During the early 20th century, acoustic guitars were used in antiquated dance orchestras and brass bands. However, the wind instruments would drown out the sound of the acoustic guitars. In 1927, Slovak luthier, John Dopyera was approached by a guitarist known as George Beauchamp with a request for a guitar loud enough to play alongside brass and wind instruments. Using 3 spun aluminum speaker cones (resonators), joined by a T-shaped aluminum bar that supports the bridge, a mechanical amplification system was created that allowed the guitar to be heard in the back row of the auditorium. From the jazz bands of the ’20s, through the Hawaiian craze of the ’30s, from Chicago down to the Delta, the sound of the Tri-cone defined an era.











Republic Resonators are in the tradition for National models, but are imports and at a must lower price point. Since this is my first resonator instrument I was not in the position to purchase a $2500 – $3500 National. Not that I don’t think they are incredible instruments, I just wanted a more modest price point and researched Republic guitars. They import from Asia in bulk and fine tune and do quality control in their Texas headquarters. The result is a nice resonator instrument in the $700+ range.

Tri-cone resophonic guitars tend to be a bit heavier than the single-cone guitars. This one weights in at 9-lbs 8-0zs. The single-cone resophonic guitars tend to be a bit louder and have a harsher attack. The trigones tend to be a bit more balanced in tone.

From Republic website:
When we think of resonator guitars, it is the National and Dobro designs from the late 1920’s that generally come to mind. Indeed, few other names have penetrated this niche market. The Republic range covers both classic single-cone and tri-cone models, adding features that give a modern dimension to these very traditional instruments, such as body cutaways and options like classic nickel or “distressed” metal finishes. Republic Guitars was founded in the town of Rowlett just outside of Dallas Texas, in August 2013 we relocated to new home in Austin.

When Texas teenager Frank Helsley heard Johnny Winter playing acoustic blues on a resonator it signaled the start of a lifelong obsession, both as a player and designer. In 2007, frustrated at the affordable options available to the modern resonator enthusiast, Helsley founded Republic Guitars.

In 2009 Helsley came up with the Highway 61, a travel-sized guitar with a single cut-away, loud, highly playable, and with surprisingly rich tone for such a small instrument. A year later Helsley won a U.S. patent on the design. Republic has already attracted celebrity names such as the Doobie Brothers, The Eagles, and Johnny Winter himself.



Classic Tri-cone Style # 212:

  • Tri-cone resonating, slatted sound hole
  • Materials: Bell brass
  • Finish: Tarnished Nickel
  • Cover plate: Tri-cone standard


  • 12 frets to the body
  • 1 7/8″ bone nut
  • 25 1/2″ scale
  • 20″ body length
  • 10 1/4″ upper bout
  • 14 1/4″ lower bout
  • 3″ body depth
  • Round mahogany neck
  • Rosewood fret board
  • 3 x 6″ (2 on bass side; 1 on treble side) Hand spun aluminum “Continental” cones
  • Antique style geared tuners
  • Dot position markers
  • Adjustable trussrod
  • Metal T-bridge
  • Maple saddle
  • W/Feather-lite/Durafoam Case

The supplied case is quite nice.



Types of slides, fingerpick and thumbpick need to be selected. These instruments are generally not played with flatpick or bare fingers.

Types of slides

Types of slides: Brass Acoustaglide, AcoustaGlide in steel with Dynamic Diffusion, Chrome Dunlop slide, Coricidin Bottle style, Dunlop Joe Perry Boneyard Signature-short, Willy’s Bottleneck slides


It is possible to play slide guitar in standard tuning. Actually a useful skill for some songs, but slide guitar is usually played in open tunings (tuned to a chord). Popular open tunings are Open D, open A, open E and open G are the most commonly used tunings for blues playing.

Symbols  indicate tune up or down from standard tuning

Symbols < or > indicate tune up or down from standard tuning

1960s Hohner Archtop and Republic Tricone

1960s Hohner Archtop and Republic Tricone


Republic of Texas Offers Affordable Resonators Steeped in Tradition – Nice article