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Re: Chet's Paul McGill resonator

PostPosted: Thu May 16, 2013 10:15 pm
With a little more investigation, it appears that the only contact area between the biscuit and the top of the cone is the first v-groove on the outside of the bottom of the biscuit, as Mr. Peterson's drawing shows (with the red cone outline) and as Mr. Raymond stated. That is not, what I had been thinking. The biscuit's flat wooden inner ring does not appear to make contact with the flat part on the top of the cone, at least from my measurements. I wonder what it would sound like, if the biscuit did sit on the cone's flat part, instead of the rim?

The more I learn, the less I know.

Dan Sage

Re: Chet's Paul McGill resonator

PostPosted: Fri May 17, 2013 12:32 am
by conecaster
Dear Dan,

John is another resonator master who can play like I described of Stafford, not many with that kind of skill. He did a Brazilian record with Kirtley some years ago on Reso and he has sent me many private recordings over the years that are really good. Stafford did his recordings with a lighter setup, using the nylon basses like Chet and Nato did. I'm not sure what strings John used but he may have used this setup as well, Its been a long time, there is another reso player out that way named John Mackey, also a very good player.

As for sustain.

The cones are quick in response. the energy is release quickly upon attack. But the magic to getting endless sustain is vibrato. Nato had the greatest vibrato I have ever heard. I think it is safe to say his skill in that area had a big influence on Chet's inclusion of greater vibrato with his left hand, which is how you get that sustaining, ringing, sound they produced.

The heavier the biscuit the more sustain as well. You can remove the biscuit and put a weight under it to see how to like it, I recommend the double sided foam tape 3M makes. you should hear a difference.

Paul McGill

DAN SAGE wrote:Thank you, Mr. McGill, from a lifelong fan. May I second your comment on Mr. Stafford. He also used your guitar on at least one more CD "SOMEWHERE IN TIME". It includes a version of Maria Elena on your guitar, that in my humble opinion, is better (more beautiful), than the original, and may never be surpassed. I bought all three of his instrumental CD's from his website.

If you expound anymore on this topic, may I ask you, if you know anyway to increase the sustain on your magnificent instruments, so that it is a little longer? Does the depth of the guitar's soundbox (body/volume), or its construction have anything to do with the length of the sustain?

I thought my guitar, that was made by you, might be misadjusted, until I took it over to Mr. Standefer's house, and he played it, and a miracle happened. In his hands, it sounded just as good, as the one you made for him. (I think, it also might have helped to be directly in front of it, instead of attempting to play it, and listen to it at an angle).

As for the biscuits I measured, they are all made by Del Vecchio, at about the same time. They are spares, that I extorted from them (with help). I was WRONG!!! I got the bicuits and a cone out, and they do indeed appear to fit the top of the cone, like a hat. The OUTER ring on the bottom of the biscuit does indeed appear to contact the ANGELED surface of the top of the cone outside of the flat part on the top of the cone. It may compress enough with the downward pressure exerted by the strings, so, that the inner flat ring on the bottom of the biscuit, also contacts the flat spot on top of the cone???. The dimension/width of this flat ring is the difference, between the second and third measurements I listed in the second set of measurements. This would seem to raise all sorts of questions about the preciseness of the biscuit's machining, and if a bad sounding DVR might be immensely improved by a biscuit that fits properly. The bottom of the biscuit's inner wooden ring is essentially level with the bottom of the outer v shaped ring on the outside of the biscuit. Who knew? Definitely, not me!

As always, I could be wrong on anything I express, except maybe about the quality and the presence (cutting sound) of Mr. McGill's guitars.

Dan Sage

Re: Chet's Paul McGill resonator

PostPosted: Fri May 17, 2013 3:54 am
Thank you for the information and your time. I am hesitant to touch a masterpiece, but maybe the next time I change strings, I will try what you suggested.

I love the "Brazilian Guitar" C.D. that John Standefer and Pat Kirtley did. I even bought another copy and sent it to a smooth jazz station in town, but I don't think, they ever played it. Maybe, that is why they went out of business. Your resophonic guitar as played by Mr. Standefer, was the main reason I bought it.

Take care,

Dan Sage

Re: Chet's Paul McGill resonator

PostPosted: Fri May 17, 2013 2:00 pm
by bill raymond

Paul, I hate to be in the position of disagreeing with someone so knowledgeable about DVs, but I can't believe that a bend in the arms of the trapeze tailpiece in any way changes the break angle of the strings over the bridge. Above is a rough drawing to scale of the geometry of my DV bridge, strings and tailpiece. The red arrow shows the direction of the pull of the strings. This I observed and jibes with what I expected. That is not to say that there is no effect, as I'm sure that you have observed one, however, I can't believe that it's due to a change in the break angle, unless the tailpiece is made so that it cannot pivot at its attachment point to the butt of the guitar (but then it wouldn't be a DV-style trapeze tailpiece). There must be some other explanation for the improvements you have witnessed.

It's hard to make any judgement regarding Chet's action, when there are conflicting opinions from equally authoritative sources. Ultimately, it really doesn't matter, does it, what Chet did, as none of us is Chet and each has to find his or her own way.

Thanks for all your commentary on the DVs; it's been very enlightening.


Re: Chet's Paul McGill resonator

PostPosted: Mon May 20, 2013 5:31 pm
Thank you all again for continuing my education and adding to my knowledge base on Del Vecchio guitars.

If you haven't seen this before, it is worth a few minutes, to see the closeups of Mr. Atkins, recording with Suzy Bogguss, using his long scale, metal cone well, (Doyle Dykes) Del Vecchio.

Take care,

Dan Sage

Re: Chet's Paul McGill resonator

PostPosted: Mon May 20, 2013 6:18 pm
by guitarchuck
Here's a couple of photo's of the Del Vecchio that Doyle Dykes gave Chet. It has the metal cone well. You can see the metal cone well top ring in these photos:
's Doyle.jpg
's gift.JPG

You can click on the photos above and enlarge them to see the detail.

Dan provided me with the following info about the cone wells:
You can see the top/rim of the metal cone well showing around the cone well cover. The cone well cover actually sits inside this ring of wood or metal on the top of DVR cone wells. This metal or wood ring is probably glued to the top of the guitar, and the metal one is screwed in two places to the reinforcement brace that runs directly below the cone well from the neck to the tailpiece block. The wooden cone wells have a wooden ring, that is the top part of the wooden cone well, that shows up on the top of the guitar, instead of the metal ring. The wooden cone well rim is usually black painted wood with maybe a painted white ring on it, depending on the age of the guitar.

Also interesting is the plexi-glass finger rest on this guitar, and note the "cgp" that's inlaid on the neck. Chet seemed to really like this guitar. You see it on TV appearances in the later part of his career and we've been told that that he recorded a lot with it during that time. Long scale and metal cone well.

Re: Chet's Paul McGill resonator

PostPosted: Mon May 20, 2013 10:44 pm
Thank you immensely for the two pictures. Here is a picture of the insides of my short scale/small cone DVR with a metal cone well, in case people don't want to tear their's apart to see what is inside. If the picture succeeds in posting, you can plainly see the reinforcement bar running directly below the cone well. The cone well is actually attached to it with a couple of screws. The bottom lip in the cone well is what the cone sits on. This photo was taken, while my luthier was working on it.

It is still a work in progress.

SMALL 100_1886.jpg

Dan Sage

Re: Chet's Paul McGill resonator

PostPosted: Tue May 21, 2013 11:45 am
by guitarchuck
Thanks for that photo too! I've learned a lot from everyone that has posted in this thread so far. It reminds me of the old days of the Chetboard, even back to the days when this board was known as the "Fretboard"! It's really nice to get input from several people. Sometimes we're right, sometimes we're wrong. Communicating like this helps everyone learn. Everyone don't have to agree on everything, but at least we all can become better informed by sharing here on the Chetboard.

Re: Chet's Paul McGill resonator

PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2013 2:12 am
by conecaster

I don't look here often so I just saw this 6 months later.

Chet had a DV that he acquired from Nato Lima back in the 60's, it had a smaller cone that was not original, he told me his brother found a guy in PA who spun the cone for him. this guitar has a 57 cm scale. it was used on most of his recordings. It had a very different sound and no it does not sound like mine, it was much brighter, treblier, that the bigger cone DVs which he used as well, I setup two long scale DVs for him when he did the Suzie Boggus record in the early 90's. You can hear how different they sound than the little DV which is on Standard brands.

Chet was very much into intonation, He was always bragging to others that my reso's played in tune. He fought the intonation on DV guitars from day one, he would play a few notes, punch in and re tune. Jerry Jones calculated and cut new scales based on the saddle and nut locations on most. I worked on a few where you could see the filled in fret slots.

Another issue was strings, a good deal of his intonation issues was use of strings that did not intonate together, Nylon basses , Unwound third strings and silk and steel basses as well. It was a lot of trouble to get these combination to tune but I did set his up for some crazy string combos, that was Chet's curiosity at work.

I made three reso's for Chet. The one here in koa was the first, I remember getting a letter from Chet at the request of the buyer, I probably wrote it and they re typed it on his stationary for him to sign.

The second Reso was brazilian rosewood with sap details. It had 14 frets and Chet asked me to replace it with a 12 fret model so he could find the octave like he was used to.

The last is Curly maple and is owned by his grand son Jonathan.

It my understanding there where only two guitars kept in the Atkins family due to tax liability to the heirs. The others where put in the CMHF.

A few years ago John McClellan borrowed it and brought it to me to be set up, I made a new cone for it and got it sounding as best as it can sound, John did a project on it with the LA guitar quartet. it had not been touched since Chet had it. It was also featured in his book, Me and My Guitars

As for sound, I have made modifications to my guitars over the years and have retrofit all that have come back here to the latest design.

one of the issues today with reso's is aluminum, in the past there was an alloy that was made just for speakers in Victrolas. today we buy aluminum alloys designed for extruding soda pop cans. I increased the amplitude of the basket in my design to get more power out of them many years ago. Its only the earlier DVs with wooden baskets that sound the best, the later aluminum baskets where pretty bad. My design is a combination of short scale , 60 cm, and the standard large cones.

I have a reso here that is my favorite of them all, it has wood that is from the same maple board Chet's last one was made from. it really sounds fantastic.

Paul McGill

Re: Chet's Paul McGill resonator

PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2013 2:20 am
by conecaster
guitarchuck wrote:Paul,
Thank you so much for your insight. I have a few questions now:

In the 60's Chet discovered Nato Lima and he wanted that reso sound, Nato sold him a short scale DV which Nato had made for him by DV, he goes way back with DV into the 40's and he used short scaled guitars tuned high with Los Indios. This is the only short scaled DV Chet had other than mine.

Was Chet's short scale DV the one that have the "V" sound hole covers?

I have made many modification over the years to these guitars. I retro fit the older ones with the up dated cone baskets and increase their power.

Are you talking about the up-dated baskets being the metal baskets as opposed to the wooden baskets? Did Chet's short scale DV have a wooden basket? YES No, I do not use aluminum baskets

Chet came to my shop and brought me the little DV to look at, it has a 57 cm scale, it had the typically, unplayable, low action Chet's guitars always had, touch them and they buzzed for all but him.

I don't want to start another war here on the Chetboard about Chet's action, which there has been much debate about here. But, from your statement, which of Chet's guitar did you come in contact with that were set up this way? His Del Vecchios & Classicals perhaps?
I never touched one his guitars set other than extremely low