No announcement yet.

Made One Decision, Need Help with Another One: Cutaway vs Regular Body 12 Fret Resonator?

  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Made One Decision, Need Help with Another One: Cutaway vs Regular Body 12 Fret Resonator?

    For those of you who saw my last question, you know that I'm looking to buy a resonator guitar and have been trying to decide between lap style and Spanish. So far I've decided I'd like to play Spanish style, and therefore, roundneck. Now I have to decide on a specific guitar, which is even more complicated. My price range is a maximum of $1200 for the guitar itself. Paul Beard Gold Tone seems to be the best to fall in this price range. In fact, there really isn't any other brand competing with it in my mind (for now, anway). I'm considering there PBR Deluxe and the PBR Cutaway. Gold Tone doesn't offer a 14 fret Resonator, so I don't have the option of deciding between 12 and 14 frets.
    I don't have anything against either the PBR-D or the PBR-CA. The Deluxe is full body, which I've been told lends itself to better accoustics, but the Cutaway has the advantage of solid mahogony; consequently, I have no idea which will have the better sound. Can anyone lend any insight?
    I want learn the bottle neck slide, that's one of my biggest reasons for choosing Spanish style. Will a twelve fret full body be, we'll say, unideal for getting to know sliding as best as possible and learning to exploit it for all it's worth? Will the Cutaway have an obvious advantage, or is it really not a big deal with proper playing? Again, any insight is apprecieated.

  • #2
    Also, I don't know if this has any relevance, but (for now) I'm planning on starting in the G tuning of DGDGBD.


    • #3
      A cutaway can definitely make it a bit easier to access the highest frets, but if you don't play up that high very often (and many people don't), it's not a major advantage.

      I'm sorry I'm not familiar with the guitars you've mentioned, so I can't really offer any advice on which model is preferable.

      "Look at it this way: think of how stupid the average person is, and then realize half of 'em are stupider than that."
      - George Carlin

      "It shouldn't be expected that people are necessarily doing what they appear to be doing on records."
      - Sir George Martin, All You Need Is Ears

      "The music business will be revitalized by musicians, not the labels or Live Nation. When the musicians decide to put music first, instead of money, the public will flock to the fruits and the scene will be healthy again."
      - Bob Lefsetz, The Lefsetz Letter


      • #4
        Oh boy, the whole resonator can of worms.

        First question, have you played any resonators? Have you played a standard guitar in open tunings? Have you played any slide? Have you tried playing lap style?

        As I said your other thread, you can set up a round neck to play lap style (with a nut extender) but you cannot play Spanish style on a squareneck. Its not real easy to switch back and forth on the roundie so you are kind of locked into that style of play.

        Paul Beard makes incredible guitars and they are wonderful bang for the buck. Most of his, including the ones you linked, are spider bridge - as we've said before, spiders have the sound more commonly associated with bluegrass. If you are playing Spanish style you might prefer the sound of a biscuit or tricone. You should definitely play all three styles of instruments.

        Also, wooden bodied resontators, of whatever cone configuration, tend to be a little warmer sounding, metal bodies tend to be brash and metalic (duh). If you are playing Delta blues you might prefer metal.

        Here is a biggie for me - if I'm playing lap style I want a dead flat fretboard, pretty wide too. If I'm playing Spanish style I want a little bit of radius in the f/b but too much makes it hard to play clean slide. Also, most resonators have not compensation so they play sharp when fretted. There are things that can be done but just be aware.

        OK, so here's to the question about a cutaway. Traditionally resonators have been 12 frets clear and no cut. Its kind of ironic because a slide player spends a lot of time at the 12th fret - that is I chord and you play it a lot. You rarely go much above 12 and there are definitely techniques to roll the slide if you need to. One way to find out is to take your ordinary acoustic guitar, tune it to open G, throw a capo on the second fret if its a 14 fretter (don't capo if its a 12 fret guitar) and wail way with your slide. You'll be banging around at the neck/body joint - does the heel get in your way? Can you control the slide? If you have problems then you either need to adjust your technique or get a guitar with a cut. Obviously if you are going to play lap style a cut is not necessary.

        Personally, I play a lot of slide and a lot of open tunings, most of my guitars are 12 frets clear and none of them have cutaways. I seem to do just fine.

        ps - I'm really sorry that my old music hosting site doesn't seem to be working - I've got sound clips of a bunch of different resonators and acoustics I could always email them to you if it would be helpful.


        • #5
          I wouldn't bother with a cutaway, you get a little more volume with a non cutaway.

          My first resonator was a metal body ( chrome brass) Dobro 33 H, with a 14th fret neck joint. It's has the Hawaiian Palm tree scene on the back and clouds on the front. It as the large cone 10.5 inch cone as oppose to the more popular 9.5 cone.

          I still have it too. Loud bluesy and ballsy.

          My second resonator is a Dobro F60 round neck. Warm and whiny, great for more country stuff.

          I have no issues with a 12 fret neck joint, cause I rarely play past the 12 fret. Here's the thing about guitars. You buy one and then your thinking about your next one.

          I don't skip on that much with musical instruments. My philosophy is girlfriends come and go, wive's hopefully not so much, but a good guitar will last you a life time.

          I dig tri-cones too and absolutely love the rawness of the National Steel bodies. The necks are fat and chucnky on Nationals and I perfer a thinner neck. However, if I do another resonator , this would be my personal pick.

          Or maybe this

          Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase.

          Join Date: Aug 2001
          Location: N. Adams, MA USA
          Posts as of Jan 10th 2013: 82,617


          • #6
            Here's another take:

            It's about sound and mojo, right?

            Nothing kills mojo deader than a cutaway. I can't think of a good Delta blues player who uses one. And look at any of the old photos. You'll see what I mean.

            For mojo, old Nationals and pre-Gibson Dobros are where it's at. Nationals are beyond your budget, but pre-Gibson Dobros go for prices well within your range and have mojo up the gazzots.

            The problem is that they don't always sound great.

            BUT that's easy to solve. Adding a bone nut and a better cone willl make it sound absolutely great - loud, articulate, authoritative. A Scheerhorn, Quarterman, or Beard cone will transform your axe.

            Here's where I'm at. I picked up a good-condition pre-Gibson Dobro last winter for about $600. I'm saving up now for a Scheerhorn cone ($75 plus shipping at Elderly) a bone nut, and a K&K spider bridge pickup. I can put the cone and pickup in myself. I'll pay a pro to deal with the nut.

            For a lot less money, It'll have all the sound of a Gold Tone and exponentially more mojo. Mission accomplished!

            Browse roundnecks at (type in "roundneck" in the search field) and There's a ton to see. Here's one example:

            Happy hunting!
            Last edited by Delmont; 10-21-2017, 09:27 PM.
            ( •)—:::
            Sent on my six-string jumbo ukelele