1930s Radio Tone-style Squareneck Resonator Guitar

I never thought I'd see another one of these for many years to come! The last one had the "Radio Tone" branding extant and was, basically, an almost identical model. This type of "Dobro" uses a "biscuit cone" setup where the cone is inverted (going down into the body like a Dobro cone) and the biscuit bridge is super-tall to make-up for that design. Here's what that looks like:

Neat, huh? It's very simple and, after adjustments to get the most out of it, doesn't sound too shabby at all. It's a "Schireson" patent cone and these were only made for a short while.

The biscuit is made of some sort of very lightweight (painted) softwood but the saddle is ebony.

The body is all thick ply wood with painted "faux" binding and a brown/black sunburst finish. There's no "soundwell" to speak of -- just a lowered ridge under the top that supports the cone. Thankfully, it's glued and screwed to the top to keep it stable. During adjustments I added a couple of soundposts to shore it up, too. The neck is interesting in that it's bolted to the body from the inside.

A local customer brought this in and I surprised him by going through the instrument on-the-spot after we took care of a pickup issue with his lap steel. Work included making a new, wide nut (for 2 1/4" spacing), installing a brass hoop "tonering" like I did on the last version of this I worked on, modifying the saddle area of the biscuit for wider (and more accurate) spacing, and various other minor adjustments to the setup.

He plays it in "low bass G Hawaiian" or DGDGBD open G tuning and it sings with a vaguely-bluesy, vaguely-bluegrassy, somewhat-Hawaiian timbre.

The interesting thing about the headstock is that the rear of it is solid -- only the front is routed-out for the tuners. Kay did that a lot, but I'm still not sure of the maker. It's reeks of Chicago, though.

Originally this fretboard had "normal" frets and probably a bunch of stickers for note identification. At some point, someone leveled the frets flush with the board and re-stained the board to clean it up.

I love the soundholes!

The coverplate is basic and functional. I replaced the attachment screws and tailpiece screws with thicker, more substantial slotted-style nickel-plated ones.

Perhaps this serial number will mean something, someday.

I didn't do much cleaning-up of the looks of this new, rosewood nut because we were really whipping this thing into shape quickly. You can see the extra screw I added, however. Hawaiian nuts often pop off the taller they get, so it helps.