I just got this really nice Republic duolian which I'd like to show off.

I absolutely love it! I absolutely love the sound of these things and this one is dead on. I love the finish as well. It's really well-made, the neck is very smooth and is easy to play, although I'm personally not crazy about the slotted headstock.

I have a question though: that thing is strung with a 15/56 or so gauge, apparently the standard for these guitars - if you're going to play mostly slide I suppose. In my case I'd like to learn how to play the slide and also play finger-picking, so I'm thinking of switching to a more fingers-friendly 12/54 gauge. The action is relatively high so I think the slide should still be fine. Does anyone have one of those? And if yes what gauge do you use?
I expect such heavy string are for tonality, and so you can really lean into the slide.

I know absolutely less than nothing about theses things. And yet, I won't allow myself to be deterred by that.

When heavy strings are used on a standard guitar it's for one or all of the following reasons: high output and heavy bass is required, the player in question also has a very heavy touch, the music consists of fast, hard, and intricate rhythm patterns.

In this case of the resonator, I don't know how the volume tracks with string gauge, One expects the treble would be abundant, and perhaps the heavy strings are there to balance the response.

That said, having strings that heavy on any guitar, (tuned to concert pitch), would worry me to death.

I don't know as there is a compromise setting between good slide setup, and good hand fretting work.

There was another thread recently where it came to light there's a false nut which goes over top of the guitar's existing top nut to raise the action for slide work.

This was in the context of a standard guitar though.

Anyways, "Happy New Resonator Day"!

BTW, what's that beastie made out of?
Last edited by Captaincranky at Jun 23, 2013,
Thanks! I believe it's made of brass, but I actually emailed Republic today with the serial number to learn more about it.

I'm trying to get used to the strings. They're putting up a bit of a fight. :-D But I ordered some lighter ones just in case it's too much for me. I got 10-52s on my electric so I'm a little bit used with slightly heavier gauges but that one takes the cake...
Yeah well, the height of the top nut on those is onerous as well. They're not really intended to be playable by hand without a major setup.

Makes sense, it's lot harder to get the strings back up, than it was lowering them. especially with the normally fixed part in the equation, the top nut.

Do you know how, or have the tools, to measure the action height?

Because at much more than .030 clearance at the 1st fret / nut, E-6 side, guitars get tough to fret at the 1st.
Last edited by Captaincranky at Jun 23, 2013,
There's a tough balancing act with these, if you're going to play with both fingers and slide.

If you look at the typical "dobro" setup for a bluegrass band, the strings are impossibly high and can't be played at all with the fingers.
However, you can reach a compromise. I have one of those "Rogue" bell-brass numbers, and it came delivered with the action set up just about right. I can finger notes with just a bit more effort than on my regular axe, and it handles the slide cleanly as well.

By the way, I don't know if mine is typical, but for about 300 bucks it would be hard to beat one of these Rogues for someone wanting to jump into playing resonator without the scratch to spring for a National.
Mine very well made; finish is perfect... Sounds good... My only very minor complaint is that the tuners are rather cheap and as a result are not as smooth as might be.... Nothing wrong with 'em, they're just not "buttery" to turn.
I think the low E string is at about 3/32nd from the neck. It's actually not that bad, but after a half an hour your fingers will get tired...
It's beautiful. Looks like a real beast, like someone has stuck a bed pan in the middle of a guitar. The slotted headstock is fantastic. A beautiful colour throughout.
Thanks!! :-) yeah, I love that thing already... I've just loved the sound of these guitars since Brothers in Arms. Which is funny I guess, Knopfler took his out of the usual 'genre'. So to me they're not associated with bluegrass at all. More like an acoustic guitar with a quirky sound.
Quote by OliveG
Thanks!! :-) yeah, I love that thing already... I've just loved the sound of these guitars since Brothers in Arms. Which is funny I guess, Knopfler took his out of the usual 'genre'. So to me they're not associated with bluegrass at all. More like an acoustic guitar with a quirky sound.
I've seen Knopfler do, "Belladonna", and he used a resonator. That was way before "Brothers in Arms".

Oh, and check out the CD or DVD of Mark Knopfler and Emmy Lou Harris called "Road Runnin". I don't associate her with bluegrass either....
Last edited by Captaincranky at Jun 24, 2013,
Yeah, he used it on Lover Over Gold on Telegraph Road. Didn't know he used it even before that. But I think that the sound of a resonator just works well anywhere... he certainly knows how to use it! I love THe Man's Too Strong too. That's with a reso too isn't it?
Dunno about that tune. I am loathe to admit this, but I haven't heard it.

Anyway, when I tinker with "Belladonna", I just slap a capo on 5 of whatever happens to be in my hand at the time. His finger picking, and some loss in the recording process, leaves most people in that, "I never knew that was a reso", frame of mind. (That includes me).

Anyway, I'm not like that mean old doctor guy, (secretly I think he's a dentist), so I would never associate a "Dobro", with a bed pan. It's much more sophisticated than that. More like the lid of a very ornate, turn of the century, (19th), chamber pot...

(We have another smart ass on deck, so I gotta keep my skills honed, apologies)....
Last edited by Captaincranky at Jun 24, 2013,
The history of the resonator instruments is pretty interesting.... Brought out just before the general availability of amplification, they were just designed to make the guitar louder... So they could compete in bands.
They became popular with busking and club-playing bluesmen because of that loudness... You could be heard over a rowdy crowd or attract more listeners on the street corner.
But they also liked that raspy, crying sound.

You'd think that the general availability of amplification would have killed the instrument off... But everybody still loved "that sound". I do.
I was thinking more of those brass bed pans on wooden handles. Just don't leave the guitar under the spare bed when you have guests around and a few drinks. It is however a great looking guitar, just don't give it to Mark whatisname to play his simple British fingerpicking pop on it. Unless you want Diarrhoea Straight out of it.
Del Amitri are famous for the Scotland World Cup song 'Don't come home too soon'. Needless to say, they did. Scotland, good on paper, shit on grass.