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View Full Version : National vs. Gold Tone Resonator Ukes



Curly Koa
04-14-2014, 04:29 PM
Has anyone been able to do a side-by-side comparison of these two resonator brands in person? I'm wondering whether the National sounds that much better . . . I have played a National and loved it. Played a Kala and hated it.

PhilUSAFRet
04-14-2014, 10:53 PM
Have you played the new Kala tenor reso with the larger cone? Wonder how much better it sounds than the original one.

Cornfield
04-15-2014, 03:45 AM
I had one of the brass body import resonator ukuleles. I'm pretty sure they are all made to the same specs in China. It had bad tuners, a factory setup, bad intonation etc. By the time I had the tuners and the biscuit replaced and spent time getting the thing positioned for better intonation, it was loud but not a sweet as a National. The National cones are hand spun by craftsmen and they make a huge difference vs a mass produced stamped out cone.
I don't know where Kala gets their cones from. I tried a Kala concert size last year and was not impressed by it.
I tried Lil' Rev's Mya-Moe resonator a few years ago and became smitten. Mya-Moe does use National cones. There are a few other uke builders that use National (Russ Morin is the first one that comes to mind) cones.
There are a few that make their own cones such as Ron Phillips. Del Rey describes her Phillips uke "Cuter than a basket of kittens-and ten times as loud!" http://metalgitar.com/

aquadan
04-15-2014, 04:16 AM
I tried a gold tone quite awhile back and wasn't impressed. I have a national now and love it, but have not had a chance to play them back to back to compare.

The Phillips resonators are incredible, Del Rey did a concert and workshop here about a week ago and her instruments sounded fantastic. they are way out of my price range though.

bborzell
04-15-2014, 07:35 PM
It is quite possible that any National instrument will be superior to similarly designed instruments at any price. I own a National Estralita wood body biscuit cone guitar and the construction is impeccable.

At 25-30 % of the price of a National Resonator uke, the GT Resouke sounds and feels pretty much like one would expect of a uke at that price point.

National's construction techniques and attention to detail result in a uke that is a pleasure to hear and play. You might luck out and get a GT Resouke that sounds good, but I seriously doubt that it will sound or play as good as a National.

janeray1940
04-15-2014, 07:44 PM
It is quite possible that any National instrument will be superior to similarly designed instruments at any price.

I have to second that - the lower-priced resonators out there that I've tried (Recording King and GT are the two that come to mind) have been underwhelming, whereas the Nationals are downright sweet. While I didn't do a side by side comparison, I did play several of the lower priced ones at different times and frankly, hated them all and thought I just disliked resonators. Then I encountered my first National and that changed my mind; I don't dislike resonators, I just dislike low-end resonators :)

Cornfield
04-16-2014, 06:13 AM
The only thing I don't like about the Nationals is that they only make a 15 1/2" scale size that's midway between a soprano and a concert.
The builders I mentioned earlier, Mya-Moe and Big Rusty, build tenor size resonators using the National cones. I foolishly passÚd on a used Philips 5 string tenor reso a couple years ago. It never dawned on me that I could have just removed the unwanted extra g string

janeray1940
04-16-2014, 07:15 AM
The only thing I don't like about the Nationals is that they only make a 15 1/2" scale size that's midway between a soprano and a concert.


They'll do a tenor as a custom - not exactly inexpensive, but then none of their instruments are :)