Review of the Regal RD-40 Resonator Guitar

Call me an old school kind of guy, but I’ve never really taken to the whole “buying online” idea – especially not for something like a resonator guitar that has to be tried and tested before deciding to purchase it. Besides that, I like to know I can take it back to the shop for whatever could go wrong. For this reason I set out to a shop in Nashville and the Regal RD-40 immediately caught my eye. The Mahogany body not only gives it a classic appeal but also gives it a naturally sweet sound, and somehow the chrome-plated cone seemed less glossy than those found on some other resonators. I totally fell in love with this guitar after only playing for about 30 minutes or so. The price tag was the only thing that put me off. At $415 it was still a great deal, considering that this baby sounds (and plays) like a $3000 guitar.  I wanted to find an even better deal though.

I spent some time online looking at different offers and came to the conclusion that ordering online would be the only way to get this beaut for the price I could afford. I decided to take the plunge and found one on eBay that had a pickup installed. It arrived within 3 days and I haven´t been able to put it down since! The weight and the entire shape of it provides a very comfortable feel, something that I really value as a Blues player.  Although it sounds very good acoustically, I use it for performances over a Crate Gunnison amplifier. The sound initially was disappointing since I couldn´t get much volume and the tone was shrill, in spite of the bass turned up on the amp. I figured that the old style Fishman pickup was to blame and tried it without it. This did help with the volume a bit, although I was never really able to achieve an amplified tone that could match the unplugged acoustic tone.

Besides that, I am very happy with the sound in general. I did have to make some adjustments however, since it felt different and played differently to the one I tried in the shop. I realized that the strings were too high, which made it challenging to play in standard tuning. Playing bottle neck in opening tuning delivered a great sound that I really liked. I had the nut height corrected from .004 down to .002, which made a huge difference. The frets in my opinion came out a little too much form the fret board which I was able to rectify with some steel wool (extra fine). One other small detail I liked about this guitar was that the tuning keys are Grover – something you would not necessarily expect on a budget guitar such as this.

I’ve tried playing with different strings also, some heavier, some lighter, but in my opinion the heavier strings give it a warmer sound. As I mentioned I’m a “Blues” man, but this guitar would really sound great for any style. I forgot to mention that I’m now purchasing all my guitar accessories online!

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