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How often do you do a setup on your high quality resonator?

Apr 9, 2024 - 5:01:47 PM
11 posts since 8/13/2008

I have a Meredith, and I wonder how often you do a setup. How often do you find that the legs of the spider need to be leveled? Is there any reason to believe that standard surface dust on the surface of the cone would prevent it from ringing as much? Once you have had your fine instrument for 5-10 years, you would likely find it challenging to compare the sound it had when you got it versus present time. I live in San Francisco, and I don't know of any high quality setup master in this area. I don't know how you inspect the cone for wear and degradation (if even possible) and often you change the cone. My assumption is that the cone is in good shape.

thanks
Jim

Apr 9, 2024 - 5:35:24 PM
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RezBluez

Canada

268 posts since 1/24/2015

I always said to myself it depends how much money you got!

Apr 9, 2024 - 7:17:54 PM
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2529 posts since 8/3/2008

It's unlikely the spider needs adjustment. The wear items are nut, bridge inserts and cone. The cone will get dirty over time and inhibit sound. That you can take care of yourself.

Cones also oxidize and lose resiliency over time. That can only be remedied by replacement. Many players, including myself, usually replace cones every 3-5 years. Some players that I am aware change cones annually. Those players gig 150+ gigs annually and are on the road. The cones on these guitars are subjected to a lot of environmental issues. My guitar typically sees 50 gigs/year.

Do I hear a difference after a cone swap? I certainly do and it's often quite dramatic.

With regards to the nut and inserts, I'll occasionally require a minor dressing/tweak. Often they have no need for anything other than inspection. I also disassemble, inspect and clean my gigging guitars twice a year.

This is my personal routine.

h

Apr 9, 2024 - 8:52:24 PM

docslyd

USA

521 posts since 11/27/2014

Like Howard....about 3-5 years or if the guitar seems to have lost its lively-ness.

Apr 13, 2024 - 3:55:07 AM

356 posts since 8/24/2013

A good dobro doesn’t need messing with all the time. When it’s sounding off give it some attention.

Apr 13, 2024 - 6:24:32 AM
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2529 posts since 8/3/2008

No one mentioned "all the time".

We do routine, preventive inspection and maintenance on our performance instruments for the same reason you have oil changes and check tire pressure on your car.

h

Apr 14, 2024 - 9:22:58 AM

Petros

USA

64 posts since 9/7/2023

quote:
Originally posted by hlpdobro

No one mentioned "all the time".

We do routine, preventive inspection and maintenance on our performance instruments for the same reason you have oil changes and check tire pressure on your car.

h


Even just readjusting the tension screw can mae a big difference, I assume over time temp humidity changes can alter the set up enough to make a difference? But I just tweaked a tension screw on a Regal RD65 that has a Legend a #14 and Shockwaves and it make a large difference, the screw was too tight. 

Apr 14, 2024 - 9:51:40 AM
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2529 posts since 8/3/2008

FWIW

There is this.

Hope this is helpful.
Apr 29, 2024 - 8:31:34 PM

356 posts since 8/24/2013

Ive been around the block playing at times working on dobros since 76. I’ve observed some great advice and learned some needed lessons about maintaining the instrument. Paul Beards cd on dobro maintenance should be with every owner of a resonator. Taking good care of the dobro requires skill and knowledge. I do not see tinkering with it often is necessary unless an event has happened. I had a Tut Taylor that was back over in the case by a careless guy in a bluegrass band. The guitar survived but with a cracked nut. Thank God for that case. The guitar was given its needed attention to bring it back up to my standards. I guess we all have opinions and you’ve read mine.

Apr 29, 2024 - 8:46:22 PM

356 posts since 8/24/2013

quote:
Originally posted by little ray

Ive been around the block playing at times working on dobros since 76. I’ve observed some great advice and learned some needed lessons about maintaining the instrument. Paul Beards cd on dobro maintenance should be with every owner of a resonator. Taking good care of the dobro requires skill and knowledge. I do not see tinkering with it often is necessary unless an event has happened. I had a Tut Taylor that was back over in the case by a careless guy in a bluegrass band. The guitar survived but with a cracked nut. Thank God for that case. The guitar was given its needed attention to bring it back up to my standards. I guess we all have opinions and you’ve read mine. Basic logic will guide you when something needs cleaning fixing or changing. It's advisable that a dobro owner know how to do maintenance on his or her guitar. They will buzz rattle and sound dull at times.


Apr 30, 2024 - 11:44:04 AM

11 posts since 8/13/2008

One of my questions is from a physics perspective: what does a coating of dust do the vibration of the cone? It could be a light coating of dust which is pretty typical, or what if it were a really heavy coating of dust?

Apr 30, 2024 - 2:39:34 PM

356 posts since 8/24/2013

Jim
I’d recommend gently wiping a dusty cone. Hopefully a case or a guitar bag is where most resonators stay when not being played. I know they are often music room displays so to dust that cone or not that’s the question.

May 1, 2024 - 4:40:33 AM
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WGale

USA

57 posts since 4/15/2022
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I believe everybody who plays should know how to do a maintenance/setup on their instrument. Most of us do not have a master luthier close by to setup and perform maintenance (if you do you are very lucky).
Gene Wooten told me back in the early 90’s that knowing how to maintain your instrument is crucial to your playing, everybody should know the how and why your instrument works. I’ve followed the steps he taught me ever since with no problems. If it was properly setup to begin with then removing parts, cleaning, installing new or reinstallation of existing and tweaking is fairly easy. There are plenty of videos and books on the subject out there and we all know what the final tone and sound is that we like. The more you do it the more comfortable you will get, just take your time and don’t get in a hurry.
I do all six of my guitars about every 1½ to 2 years (I actually like doing it). There is no way I could afford to ship and pay a professional for this service.

May 1, 2024 - 7:06:38 PM
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356 posts since 8/24/2013

I’ve been doing my on out of necessity. Thirty years ago there was not much teaching about the dobro care like there is now. So the school of winging it alone was my teacher.I’ve built on that basic knowledge and still am trying to learn about taking care of a dobro.

May 2, 2024 - 8:48:20 AM

joebee

USA

18 posts since 12/14/2022

quote:
Originally posted by elasticmedia

 I live in San Francisco, and I don't know of any high quality setup master in this area.


Have you checked with Gryphon Stringed Instruments in Palo Alto?

Cheers,
Joe

May 3, 2024 - 9:33:51 AM

jmike

USA

111 posts since 7/25/2016

Certainly no expert here, but I've been playing spider resos since 1988 starting with an OMI Dobro and upgrading as I go.

I tend to agree with most of what little ray has to say. Because I'm primarily a pedal steel player I don't get the opportunity to play a lot of dobro. Probably only been out with it a dozen times since the 90s. Also I'm no speed demon and really not capable of keeping up with the barn burning bluegrassers. I just love the sound and play mostly for my own enjoyment.

I try to maintain my instruments and upgrade as desired or I feel necessary.

I don't know if you guys consider a Appalachian a high end instrument, but the one I have is laying on the sofa right now topside up. I leave it there from time to time sos I can pick it up and play it when I get the itch. Might be just for a few minutes, maybe hours.

Since I'm not a professional player who works a lot with the reso, I don't worry too much about string changes, cone dusting or replacement etc. As long as it sounds OK to me, I just play it.

When it's necessary to have the cover plate off for whatever reason, then I will inspect all the components and shake the dust out of the cone, realign everything and retension the screw. Of course new strings and attention do improve the sound.

I'd never argue with the possibly number 1 builder of resophonic guitars in the world and I'm sure they know what's best. Personally, I don't find the need to spend all that much time tinkering with my resonator guitars.
Whatever works for your situation.

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