned after one or more long breaks in production: * The ''National'' name is now used by
National Reso-Phonic Guitars National Reso-Phonic Guitars is a manufacturer of resonator guitar A resonator guitar or resophonic guitar is an acoustic guitar that produces sound by conducting string vibrations through the bridge A bridge is a structure A structu ...
, a company founded in 1987 and unconnected to the original National, specializes in reproductions of historic instruments of all brands, not just National pattern instruments. * The ''Dobro'' name has undergone several ownership changes throughout history, and has been owned by
Gibson Guitar Corporation Gibson Brands, Inc. (formerly Gibson Guitar Corporation) is an American manufacturer of guitars The guitar is a fretted musical instrument A musical instrument is a device created or adapted to make Music, musical sounds. In principle, any ...
since 1993. Gibson manufactured Dobro branded instruments under its
Epiphone Epiphone is an American musical instrument A musical instrument is a device created or adapted to make Music, musical sounds. In principle, any object that produces sound can be considered a musical instrument—it is through purpose that the obj ...
division up to 2020. Since then, no Dobro branded instruments have been produced. * The ''Regal'' name, similar to Dobro, has been bought and sold several times since its original owners went defunct; the name has been a brand of Saga Musical Instruments since 1987.


US patents

* #1,741,453 covering the ''tricone''. * #1,896,484 covering the ''Dobro''. * #1,808,756 covering the ''biscuit'' single cone resonator, lodged in the name of Beauchamp.


See also

*
Brahms guitar The Brahms guitar, or cello-guitar, is an eight-string guitar An eight-string guitar is a guitar The guitar is a fretted musical instrument that typically has six string instrument, strings. It is held flat against the player's body and pl ...

Brahms guitar
, a
classical guitar The classical guitar (also known as the nylon-string guitar or Spanish guitar) is a member of the guitar The guitar is a fretted musical instrument that typically has six string instrument, strings. It is held flat against the player's body a ...
that features an external resonator. *
Slide guitar Slide guitar is a technique for playing the guitar The guitar is a fretted musical instrument that typically has six string instrument, strings. It is held flat against the player's body and played by strumming or Plucked string instrument ...

Slide guitar


References


External links


Resonator guitars

Chanticleer (UK)
maker of resophonic instruments



* ttp://www.notecannons.com Notecannons– Vintage resonator guitars {{DEFAULTSORT:Resonator Guitar Acoustic guitars Continuous pitch instruments Resophonic instruments