Hello, volume connoisseurs. I've been lurking around this site for a while now. Just joined the other day. I've already built a couple of instruments - a three string CBG and a little CB uke. Both were pretty successful. Now, I want to try something different. I have this old, cheap, short-scale classical guitar, and as I'm sure some of the people in this group have done, I want to reso-fy it. I'm also going to make a new, reinforced neck for it (and probably reinforce the body), but I think I've got that part worked out.

What I'm wondering is, is there some sort of rule(s) of thumb for determining ideal cone size, volume-wise? Is it as simple as "the biggest one you can fit in the guitar," or does the notion of "bigger is better" break down past a certain point? I've thought about cake pans and such, but I'm leaning more and more toward a proper resonator cone for this build. While I'm at it, will a piezo under the bridge allow me to keep that reso tone when I'm plugged in, or is there a better way to wire it up for that purpose?

Thanks in advance for any and all advice! I look forward to spending more time around here.

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Hi Jake,

 

The "bigger is better" rule generally holds true for regular full sized guitars as it does for cigar box guitars. However, certain metals and certain shapes perform better than others. For instance aluminum and brass resonators work better than stainless steel because the material is lighter (less dense). A resonator that presents a parabolic (concave) surface to the source of sound waves will reflect them better than other shapes. The better resonator are usually cones made (spun) specifically for this purpose as opposed to most metal things (just about everything including the kitchen sink) people employ as home made resonators. For a full size guitar you are talking about a 11" or 12" cone as opposed to the 5" resonator cones usually used on cigar box guitars. However, adding electronics (piezo and/or magnetic pickups ("pups") ) can make a not so go performing resonator sound really great, and the tone may be quite unique. Some of the builders use both a piezo and a magnetic pickup with their reso guitars (cigar box and otherwise) and provide switches so you can play with one or the other or both. There are quite a few discussions on this topic on CBN, so you might want to use CBN's build in search engine to search for more threads to study this topic more thoroughly before you start your build.

 

Hope this helps.

 

-Rand.

 

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