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Thread: Ashbury Resonator

  1. #1

    Default Ashbury Resonator

    Hi all, Iím in a Blues duo and play mandolin often with a slide. Iím currently playing a Tanglewood TWM FVS E which isnít great, Iíve got a K&K hot spot pickup on it. Iím considering buying a resonator but have a small budget and Iíve come across the Ashbury version.

    There are a few knocking around second hand and Iím considering a punt. I would be very grateful for your advice, experience with these mandolins. Iím based in the UK and resonators seem pretty hard to come by. Also any recommendations on the best pickup would be great. Iím looking at the K&K resonator guitar pickup at the mo.

    Thanks in advance all

  2. #2
    Mangler of Tunes OneChordTrick's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Oxfordshire, England

    Default Re: Ashbury Resonator

    No experience of that model but I’ve just sold an Ashbury octave mandolin, lovely instrument but it wasn’t getting played enough, and I needed to fund a guitar. I’ve also got an Ashbury electric mandolin.

    I like the brand; well made instruments, great sounding and value for money.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Ashbury Resonator

    I’ve just bought an octave mandolin and love it.
    I’m not sure of the look of that resonator -it probably grows on you, but please don’t post a link of it being played or I’ll end up buying it!
    Have you considered getting a guitar? There are some really cheap resonator (30 pounds) guitars that just need a good setting up. Then tune it to DAGDAE or DGGDAE?

  4. #4

    Default Re: Ashbury Resonator

    I've had two of these, the design isn't very good & the last one had a very poor quality cone and bridge. The strings are too near the cover plate. It's a shame as they're nearly good. I improved mine by changing the cone and bridge but the neck would have to be reset to get more room for picking. The tailpieces broke on both of them and Hobgoblin couldn't provide a replacement.

  5. #5
    My Florida is scooped pheffernan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Fort Lauderdale, FL

    Default Re: Ashbury Resonator

    Quote Originally Posted by Mrs Bond View Post
    Iím considering buying a resonator but have a small budget
    Have you considered Stuart Wailingís resonator mandolin?


    Iíve not played one, but I at least like the idea of a resonator hand crafted in the U.K. when it it is priced similarly to the Ashbury. I have a National RM-1, and I still find myself looking at the used Wailing in the classifieds:
    1924 Gibson A Snakehead
    2005 National RM-1
    2007 Hester A5
    2009 Passernig A5
    2015 Black A2-z
    2010 Black GBOM
    2017 Poe Scout
    2011 Passernig F5

  6. #6

    Default Re: Ashbury Resonator

    I do not know if these are good or not, but here is a discussion about them:

    However, my opinion (not a learned one!) is that you could buy a very nice solid top, back, and sides, mandolin for less, have a pick up put in it, and still have it shipped for that price, or close to it.

    Several places have Kentucky and Eastman mandolins on sale right now. A K&K pick up is $99 or less. Just my 2 cents worth....and maybe not worth that.
    Loar LM-370

  7. #7
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Rochester NY 14610

    Default Re: Ashbury Resonator

    The Ashbury looks like the Chinese model that's been sold under a number of nameplates: Johnson, Republic, Recording King I have heard that the Recording Kings were slightly better than the others -- better resonator cone, perhaps -- but I've only played the Johnson model, and I was pretty much underwhelmed. Very heavy (though not as heavy as my '30's National), loud but not great tonal quality, intonation acceptable, neck heavily finished, tuners OK.

    I've jammed with a mandolinist who played one of the Wailings; he was lousy but the instrument sounded less grating than the Johnson did. The gold standard of course is the new National RM-1, but it's mucho dinero -- quite pricey.

    If you're only going to use it for slide, I'd say the Ashbury would probably be acceptable. You'd get the "resonator sound," which you wouldn't get with an amplified standard mandolin. I wouldn't have this particular style as my one-and-only instrument, based mainly on its raucous tone. The old Dobro/Regal instruments, with the "spider bridge" set-up rather than the "biscuit bridge," are better for a combination of slide and non-slide, IMHO; however, the vintage market has driven their prices closer to four figures.
    Allen Hopkins
    Gibsn: '54 F5 3pt F2 A-N Custm K1 m'cello
    Natl Triolian Dobro mando
    Victoria b-back Merrill alumnm b-back
    H-O mandolinetto
    Stradolin Vega banjolin
    Sobell'dola Washburn b-back'dola
    Eastmn: 615'dola 805 m'cello
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  8. #8

    Default Re: Ashbury Resonator

    Like ^^ Allen says.

    FWIW I have the Republic version of that. I believe they all come out of the same factory whose whereabouts is shrouded in secrecy - Asia somewhere I would imagine.

    All the factory does (at least on mine) is put all the bits together and that's it. All setup is left to the buyer as the middling companies don't usually do it without a cost.

    Frankly an aluminum-spun-cone is an aluminum-spun-cone. But the bridge needs to go. Traditional bridges are made from hardwoods like ebony and maple that transfers the string vibrations to the cone better than the softer rosewood and basswood they use on these. While you're getting the new bridge made/fitted, get it setup and you should be good.

    The only caveat is the truss-rod. I went with the Republic because it's the only one of the lot that came with an adjustable truss-rod. All the rest will depend on how straight the neck is to start with. The necks are substantial enough that they shouldn't move under tension.

    I electrified mine with a humbucker and a piezo. The bucker is a Lace that was developed along with Dobro to be specifically tuned to resonators.

    For piezo - I bought a bag of piezos from my local electronics store - $10 for a dozen type of thing - and put one under the bridge. There's a screw that holds the bridge in place - I just drilled a hole through the piezo for the screw and it works great.

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