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Resonator Guitar Lovers Online


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Apr 15, 2021 - 11:18:44 AM

John Sluszny

Belgium

14 posts since 12/1/2010

I have two square neck reso guitars. One is a Goldtone pbs-m and the other one is a real Dobro. They both sound very good, although differently. The problem is that sometimes with the Goldtone guitar my fingerpicks hit the coverplate, especially my middle finger !!!
I have just realized that the Goldtone spider bridge and saddle are lower than the Dobro ones. Is it normal ? Could I raise the GoldTone spider bridge a little higher like the Dobro one, and HOW ?
Or anything else ? Thanks
Photo #1 GoldTone. Photo #2 Dobro




Edited by - John Sluszny on 04/15/2021 11:30:15

Apr 15, 2021 - 11:26:56 AM

99 posts since 11/9/2018

To raise the action, your bridge saddles (the wooden inserts in the bridge) could be replaced with taller ones.

Apr 15, 2021 - 11:37:50 AM

docslyd

USA

325 posts since 11/27/2014

....as Michael says...and as long as the palmrest gives you available height. If you're thinking of raising the spider by bending the legs downward, its a can'o'worms.

Apr 15, 2021 - 12:18:51 PM

3554 posts since 7/27/2008

To achieve the best sound transfer after you pluck a string, the bridge inserts need to have firm contact with the bottom of the bridge slot in the spider and they are sort of forced to do that with a pressure fit.

The only way to really get more height is by putting in new inserts as Michael wrote above. 

Easily accomplished here in the U.S. by ordering from Resophonic Outfitter, Stewart MacDonald, etc. 

I would guess importing them to Belgium would cost a lot more. 

But there is a European source for you to check out: Karel Zacal in the Czech Republic. Along with building some beautiful looking resonator guitars, he seems to have become sort of the Paul Beard of Europe in offering reso supplies. He sells bridge inserts as pictured below. 

I'm guessing you bought the Gold Tone as a used guitar - makes me wonder why someone would replace the factory insert with something that sits lower in the spider bridge slot. 

Or maybe something is wrong with the spider bridge to where it sits lower in the guitar? The only way to find out would be to remove the coverplate and disassemble. 

https://www.zacal.net/product/bridge-inserts/?lang=en


 

Edited by - MarkinSonoma on 04/15/2021 12:22:12

Apr 15, 2021 - 1:02:49 PM

John Sluszny

Belgium

14 posts since 12/1/2010

Thank you all for your help.
MarkinSonoma, the inserts look the same on both guitars, only the spider bridge is too low compared to the Dobro one.
I bought the guitar "new" in London about 10 years ago. The store doesn't exist anymore. Have I been had ? Just wondering.

Apr 15, 2021 - 1:40:48 PM

3554 posts since 7/27/2008

Well it's very strange that when you bought it new  the spider bridge was too low to begin with. 

The PBS-M is the top of the line solid mahogany Gold Tone and I'm guessing that 10 years ago they were using  the classic Beard #14 spider. Do you know if this is what is in your guitar?


 

Apr 15, 2021 - 5:46:10 PM

docslyd

USA

325 posts since 11/27/2014

John....don't feel "taken". Resonator guitars often need, or at least benefit, from a good setup. It comes with the territory. sometimes that involves bridge inserts, new spider and/or cone.

Apr 15, 2021 - 7:07:13 PM
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badger

USA

501 posts since 8/10/2008

I made up a batch of extra tall saddle blanks, ebony on quartersawn maple, about 25mm/1" tall overall. Let me know if you need some.

Apr 15, 2021 - 9:36:50 PM
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1108 posts since 9/29/2009

It appears from your pictures that the spider itself on the Dobro is closer to the underside of the coverplate. If that is the case, then it's likely the ridge in the cone on which the legs of the spider rest is higher than that in the Gold Tone. You can easily bring the ridge up on the Gold Tone cone relative to its outer edge by a procedure Paul Beard demonstrates. Turn the cone face down on a flat surface, and put a thin shim under its outermost edge. Holding the shim in place, rotate the cone one full turn keeping even pressure. This will raise the outer edge of the cone by the thickness of the shim. Thus when the cone is right side up, the ridge where the spider rests is now higher, relative to the cone's outer edge. You can repeat the procedure with a thicker shim if necessary. This would involve no new parts or special tools.

Edited by - SamCy on 04/15/2021 21:42:22

Apr 16, 2021 - 11:39:40 AM

John Sluszny

Belgium

14 posts since 12/1/2010

Thank you all for your comments.
SamCy, where could I see the Paul Beard's demonstration you're talking about ? Thanks.

Apr 16, 2021 - 2:44:25 PM

3554 posts since 7/27/2008

I don't recall seeing an actual demo of the technique from Paul Beard, but we can always count on Sam for offering some good technical information. yes

There is a school of thought that a cone cone can "settle" in the guitar and actually sink slightly over an extended period of time.  There was apparently a controversial thread that I missed and can't seem to locate on the Facebook Dobroholics page where someone posted something to the effect that some of the top pros who change cones like once a year are being excessive and it's entirely unnecessary. In the other words the poster might have been ridiculing the likes of Jerry Douglas,  Josh Swift, etc. 

 I can't say I have ever really noticed this sinking cone business it but I likely will in the future if I'm paying closer attention. 

John's Gold Tone PBS-M is 10 years old - so maybe it's just time for a new cone if the original is still in the guitar?

The great Chet Atkins had a short list of guitar players upon which he bestowed the title "CGP" or Certified Guitar Player. To mention a couple - Tommy Emmanuel and Steve Wariner.

There is a short list of dobro setup professionals like to refer to as wizards - maybe we should establish The Royal Order of Certified Dobro Setup Wizards. wink

Bobby Wright is certainly one of the wizards, here is what he wrote io Dobroholics today regarding the dreaded sinking cone syndrome:

"I just replaced a cone this morning in a customer's guitar that was about 3 years old. I used the original cone for the first setup trying to save him some money. The guitar sounded OK but was not as responsive as I like.

So I installed a new cone and the strings were almost a 1/8 higher because the old cone had settled that much in three years of general playing.  I replaced it with the same type cone so it was made from the same mold pattern. I could have re-shaped the cone to get the height back, But when you do this it causes metal fatigue and the cone would have settled back to where it was quicker and cost another setup. It sounded great with the new cone.

Professional players that play everyday with a aggressive attack will lower the action of a cone quicker than a ordinary picker ( like me ??).  Just keep an eye on the distance between the top of the strings and the bottom of the palm rest. The sound and responsiveness slowly goes away over time when the cone settles."

Edited by - MarkinSonoma on 04/16/2021 14:52:58

Apr 16, 2021 - 2:50:51 PM

3554 posts since 7/27/2008

quote:
Originally posted by John Sluszny


MarkinSonoma, the inserts look the same on both guitars, only the spider bridge is too low compared to the Dobro one.
 


Maybe the cone in the OMI Dobro is stamped, and it would have been a denser and slightly thicker material than a modern almost  paper thin Beard spun cone, so if this cone settling business is indeed a factor, the old Dobro cone might not be as susceptible to this issue. 

Apr 18, 2021 - 5:28:49 AM

217 posts since 7/9/2010

Hello,

I have an OMI dobro also. What you are seeing is the difference between slot cuts from OMI and Beard. I recently completed my analysis between my #14 OMI and Replogle’s #14 dimensionally. In 1974, the cutter of slots must not have been ISO 9001 aware.

I showed a 0.03” difference between the bass and treble side. In fact, this is very similar to your picture. For certain, modern spiders a significantly different slot wise than OMI. For example, my OMI maximum insert height was 0.53”. This yielded the StewMac measurement of 1/16” gap between the strings and the armrest.

With my new Replogle in place, the inserts look recessed. They are 5/8” inserts. 5/8” is greater than 0.53”. I also installed a different coverplate with a removable armrest. It has 2mm plastic spacers under the armrest for more clearance. The difference is significant and normal.

There is nothing wrong with either instrument. No collapsing cone reason is the cause. I would suggest to change out the OMI #14 for a new Replogle or Beard #14. My Replogle works very well is my 1974 OMI. Gone are the cutting done inserts to work with the OMI. I have even strings with stock Beard precuts.

The 0.03 difference between the bass and treble side exasperated me. I have multiple discarded inserts from attempting to “level” strings. I could never glide across strings. Now I can. A modern #14 was a game changer for my OMI.


Apr 18, 2021 - 10:49:09 AM

3554 posts since 7/27/2008

John, I'm confused by your post. 

 You should go back and read John Sluzny's original post. 

He isn't having an issue with his OMI Dobro - nothing needs to be replaced in that guitar. 

The problem is with the Gold Tone/Beard guitar - the string height is too low and he sometimes contacts the coverplate with his fingerpicks. 

Whether or not it is caused by a cone "settling" - none of us can tell from across the Atlantic Ocean. "No collapsing cone is the cause." I try to avoid absolute declarations like that. I offered the Facebook/Dobroholics post earlier from Bobby Wright as something that might be a possibility. 

And by the way, the term is palm rest or sometimes palmrest.  Was on my first cup of coffee and it took me a few seconds after reading "armrest."  An armrest is what you might find on a flattop acoustic guitar on the bass side of the lower bout. 


 

Edited by - MarkinSonoma on 04/18/2021 10:51:45

Apr 18, 2021 - 12:26:50 PM

217 posts since 7/9/2010

Hello,

I did both. I addressed a low PB model as normal and why the OMI looks different. If you change out the spider in an OMI to a modern spider it will look the same.

I do believe the palm is still attached to the arm. 

Edited by - AradoReso on 04/18/2021 12:30:06

Apr 18, 2021 - 12:48:56 PM

docslyd

USA

325 posts since 11/27/2014

....lordy boys....

 

....then shoulder rest. They are all attached.

Edited by - docslyd on 04/18/2021 12:50:11

Apr 18, 2021 - 1:57:12 PM

3554 posts since 7/27/2008

What - should we all join in and sing a chorus of the old song Dem Bones?

"The knee bone's connected to the thigh bone..."

John's analysis of spider and insert height aside, nothing has been determined  in the topic regarding John Sluzny's issue with his fingerpicks contacting the coverplate on his  Gold Tone. 

I have never owned one myself, but I have played plenty of these guitars since they hit the market ballpark 16 years ago. I honestly don't recall any of them where my fingerpicks routinely  hit the coverplate and leave potential scratches, or I would have to consciously avoid doing so. I would have been mortified if I did, be it in a guitar store or at a gathering of fellow dobro players. It would be a little like trying out your buddy's new flattop and you carelessly  leave some belt buckle rash on the back before you hand it back to him. 

So whatever the cause, something is "off" with  the setup on Mr. Sluzny's Gold Tone, or else it has something to do with picking technique. 

The guitars are simply not all sent out from the Gold Tone facilities with lower than normal insert height to where one is potentially hacking away at the coverplate with their fingerpicks. That would be an obvious design and production flaw. 

One thing I can tell you for sure  is that if you install a Beard Legend cone in a guitar that has never had one it will absolutely raise the insert height under the palm-arm-connected-to-the-shoulder-rest. Mike Witcher pointed this out to me several years ago - the Legend has a higher outer lip where the spider feet come in contact with the cone,  and sure enough when I replaced  a Scheerhorn cone with a Legend a few years ago it was a tighter fit in my Clinesmith. 
 

Apr 18, 2021 - 2:35:22 PM

2127 posts since 8/3/2008

I am reminded of an incident I witnessed in Mexico (stay with me) where an American attempted to communicate with a resident in a pidgin Spanish dialect. This of course was complete gibberish to the perplexed citizen. After about 20 minutes of complete confusion the tourist angrily called the Mexican a "damn foreigner" and left the scene.

This is also a challenge when discussing music theory or instrument specifics with a newbie who is not aware that there are specific technical descriptions of things like parts and concepts.

So, if you are new to the instrument or just unaware I'd gently suggest additional research and just know that "When in Rome.....".

Making stuff up on the fly leads to misunderstandings and generally bad feelings.

Learn the language. Resources are available.

I think that covers it for me.

h

Apr 18, 2021 - 4:08:34 PM

John Sluszny

Belgium

14 posts since 12/1/2010

Again, thank you everybody for your advices, I really appreciate them even if some of them are not exactly what I expected, but it’s still interesting to read.
Now, let me remind you this: When I play on my Dobro (or any other square neck reso I had played before, I have never hit the cover plate with my index pick, it happens only with that beautiful GoldTone of mine. I’m sure I’ll find a way to solve this problem with or without your help. Here in western Europe it’s almost impossible to find someone to reset up my guitar and with the travel limitations due to this virus condition it’s even more difficult.
Thank you all again for your kind interventions.

Apr 18, 2021 - 5:36:27 PM
Players Union Member

otbreso

USA

1666 posts since 4/27/2009

I have a couple of dobros where my picks hit the coverplate. I adjust my picking technique to compensate. Actually it makes me practice better technique

Apr 18, 2021 - 6:52:02 PM

3554 posts since 7/27/2008

I have an early 1930s Dobro with a lower than normal nut and the classic slightly collapsed palmrest one sees quite often on those old guitars. After putting it off for a long time It is  on the list of upcoming fix it projects. 

So when I play the guitar - yes - I adjust the picking technique. But it doesn't mean I have to like it. 

And it would annoy the heck out of me if I had to put up with it on a modern guitar like a Gold Tone/Beard solid mahogany where a new one in 2021 goes for around 1400 U.S. dollars. 

Apr 18, 2021 - 6:56:11 PM

1108 posts since 9/29/2009

I found Paul Beard's demonstration of the procedure to correct a sunken cone. It is in his set-up video. I bought it back when it was a VHS tape. I see that Beard has a set-up video available on DVD, though they are out of stock at the moment. Couldn't say if it is the same as the one I have; maybe Howard knows.

http://www.resophonicoutfitters.com/product/BDVD-58.html

Apr 18, 2021 - 7:33:58 PM

3554 posts since 7/27/2008

It's the same one. I have it on both VHS (somewhere) and on DVD.


They are the same because in the DVD version Paul  still had hair.wink

I will take a look at it in the next couple days, it's been a few years  since I watched it. 

Edited by - MarkinSonoma on 04/18/2021 19:35:04

Apr 19, 2021 - 12:05:47 PM

docslyd

USA

325 posts since 11/27/2014

...Terry...now...you're doing exactly what Howard warned about. It's not a "pick". It's a taperish-finger-knuckle-extension-thingy.

Apr 20, 2021 - 10:16:05 AM

John Sluszny

Belgium

14 posts since 12/1/2010

quote:
Originally posted by MarkinSonoma

 

...Bobby Wright is certainly one of the wizards, here is what he wrote io Dobroholics today regarding the dreaded sinking cone syndrome:

"I just replaced a cone this morning in a customer's guitar that was about 3 years old. I used the original cone for the first setup trying to save him some money. The guitar sounded OK but was not as responsive as I like.

So I installed a new cone and the strings were almost a 1/8 higher because the old cone had settled that much in three years of general playing.  I replaced it with the same type cone so it was made from the same mold pattern. I could have re-shaped the cone to get the height back, But when you do this it causes metal fatigue and the cone would have settled back to where it was quicker and cost another setup. It sounded great with the new cone.

Professional players that play everyday with a aggressive attack will lower the action of a cone quicker than a ordinary picker ( like me ??).  Just keep an eye on the distance between the top of the strings and the bottom of the palm rest. The sound and responsiveness slowly goes away over time when the cone settles."

 

 


Mark, I believe you nailed it. 1/8" is what's missing. I will get some new 1/8" taller inserts from Karel Zacal. Thank you again.

Apr 20, 2021 - 6:50:02 PM

1108 posts since 9/29/2009

If you can remove your present inserts without damage, hang onto them for reuse when you get a new cone or when we can get the instructions to you for reshaping your existing cone.

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