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For all your bluegrass, country and blues needs, this cheap resonator guitar guide will point you in the right direction.
There's both a "top of the low end" and "entry level" option, depending on your budget and level, but both guitars have been selected based on positive user reviews and comments... as always.
Resonator guitars are great fun to play, whether or not you're a serious country/blues musician.
Because of their distinctive, unusual sound, you'll hear them being played in experimental music outside its traditional home genres. Simply a great guitar to have in your stable, to keep your creative options open!
Cheap Resonator Guitar #1 - Brass BodyFor that rootsy, gutsy, old time National sound, the Rogue Classic Brass Body Resonator is by far the best in its price range and beyond, backed up by a consensus of glowing reviews and comments. A huge sound with some of the most resonant, growling slides you'll hear from a reso in any price range.
Rogue Classic Brass Body Resonator Guitar
All-European bell-brass body / Nickel silver plating / Hand-spun aluminum cone / Honduran mahogany neck / Rosewood fretboard / Hard maple bridge
User Review Summary
The Rogue Classic Brass represents just how well built a guitar can be for less than $350. Professionals will tell you it's solid as a rock and reproduces that classic, booming National sound blues and slide players look for.
A quick string change to your desired gauge (some found the stock strings a little heavy) and it's ready to play, with users reporting consistently good setup and optimum action taking both sliding and fretting into consideration.
The bell brass body delivers a distinctively loud, cutting richness that other single cone resonators in this price range just can't match. There's a raw aggressiveness to the Classic Brass that brings slide playing to life, while finger picking jumps out from the nickel plated body. No anorexic banjo tones here.
So it certainly has natural volume, but the beast can be tamed for gentler articulations, knowing that at any time you can deliver a serious unexpected punch.
Experienced players are highly impressed with the Classic so this is not just a resonator for satisfying beginners' curiosity or hanging on your wall after a few months. Perfect if you like your blues loud, edgy, yet traditional.
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Cheap Resonator Guitar #2 - Great Entry Level ResoIf all that brass is a little too much for your eyes and ears, here's another vintage gem from Rogue closer to the original Dobro/spider style resonator. The spruce and mahogany warms things up a little and there's the option of a square neck for extra lap steel sustain and more flexible tuning (square necks can take more string tension from certain tunings).
Rogue Classic Spider Resonator Guitar
Roundneck or squareneck / Spruce top / Mahogany back and sides / Die-cast spider bridge / Mother-of-pearl diamond position marker / Spun aluminum resonator / Chromeplated bell / Brass coverplate and tailpiece / Rosewood fretboard
User Review Summary
Rogue offer two neck types in their Dobro style Spider range - round and square (see the images above). Lap steel players, or those who want to experiment with/get into the style, will find the flat neck option especially useful, as they're built for higher actions and to withstand certain, high tension tunings that shouldn't be used on roundnecks.
Users are generally just as happy with the fit and finish of the Spider as they are with the Classic Brass, with the nickel plating on the optional black finish being particularly beautiful.
Tonally, the Spider is more focussed on the mid-low range. Loud and clear, with plenty of bite, but with more low end warmth than the brasher Brass.
There's also more dynamic range with the Spider, thanks partly to the spruce top and mahogany back and sides. So, digging your pick in, you get the bark and bite of the spun metal against a softer, warmer cushion of the wood. This makes for an overall well balanced clarity.
At $200, costs have obviously been cut, but for bluegrass and country beginners, or those looking to get into the style, the Spider is recommended by many novice and experienced players alike. A solid entry level resonator that is just damn good fun to play.
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