The resonator guitar reviews database is here to help educate people before they purchase an instrument. Of course, this is not meant to be a substitute for playing the instrument yourself!
255 reviews in the archive.
I had Tom Warner build me a very special curly maple Appalachian resonator guitar last April 2014. It has all the latest tricks and is strung with D'Addario EJ-42 strings which interact extremely well with the Legend cone he installed along with the #14 spider. Strings make all the difference in the world I found out He finished this guitar in a amber color. It came with a Schaller strap lock. His workmanship is exceptional and it gets very positive comments from everyone who sees it. The post and baffle system resonates much more effectively when I am standing that a soundwell type guitar. That has to do with the construction of the instrument. I don't think when sitting down to perform has as much effect in this. Tom Warner has to be making the most cost effective resonators in the market today. I would highly recommend to anyone who is in the market for a new resonator guitar to give him a call. His web-site has all the information you need to know. Just go to Google and type in Applachian resonator guitars.
Overall Rating: 10
Where Purchased: Ralph Hanzel Music Store
This guitar was built for me by Mr. Doperya in California in 1982. It is a model D and the serial # is 1597. It is a 10 string resonator guitar that can be easily converted to a 8 or 6 string if one wished to do so. It has a slotted peg head with the Grover tuners turned upright. The cone is a stamped aluminum one which was typical for this type of guitar in those days. It comes equipped with a build in microphone type pickup as well. It is finished in black with white trim around the body and the wood is mahagony I believe. Being a 10 stringed instrument, it is quite heavy and is very well built. All parts are chrome. I have used it in recording sessions and on stage since 1982. It is one of five resonator guitars I use and has a very distinctive tone. Currently I have DR Lights strings on it and they hold up very well. I have also equipped it with a Lace Ultra Slim pick-up for use with other enhancers in the studio such as a Boss digital reverb, and a Boss Chorus.before that, I use a Fishman Aura Nashville pedal (Jerry Douglas model). and I alternate this guitar with the other four I have. This is a very versatile guitar in that having 10 strings to work with, many alternate tunings can be used for different applications.There is additional info on this reso on my home page. Just scroll down to " 10 string reso" to learn more.
Overall Rating: 9
Where Purchased: Nashville Tennessee
I had this specially built resonator guitar by Mark Taylor, son of Tut Taylor for me in 2012. It is a very exact copy of a Dobro model 27 which was the one used by many artists back in the day. The serial # is 108, and is made entirely of Hondouran Mahagony. The cone is specially spun using the old techniques which are the same as a Quarterman cone. The sound well is made with parallelogram holes like the original. It has a solid peghead with 'butter bean' tuners. I have equipped it with a Lace Ultra Slim pickup which goes into a Fishman Aura Jerry Douglas pedal which in turn can be used with an assortment of sound modifiers or enhancements if needed in the studio. It has a fan type cover plate and chrome hardware. It took many weeks to build but the tone is very unique.It is one of four guitars that I use on stage, or in the studio.It is dark brown with a sunburst finish. I use a Levys strap while performing along with Ron Tipton bars, Zookies thumb picks and Propiks finger picks.
Overall Rating: 10
Where Purchased: A pawn shop
This is a mid-thirties model 40 Regal/Dobro which I purchased in 1953 for $20.00 in a pawn shop in Milwaukee Wisconsin . Serial # is 1089...it has a solid peghead stock with open tuners. The cone is stamped aluminum typical of the cones made in that period. It has a fan type coverplate and the only modification to it is a Nick Maniloff extended metal nut. It was made of plywood and a mahagony neck with a blonde top and dark brown body and sides. It still has that 'back porchy' sound after all these years and I was playing it on the Opry shows in the mid '60's. It has been on stage,radio,movies,Television, and in many recording sessions in that time. I still use it for these purposes to this day and is one of four resonators I currently use. At times, I will use a D'Armond 'monkey on a stick' pick-up on it along with some other sound enhancers such as a Goodrich Match-Bro simulator,a Graphic equalizer,a Boss digital reverb and a Boss chorus effect. I also use strap locks and a Levy Strap on stage. It is all original except for the metal nut and is a square neck resonator. I have been playing it for 63 years.
Overall Rating: 9
Where Purchased: From the builder direct
A cross between a Meredith maple body,a Beard R maple body and a Guernsey maple body. The sound changes as you move from the bridge down to the lip of the cone where I usually pick from. The brand of strings will also have an effect on the sound.So too,the bar and picks which I use. This guitar is a cannon !
Sound Rating: 10
This guitar was set up,with a Beard a Legend cone and all the latest tricks by the builder.
Setup Rating: 10
Curly maple finish in a amber color with a poinsettia cover plate...
Appearance Rating: 10
Many positive comments on the fit and finish on this guitar with a serial number 48. It is fitted with a Lace Ultra Slim pick-up going through a JD Aura pedal.
Reliability Rating: 10
The builder ,Tom Warner has assured me that if there ever comes a problem, he will stand behind his work...parts and labor !
Customer Service: 10
Every part that went into this guitar is certified to by top quality.
Components Rating: 10
I can only speak for myself, having played resonator guitars for over. 63 years on stage doing Opry shows, television, radio, and recording sessions. I currently use four different guitars,one is a mid thirties Regal/Dobro, a 1982 10 string Dobro, a 2012 Tut Taylor Tennessean and now an Applachian resonator. I can say that the new one stacks up as well or better than the others. Depending on the situation, I will use the Appalachian as much as possible in the studio And comments regarding thi with the TTT next in line,followed by the Regal/Dobro, then the 10 string Dobro. I would very highly recommend Tom Warner to build a prospective buyer their next resonator guitar. I use the Appy in the studio miked with a Shure SM-81 Mike. The mid 30's Regal is used sparingly in the studio using the same mike. The TTT is played on stage with the Lace Ultra Slim pick-up going through the board and the JD Aura pedal. The 10 string Dobro is used in my studio tuned to the D tuning and played on stage with the JD Aura pedal and Lace Ultra Slim pick-up either through the board or at home through a Music Man amp with JBL D-130 speaker and two Peavey Session 400 amps with Black Widow speakers. Settings on the amps are pretty much dry with some reverb going through a Roland SE-70 effects box, which has a total of 143 settings. Any comments regarding this set-up is welcome and very much appreciated ! The newest addition to my reso collection is reviewed on my homepage ( resotom) and is a SlideKing Resonator custom built by Jackson Steel Guitar Company in Nashville Tennessee which features a string pitch changer lever with roller nut and saddle as well as a K&K Pure Sound mike placed at the bottom of the cone powered by a K&K XLR Pure Sound pre-amp..The body is rosewood with a spruce top and an ebony fretboard. You can read the entire review of this newest addition on my home page..OR...go to my post in the hangout entitled SlideKing resos. There are two pages of information on this thread under 'product reviews and shopping advice'..
Overall Rating: 10
'Rebecca' 7 hrs
'Dobro ID?' 22 hrs