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Metal Body Tricone Roundneck Resonator Upgraded Modded Electric/Acoustic National Style Dobro Guitar Nickel Plated Bell Brass Body by Johnson RG-03 Pickup by Schatten with New Hard Shell Case We special ordered this guitar, asking for specifications that bring this guitar to a standard emulating the vintage National model of the same name. The Chrysanthemum Tricone was National’s Top of the Line Guitar in it’s day. In recent years, vintage models have brought more than $30,000.00. I wanted to recreate the desirability at an affordable price, but I wasn’t impressed with the other imitations on the market. The good folks at Johnson were more than willing to take recommendations & after 3 tries came up with a winner. This guitar is one of my favorites. In my opinion, it sounds as good or better than other metal bodied resonators. We have owned and/or played all the National and Dobro models, as well as played most other brands. In a Tricone, the 3 - 6" cones are set in a triangle. 2 of the cones are on the bass side & 1 on the treble side. Rather than a wooden bridge, there is an aluminum T shaped bridge that connects to the center of each of the cones. A maple wooden saddle sits atop the T bridge. The vibration from the strings goes through the saddle, the T bridge, & then the 3 cones. The sound has farther to travel to get the cones resonating than with a single-cone resonator. Thus, Tricones are not as loud on the attack. However, the sustain is greater & the tone is sweeter. This is due to 3 cones all vibrating together, producing more harmonics than a single cone resonator guitar. At the time of their invention, resonator guitars were considered some of the loudest guitars made. In the days before amplified guitars, they made some guitars with passive aluminum speaker cones in them. Which isn’t to mean that you can’t play them softly, but you can play loud if you desire. And of course, the tone of a metal bodied resonator is wonderful, superb and unique. I love my tricones, but a change in lifestyle indicates they would be better off with a new home. This particular guitar was only played a few times when I first got it, just to check it out. It is the last of a series that was tweeked until we got it right. Then it sat in it’s case for several years. Regarding the pickup, here’s a quote from Schatten: Until we designed the RG-03, all resonator pickups were either stuck onto the side of the cone (which invariably caused feedback issues) or else required the replacement of large parts of the resonator assembly (not to mention a lot of expense and probable modification to the instrument). There also were some magnetic pickups that were meant to fit under the strings at the end of the fingerboard - but these were never particularly acoustic sounding. The design of the RG-03 mounts the piezo element directly on center on the underside of the resonator cone on 'Dobro' and 'National' style instruments. This placement of the piezo unit is the best for sound and the best for feedback resistance. We know this because it is our design. Our competitor knows this as well because in bringing out their own reso pickup, they copied most of ours. There are 5 owner reviews on Harmony Central. I'll paste a response to another query here: It's good to hear from someone that has actually experienced an upgraded Johnson. We suspect most of the people that might see our listing just don't know what they're missing. Most of the upgrades are internal. Stock, they used metal reinforced bracing that dampened the bridge. We made it out of solid hardwood & had it shifted toward the base of the guitar, + redid the neck bracing & bridge as well. Emulating the National Tricone methodology gave a National sound. And the rest of the guitar is as well designed & constructed as a National, so you can have as good of a guitar as what sets the standard for far less investment. *The following is added in answer to a question regarding the cones: The cones are custom, hand spun Continental cones. They are made from a specialized Aluminum Alloy that allows them to be made thin. This allows them to resonate more freely than most other cones, maximizing volume and tone. With the mods, it stands up next to the Nationals it emulates. Except it's new & shinier than those. I expect it will increase in value over time. Of course, you can get a regular Johnson tricone for less & have it modded. I know a guy that will upgrade them for $475. You can get some hand spun Continental cones for about a hundred, & rebrace properly, add the pickup & you'd have what we have here. All in all, we think this is a real bargain & we're hoping the right player will see that as well.


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