Workshop: Clinesmith Dobro-Style Squareneck & Cone Positioning

This hubba-hubba Clinesmith squareneck is owned by crazy-guitar-compatriot Mr. Ivan and dang if it doesn't sound amazing. These super-Dobros have a neat clear-plastic baffle inside that sends the sound shooting out of the soundholes and a lightweight, solid-wood build. This one lacks a heavy soundwell in favor of a '30s-style "lip" with some posts to support it underneath.

It's also gorgeous.

Grain, grain, grain!

Now to the "workshop" bit -- cone positioning!

One of the many problems with resonator guitars and regular people is that the cones tend to move around on folks when they're restringing them and not being careful. A long time ago I decided that was stupid, so when I'm under the hood I make sure they stay in place once I've taken care to locate them properly.

I used to use little bits of duct tape, but have since started using aluminum-foil-backed tape instead as it blends with the cone a lot better if you happen to glance it through the holes in the coverplate. In the shot above and the one below you can see I've used two small strips to secure the cone's position in place. I make sure it's snugged-down and out of the way by using a small screwdriver to flatten it along the edges.

On spider-bridge guitars, I also use a couple of small pieces on two of the spider legs. This isn't really necessary, but I've known tinkerers to throw-off their intonation like mad when they decide to start mucking-around with the center tension screw that snugs the spider up to the cone. When there are screws, some folks can't help but want to turn them...!

In an aside, Mr. Ivan asked me how I like to tension a spider-bridge via said screw. Easy: as little as possible. It sounds "great" with it snugged-up just past where you feel the threads actually engage the spider to the cone. Beyond that it starts to sound nasal and flat, though I guess that's a "tone" as well.