The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #11312   Message #84036
Posted By: Mark Roffe
04-Jun-99 - 04:25 PM
Thread Name: Anyone familiar with Johnson Resonator Guits
Subject: RE: Anyone familiar with Johnson Resonator Guits
Yeah, but the Regals I've seen are more bluegrass machine (Dobro style - spider bridge, cone points down) than blues box (National style - bisquit bridge, cone points up). Does Regal make any of the National style? I know Dobro company has a "bottleneck special" model that has a bisquit bridge). The Johnson is obviously a National style.
If she's interested in going the bluegrass route instead, and doesn't want to spring for a Dobro or equivalent brand, you'll find that even cheaper than the Regals are the Morrell resonators. I picked up one of their square necks for $275, in shiny black yet. Its only shortcoming is that the cone doesn't seem to be replaceable -- I forget now exactly what I saw when I opened it up, but it was something like the cone is permanently attached to the walls of the soundhole well (where a National's cone just rests on the ledge of the well).

But if she's a blueswoman, she's probably gonna be happier with a National-syled instrument like I described above.

Steve, you asked how long I've had my Nationals, and what I think of the current prices on used ones:
I got my first National in 1970; a 1931 nickle-silver style 1 tenor, for $85. It was stolen from me, and Ginny bought me a 1931 National steel-bodied Triolian tenor to replace it two years ago. Not as nice as the style 1, but its cost was $450. Last week I found an identical Triolian tenor on consignment in a music store, asking price of $1495. I asked the proprietor why it was so expensive, and he showed me where he had looked in his Blue Book of vintage prices -- we noticed that he had accidently written the price for a Triolian Mandolin instead of a tenor. The tenor price in the book was $900, still a big leap in price for such a short amount of time to have gone by. The point is they have gone up way too high for most players; they seem to be mostly purchased by collectors instead.
I bought the 1928 National Style 3 squareneck 2 years ago for $4000. Ouch, but love drives a man to do uncanny things. If it had been a roundneck, it would have probably gone for almost twice the price.

So yeah, the prices have gone through the roof.

But the new ones being made by various manufacturers seem to be fairly priced. I bought a new National-Resophonic steel single-resonator Delphi for $1050 three years ago. That's a lot better than the old ones are going for, and they are very well made. I sure would like an old National brass or nickel single resonator someday...but the longer I wait, the farther away it looks.

Mark Roffe