It has been almost 100 years since the resonator guitar was born of necessity.
In the days before amplification, musicians needed a way to make their acoustic guitars louder, and the striking resonator cones of the funky-looking instrument did just that.
For a few years, they dominated the guitar world.
With the invention of amplification and electric guitars, their popularity waned.
After all who would want to play a heavy acoustic packed full of metal when you can rock a stratocaster and take your sound to another planet.
However, in the many decades that have passed since the electric guitar took over the world, resonator guitars have maintained an enduring appeal for certain players, thanks to their unique sound and aesthetic.
They’ve even enjoyed a resurgence in the last couple of years, thanks to Harry Styles and his decision to play a Fender Top Hat Resonator during a Vogue cover shoot.
They’ve appeared in the hands of modern folk-rockers like Kurt Vile — who was spotted plucking one on the cover of his excellent 2015 album “B’lieve I’m Goin Down.”
Seizing on the resonator’s renaissance, guitar giant Fender has launched a brand new take on the guitar, the PR-180E Resonator, as part of its Paramount Bluegrass collection.
News.com.au was lucky enough to try one and we can see what all the fuss was about.
The versatile axe can be used for traditional and modern music styles and it has a booming tone that accentuates finger-picking.
It can be used as a normal acoustic guitar with an added warmth and volume due to its spider resonating cone, or it can be used as a lap steel slide to hit those sweet country swells.
You can pick one up for $595 from the Fender website.
It’s clear from the rise of the resonator and the fact that Kate Bush and Metallica are topping the charts show that retro is on the rise in today’s world.
The fascination of the vintage era, from classic songs re-entering the charts decades later through TikTok or thrifting as a sport, shows 82 percent of consumers feel a positive emotion when purchasing vintage items.
It is with that in mind that Fender has today announced the American Vintage II Series, an electric guitar and bass line celebrating Fender’s iconic models through the decades, equipped with authentic specifications and aesthetics for lovers of vintage-inspired style and sound. During the monumental musical decades of the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s, Fender forever reshaped the sonic landscape with its innovative electric guitar and bass designs.
“The iconic models in the American Vintage II Series are a near 1:1 comparison with their original predecessors. Today they are built with precise, modern manufacturing processes that weren’t available in the past,” said Justin Norvell, Executive Vice President of Product at Fender.
“These original guitars and basses have long been coveted by avid players and vintage enthusiasts around the world for their aesthetic and tone that inspired some of the greatest music and most-identifiable guitar and bass lines of all time.”
You can find out more about the new range here.