15 Best Resonator Guitar Reviews 2019 – Best Resonator Guitar Brands

Best Resonator Guitar & Best Resonator Guitar Brands

Best Resonator Guitar & Best Resonator Guitar Brands

When Paul Simon evokes the spirit of the “Mississippi Delta” in his legendary Graceland Album in the 1980s, it was from the incredible sound of a bottleneck resonator guitar. When National first introduced the resonator into the musical world in 1927, no one thought this would translate into a remarkable piece of instrument.

They brought the best in single and tri-tone resonator guitars. The first Nationals features a brass design and much like the all-steel version Duolian were designed later to fit the cost of budget-minded musicians.

What genre of music fits a resonator?

A resonator musical instrument allows musicians to achieve a unique and distinctive sonic flair to their musical arrangement, without the use of external electric sources. But modern designs have seen resonators with electronic versions. That said, resonators have always been;

  • An excellent choice of several bluegrass and blue players
  • Used mostly in country music

Some musicians are drawn to these guitars by the slide playing functionality they offer.

What are the Best Resonator Guitars to Buy?

2) Regal RC-55 Metal Body Resophonic Guitar 

  • Nickel Plated
  • Pleasing Voice
  • Beautiful
  • Precise Tuning
  • Reliable Construction

1) Epiphone Round Neck Resonator Guitar

Epiphone Dobro Hound Dog Round Neck Resonator Guitar
  • Professional Choice
  • Highly Rated
  • Exceptional  Craftsmanship
  • Perfect Setup

3)Gretsch  Resonator Guitar Natural

  • Affordable
  • Popular
  • Great Value
  • Traditional-Style
  • Mahogany Wood

Types of Resonator guitar styles & categories

Resonator guitars come in different forms and design to meet the need of players playing different genres of music. Below are some notable resonator guitar styles in the market today.

Round neck resonators

These round-neck resonator guitars offer players the ability to play in lap steel guitar style or conventional classical guitar style. What this means is that they can be played horizontally as a steel guitar or traditional guitar.

Squareneck resonator guitar

This guitar takes into consideration the taste of the player loves to play in a steel guitar style or lap steel guitar style. They are also intended to be played from a suspended strap angle.

Types of resonators you can buy

There are three main types of resonators; Single Cone Biscuit Bridge, Tricone And Single Spider Bridge.

While most tri-cones feature a metal body construction, guitars with Spider Bridge designs are mostly available in wood. On the other hand, Bridge guitars incorporate both designs from the other two categories.

Wood vs Meta resonator guitars

The sound is the unique factors that differentiate wood from metal guitars. Wood resonator guitars produce more of a mellow sound. The sound is usually warmer, organic and tolerant. The type of wood will largely decide the level of sound generated. Most wooden resonators are made of mahogany plywood, which is sturdy, long-lasting and durable.

Conversely, metal resonators are famous for their brash and metallic sound. Guitars with metal designs could be brass, steel or German silver metals. Most of them come with a nickel coated design. They look similar, but each has its peculiar sonic capability.

15 Best Resonator Guitar Reviews and the Best Resonator Guitar Brands

1) Epiphone Dobro Hound Dog Round Neck Resonator Guitar

Epiphone Dobro Hound Dog Round Neck Resonator Guitar

The Epiphone Dobro stand as one of the best resonators with open sound well designed to achieve a balanced tone. There are more expensive Hound Dog Models, but this one gets the job done without much fuss. The guitar comes with remarkable designs at the neck and overall body construction.

For instance, the Dobro Hound Dog Resonator features a round neck construction that you can covert for lap slide using cheap nut extender since there are no square neck versions within this price range. The Hound Dog sounds excellent, with growling low end and sweet highs.

This Dobro Hound Dog deluxe square-neck features a solid built. It has a good sustain and a delicate balance of range. The guitar appears to sound better when playing with the medium gauge strings. However, if you wish to get the deeper bass, you will have to get the heavier strings.

The resonator package comes with Epiphone Hound Dog Grover tuners for proper tone adjustment, including a nickel-plated tailpiece. While the traditional style, round mahogany neck measure 3.5 inches in size, it joins the body construction at the 12th fret. The fingerboard is made of rosewood and the truss rod is adjustable, having a classy bell cover.

2) Regal RC-55 Metal Body Tricone Resophonic Guitar-Nickel Plated Brass

Here is a resonator for players who fancy a Tricone style body authentic brass bell design. The nickel plates of this brand resonator are gleaming, and it offers a rich lustre and authoritative tone.

This Regal RC-55 Resonator incorporates 9.5 inches spun aluminum construction that combines with a biscuit bridge to render a warm, pleasing voice with excellent carrying power.

There are 12 frets at the elegant neck region with pear-load peg-head overly, adding ease of playing to that excellent look and style of construction. The mahogany neck is slim and is comfortable for a traditional playing and bottleneck style. You can achieve fast and precise tuning by the 15:1 traditional open back tuners.

When this Regal RC-55 metal body resonator arrives, it met 95% of our expectations right out of the box. Although it comes with a few fret tangs that require dressing, the instrument is playable. It comes with a good fit and the finish is excellent. From the neck to the basic setup; everything appears good and so far, nothing to change.

The sound is excellent, and the volume projection is sure to get better with each passing day. The best way to play this resonator is in a sitting position due to its heaviness made possible by the substantial resonator.

Overall, the performance, fit and finish is good and reliable.

3) Gretsch G9210 Boxcar-Square-Neck Resonator Guitar Natural

This is a famous brand highly reliable for their high-end products. Gretsch G9210 is a standard resonator guitar that offers you a rare opportunity to enjoy an entirely new and valuable tonal palette to make use of.

The top of the guitar is made of strong and durable mahogany wood, including the body and the neck region. This wooden construction doesn’t just add to the rich and warm sound output but also makes it last longer.

Gretsch G9210 Boxcat is a superb resonator that effectively combines high-quality sound and affordability, including playability; making it a great feat to achieve. The resonator is an ideal choice for experienced and beginner players alike.

There are 19 frets on the laminated mahogany neck design together with a high bone nut. The guitar is very simple, except for the attractive pearloid headstock that adds some little flair to the overall package.

For the price, the sound that emanates from there is excellent. It has ample sustain, outstanding warmth and plenty of projection, which is made possible as result of the spider bridge and the aluminum resonator cone. Notwithstanding your budget size, this is an excellent resonator to add to it.

4) Recording King RM-991-S Tricone Resonator Squareneck

Recording King returns with this decent quality resonator that fit an intermediate and beginner playing level. The neck of this guitar comes with a Honduran mahogany construction and the 3 x 6 spun continental cones offers the player great playability. The bell body construction features nickel plated design, which adds more appeal and good projection to the instrument, plus the rosewood fretboard.

This Recording King RM-991-S resonator version has six continental cones that help the instrument to achieve a significant sound transfer through the guitar’s body. The cones are spread with one on the treble side, two on the bass side, which provides excellent EQ balance plus a warmer and pleasing sound. The resonator also features T-shape Bridge and a screen cover plate, together with a maple and ebony saddle.

The bridge that comes with the Recording King is connected to the cones at the center, which allows vibrations to run through the saddle and into the bridge itself when the strings are hit.

The sound of the resonator is encouraging, the guitar is finely crafted, and the quality is excellent. It has a unique tone and long sustains made possible bits brilliant overtones and smart natural ambience.

5) Dean RESCEHB Steel Guitar Brass Plated Finish

Dean RESCEHB Steel Guitar

Dean brings a thin cutaway electric-acoustic guitar with excellent sound capabilities and impressive style. The body of this resonator guitar is iron, and it features a brass plating design with a single cone at the top of the instrument. The guitar on its own is heavy, but when considers that this is metal bodies resonator instrument, you would agree the weight is average or even below.

At the neck, the Dean RESCEHB has a beautiful full C shape design. Although, it isn’t that big but not too skinny either. The instrument is solid, and you may not have to adjust any part of the truss rid yet. Get a perfect taste by keeping heavy resonator on this guitar and tune it to G.

The action on this Dean Resonator guitar is far from being an ordinary massive piece. It is higher compared to some other brands in the same category, but being a slide guitar, it is also a bit lower than some other resonators.

The slide design is perfect for excellent play because it bangs against the frets. Moreover, it doesn’t come with a neck that has a crazy rise which may need reset as some resorts do. The Dean RESCEHB has a dark and rich fretboard with perfect fit and finishes to match.

6) Recording King Roundneck Resonator Guitar

As the name implies, Recording King brings you the best in round neck playing, style, and construction. This guitar features a mahogany construction at the top for improving fit. The back and sides of the resonator are also made of mahogany wooden construction.

The fretboard of this guitar features an ebony design, which is very appealing while the Grover machine tuners incorporated in the 12th neck joint of the instrument achieves precise tuning and volume controls.

The guitar is a nice product straight off the box, and you can raise the nut height and recap the saddle with maple (if you prefer changing the ebony capped design that comes with it). For the player that wants a beautiful, good quality and great sounding dobro style resonator, Recording King offers the best choice. The build is truly excellent, and the quality and finish are great.

Exquisitely rendered from the Grover open-gear tuners consisting of brass fittings bound to the ebony fingerboard and balanced Sunburst Bridge. The entire body and the neck are well leveled, with frets excellently polished and good sound resonance. It is also noteworthy that the action was great right of the box and the feel is just excellent for this price range resonator.

7) Regal Studio RD - 30MS Series Squareneck Resophonic Guitar

Regal has a beautiful line of high selling resonators with good quality designs. This model features a solid and up-to-date design in every area of the instrument. The body is made of mahogany wood, and the volume and tone that resonates from this model are simply incredible.

Just as it is with some good quality models, this Regal Studio Rd-30MS features a unique square-neck style that has a good and smooth finish. The guitar provides to class resonance that keeps a surprising lot of users.

The projection and sustain are quite amazing. The clarity of the depth that comes from the bridge is also unusual due to the spider bridge and aluminum cone produced in the United States.

A bright ringing sound and the durable look is generated by the nickel plated brass parts of this instrument. The tuners that come with the resonator also feature nickel design raging 14:1 and they have butterbean-vintage design buttons that work flawlessly and stay in position. The price and quality of this guitar make it an excellent option for a backyard party, camping and the sound will never disappoint.

8) Pyle PGA48BR-Blues Steel Electric Acoustic Resonator Guitar

Are you searching for a resonator that has a standard full size? Pyle is the answer! It is a 6- strings resonator guitar with a classic/traditional body bearing a Resophonic style construction.

Measuring 39.5 inches in size, the Pyle PGA48BR features a rosewood bridge and fretboard, with 21 frets. The creation of this guitar incorporates a high gloss and solid hand-craft design that deliver excellent style and playability.

Included in this resonator are the pre-amp electronics which turns out to be incredibly unbelievable. Just hook it up to a small amp, and you would be amazed how rich and warm it sounds.

As a round necked guitar, you can’t play this one on the lap or by using a slide. But with the aid of a nut extension, you quickly raise the strings and the square neck capo and play it just like a square neck dobro. The sound will always be acceptable.

The bottom line is that; you can’t go wrong with this guitar since you can quickly remove the nut extension and return strings to routine again and again. The setup was just fine and is one resonator that deserves the consideration.

9) Regal RD-40BS Studio Series Squareneck Resophonic Guitar Black

You will get what you paid for, and that’s quality and excellent playability. Featuring a spruce top and quarter sawed mahogany back and side construction, the Regal RD-40 BS recreate the classic design for which the 1930’s are famous for. The smooth finish and original squareneck design provide decent resonance and strong sustain when playing this instrument.

Regarding overall appearance, the Regal RD-40Bs features an old school mahogany body construction, with butterbean tuners for excellent volume and projection positioning, including screws on the cover plate. The finish is bright cherry, which you may like or not, and you may also not need the included headstock inlay, but this is a good-looking resonator.

Lastly, the resonator has this old-school uncle Josh sound-style, which is something worth considering. Regarding setup, it plays well right from the box. The sound will opening doesn’t have issues with buzzing, but it appears a bit too tight, allowing little room for adjustment. Everything seems to be working fine, and the extra wide spring saddle enhances playing comfort.

10) Gold Tone Paul Beard Signature Series PBS-D Squareneck Resonator Deluxe Guitar

Nothing beat great quality and style. The Gold Tone is genuine gold regarding playability and sound quality. This is a great resonator featuring a high gloss tobacco sunburst wooden finish to underscore its quality and durability. Measuring 38.5 inches in length, this resonator offers a perfect playing fit and proper hand placement to the experienced player.

When a legend like Paul Beard designed an instrument, you can expect the top in quality and style. The Gold Tone Resonator Signature model features exceptional hand craftsmanship that denotes unbeatable tone in its price range.

The design also features an “open” sound-well body construction that incorporates superb Spiders and Beard cones. Each resonator in the Gold Beard Series is assembled and set up by experienced luthiers in the United States.

Talking about performance, this resonator has a perfect setup, and the tone is what you would expect from a priced model. The ebony fingerboard offers quality feel to the overall construction while the maple back and sides beautifully compliment the high gloss tobacco finish.

The guitar exceeds expectations, and the American setup makes a huge difference in its performance, even though it’s a Chinese made product. The tone is remarkable, and the look is encouraging.

11) Dean Resonator Heirloom Copper

Dean is a popular choice when it comes to guitar instruments. This resonator features an iron body construction, the same design the rand is famous for. The top of the resonator features copper plated design while the neck region is made of solid and reliable mahogany wood construction. All these are the features of high-quality resonators, which also include a single cone construction.

What impressed most with this guitar is the action. The strings are correctly positioned, and the projection is excellent. It is not too high nor too low; just beautiful. Most resonators come heavy, tiny and loud, so is the Dean Resonator Heirloom Copper.

Matching the robust copper design are inlays and solid truss rod cover. The guitar features a one-of-a-kind look that is very compelling, and the voice and level of intonation further make it a great choice.

In a nutshell, the Dean Heirloom Copper Resonator is a top-of-the-shelf design. The sound is as it should be and is incredible, looking very beautiful. The 24 3 /4 inches scale coverage is excellent while the copper hardware features make it an excellent resonator for the price.

12) Rogue Classic Spider Resonator Black Roundneck

This resonator guitar offers traditional shape and wood body design for a fantastic tone creation. Featuring a die-cast spider bridge, the Rogue Classic Resonator offers exceptional volume and projection.

It also comes with a 10-1 spun aluminum resonator cone. At the top, the guitar features spruce design while the neck, back, and sides are made of mahogany wood construction.

The Rogue Classic Spider Resonator comes with rosewood fretboard, and on it are the mother of pearl diamond inlays. The user can enjoy excellent sound projection through the chrome played bell while the tailpiece and brass cover plate provide this resonator with a resounding look.

This resonator is tuned like a standard guitar and is a joy play. The action is light the feel is great. The sound that emanates from this resonator is amazing, and so far, we have found no problems with it. You may not need an amp to play this guitar because the sound is just great. It is the kind of resonator guitar you won’t regret buying.

It has the down-home sound you’ve been looking for. Although the instrument appears more to be an entry-level variety, experienced players can enjoy the comfortable feel and rich sound it offers. For the price, it’s a good product.

13) Oscar Schmidt OR6CE Acoustic Electronic Resonator Guitar

If you are on the look for a stable acoustic-electronic resonator, the Oscar Schmidt OR6CE is your go-to guitar. The quality of this resonator is pleasing, (especially considering the price) and it passes well for a suitable beginner resonator. It has excellent playability for any beginner level player.

Featuring mahogany wooden design at the back, neck, and sides, the Oscar Schmidt OR6CE offers a rich, warm play like those of an expensive model. It comes in a black satin finish and a built-pickup which provides ease of play and convenience.

The fretboard is excellent and plays fine, but the only problem with is a piece of resonator appears to be the neck. The neck has wobbles at the back, and a little improvement would have made this instrument utterly outstanding.

The player can select and control the tone range through the volume sound controls. The level of intonation was right on point compared to some models in same price range.

The sound projection and over action wasn’t too high either. It has chrome die-cast tuners that you can use to adjust and select a stable tone range while the biscuit bridge design offers you excellent playability and projection.

14) Washburn R360K Vintage Series Acoustic Guitar

The Washburn R360K may resemble something you might have come across somewhere earlier from your youth, but its part of a new series of parlour resonators from Washburn. This model boast of excellent vintage design and robust features, making it an excellent addition to this resonators review.

First, the R360K features a ‘rust and ready’ beautiful look, with the compact scale length of 24.75 inches. While trembesi makes up the back and sides, the top is made from spruce material construction. It has an elaborate F-eyehole that is very attractive even as the back and sides feature an intricate multi-ply binding design.

The neck of the R360K features large mahogany construction and is nice to play for both slide and finger-style players sitting in a regular position. It has a satin finish, including a rosewood fretboard bearing 18 frets and 1890 style pearl inlays to match the cool vintage decor.

This design also includes a rosewood bridge and resonator cone that features an exquisite antique bronze cover plate. This design matches the bronze tuners as well. Regarding sound, the R360K has plenty of character tones.

The trambesi offers a dark, woody tone just like a mahogany wood does. The projection from this guitar is equally good, better than the regular guitar. The volume receives a great boost from the biscuit cone design.

15) Johnson Bottle Slide Triolian Resonator Guitar

The Johnson Bottle Slide Triolian Resonator Guitar offers excellent quality and top class playability. The resonator comes with a mahogany body construction, including the top, back, sides and neck regions.

The Johnson comes with a 9.5 spun continental cone and a bell brass cover plate that has a nickel plated design. These combine to render good voice output and excellent playability.

For those who are looking for a resonator to achieve a backyard bottle style playing, the Johnson Bottle Slide Triolian Resonator stands as the best alternative. The natural mahogany finishes and slotted headstock give it a classic look and vintage feel famous with Triolian guitars from the 1930s. Having a larger body shape adds more to the great sound and exceptional beauty of this resonator.

The overall mahogany construction and the biscuit bridge design enable this Triolian to sing like a nightingale. The hand-spun continental cone design allows the resonator to have a superb projection capability and high responsiveness.

The modified F-hole soundboard, together with the 12th neck joint design of the rosewood fretboard makes this resonator a good piece design. Adding the nickel plated cover plate and tailpiece, as well as the inlaid position markers, will give you an excellent resonator that excels in tone, value, and features.

Choosing the Best Resonator Guitar from the Best Resonator Guitar Brands 

As you can rightly comprehend, resonators guitars continue to excel in use and style due to their distinct tone and quality sound projection. These instruments are widely used in country music and blue style music playing.

One distinctive feature you must always have in mind is that the name “Dobro” actually refers to a different brand of a resonator, but the modern usage of the term now refers to the entire category of resonators.

2) Regal RC-55 Metal Body Resophonic Guitar 

  • Nickel Plated
  • Pleasing Voice
  • Beautiful
  • Precise Tuning
  • Reliable Construction

1) Epiphone Round Neck Resonator Guitar

Epiphone Dobro Hound Dog Round Neck Resonator Guitar
  • Professional Choice
  • Highly Rated
  • Exceptional  Craftsmanship
  • Perfect Setup

3)Gretsch  Resonator Guitar Natural

  • Affordable
  • Popular
  • Great Value
  • Traditional-Style
  • Mahogany Wood

Still going strong

In spite of the fact that amplifiers have taking over the musical realm, resonators still retain their place among the fashionable set of string instruments. However, the primary reason why resonator guitar was designed from the beginning is no longer valid as players can now amplify their acoustic guitars to get a better sound.

But one may wonder, why are resonator guitar still in use?

The answer lies in the fact that every musician, composer or guitar-playing enthusiasts are always on the lookout for something that can make his or her music appear distinct in sound and quality. That’s just the primary reasons why people are still going use of resonators guitars in playing a different style of music.

You shouldn’t be left out as well.