Comparison: 5 Resonator Guitars You Should Know About

National Steel Tricone Resonator

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Here are five acoustic resonators in an array of prices and designed for a variety of players

Selecting a resonator guitar can be tricky. Is wood better than a metal body? Do they all sound similar? Why is there such a price disparity among models?
We looked at an assortment of instruments and evaluated their sound quality, construction, pricing and reputation. The examples here range in cost from $322 up to $3,000. Review our ratings and then compare for yourself.

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Johnson JR-410


The JR-410 looks and feels like a blues machine except it always comes down to a matter of getting what you pay for. In this price range, it’s an acceptable product.

Fender FR-50


The only reason this model gets a star is because of the famous Fender® name. The FR-50 doesn’t provide the necessary sustain or volume that most slide players look for. You would expect something better from a company with such a celebrated legacy.

Regal RD-40N


Though an import, the RD-40N sounds surprisingly good. Sturdy construction and vintage tendencies offer something more than just superficial good looks. Countryish and folky at times but tuned to open-G and it can deliver a bluesy Delta quality. It’s definitely worth the money.

Wechter™ RS-6610F


This model is also a well-constructed, fine sounding imported resonator. Add another half of a star because the RS-6610F is set-up in the U.S. Pickers will pay more money than for a Regal due to the slightly finer tonewood and cone.

National Reso-Phonic Steel Tricone


Not only is the Tricone domestically made, National is part of the American music tradition. For example, influential blues pioneer, Son House and Texas slide king, Johnny Winter, are both known for playing National guitars. It’s not just mystique. The Tricone is the highest rated of the bunch due to the quality materials that are used and its unique resonant character. Bluntly speaking, there is nothing like a National.
If the National Tricone is out of your price range, try the Regal RD-40N. Either way, you won’t be disappointed.

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Paul Wolfle

As a vintage and contemporary music enthusiast, guitars dominate Paul’s life. He plays slide in open tunings on a National Steel Tricone resonator and electric blues, in standard tuning, on an assortment of other instruments including his white Fender Stratocaster.

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