Friday, January 27, 2012

2012 - Gold Tone PB-GRE Slimline Resonator

Not long after buying my Mosrite I stumbled across a Regal resonator for $400 at a local second hand dealer. I thought that it was too good to be true, so I went and tried some brand new guitars of the same make. At that time I came across a brand that was unknown to me then. Gold Tone. The guitar looked classic, and the price was a  hefty $1899 Australian. Since I'd just spent a fair chunk of change on the Mosrite, there was no way that I was going to be able to swing that with the lady of the house, so I just wandered by from time to time and looked in the window.

A year went by and I kind of forgot about it, then one day I saw a tenor guitar from the same brand in a similar style. This started the old obsession ball rolling. Somehow I was going to finance it. Somehow.

The price had dropped a little, but still far too rich for my pockets.

So I hunted around the country, no good. Everyone was even more expensive than the local.
Just when I was about to give up, I found one online that would ship from USA to Oz. It was HALF the price, even with shipping it was less than 2/3 the cost of buying locally. At the time I felt badly for not supporting local businesses, but $700 is $700. I would have been happy to pay one or two hundred more for the sake of convenience, but that price difference (especially with the Australian dollar at parity or better than the US for more than a year)  the difference was too much to absorb.

Before buying I tried to find as much as possible about it, but other than the official website, there really wasn't much on this model out there on the web. One thing that I was interested in is where it was made. The website was unclear and sort of implied that it might be a USA made guitar with some parts sourced from overseas. Well it turns out that it's a Korean made guitar.

I have no issue with guitars made in Asia, in fact most of my collection originates there. The Epiphone Les Paul that I sold to finance this one was Korean and happened to be a very nice guitar.

The guitar had been delivered to the office where I work, and it turned up on my day off! So I ended up hauling my small family into the office to collect it (we had dumplings for lunch). I'd bought the guitar from a shop in a tiny town in the middle of Illinois and it was 11 days before I'd received confirmation that it had shipped. Then I had to wait more than a week to have it in my possession. 21 days elapsed from purchase to delivery and as it turned out, I wasted energy on thinking that I'd been scammed.

The guitar arrived untouched from the factory. Inside it's case which was in turn wrapped in a carton about the size of a 40" television. It was shiny (not for long) and heavy! Oh boy was it heavy. Even though it's the slim line model, once you've walked a few kilometers with it, the hands let you know that they're not happy. I'm paying for it today.

Naturally he guitar needed tuning, but to my surprise the factory setup is excellent. The action is low enough to be comfortable and high enough for slide. The finish is prefect and the binding on the neck is a light coloured curly maple and really adds to the classy looks of the instrument.  The stings are currently phosphor bronze, and I had considered swapping for flat wounds, but I really like the acoustic tone. Despite being slim lined, the guitar is capable of being played uncomfortably loud. It's almost like a mechanical overdrive on the resonator cone.

Plugged in, it's a whole other beast. The lipstick pickup is a superb choice for the guitar, not only in looks but in tonal character. Coupled with a Fender Princeton Reverb amp, I'm in tone heaven. I can't begin describe how good it sounds. I play a blend of country and surf mostly, and this combination is perfect. The low end growls and the top end chimes. The resonator and hollow body combo has great sustain. Usually turing the Princeton past two on the dial will make the room shake, but in this case the resonator is actually louder than the amp at that level!

So it might not be a National, but it is as close as I'm likely to get, and I am in love.
This one may well be the last guitar I ever buy.


  1. I sold one of these 6 months ago and have regretted it since the moment it left my hands.

    1. I've had that feeling a few too many times.
      If I had to get rid of all but one guitar, this would be the one to keep.
      Such versatility, Acoustic, Electric, Twangy, Surfy.

      Goes great with Flat Wound nickel strings too.

  2. So after some reading, it seems that this one didn't come factory direct but was setup by Paul Beard's shop.