Dear Reso Hangout: I am a longtime guitar player relatively new to resonator/lap steel. A family member gifted me with a lap steel at the onset of the pandemic, and I have never looked back. I would now like to purchase a dobro or some budget SQUARE NECK resonator for lap-style playing (I currently play a Gretsch round neck Boxcar with a nut extender, but I would like to get one built for lap-style playing. I have identified a few models, but notice that most retail stores, including the big box stories in my area, Northern New Jersey/NYC have zero in stock. I am older, (59) and have never bought a musical instrument online and am not comfortable doing so now. My personality is such that if I end up being "sort of okay" with something, I won't make the effort to send it back. Would anyone have any friendly advice on what to do? Can the big retailers order models for me without me having to shell out the money first, so that I can try it out when it arrives? Are there any shops in NYC that maybe I don't know about? Thank you very much.
Edited by - rochesterboy on 09/22/2021 12:11:01
One nice thing about square necks is you don't have to worry about action, or how the neck feels. Those are important to me on a round neck, but not really an issue on a squareneck. A couple of squarenecks bought online have done just fine. Bt wait for others to chime in; a couple of good instrument scores may just have been luck.
On the Facebook Page for resophonic sales and trades, someone has a Recording King squareneck which has slight upgrades. At $500.00 (that's asking price) it would be hard to go wrong, though, I don't know if he will ship it.
Edited by - docslyd on 09/22/2021 14:10:06
What you could do is go to the websites of makers of the guitars you've identified as candidates. Go to their dealers page and search Jersey and New York. Then just give them a call and ask if they have or will order a guitar with the condition you will try it out first. I took the liberty of posting a link to Recording King's dealer search page. They have several good quality, reasonably priced guitars you might be interested in. You might be surprised how many dealers are in the NY and NJ area. Good luck in your search.
Guitar center had a 2 or 4 week try it policy. Bring it back for a refund.
They can order most anything!
Also, 10% off coupons now and then. I bought my Honeydipper that way.
One thing you will get with a square neck that i love is a wider string spacing. For budget resos you have alot of options, i like the Regals ive had, but really they are all pretty similar in the sub $1000.00 world. I would say go ahead and order one from a reputable dealer and get it in your hands as soon as you can. It will most likely require a bit of setup like all new guitars usually do anyway.
I purchased a Recording King Professional series squareneck through the House of Musical Traditions in Takoma Park, Maryland, and they were incredibly helpful. Six months later, looking for another squareneck, I started weighing the pros and cons of several others in my price range, and after reading reviews on this forum, I narrowed it down to either a Beard Goldtone or a Recording King Phil Leadbetter signature edition.
I went on them durned youtubes, listened to each by a variety of players, and ordered a Leadbetter signature through Guitar Center.
I have been as happy as a freaking dobro-playing clam (don't ask me how clams play dobro).
My advice is to find some guitars in your price range, see what they sound like online, and then pull the trigger. You will be happy, I bet. Most retailers these days will work with you, as they understand the oddity of ordering sight-unseen.
Good luck! Keep us posted!!
By the way, can I just say that in my humble opinion, Recording King makes some really nice resonators at really good prices.
I never thought I would buy two successive resonators from them, but I did, and each is killer, especially for the pittance I paid!
Edited by - Martinipen on 09/23/2021 15:16:51
If I were just starting out, I would buy a Recording King Leadbetter and be done with it.
One can actually purchase this model from Phil himself. He is in Knoxville. Phil is a three time winner of the award formerly known as Dobro, now the IBMA Resophonic Player of the Year.
I don't have his contact info off the top of my head, but for anyone interested I can get it for you.
Edited by - MarkinSonoma on 09/23/2021 15:53:23
'tuners' 6 hrs
'Short mountain liberty' 13 hrs