Instrument Shopping: The Republic Resonator Mandolin

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Instrument Shopping: The Republic Resonator Mandolin

This here is a Republic metal-body resonator mandolin, modeled off of the classic National resos of the 1920s and 1930s. Republics are build in China and then set up in Texas. They are very affordable — $350 for a mando with case — and the owner will set it up as a lefty for me.

I have an interest in the lost art of blues mandolin — a lot of the old-time black string bands had mandolin players, and many of them used oddball instruments like the resonator mandolin or the dreaded mando-banjo. These things are loud, and have a unique tone quality to them . . . I’d use this at the monthly old-time fiddlers’ jam session, and in my spare time work on some of the blues / jug band kinda stuff.

By | 2017-03-17T01:04:05+00:00 March 25th, 2008|Categories: Article|Tags: |2 Comments

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  1. PLee February 23, 2017 at 4:00 am - Reply

    Here's a Chinese-made reso mandolin:

    And here's a tenor guitar being played in the Texas fiddle backup style:

    A mandolin is tuned GDAE, same as a fiddle. Tenors are usually tuned one-fifth lower, CGDA, like a mandola. They therefore sound a little like a mandolin and a little like a guitar.

    Speaking of mandolas . . . just got an email from a guy who will build a lefty in my price range. They are the mandolin's big brother…great sound, but I would probably be wiser to upgrade the mandolin first, as it has a bit more of a well-defined role in old-timey and bluegrass music.

    And finally, some blues on a beautiful Weissenborn acoustic lap steel.

  2. Jeeg February 23, 2017 at 4:00 am - Reply

    Where can we find some audio of these instruments you're posting? Because my level of discernment when it comes to bluegrass instruments is only slight more refined than fiddle/not-fiddle.

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