I'm slowly coming to grips with the need to build a square neck resonator. Probably a spider cone, since my others are spiders and I can copy them. I have different woods in my shop that I could use for top, back and sides, probably I will use spalted maple, but I have some sinker curly redwood (fully quartersawn) that I could use for a top. Is there any validity to the idea of "tone wood" in a reso? I know that some of the best are made from birch plywood, sometimes with extravagant veneers on the show face, and I have access to that, too. In general, how thick are reso tops and backs - for some reason I have 3/16" in mind?
There is absolutely going to be a difference in tone from different wood species. I built one out of black locust and at IBMA last year, I played the only other one I ever saw and the tone was similiar. The impact is much less than on a flat top guitar but still significant. You'll have to figure out what tone you are going for and choose that type of wood. Mahogany is going to be warm, Maple bright, etc.
As to thickness of the sides and back, about like a flat top if memory serves me correctly. I also used that thickness for the top and laminated it to a 7/16 piece of plywood that had been cut to fit with a lot of mass removed. I like a very stable top.
Tom, thanks for the reply. I looked at the Scheerhorn site yesterday, and it had a lot of pictures of a build, including the top laminated to a plywood structure that you speak of. Would make a significantly stable top, and I think would eliminate issues with strength vs string tension in the top. Very neat idea!
The tone wood comparisons are only part of the story.
Put a Scheerhorn L maple next to a Beard E maple and hopefully hear for yourself. Much has to do with the guitar's technology and the builder's vision.
I'm finding that as I research this, technology in reso's has blossomed over the past years, far beyond what Dobro was doing and into the physics, the baffles, the interior volume and different bracing techniques. I guess I'll do what the wood tells me to do...
Do what the guitar's "voice" tells you to do.
I readily admit this is not always possible but when I audition guitars I try to ignore things like wood choices, cosmetics, the builder's name, internal technology.
It's because I have a "voice" ingrained in my head. Either I can achieve that voice or...I can't. If I can't the rest does not matter because $$$$ and life is too short.
If I hear the "voice" I look at fit, finish and construction techniques. In other words, is the guitar well built. Will it last in a professional environment.
The rest of it is (to me) secondary.
Again..I've been in an unusual position for a while and not every player has access to many instruments from so many builders.
Go with your ears..if possible and good luck.
Just a thought. Spalted maple is beautiful, but the spalting is the result of fungal decay. It may or may not have the strength or stability to be used for bent sides or structural parts. It may make a beautiful top to go along with a strong Baltic birch plywood frame (like the pics at Schoonover guitars), and non-spalted sides and back. I understand spalted maple is great for electric guitar drop-tops, but that would be beyond the scope of Reso Hangout...
Edited by - daver on 02/19/2020 08:58:11
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