1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Resonator Basses

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Herrick, Apr 14, 2014.

  1. Herrick


    Jul 21, 2010
    Munchkin Land
    I've been looking into these and did a little reading of some older threads. I was considering buying one until I saw this video.


    This is really not the kind of sound I'm into.

    Then I grew more hopeful when I saw this video.


    That's pretty good volume for that noisy environment, methinks and it sounds more thumpy than the other video.

    So is the difference in sound due mostly to string choice & finger vs pick playing? Can these things get a more BASS-like sound with the right strings and still retain the volume?
  2. Bongolation


    Nov 9, 2001
    No Bogus Endorsements
    I've never heard a kind word for these monstrosities here.

    There was a major hate thread on these gimmick instruments a couple of years ago.
  3. Gorn

    Gorn Supporting Member

    Dec 15, 2011
    Queens, NY
    Personally, I think they sound awful unless you love a really tinny, trebly sound. If you search "les claypool resonator" on YouTube you'll find any interview where he plays one. I don't know anything about that particular bass, but I'm assuming he can afford the best. It's gotta be a good one.
  4. They both sound like a$$ in my opinion. Makes no sense on any level to me. Do you want one just 'cause, or are you looking for a particular sound? Any type of sound you seek will likely be more obtainable through anything but a resonator bass. And this is coming from someone who loves resonator guitar tone.
  5. As someone who busks with an ABG, a resonator bass seems pretty appealing.
  6. Herrick


    Jul 21, 2010
    Munchkin Land
    Yeah I'm not a fan of bass twang. If that's all a resonator bass can do then I'm not interested. I went to the Goldtone website and they had a video there and it was all twang. Ah well :meh:
  7. Bongolation


    Nov 9, 2001
    No Bogus Endorsements
    My understanding is that FMIC dreamed this nonsense up as a concept instrument and video prop for some awful Garth Brooks Dr. Pepper TV commercial some ten years ago, based on their truly horrible FR50 guitar.

    Distinguished origins, huh? :rolleyes:

    Since then, a number of others put these abortions on the market. Occasionally, someone buys one and generally regrets it. If you don't think there's a more doomed proposition than a regular ABG, these will prove you wrong.

    I don't want to buy any more cute instruments that don't work in this lifetime, thanks. :rollno:
  8. zontar


    Feb 19, 2014
    Another thread so soon?
  9. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol Supporting Member

    Ozark make one that I find great.
    It has a horrible design flaw : the piece of soft wood used as a bridge under the cover. It needs to be replaced ASAP by a proper piece of ebony.

    The rest is simply great. Short scale that favors mids and works well with the resonator to get you heard.
    Single coil pickup that works wonders if you decide to plug.
    Very comfy neck and body.

  10. Herrick


    Jul 21, 2010
    Munchkin Land
    Have you played one?

    Yeah I see there was one made only a few days ago. Whoops.

    Is it twangy?
  11. LowB-ing


    Aug 3, 2005
    Nope. Bassplayer mag reviewed a resonator bass way back in the 90ies. Don't remember the brand, but I think it was from Dobro. I think that one had been around for a few years by then too.

    Then there's the upright resonator bass from the 30ies. It wasn't very successful, and I'm not defending the concept here. I'm just saying that FMIC didn't invent the resonator bass.

  12. Bongolation


    Nov 9, 2001
    No Bogus Endorsements
    Well, that's one piece of marketing lunacy we can't blame on them for a change.

    At least not entirely. ;)

    Their resonator bass was short-lived and broadly reviled, though.
  13. Bongolation


    Nov 9, 2001
    No Bogus Endorsements
    About three notes on one of the Fenders years ago. It sounded like a dreadful accident.
  14. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol Supporting Member

    That would describe it well, yes. Note the lipstick pickup, which helps toward this goal.
    It doesn't sound too harsh if you use real strings instead of bronze horrors and really responds well to playing.
  15. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny

    Nov 20, 2000
    Vancouver, BC
    I kinda like what this guy's doing with it.
  16. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol Supporting Member

    It is very representative of the tone of this instrument. A lot of overtones but not agressive.
    Great playing from this guy, too.
  17. Herrick


    Jul 21, 2010
    Munchkin Land
    Thanks for the help, everyone. I've decided not to buy one.
  18. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol Supporting Member

    Not sure if it may guide you in your quest but after years of looking for convincing acoustic basses, I gave up and bought a mandocello, which allows me to play bass parts and get heard, along with many other things.
  19. So eloquently put... down. Stating "monstrosities" and "gimmick" is really quite helpful in perpetuating the bad rep these instruments get and goes so well towards turning this thread into another bash-fest. Bravo, you tried one and didn't like it.

    After trying many of these reso-basses I find they're not my cup-of-tone, but I don't feel the need to denigrate them and in so doing also desparaging those who do like them.

    I've heard some that sounded okay and others that were too twangy for my tastes. String choice (as already noted in the thread) and playing technique have a huge impact on how they sound. What I haven't heard is how one of the old upright-sized ones sound like – That I would like to hear.

    zontar likes this.
  20. Now that is just cool.