Hi All,

i come with a question to you about the principle of a biscuit cone resonator:

What is the interaction of string tension versus sound? I assume a aluminium cone needs a certain pressure on the biscuit to perform best? Exists a value for best performance? How to calculate the pressure from the string tension, because the angle from saddle to string fixing has an big impact.

The reason why i am asking: My couch guitar fall down direct on the saddle - top broken. Idea is now to use a 8 1/4 cone and build a Resonator Guitar. Use a similar approach to fix the strings i did with the cigar box guitars, but i can decrease the angel of the strings to the saddle by construction more less how i like - which influences the pressure on the biscuit.

Thanks for any input or help!!

best regards from Austria


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I have three six string resonators. One metal body and two wood body. The two biscuit resonators have 9 1/2" cones from StewMac. The spider bridge guitar has a 11" cone.

I've seen and used a variety of string tensions from Standard (0.056~0.013) to light gauge (0.053~0.012).

I don't find a significant difference in volume between standard and light gauge strings. I do find better play ability with the light gauge if I'm fretting notes. If playing slide, I think the standard gauge work better for holding a note.

None of my guitars have unusually severe break angles over the bridge/biscuit. I'm not sure that the break angle (if within a reasonable range) has much impact on the down force of the string on the biscuit. Think about it. If you put a tension gauge on the string next to the bridge (a fish scale works) and lift it you will read the string tension. If you then bend the break angle down fairly sharply and check the tension again with the fish scale, you're going to read the same tension.

Here is a link to a more technical discussion of break angle and impact on volume and play ability. It may give you the insight you are looking for.

How autumn down under?

Wow Tom, that link saved a thousand words. But I'll just mention a couple of things.

I build and play Spider Bridge style resonator guitars where the down force of the strings is directed to the outside rim of the cone. A screw through the saddle slot goes to the centre of the cone and adds some adjustment for volume and tone. The back angle over the saddles is minimal.

When setting up Gibson Les Paul style guitars with an adjustable tailpiece, it is recommended to pay atttension to the break angle over the saddles as too much can cause the bridge (only supported at its ends) to sag over time. There is a recommmended angle in this case.


Hi  Taffy. Glad you rung in on this topic. I have a spider bridge Gretsch Boxcar that has the center screw that you mention. You're right about its break angle (not much to talk about).

As for the Les Paul, when you get into very lightly strung electrics, I don't know if break angle (if it has any) play any real part in sound or feel. I guess that if you had too much break angle the bridge could sag over time, but with the kind of strings they usually have on these, I doubt there is much down pressure regardless of break angle.

Anyway, glad the link was useful. Some folks above my pay-grade put it together. Good reading and insights.

Thanks Taffy for the input. Construction wise: i built already a built a biscuit, which works fine, but never a spider type. From your point of view: which one is easier to build? 

Hey Tom, thanks for the link!!! Its perfect. So, final conclusion: not to worry too much about it. 

Btw: i am from Austria/ Vienna - we have spring at the moment and its too cold .... :-) 

Hi Rob, to build the guitar itself would be the same, the inference is the type of cone used, if you are buying ready made cones. If utilising something else for a resonator cone, biscuit bridge would be easier.


Apologies Rob. Old eyes often misread computer screens.

Vienna is a beautiful city any time of year. I was there several years back and found the hidden treasure to be the fine coffee shops.

I play sometimes in one of them ... :-) i like them too 


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