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under 1000 8 string square neck resonator?

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Nov 8, 2018 - 6:13:01 PM
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72 posts since 12/18/2013

what square neck resonator for under 1000 would you recommend that is 8 string sounds good and made from all solid wood? I see DeNeve resonators going for around 600-1000 what is his new price and does he still make them? Any other brands I should look at? I'm VERY willing to buy used.

Nov 9, 2018 - 5:41:17 AM



1028 posts since 9/28/2010

I picked up a used Gold Tone a couple years back, and it's done a fine job. (I did get lucky with a Beard setup that I learned about after the fact.) It sounds good, plays well, and does fine in C6, in spite of the lighter string gauges. $1000 is probably a good price to have in mind, with a bit in reserve just in case. Or, be patient and wait for a bargain, then jump on it.

Nov 9, 2018 - 9:43:33 AM

2725 posts since 7/27/2008

Not that comparing how we might sound to Mke Auldridge would necessarily teach us a whole lot, but if memory serves Mike played an 8 string DeNeve on the 2002 CD The Resocasters. I''m on a road trip so I can't verify that without having the CD booklet in front of me. The album was recorded a couple years prior to Mike signing on with Paul Beard to introduce the MAS guitars

 The CD featured along with a great lineup of supporting players and a couple of vocalists,  Mike, Jimmy Heffernan, and pedal steel legend Hal Rugg who went acoustic with a Franklin Pedabro. If you don't own this CD you can order it on Jimmy Heffernan's site, and you can thank me later.

On the tunes where Mike plays 8 string you can get a pretty good idea about the DeNeve. Though I will say when it comes to DeNeve six string resos the ones to which I have been exposed  over the years have been a mixed bag to my ears. Some I have liked and others I didn't care for at all. But that might be just me - there are some who own multiple DeNeves and think they are the best resos ever.  

This goes against the grain of the philosophy which I know is held by some that a one man shop made in the U.S. guitar automatically trumps an Asian factory produced guitar every time. I was at a big jam recently and the host has a  houseful of guitars, some quite expensive from the likes of Santa Cruz and Collings. He had recently purchased a new OM style Blueridge flattop and a number of us were blown away by how nice a guitar it was. Sounded good and played like butter. I think he spent $600.

Edited by - MarkinSonoma on 11/09/2018 09:46:53

Nov 9, 2018 - 1:42:29 PM

72 posts since 12/18/2013

I was just looking for recommendations I'm not dead set on a deneve. I just liked the price, the good reviews and the handmade construction. Blueridge does not make resonators so want brand do you think I should look into . I had a goldtone beard roundneck resonator that I was very unimpressed with( the build quality and intonation not the sound).

Nov 9, 2018 - 2:07:25 PM

784 posts since 10/27/2013

I bought an Adams 8 string for about $800. Nice instrument. You have to be pretty obsesive and patient but bargains pop up.

Nov 9, 2018 - 3:00:56 PM



1028 posts since 9/28/2010

I was never crazy about the Gold Tones when tried out at various stores, but figured I'd have to take whatever 8 string I could find. It happened to be Gold Tone, and just happened to be a good one.

Nov 9, 2018 - 4:06:07 PM

73 posts since 7/25/2016

Good luck finding a solid wood guitar for under $1K. Several laminated wood guitars have been produced though. I know Gregg McKenna built some 8's in lam. birch besides those already mentioned.

You might check with Tom Warner and see if he offers 8 stringers. I doubt he builds a solid wood guitar for your budget, but his instruments are great values at reasonable prices. Good Luck!

Nov 9, 2018 - 4:50:40 PM
Players Union Member



1554 posts since 4/27/2009

My Dobro brand 8 string cost me around $800.00-$850.00, somethin like that. I think it's an early '80s model. Honestly, the thing is a hoss. Really cuts thru
Good luck in your quest

Nov 10, 2018 - 1:20:15 PM

165 posts since 8/25/2008

There is a Gold Tone 8 string on Ebay right now for $649.00 and $36.00 shipping. Take a look.

Nov 19, 2018 - 1:31:13 PM

2725 posts since 7/27/2008

Originally posted by macmanmatty

I was just looking for recommendations I'm not dead set on a deneve. I just liked the price, the good reviews and the handmade construction. Blueridge does not make resonators so want brand do you think I should look into . I had a goldtone beard roundneck resonator that I was very unimpressed with( the build quality and intonation not the sound).

Jesse - any news to report on the 8 string resonator hunt?

When I posted the bit about Blueridge, it was  a genearal analogy regarding Chinese vs. American-made instruments, not specifically about the Blueridge brand. And actually, in a manner of speaking Blueridge does in fact produce resonator instruments - the modern Regal brand. Both products lines are a part of Saga Music headquartered near San Francisco. And it's highly possible they both come out of the same factory.  But you can't get a Regal 8 string reso.

Nov 19, 2018 - 1:53:49 PM

72 posts since 12/18/2013

nope still searching found a Deneve for 1000 or OBO but it was only a six stringer.

Nov 19, 2018 - 3:14:34 PM

1238 posts since 8/4/2008

Elderly has a eight string PBS for just under $1000.

Nov 19, 2018 - 4:15:59 PM

2725 posts since 7/27/2008

The good thing about the one at Elderly is that it is brand new, and final assembly  and setup was done at the Beard shop in Maryland. If you sent an existing guitar to them for setup and some fresh parts, I believe it's at least 200 bucks these days. This way you know you're getting an 8 string with a top notch setup - very important. 

The bad thing is that I don't believe the Elderly price of around $930 includes a case. 

I couldn't find the one on eBay Doc posted about earlier for $649. 

Here's a Gold Tone/Beard for $899 new - but with a few blemishes. It also includes a case. But it doesn't include the Beard setup.

Edited by - MarkinSonoma on 11/19/2018 16:17:01

Nov 19, 2018 - 6:50:07 PM

72 posts since 12/18/2013

Why are square neck setups important ? On round neck of any kind resonator, guitar, banjo ect. I can see the value . Things getting the string action right, getting the truss rod adjusted properly, dressing the frets. But a square neck needs none of these things. Other than adjusting the tension screw the cone or some light filing on the nut / saddle what does a square neck setup entail?

Nov 19, 2018 - 7:21:36 PM

90 posts since 8/12/2010
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Setup isn’t important at all , if you don’t mind them sounding like crap!

Nov 19, 2018 - 8:50:47 PM

564 posts since 1/18/2012

Why are square neck setups important ?
Same reason a chef's knife needs to be sharp. A dull dobro just doesn't cut it.

Nov 20, 2018 - 3:51:07 AM

72 posts since 12/18/2013

but what do they do during set to make them not dull? Are thy actually grinding down or bending / modifying the cone? What else do they do?

Nov 20, 2018 - 8:03:23 AM

564 posts since 1/18/2012

Originally posted by macmanmatty

"but what do they do during set to make them not dull? Are thy actually grinding down or bending / modifying the cone? What else do they do?"

It may involve some and more of the following:   replacing the nut, or filing and adjusting the nut; replacing the bridge inserts with several choices of hardwoods and/or synthetics; adjusting; getting the spider 'legs' flat so they touch the cone evenly (a piece of flat glass works well for testing), or replacing the spider bridge completely with a better cast and alloy, re-setting or replacing the cone (quite often the big difference).

And of course strings, which anyone can do.  But some people make the mistake of taking all the strings off and replacing all at once like on an acoustic guitar, which can force you to start all over at the top of the list.  

these and more adjustments are definitely an art, and involve very subtle and exacting adjustments.  There are a ton of dobros out there that have problems in all-of-the above, and you'd never know it unless a good set-up guy (or gal) showed you how it is supposed to be.  At the Reso-Summit in Nashville, Paul Beard and Tim Scheerhorn always have very full classes in "dobro set-up" with very experienced dobro players trying to glean a few tricks.

Edited by - Lounge Primate on 11/20/2018 08:12:13

Nov 20, 2018 - 9:40:05 AM

2725 posts since 7/27/2008

Check out this article from the StewMac website. Noted reso luthier Dan Brooks goes through the process.

I tend to think of spider bridge resonator instruments as half guitar/half mechanical device. As Lounge wrote above. it is definitely an art and it involves very subtle and exacting adjustments. 

Paul Beard made a video in 1992 (originally on VHS which I used to own) called Dobro Set Up & Maintenance which is available on DVD from Resophonic Outftters.  It's kind of a "low gloss" production and Paul still had a full head of brown hair in those days, but the information in the video still applies. No need to drop 30 bucks plus shipping on it at this point while you're still shopping for you first dobro, but plenty of us own the video. When I'm disassembling my guitars and doing cleanup and checking for wear, etc. (which I don't do often enough) I put the video in the player and fast forward to certain segments to remind me of the steps involved. 

I took the Tim Scheerhorn setup class several years ago at the Rob Ickes ResoSummit in Nashville. It was really interesting to see one of the masters at work. 

Here is a post from a year ago by Drewboy (Andy King). As Tim Scheerhorn was heading toward retirement he struck a deal with National Reso-Phonic here in California to produce his Scheerhorn guitars in the future. They are made very, very close to the original specs. I refer to them as Nati-horns. Tim trained the people at National. They are very nice guitars, but some have left me "wanting" when I have taken them for test drives in shops. I think a lot of it has to do with the setup. Below isn't the first story I have come across regarding the before-and-after setup from one of the top reso luthiers.

"I just got back from Resosummit and have some relevant information to contribute to this thread. I bought a used maple National Scheerhorn around 2 1/2 years ago from Matt Leadbetter. He had modified it and added a Nashville pickup. I'll have to say the sound of that reso was okay, certainly "good enough" I could get decent tone and volume but I always felt like I had to dig in and work really hard to get it. I brought it to Resosummit and arranged to get with Tim and see if he could look it over and suggest some improvements. The first thing he noticed was the Nashville pickup, which was the older sandwich style, which really surprised me since the reso was not that old. He said it also had some slotting issues and he recommended just getting rid of it and replacing with one of his newer bridges. I don't plug in much so I said go for it! Let's see what this reso can do. Tim did that and went through his usual meticulous setup procedure, and tightened up the tailpiece and tuning gears and re-strung with a set of TS1600's. The first time I picked it up and played I was stunned. It was a completely new guitar now, a real screamer! Nice balance and great lows, and a first string that could really sing. I was amazed. Finally I could get that really nice tone without digging in hard. I handed it to Greg Booth the next day to play, and he made some very favorable comments about it too. I told Tim that he's not going to pay for another beer at Station Inn for the rest of the weekend!

My reso was #40 of the National production line, so a fairly early one. Tim said there was not any significant differences in construction between the earlier models when mine was made and ones that are being made now. I've heard that National has this computer controlled system where the wood is sawn in a very reproducible way, and they worked hard to dial it in to Tim's exact specs. I'm sure the quality of the wood must play an important role there as well, but by far, it has to be Tim's meticulous process for setting up the reso that is the key factor here. He spent well over an hour shaping the cone, creating a level surface for the cone to sit on, grinding on the spider to make it sit perfectly level and then properly position it, creating the properly formed grooves and spacing on the bridge. He said that he has a checklist of around 10 things, any of which can affect the sound, and if all of those are right then the magic can happen. Tim said he spent a lot of time with the National guys to teach them this process. 

So I can conclude that the Nati-Horns certainly have the potential of sounding as good as Tim built Horns. Since mine was already modified I don't have a good data point from that on a factory adjusted reso, but I did play three of them at Resosummit last weekend. The rosewood and the mahagony models really didn't impress me too much. The maple had a lot more life in it. When Greg was playing on it, Sally came over and asked him if it was his. Who knows? Maybe the strings were just dead on the other 2, hard to say. At any rate, it was a really interesting weekend and I just wanted to share what I learned with you. I couldn't be more pleased, it felt like I was flying home with a new reso! I can't wait to get out to the next jam and turn some heads."

Nov 20, 2018 - 1:23:44 PM

2725 posts since 7/27/2008

I'm going to backtrack here for a bit. 

I'm curious Jesse, you mentioned you had a Gold Tone roundneck that was unimpressive. Did you play that strictly as an "upright" guitar, or did you use a nut raiser at some point and also play it on your lap with a bar?

If this is your initial foray into lap style playing, you might be the first person I have ever come across who wants to start out on an 8 string - and I began playing dobro in 1977. 

What I've noticed over the years is that a fair percentage of folks make the investment in an 8 string, then within a couple years they find it didn't "take" and it ends up for sale on the used market. 

Of course we have members here who do play their 8 strings (and occasionally 7 strings) fairly regularly, but I've come across others over the years who own this style and the guitar doesn't get out of the case all that often.

Probably the two most well known 8 string resonator players in "the modern era" are 1. Mike Auldridge and  2. my fellow Northern Californian, Pete Grant. 

Some of our members were there with me during ResoSummit at the Station Inn in Nashville in 2010 for the evening of Mike's final appearance in a working band when he performed with Darren Beachley & Legends of the Potomac.  Mike was becoming weaker in his battle with cancer and he had decided to stop touring at the point. It was a great privilege for us to be there and I managed to score a seat right in front of him. 

Someone can help me out if they have a more precise memory or even documentation, but as I recall in this show which consisted of two sets and I'm thinking around 19-20 songs, Mike played his Beard MAS-8 on maybe three numbers.   It sounded wonderful, and over the years he had mastered the tunings involving two additional strings, but even for him it was a distant "second fiddle" to his playing of the 6 string resonator. 

I bring all this up because if this is indeed your first go at lap style dobro, I'm curious why you want to go with an 8 string guitar. 

Nov 20, 2018 - 3:08 PM



1028 posts since 9/28/2010

As an 8 string player, I concur with the above- definitely ask yourself why you want 8 strings. Aand if you ask why I play 8 strings- I mainly play as half an acoustic duo and like the extra strings for more sonic variety with just us 2. With more bandmates, I'd probably be fine with a 6 string C6. And, I do alternate between it and another instrument or two (depending on gig length).

Nov 20, 2018 - 8:21:04 PM
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72 posts since 12/18/2013

I played the round neck only as a slide guitar. No lap style. But I do play lap steel. I really don't care for the sound of the lap steel (or lack there of). It just sounds like and electric slide guitar. Which the only style of music I play that it sounds good with is classic country. Bluegrass, folk and blues it doesn't sound too good with. Why do I want an 8 string resonator for the same reason I play 7 string guitar .If you have less strings you're cheating yourself out of possible notes and I'm sick and tired of cheating myself out of things.

Edited by - macmanmatty on 11/20/2018 20:28:55

Nov 20, 2018 - 9:53:13 PM
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1714 posts since 8/3/2008

Interesting response. As a professional player of several of the above mentioned instruments I can safely pronounce the following:

1. When played with lap steel technique the lap steel sounds NOTHING like a slide guitar. The lapsteel is actually a classic blues and "other " instrument. Google some tunes. Lots of genres.

2. As a player of 6-8 and 10 stringed stringed "steel" guitars of the electric and acoustic varieties I'll assure you that you won't be " cheating yourself out of possible notes". Take the 6 and you'll discover that all the notes ARE there. Now, a new player may lack technique or knowledge to find them, but they are there. I don't know who you listen to because 97% of all dobro players play 6 string guitars. MANY genres and no one feels cheated. Google some tunes.

Remember that I do play 8 string dobro as well as a 3 X 8 console steel (A6/C6/E13) and fwiw, my .02 that the 6 string dobro is far less limiting than the 8. The more strings you use the "nicheer" the instrument is. The (more) complex tunings often force you skip over strings that get in the way.

My suggestion's free. Start with a quality 6. Learn solid technique. Learn the classic tuning used by 99% of players in a variety of genres. Spend a couple of years on it and IF you feel limited you can always explore the 8.

Good luck,



Nov 21, 2018 - 4:19:18 AM

72 posts since 12/18/2013

My seven string guitar has notes my six doesn't there isn't any B1 on regular six string guitar. Though I usually keep that 7th string at D2 or C2. I love the sound of low notes on a resonator, but the highs have their place too. My round neck was tuned C2 G2 C3 E3 G3 D4 and I loved the sound if it wasn't for the intonation issues (yes, I had it properly setup by one best guitar techs in the Tallahassee area and for my special tuning none the less ) I'd still have it. That C2 string was nearly a C# at the 12th fret

Nov 21, 2018 - 11:48:23 AM

1040 posts since 1/14/2011

Originally posted by macmanmatty

My seven string guitar has notes my six doesn't there isn't any B1 on regular six string guitar. 

I don't understand what "B1" means (nor C2 G2 C3 E3 G3 D4 etc.)

Nov 21, 2018 - 11:53:53 AM

784 posts since 10/27/2013

Dane, I think he is talking about the octave. C4 is generally considered Middle C. B3 would the the note below middle C. I say generally because some folks consider middle C to C5.

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