The Son House Sound / Choosing a Resonator for slide guitar

if you want to emulate the wild, apocalyptic, steam driven blues sound of players like Tampa Red and Son House then it might be time to choose yourself a resonator guitar  – just to give your blues that authentic, weathered, road worn, steel guitar sound. If you play with a piano player it’s very easy to get a low down honky tonk sound – stand that piano in the field for a week or two and then just push some brass tacks into the piano hammers…Unfortunately you just can’t do that with your own fingers can you?

But do not fear  – there are many options available from vintage Dobros through to modern Nationals, handcrafted Mattsen specials and the highly lauded but very affordable Republic range of Reso-Phonics.





Republic Guitars Resophonic Range

Republic guitars make  a fine set of very affordable reso-phoncs, built by hand and each set up to your preference by a technician with 40 years experience, and, they ship worldwide.

Johnny Winter, Joe Satriani, Bottle Neck John, The Dixie Chicks

Some of the artists who use Republic Guitars include none other than blues demon Johnny Winter, rock luminary Joe Satriani, the Doobie Brothers’ John McFee, Joe Walsh, Charlie Daniels, Jackson Browne, Keb Mo, The Dixie Chicks and Bottleneck John. You’re in good company. You can choose from a vast range of materials and options such as bell brass, steel, maple, or sapele wood for the guitar body coupled with options such as copper, nickel silver plate, swamp green finish and both square or round neck with Abalone dot inlays. You can find their website right here.


Biscuit, Spider, Single or Tricone?

Biscuit, Spider, Single or Tricone – it’s a complicated business making that decision so here is resonator afficionado Kenni Lee Burgess is here to help you choose the right steel guitar slide machine!




National Resophonic Single and Tricone & Smith & Young Spider Cone Guitars

Used by modern artists such as Bob Brozman, Eric Bibb, Barry Brenner and Pieta Brown National are an American institution through which the sound of the blues itself was built. In the past the players associated with National guitars have included the following blues greats:

  • Tampa Red – Very early Style 4 Spanish Tricone guitar
  • Son House – Single resonator, either a Triolian, Duolian, or Style O
  • Bukka White – Square neck “exploding palm tree” Tricone
  • Bo Carter – Style N
  • Blind Boy Fuller – 12 and 14 fret Duolian
  • Peetie Wheatstraw – Style 3 Tricone
  • Scrapper Blackwell – 12 fret Sunburst Triolian
  • Bumble Bee Slim – Style O
  • Black Ace – Square neck Style 2 Tricone
  • Babe Stovall – 12 fret Duolian
  • Reverend Gary Davis – single cone (during his 30’s recordings)
  • Oscar “Buddy” Woods – Tri-plate
  • Blind Arvella Grey – 14 fret Duolian


More on National and Mattsen resonators coming ….Check Back soon.