Hi, I thought I would post a few photos of a build journey a few pics at a time to save a big lengthy post at the end of the process.
This may be of interest to some members as there appears to be quite a bit of interest on here regarding Resonator guitars., and this is my journey to building a low-cost full-size resonator guitar.
This is the first time, other than the very first instrument I built, a mountain dulcimer back the early 1970’s, that I have built using plywood. And its not instrument grade laminated timber its hardware shop grade 3 ply. You know the stuff that bows up like a photograph in the sun. For this reason, as soon as I got it home, I cut it up into usable dimensions and put weights on the pieces. But that might depend on where one lives.
I will not show every stage but mainly the important milestones with some comments along the way. Enjoy…. I hope…………………….

Next, working on the back. Taff

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Very impressive, Taffy.

The most impressive thing is that you were able to bend that plywood for the sides. Did you steam or heat it?

I've built a couple of resonators and I know it is a lot of work. Keep taking photos.

Killer job! I bet it sounds and plays like a dream. Thanks for sharing.

 Looks great and thanks for sharing. Always interesting to see how others do it.

Hi, that's a nice looking resonator Tom T.

The sides were easy to bend compared to many solid timber sides. I used the Fox type bender that I built some years ago. The Bender was developed by Luthier Charles Fox and has undergone several transformations over the years. This one is heated by three heat globes, but now I also use a silicone heat blanket. It gives me an even better outcome. I make a sandwich with the timber in the middle and spritzed with water, either side of that is brown paper also wetted and either side of that aluminium slats. In the mix is the heat blanket.
But for years I did side bending on a hot pipe in the traditional manner.


Hi again, here I’m showing the back. And it’s of one piece 3 ply which means not having to slice and book match the timbers, also no inlay strip or reinforcing down the middle. This is also the first time I have used solid linings and not kerfed ones, so it was a quick and easy process.
The bracing was cut from my normal Sitka spruce stock and glued up and shaped in the usual way, and the ends checked into the sides. The back was glued onto the rims first this time [I normally do the top first] as I did not have to voice/tune the top bracing this time.

Next step is the Top, cut the hole for the cone and bracing and fitting. Cheers Taff

What can I say?

Absolute top quality work. Love seeing it.

true that. he makes it look so easy... tempted to have a go but i know i havent got the patience or talent for a propper guitar..

Hey Timothy, you just made my day. My idea with this post was to show the building of a relatively easy full size guitar using basic cheap materials,and hopefully have some members at least think, Hmmmm?  

To have you use the word tempted, is very gratifying. 

I've got a story I planned for the end of this thread that may address the other two words you used, patience and talent.  

Nearly ready to post the Top and neck and fretting segments. 


Hi once again, this time I focus on the top. Again, it’s just cheap 3 ply.
Once I have plotted the scale length, a 25” scale with 12 frets to the body, to find where the cone will sit I mark the centre and drill a 3/16” hole to locate my hole cutting router/devise so as to make the large opening for the cone.
Then I plot the soundholes making sure they miss the braces under the top. Once soundholes are done I cut, fit and carve the braces. These are heavier than usual as they must resist the extra tension of the strings. This a square neck lap steel resonator so the strings are high, about 3/8’ off the fingerboard.

After the braces are fitted, I mount the cone support ring onto the inside of the top, this is also ply in this guitar. I then transfer the brace positions onto the sides and check out for the ends of the braces to fit into the sides/linings. Then I glue the top to the rims. I use my go-bar deck, I find it very quick, or you could use clamps, or spool clamps.

There are  a few more photos of the Top process, Ill post those a bit later. Cheers Taff

Looking great as usual Taff. ;)

Hi taffy. This is 'true skill' mate and inspirational to me. Great stuff

Taffy., you do stellar work,.,.,I must admit I always drool over your tool selection.,.,.looks like a lifetimes worth of experience.,.,


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