Happy Wednesday afternoon, folks. I recently had an attack of “guitar acquisition syndrome,” a disorder that does afflict a number of guitarists—in fact, there are related syndromes for uke & banjo players too. The result of said attack is the guitar in the pic to the right, a Recording King squareneck tricone resonator guitar.
Now you might ask, “John, you already have two resonator guitars, one of which has a metal body—what makes this one different?” Good question, & I do have answers!
First, there are three basic cone configurations in resonator guitars: there’s the single cone with biscuit bridge, which is found in my Regal metal-body resonator; there’s the single cone with spider bridge, which is found in my Gold Tone wood-body resonator; & there’s the tricone (3 cones, of course!) as found in the new Recording King guitar. You can see the three guitars together in the pic on the left, & you can find a clear explanation of the different ways these cones produce sound here on the Acoustic Fingerstyle site.
There are also two basic neck configurations associated with resonator guitars; they either have a round neck or a square neck. The “roundneck” models have a neck just like a conventional guitar with a rounded back & are typically held in the conventional manner. The neck action is usually a it higher than on a conventional guitar to allow for slide playing, but usually roundneck resonators are set up so that you can actually fret notes & chords with your left hand fingers in addition to or instead of using a slide.
This isn’t true for squarenecks. As you can see in the pic to the right, a squareneck guitar has a thick, squared neck. The “squareneck” design allows much more flexibility on tunings because the neck is so strong. This is important in slide playing because the majority of slide playing is done in what are called “open” tunings—this means that if you strum the strings without any of them being fretted or “stopped,” a major chord will sound. The six open strings on a guitar in standard tuning don’t produce a common major chord. Also, with a squareneck guitar, the player typically doesn’t wear a slide over her/his finger, but instead holds a slide (often referred to as a “steel”) in his/her left hand. & the guitar is played facing upwards on her/his lap.
I see myself using this new guitar quite a bit with my music partner, Heather U (note to Heather: since we’re now getting calls for bookings, we need to come up with a band name!), but I’d also like to incorporate the guitar slowly into my blues playing. Speaking of which, I’ve added a “test drive” video of me playing & singing the old blues standard “Trouble in Mind” (& occasionally messing up the lyrics!) with the Recording King. It has a few rough spots—I’m not used to playing lap style—or singing while playing lap style! But all in all, I think it’s a reasonable effort as a “test drive.”
Hope you enjoy it! & important note: tomorrow on Writers Talk—B.N.! You know you don’t want to miss that!