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Martin Jonas
Dec-20-2009, 12:15pm
I've just got myself a brand-new resonator tenor guitar directly from the builder on Ebay. Here (http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=230405307746) is the link to the auction, and I attach a few photos below.

The paint job is rather crude, with garish colours and a token (but not very convincing) effort at distressing, and the face plate is industrial but charming (check out that "tailpiece"!). According to the listing, that's because this particular guitar was a prototype for a custom-built one, and he put little effort in the paint finish beyond making it functional.

However, the tone and playability is great and the whole thing is just so much fun, especially considering how little I paid for it. It's a single cone biscuit bridge design, with a 7" aluminium resonator spun by the maker himself and a plywood body. The neck is narrow but chunky, and feels very comfortable. The tone is rich and resonant with a surprisingly mellow tone -- little metallic character.

I'm still experimenting with gauges and tunings, but for the moment I've settled on GDAE using 13, 23w, 36w, 47w, which seems to work very well. It's a short scale, 21", about the same as my Ozark acoustic tenor guitar. The Ozark struggles with the low G; it works rather better on the resonator.

Martin

Fliss
Dec-20-2009, 2:38pm
Looks like fun, Martin!

Fliss

delsbrother
Dec-20-2009, 3:32pm
Wow, that's almost exactly what I'm looking for in a resonator violao tenor for choro tunes - short scale, wooden body, small single cone, biscuit bridge..

Any idea of whether he has a website and/or will ship to the states?

I can't seem to get to his other items, nor can I email him. (?)

Charles E.
Dec-20-2009, 8:55pm
Now that is blue-funky-cool! and you got it for a little over a hundred bucks?! Enjoy.

Jim Garber
Dec-20-2009, 10:27pm
More like $163 ... that was 101. Still sound like a good deal. I checked to see if that guy had any more for sale. I need a day-glo orange one to play at night. :)

delsbrother
Dec-20-2009, 10:31pm
If something would happen to go wrong with the cone, would any standard National cone fit?

mandolooter
Dec-21-2009, 6:01am
way cool and the price is totally right! It would look great on Boise State's 50 yard line!

Martin Jonas
Dec-21-2009, 7:12am
If something would happen to go wrong with the cone, would any standard National cone fit?

Well, it's a 7-inch cone, and as far as I can see National cones come in 9.5" for guitar and 6" for mandolin, so the answer I suspect is no. The builder does sell the cones separately, too, so maybe putting a spare one aside might not be a bad idea. I'll think about that.

Still experimenting with string gauges -- I have exchanged a few emails with the builder that suggest I'm stringing rather heavy for his cone design, so I'm going to drop the D and G a gauge or two.

This one is the short-scale -- most of his previous tenors were 23" scale, some with the same 7" cone and others with a larger 9" cone. I like the shorter scale, though: the notes have a nice punch and the fingering works better for fiddle tunes.

Martin

Cliff D
Dec-22-2009, 5:59pm
Nice going: I'm presently trying to encourage a new builder to start knocking out electric solid bodied tenors. So far I believe he has designed improved replacement pick ups for the epi mando bird!

Martin Jonas
Jan-02-2010, 6:56pm
I'm still experimenting with gauges and tunings, but for the moment I've settled on GDAE using 13, 23w, 36w, 47w, which seems to work very well. It's a short scale, 21", about the same as my Ozark acoustic tenor guitar.

Quick update on gauges: after the builder gave me the string tensions for which he optimised the cone, I have gone slightly lighter to 12, 22w, 32w, 47w. That's very even tension across the wound strings and a bit lighter on the plain, adding up to about the recommended overall tension for the cone. Still sounding good! I've also got myself a bottleneck slide, but I haven't figured out an effective way of using it yet -- I think I would have to retune to an open tuning (maybe ADAF# or something like that).

Martin

Martin Jonas
Mar-28-2010, 6:35pm
I've just got around to getting a webcam, mostly because I finally stumbled across the Song-A-Week social group here on the Cafe and thought I might contribute a few tunes. So, I sat down this afternoon while the kids had a nap and recorded around 20 tunes that I enjoy. First takes, no edits, warts and all. This is a Logitech C300 webcam and an old Philips dynamic mike (with a cheap Btech preamp). No idea why there are a few pops and crackles on the soundtrack -- I don't get them when I record pure audio with that mike.

This is the very first one I've uploaded, and I put the link here as it's a clip of my fabulous blue tenor reso. The tune is Dermot Grogan's Hornpipe, and I've learned this version from the fabulous transcription at Nigel Gatherer's site here (http://www.nigelgatherer.com/tunes/tab/tab1/derm.html).

This is the clip:



Martin

Jill McAuley
Mar-28-2010, 9:10pm
Lovely stuff Martin! Just as you said in your initial post, it indeed has a very mellow sound for a resonator!

Cheers,
Jill