Modern Gretsch Guitars

G9202 Resonator Roots Collection

1

Hi, I hope this is the right place to post this. I am a little stumped by a guitar I am really interested in and hope someone who knows resonators better than me can shed some light on it.

I found a G9202 resonator acoustic model I am interest in. Below are the specs.

https://www.gretschguitars....

The build quality and feel and look of the instrument are amazing. But the sound is horrible. Its hard to describe in words what the G9202 sounds like. It sounds like a cheap acoustic guitar where someone inserted a t-shirt into the sound hole.

I managed to find a G9201 in another store that I tried out. That one sounds about 1000 times better and sounds like a real resonator/dobro I am accustomed to hearing in recordings. From everything I can tell, the cones and hardware are supposed to be exactly the same.

https://www.gretschguitars....

I am just starting to wonder, could it be that the G9202 is just so poorly setup from the factory? Or could it have a damaged cone or rusted cone hardware that would cause that much of a sound difference in what seems brand new guitars?

If its a new instrument, its covered under some sort of North American Gretsch warranty is it not? Theoretically, if I do buy the G9202 I could tell the store to just send it back to Gretsch and have them fix it, right?

Any help of advice appreciated.

2

I just watched a YouTube demo video on the G9202, it sounded really good. Something may be wrong with the one you tried out, the one played in demo sounds like a normal dobro type resenator guitar. Here's the Link to the demo. I can't really advise on how to handle getting the one you tried out fixed, but I personally would probably pass on it, and find a different one that was in good working condition.

3

All of the ones, that I have seen or heard at the roundups have sounded great but not in my hands. If there was one that didn't sound right, I would start off asking the music store what they had done to it, if anything. Tell them it doesn't sound right to you and get them to figure it out via setup or whatever.

4

I'd loosen the strings from the outer pair inwards then make sure the cone is seated properly then retune inwards outwards. Reso's can be awkward buggers and shipping can easily knock things out of true, if in doubt get someone who knows these to have a look. Best of luck.

5

One of two things is going on: this guitar simply isn't right (the reason why doesn't matter if you don't own it) - or you really REALLY don't like bell bronze (the 9201 is brass; that's the only spec difference between the two).

I've played both - but it was at a NAMM show, and I couldn't vouch for the tonal difference between them. But you know - one shouldn't sound dead and horrible.

(Different strings? Light gauge strings of the wrong material can instantly deaden a resonator, which needs some string mass to get the cone working.)

In any case, DON'T BUY THE GUITAR intending to get a warranty resolution. Tell the dealer it sounds like a dead dog stretched over barbed wire, only worse, and if he can't do something to make it sound right, pass. Order one online. These instruments are generally very consistent (your store sample could be the exceptional lemon), and you take no risk buying sight-unheard. All reputable online dealers have excellent return policies. If you don't like the one you get, return it. (Don't beat it up, of course.)

Good dealers: Rocky's Street Sounds (a sponsor), Shanghai (ditto), Cream City, Sweetwater. All will treat you fairly - and any of these dealers should do quality control before shipping. (Musician's Friend, Zzounds, not so much.)


As for Gretsch resonators, I'm a huge fan. I've never come across a bad one, and mine has become my go-to reso, even with other more expensive guitars to choose from. From my observation of the market, you have to spend twice or three times the money to get a better reso. Among metal-bodied instruments, more like four times. (For the best metal resos, National is the only game in town - IMO - and they're priced like it. In any conceivable afterlife worth striving for, I can only hope I'd be issued a German silver National tri-cone.)

6

I've never been much of a resonator guy, partly because they are so associated with down-home-country-blues-Americana sorts of music, which is not something I listen to much. But I won a 9220 Bobtail resonator at a RoundUp a few years ago, and I've enjoyed it a lot. It seems to want to play in open tuning and favors Indian and Middle Eastern flavors. It's even inspired me to dabble with slide playing --- which I'm not good at yet, but still it's opened a new avenue of creativity.

Moreover, it's louder and richer sounding than the Fender, Dobro and other brands that some of my musical cohorts own. And they agree --- a couple of these guys know their stuff when it comes to resonators, and they were all hella impressed with the Gretsch.

7

Thanks for all the responses. I will try it one more time.

I am not a total guitar n00bie, but am not an expert in either resonators or guitar setup. I just know how to play one. This one sounds so bad that my old cheapo pawnshop Fender acoustic jumbo which I haven't changed strings on for 15+ years sounds better that this one does. I play it in open tunings. I tried that 9202 in both D and G. No difference.

I will try the tip of checking to make sure the cone is seated properly by lossening and retuning. See what happens.

Thanks to all for the replies.

8

I love my Gold Tone 32" reso bass .. nice thumpy upright sound.

9

I would be cautious about doing anything with the cone. Setups on resonator guitars are something that most people don't know how to do and, in my opinion, are not something that most amateurs are good at. Follow the tip about not buying a guitar that sounds bad to you and, instead, buy one that sounds good.

10

I am wondering. It there supposed to be a little piece of what looks like cork where the tail is? There is a little think piece of cork under the strings below the tail piece. Is that supposed to be there or is it part of shipping?

I am wondering if that could be why it sounds so weird.

12

It's behind the bridge, and thus has minimal (or no) impact on the tone of the string, which is only "live" between the bridge and the nut. It may kill some enharmonic overtones between bridge and tailpiece, but its main function is surely to stop the tailpiece from rattling against the pie plate.

13

thanks. well, then i am totally out of ideas as to what could be wrong with this guitar. maybe the thrus rod in the neck is so messed up that the neck is totally out. basically everything from the 5th fret onwards sounds messed up. with or without a slide. i guess i will pass on the guitar and keep looking. there is no way this is normal.

15

That's smart. This guitar is Not Your Problem. Don't make it yours.

16

In other words: dude, just order one from one of the recommended dealers.

17

That's smart. This guitar is Not Your Problem. Don't make it yours.

– Proteus

Yes, I know what you mean. The G9202 is heavily discounted compared to the 9201's I have seen. This was the reason I posted. I was trying to figure out was it or could it be a collapsed cone issue. I am fairly handy and should be able to figure out how to use a screw driver to replace the cone. But from the sounds of it, there might be other problems with that instrument.

FWIW, I offered to buy it off the store if they were willing to send it back to Fender/Gretsch and have them fix whatever was wrong with it. its still looks like a very well made instrument from quality parts. They said the warranty would not cover that.. so that's that. From my calculations, the cost of replacing the cone and sending it to a pro to get it setup would pretty much eat up whatever savings I see from the discount, so I might as well just get one that sounds better and doesn't need the extra work done to it.

18

I just watched a YouTube demo video on the G9202, it sounded really good. Something may be wrong with the one you tried out, the one played in demo sounds like a normal dobro type resenator guitar. Here's the Link to the demo. I can't really advise on how to handle getting the one you tried out fixed, but I personally would probably pass on it, and find a different one that was in good working condition.

– Wade H

Thanks for the link. I think I saw that one. Yeah, this instrument sounds nothing like the one in the video. The one in the video sounds like the other ones I have tried and sounds like what I would normally expect from a resonator at that price point. I will keep looking I think.

I would love to try out and get a mule resonator, but I don't think I am that good of a slide player to deserve one.

http://muleresophonic.com/

19

Also have a close look at the buttons on the tuners, all of mine have cracks in them.

20

Good luck with the search for a new resenator guitar Tele, I hope you find a good one. I would have passed that one over too.

21

If it's heavily discounted it makes me wonder if the store knows what's wrong with it and wont say.

22

I have one of these and it sounds fine:

Mine doesn't have the cork, but I don't think that's the problem. I would guess something's up with the cone or biscuit.

23

Dave's right. If they have a turd and say FMIC won't fix it, there's more to the story. All things being above-board and straightforward, I can't imagine FMIC wouldn't repair or replace a new guitar in dealer inventory.

Now, if they're not an authorized dealer - and didn't get the guitar direct from FMIC - well, there's a line of thinking. The fundamental turdness of the guitar may have been built into the price they got it for, which "savings" they're "passing along" to a customer who doesn't know the difference.

In any case, if it's truly a "new" guitar and is as bad as you say, FMIC will want to know about it. They don't want junk out there.

24

Thanks for the replies again.

I tried out the G9201 again today, as the shop is literally on my way home from work, using the exact same slide and same tunings, and obviously same average player. That instrument has absolutely no issues at all of any frets anywhere , neither strumming nor slide playing. It also has no loudness issues. It doesn't have the cork thingy. But I think what previous poster said was correct. The cork thing is just there to prevent metal tail piece from scraping on the other metal. The tail piece provides tension on the strings from the top, so it can't possibly be damping the strings or guitar sound.

The only thing that comes to mind is, if there is a truss rod in the neck, maybe the rod it completely loosened or maybe broken . That could explain the buzzing from 5th fret onwards and the overall damping sound. Who knows. I guess I keep looking.

25

Dave's right. If they have a turd and say FMIC won't fix it, there's more to the story. All things being above-board and straightforward, I can't imagine FMIC wouldn't repair or replace a new guitar in dealer inventory.

Now, if they're not an authorized dealer - and didn't get the guitar direct from FMIC - well, there's a line of thinking. The fundamental turdness of the guitar may have been built into the price they got it for, which "savings" they're "passing along" to a customer who doesn't know the difference.

In any case, if it's truly a "new" guitar and is as bad as you say, FMIC will want to know about it. They don't want junk out there.

– Proteus

Yeah. Their warranty comment makes no sense. I am in Canada and they claim in order to get warranty, they have to ship to US at their own expense so the issues with instrument aren't covered under warranty.

I have bought new guitars before and they all came with 1 year manufacturer warranty. Not that I even had to use it. guitars last forever, unless you pull a Pete Townsend on them . Hell, I still have and still occasionally play the first guitar I ever bought new way back in 1984. The thing still works exactly like it did back then. Just don't ask what make it is. :)


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