Has anyone had any experience building a resonator guitar? I am just finishing up my first acoustic & have a friend who is asking me to build her a square neck style resonator. Any feedback out there?

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I have built a number of the critters!! The 8 string "Robro" That Norman Hamlet plays in the Merle Haggard band is one.
In my research I read from one of the articles that said the top should be double thick and you can see this done on the older ones that have no binding.

You want the vibrations to come from the cone only so I leave the top some times 1/4 inch thick.

The sound well dose not need to reach the back so I have replaced it with Baltic birch plywood 3/4 inch And I hook that to the neck and tail block to make the top stronger. The main problem with the sound hole is it gets out of round and distorts the cone and that is what happens to the sound.

The next main thing is to have the ledge that the cone sets on has to be flat!!!

Next the spider has to fit the cone perfectly!!!

There are a lot of other things but if you do these you will have a good sounding instrument

Robro Ron
Thanks Ron. The Dobro I looked at had a 1/4" top & a soundwell ring that seemed to meet the back. I have noticed from pictures that National seems to build theirs w/ a reinforced ledge under the top for the cone & no soundwell ring, but I'm not sure about their other bracing. I need to dig a little deeper into the guitars internal structure.

Are you saying that the even w/ the 3/4" birch ply the hole for the cone distorts?
Most all National guitars are metal bodies. The early ones and Regals have several 1/4" thick blocks around the sound hole.

* strings for some reason pull a lot more than 6 and I do more reinforcing. They are tuned to a C6 th also.

All the rest of the body is like any acustical guitar.

If I could figure how to send pictures I would.

Norm has 3 8 strings with 2 being stolen , one from stage and the other from home. I have made him the last one with led fret markers on the neck.

Robro Ron
Ron, to send pictures when you add a reply, just click on the Upload Files tag at the bottom left of the typing screen. It opens 3 lines that you can attach 3 pictures to. Just click on the Browse button & it will open another window that allows you to look through the files on your computer, select the file & then click Open.
I will try to send some pictures.

Thanks for the pictures. Now I understand what you meant about the LED's. Interesting touch. Are your back & sides the same thickness as a regular acoustic?

Yes the body is all normal sizes. Around 1/8/inch all but the top. The braces are like a guitar. I use the size of a clasical guitar. I do not arch the back but the sides are all around 3.5 inches.

The wood is lombardy poplur from a butt and roots that were about 60 inches through. I have built solid body and acustical goitars with this ..It is a very soft wood.

I make a roller nut that if I can send a picture I will The rollers are from string ends.

Thanks for the reply & pics Ron. You're becoming a real pro at the picture thing. The roller nut idea is pretty inventive. Do you not get any buzzing (sorry my english) on the srings, especially the smaller diameter ones?
Heck, I'm just a traditional guy, Bill, so I'll stick with the cross-braces...and the rubber bands!

By the way... (and nothing to do with lutherie)... we had a tough snowstorm up here in Oregon over Christmas, and here's a couple of shots of my 45-yr-old barn that just couldn't stand the weight of 2ft+ of snow. The wife has 2 alpaca and they made it out just in time. Spring can't arrive soon enough.
I'll leave the choice of round or square neck to the young lady (or not so young). I really have no preference, although the square would seem simpler to build. I would use the soundwell ring over back braces (sorry Mike), since I think it strengthens the whole body. BTW how does the super glue stand up over time?

We had the same dump of snow up here in the Vancouver, BC area.
This post is kind of ironic-- I ordered up plans to make a resonator guitar from Elderly and when I get the plans the info thats in there along with some of the knowledge that is here in some of the posts, Im sure will be verry helpful.. some gr8 pics and info here....
be well e1 and have fun..

Dont get any buzzing from this nut. The strings are pulling side ways I supose.

Here is another pict of the nut and a walnut Robro I built.


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