Resonator Guitars

Resonator guitars are one of the most appealing types of guitars for musicians to choose. These guitars are basically acoustic guitars but have a classic design with a unique sound and date back to the 1920s. The sound from resonator guitars is popular with bluegrass and blues players although you may have heard the instrument featured in rock, folk and country music too. When you hear it, you will know that it’s not a regular acoustic guitar.

Resonator Guitar Sound

Resonator guitars have a more brash sound than regular classical guitars with a boxy mid-range. They are louder and clearer in terms of tone and how easily you're going to pick it out over other instruments in an ensemble. The tone is distinctive, with a very authentic blues sound.

Types and Design

There are two main types of resonator guitar. The first has a square neck profile that you would play like a Hawaiian style guitar, and the second has a round neck profile that you play like a regular 6-string guitar. The three main designs that lots of people see over the years feature either a single-cone biscuit, a single inverted-cone or tricone design. The body of a resonator guitar can be metal, wood or other materials.

How They Work

Resonator guitars are different to acoustic guitars in the way they produce sound. The sound from resonator guitars comes from string vibrations carried through the bridge to metal cones, or resonators. In acoustic guitars, the vibrations hit a soundboard instead. You can hear the sound from resonator guitars over other instruments and percussion, which can often drown out the sound of acoustic guitars.

Square Neck or Round Neck

Traditionally, blues players use round neck resonator guitars while bluegrass players prefer the square neck. Even so, you can use both in a variety of music styles.