Sunday, 15 September 2013

Bizarro so-called resonator guitar being offered for sale on eBay
The eBay listing for this Highway Key supposed "resonator guitar" starts as follows:
You are bidding [No, I'm not, I'm just looking] on a one of a kind, custom made acoustic/electric resonator from Highway Key Guitars. This model is # 29 in a limited series. Vintage blonde Sprucetop classical body. Comfortable red stained neck and back.Unique steel "cakepan" floating resonator pan houses hotrodded single coil pickup wired to vol/tone & 1/4in jack covertly placed on back. Blacked out reso pan and knobs compliment the custom headstock. This is a Blonde Bombshell!
Excuse me, but a true resonator guitar features a spun steel cone which has the BRIDGE of the guitar floating at its centre point. I can't believe that the same sound can be achieved by someone cutting a large hole in the top of a cheap acoustic guitar and shoving a cake tin into it. If this thing pictured here has any kind of mojo or idiosyncratic sound (most likely some subjectively "interesting" rattling noises), it must be purely accidental.

Currently listed on eBay with a Buy It now price of $269.

G L Wilson

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  1. Here is a similar one being played:

    It does sound a bit like a resonator.

  2. It would be interesting to hear. I'm sure vibration from the strings would transfer through to the cake pan so it definitely would have quite a big effect on the sound.

  3. That headstock looks familiar. Kind of makes me wonder if it isn't from some other guitar, and if so if the intonation on that thing is right.

  4. I'm concerned that from what I can see of the bridge, fretboard, headstock, finish and lack of trussrod it looks like it started out as a spanish guitar meant for nylon strings. The tuners are the "wrong way up" too; although that does make it easier tune if you only play it on your lap, I'd get frustrated trying to tune that onstage in front of an audience if I was playing it stood up.

    I have no doubt that the cake tin has all manner of effects on the sound, but it can hardly be said to be a resonator!

  5. Well thanks for yr interest...this is Rich...I create these Highwayman "reso". I would have listened to one of the many vids listed on these guitars before jumping to conclusions regarding its sound. Your observations on the one pictured that it is a classical and not a high end are correct......I offer a few models this being the entry level. Since You dont bother to research before You try to gun something ddown I will say that all of the info is out there in the ad/the blogs & vids explaining that this is a reso hybrid retaining stock bridge for versatility.....never claim that it is a traditional biscuit reso....and yes it has a cakepan these ones make kickass brownies as well as tone!. The idea of the Highwayman is a roadworn handmade bluesmans tribute guitar email me Id love to get one in yr hands so You could do a fair review....all the best-
    Rich Stark Highway Key Guitars (hwykeycbg on aol)

  6. This is Rich the creator. All I have to say is that the ads the blogs I do and the videos on Youtube all answer the comments Youve posted and the sound backs everything up. What a small sad little world You must live in that Youd shoot something down without 1st playing it or even hearing it. 40 Highwayman models in 3 years to happy players says I have to have stumbled accross a winning combo. Id offfer to get one in yr hands but I feel that Your mind is madeup. Id suggest that the next time You decide to "review" a guitar that Ya actually do some research first...again making judgements as to how a guitar "may sound" is very unprofessional....makes me wonder why I am even responding because You couldnt possibly have a big audience with writing skills such as Yours. I wish You luck in yr endeavors.- Rich Stark Highway Key Guitars

  7. Hi. My name is Scott Schwartz and I am owner of one of Rich Stark's Highway Key guitars. I have been playing guitar since the 60s and am the owner of vintage (early 60's) to 2012 made, 6 and 12 string, acoustic and electric. We can agree this is not "true" resonator in the sense that it does not have a spun cone and spider bridge. What Rich has produced is similar to instruments that I have seen in the deep south, smoky mountain area, and Ozarks areas. Instruments were often homemade and handed down from generation to generation and were modified throughout the years. One of the more common modifications I came across was making the sound hole larger with the thought process more sound would come out if the hole was bigger. The process evolved with pots, pans and I saw one that used the headlight reflectors to help funnel the sound out. A lot of these instruments did not have 6 strings as strings cost money. You have to remember that being classified as being in poverty would be a step up in a lot of area. I saw these used with a toner (think dulicmer) metal and glass slides, picks and strummed. They all made music. Rich has made a variation of these instruments. I am of the belief that you do not have to have a high end instrument to make music. I could watch Seasick Steven playing a diddly bow that he made the day before for $2.00 and appreciate it just as well as watching someone playing a high-end custom made guitar playing a classical piece. Back to Rich's Highway Key. I enjoy playing it unplugged as well as plugged in. It is fun and there is a "cool" vibe that the audience remarks on. I know it is not a Beard clone but the Highway Key is not advertised as such. I hope you have an opportunity to try one and then give a informed review. Thanks, Scott 11/15/2013

  8. To Who It May Concern, My name is Jason Thompson and I am the proud owner of several of Rich's instruments. First off a little bit about myself.....I was born and raised in the Ozark Mountains on a small family farm. My grandfather or pappa as we called him was a southern baptist preacher in a single room schoolhouse and one of the best blues harmonica players I've ever heard. He learned to play the blues while growing up in the boothill region of Missouri, where he was taken out of school after the fourth grade to work a plow behind a mule. This man is who taught me to play the blues. After high school I took to the road and soon was playing full time. I have bee a working blues musician ever since, I have played festivals and I have played street corners it's all the same. As I said before I am the proud owner of several of rich's guitars, a solid body pine ax that is my main guitar and is all i use live, a highway key reso that I love dearly and a custom cbg cigar box three stringer that blows everyone who plays it away. These instruments are not cut and paste and each one is very unique in it's own right. Tonally and Visually. Rich is not trying to make tele rip-off's if that;s what you want you can go feed the chinese and buy a squier but if your looking for something unique and your into supporting your neighbors you just might wanna reconsider what you really want or need from your instrument. One of the reasons I play Rich's guitars is don't use alot of effects or processing so to get unique tones and sounds I need a variety of instruments and they can not be your standard guitars. I have found this in rich's guitars. Since I play live several times a week most months I can attest to the quality of what he does as well. Trust me I am not easy on my instruments, I am known to throw them against my amp and I have shed more blood on my solid body than should be allowed but it just keeps on trucking. Oh and by the way I have never played a show when I didn't get a ton of interest in Rich's guitars and I have had to fend off buyers and thieves. So if your interested in some real world experience playing blues on Rich's instruments I would be glad to give you some input for your next review on Highway Key which I can only imagine will be glowing after you actually play one. For everyone else, think outside the box and support your neighbors, and buy a highway key before I get them all. Thanks Jason



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