Several months ago I bought a used Beard R (standard) - I was told it was a 2003 model. It shows very little signs of use, so I'm thinking it wasn't played a lot. I think it sounds great. But....could it get better? This leads to my question - being that it is 15 years old and likely hasn't had any modifications, would it be beneficial to change out/update the cone (and/or spider) - to a Legend cone? I was told that over time cones degrade and lose there responsiveness, even if the instrument is not played much. I don't have any experience setting up resos so I really don't want to take it apart to change out the cone myself, and I really don't care to ship it and spend $2-300 for set-up. However, if a new Legend cone would make a world of difference it may be worth it. Again, I just don't have a lot of experience with reso parts and set-up. What would you do? Thanks.
Why not take it apart, clean the cone, reassemble and play the darn thing.
Good question. Here’s my needlessly long response since I’m vacation.
I took my Gold Tone PBSM into Paul and wanted him to change the cover plate and sound rings because I wanted to make it look more “Jerry Douglasish.” In his wisdom and experience he urged me to spend that money on a Legend cone. That was the day I really found out a lot about Paul. The cover plate and sound rings would’ve cost three times as much as the cone but he didn’t care about selling he cared about sound. Thankfully I listened to him. He put a little Legend cone in it and my mind was blown at how much better it sounded! With that said, there’s quite a difference in a Gold Tone and a Beard R and yours might already sound killer. I see that you’re from N.C. (North Carolina i assume). There are some crazy good and experienced players near you. I highly suggest getting with some of them and letting them play it and listen to other resos to compare. I agree with Howard too, clean it out and play it. I must say, This is what makes playing resos better than most any other instrument; We’re not just playing an instrument we’re playing a hot rod and sometimes hot rods need a tune-up. I’m sure I muddied the water more. I’m going back to bed.
Hey - thanks guys for the input. Pardon my ignorance, but when/if I take it apart (and I assume that means taking the cone and spider out), is putting it back and setting it up "tricky"? I need to find a Youtube video of this being done. FWIW, I tinker with banjos and there are many variables with banjo set-up. I'm assuming a reso set-up is not as detailed.
There are basically two options to clean the cone. The easy and effective way is to do what Paul says in this video
The other method is to remove strings, remove tailpiece, remove 12 cover plate screws, carefully remove cover plate, mark the cone location by putting a small mark on the cone at the center line of the guitar (this is very important so you can put it back exactly how it was). Then remove and carefully clean the cone with a soft bristle brush or rag with soapy water. Make sure the ledge that the cone sits on is clean and put it back together.
I personally wouldn’t remove the spider unless you have to. It’s not a terribly difficult job but the dobro has many functioning parts and proper setup is key to getting good sound. Good luck
It just so happens that I own a 2003 Beard roundneck that I bought brand new at IBMA fanfest. This year, I finally decided to take it apart and clean it up. I have built a couple of my own dobros and have some experience on the insides but it is not rocket science by a good margin. Better than that, Paul's design and craftsmanship is superb. He has steel inserts for the cover plate so removal and replacement is as simple as "righty tighty, lefty loosey". The Legend cone was not available in 2003 so I upgraded while I had mine apart. The 15 year old cone was thickly coated with dust and the tone had to have been materially dampened. It sounds like a million bucks again, perhaps better than it ever has.
Tools needed are one small flathead screwdriver for cover plate screws and cone screw, and one medium phillips to remove the tailpiece. Nothing to it.
Thanks for the info fellow pickers! Tom Jr. - I'm assuming the Legend cone was a direct fit on your 2003 R with no modifications having to be made?
while the subject is touching on cone cleaning, I have a question. Is it feasible to use a low pressure air hose inserted through cover plate and gently blow out dust accumulation on the cone? Or if pressure great enough to de-dust the cone be strong enough to damage the thin cone? I have a 6 year old PBSM which would no doubt benefit from a Legend cone but hesitate to risk losing tone/volume it now has. One other question....would a Legend cone be same size as cone now installed....PBSM was set up and purchased from Beard.
I use low pressure air to clean my dobros out all of the time.
It will amaze you how much dirt is down there!
I usually take mine apart once a year to clean the cone. This gives me a chance to really inspect everything and put it back together with everything mating up correctly. Low pressure air certainly will clean out most of the crickets and dust.
Yes sir Brandon, the Legend cone is a direct fit. Same size, great tone. I would presume that they would be interchangeable with all Beard spider cone guitars.
Any benefit in changing the spider/bridge or just the cone?
Why change only one? The cone, spider bridge, and inserts are arguably the three components contributing the most to the sound of the guitar. I would make sure I had the best quality components in these three places.
Since your reso is a Beard R, it surely came with a "leveled" #14 spider. While some think that cones degrade over time, I have heard no one claim the same is true of spiders. In fact those who like the lug-cone, short-spider sound are delighted when they find a rare pre-war short spider. The inserts can wear over time if the reso is played a lot, but you indicated it shows little signs of use.
Since the Legend cone is thought by many to be a noticeable improvement over the standard Beard cone, over and above the age factor, it might be worth changing. But I see no good reason to change anything else. What Howard said.
Edited by - SamCy on 11/13/2018 07:53:19
Thanks SamCy for that info.
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