London Resonator Centre Has Closed

In 2007, London Resonator Centre closed down. For several years this was their website.
Content is from the site's archived pages, as well as from other outside sources.

Blues legend Son House playing a Resonator
Son House "Death Letter Blues"


Fine Resophonic® Guitars have been in business since 1992
 and in that time have gained an excellent reputation. 
They have built resonator guitars for among others - 
  Eric Clapton, Louisiana Red, Michael Messer and Bob Brozman.

Each instrument is completely hand-built by Mike Lewis to the very highest standards 
possible and the attention to detail is faultless. 
The superb engraving on Fine Resophonics is done by Pierre Avocat,  
who is also involved with the building of the unique Mecano® instruments &
the manufacturing of Fine Resophonic® cones.

These guitars play, feel and sound like vintage Nationals... they really do.
If you are looking for a hand-built guitar with all the qualities of a vintage National, 
 Fine Resophonic Guitars are as close as you'll get.

We are the only store in the United Kingdom selling Fine Resophonic® Guitars 

For Fine Resophonic instruments POA (price on application)

Custom built Cabossa




The London Resonator Centre is the only store of its kind in the world.
We specialize in resonator guitars from classic 1920s Nationals & Dobros, right through the decades to current factory & hand-built instruments.
We also offer high quality hand-built instruments, plus a range of vintage acoustic & electric guitars.

At LRC you will find a relaxed environment and a sales staff always willing to give you professional advice.
LRC sales director - Ron Smith

Buying a musical instrument in any price bracket takes serious consideration, at LRC you can relax on one of our sofas, drink a fresh coffee and spend time over your decision. All visitors to LRC receive individual, warm and friendly service, no matter if you are buying a budget instrument or a fine hand-built guitar.

It is so difficult in a busy shop to play a guitar with people around.
 At LRC we have a room set aside solely for the purpose of trying out a guitar in private.
This is something we feel is very important.

Whether you are a first time buyer or an experienced player, you can feel confident that we will give you the best advice possible.
We are not in business just to make a quick sale, we are looking to build a lasting relationship with each of our customers, offering a professional personal service.

If you are looking for an instrument, either vintage or brand new, that we do not currently have in stock, we will do our very best to find it for you.

At LRC: we believe our range of instruments and accessories to be the finest available. Just scroll down through our index on your left and browse our catalogue, 
or call in at our store & take a look.

We do not operate an "ADD TO CART" system of online purchasing.
Just email for details of our secure online purchase system.
We look forward to meeting you at LRC

Resophonically Yours, Ron Smith & Mel Isaacs
The London Resonator Centre The London Resonator Centre
N1 8BW London - Islington


Likewise: When I was breaking down my parents' home and organizing what my father would take with him to Hart Heritage Estates, a senior residence in Bel Air, Maryland, what I would keep or give to my siblings, and what would be donated, I came across my father's cherished Sho-Bro Dobro style resonator guitar. He hadn't played it for about five years after a stroke weakened his right side of his body. I thought that he couldn't take it with him to this assisted living facility. There simply wouldn't be enough space in his room to store something that he no longer played. However, I also knew that the guitar held many memories for him. I spoke to the staff at his new home for seniors and asked it I could mount the resonator guitar on the wall as if it were a large picture. After discussions with the Hart Heritage Estates management, they gave me permission. I decided I would surprise my father on his birthday with his new hung "picture". My siblings and I took my father out for a birthday lunch at a nearby restaurant. When we came back to Hart Heritage Estates, my older brother took my father for a stroll in the park-like grounds of the facility. Meanwhile I, my sister, and younger brother with the help of a maintenance staff mounted the Sho-Bro Dobro resonator guitar on the wall above the bureau in my father's room. It was such a delight to see my father's reaction when he walked back into his room. He then told us the story of how he acquired the resonator guitar at the London Resonator Centre when he was in his junior year of college in London.




If you are looking for a vintage or second-hand instrument that is not on our list, 
please contact us as we can usually find what you are looking for.

Our inventory of vintage & second-hand instruments does not contain 
the typical guitar-shop-blurb about "very cool axe in mint condition"
At LRC we prefer to allow the instruments to attract their own new owners.
Please feel free to call in, phone, fax or e-mail  to ask about a particular instrument. 

If you are interested in acoustic guitars you should also check out our new
website at - 
We have a very comprehensive range
of new acoustic guitars and an excellent selection of vintage & second-hand instruments




Vintage & Second-hand instruments from £300.00

Edna Mae Cooper ( ladies world flying champion ) & Karl,
take their Dobro guitars on a round the world tour - Jan 1932

John Dopyera - inventor of the resonator guitar

These guitars are all currently in stock at LRC

2002 Yanuziello guitar (round neck)
Flame maple, sunburst, spider bridge/cone set-up
This is a superb guitar from a fine Canadian luthier

2003 Dobro - electric guitar
Blended P-90 & piezo pickup system
Excellent condition

1928 National Tricone - Style 2 (Wild Rose engraving)
All original in excellent condition
Round-neck Tricones from this period are among some
of the finest acoustic guitars ever built. Style 2 engravings
are pretty rare and don't turn up for sale very often these days.
A very beautiful & collectable instrument.


1936 Dobro model 19 - made by Regal
All original, excellent condition.
Set up for lap playing, but can easily be
converted back for regular playing.
Lovely guitar, plays well.

1930's Dobro - Model 62
Brass body with front & back etching.
Pearl inlaid "Dobro" on headstock

1929 Dobro Model 56 (round-neck)
All original with red bean wood fingerboard.
Player's wear but has a wonderful tone.
This is a great guitar


1930 National Tricone Style 4 (square neck)
Excellent, all original style 4 Tricone in beautiful condition.
Beautiful sweet tone and a classic collectors item.

1930's Francotta Dual-Tone
biscuit bridge - wood bodied guitar. round neck,
set up with nut raiser for lap-style playing.
Possibly made in Europe -
we are not sure about the origins of this rare guitar

1931 National Triolian
All original in excellent condition
Walnut burst with bakelite neck.
Very good sounding guitar & lovely to play

1936 National Tricone square-neck "style 1.5"
Near mint all original with wiggle edge border
A rare & collectable instrument with a wonderful tone.

1934 National Duolian
This guitar was restored by Steve Phillips (Notting Hillbillies) and
is a superb players instrument with a very interesting history.
The National logo on the headstock & the star inlay on
the heel are by Steve Phillips

1930 National Triolian
Early walnut sunburst finish. steel bodied.
Excellent original condition

1929 National Triolian
Yellow sprayed Polychrome finish
Excellent original condition

Early 1930s Kay "El Trovador"  - fitted with a Shireson cone
These are unusual guitars & worth checking out

1931 National Tricone Style 1 (square-neck)
Excellent condition, all original, lovely tone
Serial number 2324

1927 National Tricone Silver Guitar - Style 1 serial number #195
This is one of the very first run of hand-built National instruments.
The grilles are separate strips soldered together & the sound-well is wood.
These guitars, which are very rare, are some of the sweetest sounding Nationals
ever built. Some collectors & players believe that these are the ultimate Tricone guitars.
For more information about this guitar - call or email us at LRC,
also check out and Bob Brozman's book,
"The History & Artistry of the National Guitar."
This is a very rare guitar

The photo shows Tricone #195 opened up with the wood sound-well showing.
Also note the very early tin 'pit-props' or 'mushroom posts'. There are many details of
this guitar that make it different from regular factory produced Tricones. The square neck is
slightly narrower and of course the back is flat. Also the tailpiece has the six buttons.

1971 Sho-Bro Dobro style resophonic guitar

Excellent sounding large bodied giant Mother of a Dobro!
Ronnie Lane is known to have recorded with one of these guitars. Certainly these
were favoured during the early 1970s by the British folk-rock-roots players.
Sho-Bro & Sho-Bud guitars were built in Nashville in the early 1970s. They were distributed
by the Gretsch Guitar Company and stayed available until 1979 While this company is best
known for their pedal steel guitars, the company did produce a number of acoustic guitars.
Sho-Bud and Sho-Bro guitars were designed by Dobro player & pedal steel guitarists,
Shot Jackson & Buddy Emmons - (known for his Sho-Bud pedal steel guitars).
Two models appear in the Gretsch catalogues of the early 1970s: The
Sho Bro, a Dobro with a single cutaway body and dot fingerboard inlays; and the
Sho Bud, a non-cutaway model with inlays similar to the Sho-Bud
lap steels (the four suits of a pack of cards).

Shot Jackson & Buddy Emmons

Early 1930's MAGNO TONE
Made by Regal & sold through Montgomery Ward catalogues.
This is an unusual guitar with a great tone

1937 DOBRO model 32
This is a lovely guitar to play with a sweet tone

1983 Dobro guitar
Very unusual looking guitar made by OMI Dobro
This guitar is a great sounding wood bodied single cone instrument.
2001 Owens "Crossroads" Special finish - Resonator Electric Guitar
This is a very well built electric guitar with an unusual stove
 enamelled finish & coverplate design.

1955 - Supro Dual-Tone - white ( same as Ry Cooder's )
This is a great electric guitar with a classic 50's vibe & tone.
Plug this into an old valve amplifier & you will be very impressed!


Hand-built in New Zealand

All components, including resonator cones, are designed and manufactured by Beltona which gives our 
instruments their distinctive quality and tone.  Bodies are engineered using high quality 
brass for evenness of tone and projection of sound.  The shining, durable finish is achieved with heavy nickel plating.
  Hand-contoured necks are solid mahogany finished in clear lacquer.  Ebony fingerboards are bound 
with iveroid and have mother-of-pearl fret markers.  Prismatic pearloid provides the veneer for headstocks.


All instruments, except ukuleles, have internally adjustable truss rods and all are supplied in sturdy fibreglass cases.

Here are some of the musicians who play Beltona instruments:

 Eric Clapton, Gary Moore, Keb' Mo', Mark Knopfler,
Martin Simpson, Richard Bennett, Sonny Landreth, Steve Phillips, Tiny Tim.

Mark Knopfler playing a Beltona Reso Electric



Hand-made in the Czech Republic since 1992

The finest instruments available in their price bracket.
Amistar guitars from £895.00


The Amistar electric resonator guitar is now in the store.
Tests in our store have proved this to be a superb electric resonator guitar. If you are into 
the sound of resonator electrics.....come and check out the hand-engraved Amistar electric. 


Coverplate - single cone
Coverplate - Tricone
Tricone T Bridge
Resonator cone 9.5" ( standard National size )
Resonator cone 6" ( standard Tricone size )
Biscuit piezo pick-up by Amistar
T Bridge piezo pick-up by Amistar

Amistar Amistar Stager 2006


Review  from TGM®  "The Guitar Magazine"

Review by Michael Messer
Reproduced by permission with TGM®

Amistar Tricone

‘Affordable’ and ‘metal-bodied resonators’ are words rarely found in the same sentence. But TGM has tracked down a new brand to hit the UK that may change all that.

Seventy years after John Dopyera (a Slovakian immigrant living in California) invented the Dobro and Tricone resonator guitars, Amistar - from the Czech Republic - have started to produce a budget-priced range of National-type resonators. Dopyera, who always held on to his eastern European roots - DOBRO is the Slovak word for good - would have approved!

This Amistar resonator has a bell-brass nickel plated body with three 6” resonators. It’s a copy of the classic 1920’s National Silver Guitar, which later became known as the Tricone or Tri-Plate. The originals, which are now becoming priceless antiques, are generally considered to be among the best sounding slide guitars ever made; Dopyera himself once said of his Tricone design that ‘the sound flowed like a river’.

Over the past twenty years I have seen and played a great many original National Tricones and many of the current ‘top price’ models from National Reso-Phonic and Fine Resophonic - the leaders in the field. I was astonished when I heard about these Amistars which retail at approximately half the price of the other brands. It’s good news for the working player so where’s the catch?

The structure and design of this guitar is based almost exactly on that 1920’s original and apart from one or two cost-cutting corners, it’s a very close copy. As I have said before, I go a lot on first impressions and this guitar impressed me. The bell-brass body is very well constructed and the nickel plating is excellent. It is a shame they didn’t spend more time polishing the bell-brass before it was plating as in places it’s little rough and, of course, once the nickel is on there is no way of improving it. However, this is a musical instrument and  not an ornament for the lounge wall!
Amistar claim that the neck is ‘Honduras’ mahogany but in reality, due to the scarcity of that ultra-high grade mahogany it more likely to simply be s. American mahogany. In section it’s rounded at the back rather than the pronounced V shaping of most 1920s Nationals but it all feels pretty good. The frets are the ‘thin wire’ type - just like the old ones - and generally the rosewood fingerboard has a pretty good feel to it. The nut is bone and there is no binding around the fingerboard.
The dot markers are in the correct places and there are clear side-markers on the bass-side of the neck.

The headstock is solid, not the same as vintage Nationals which were mostly slotted. This is a less attractive but is more practical for quick string changes adding to the working musician vibe of the whole instrument. A set of Gotoh tuners proved perfectly adequate and will should last a long time while any neck adjustments are handled by accessing the truss-rod under the smart headstock-placed cover.

Unlike a regular acoustic, of which you can get a good idea of the construction quality from peering and feeling through the sound hole, to inspect a resonator you have to undo those screws around the cover-plate and check out whether this Tricone is properly built. This is not a recommended practice - you must know what you are doing if you are going to open one of these things up.

So, while outwardly that cover-plate looks fine, looking at the back the soldering and assembly are a bit messy. And to avoid any rattles they have used some black plastic electrical tape round the sides - better safe than have a rattle or buzz, but... The cast-aluminum ‘T’ bridge appears well made and the boxwood bridge-piece is accurately fitted.

Unsurprisingly the cones made by Amistar at their factory and appear to be stamped, rather than the preferable method of spinning them. These cones sound fine but there is no doubt that a set of spun cones (made by National or Fine Resophonics, for example) would greatly improve this guitar. I was a little concerned to find that one of the three cones had started to collapse from string pressure. This is quite a common Tricone problem but should not happen with a brand new guitar. To be fair, it could have been damaged in transit and if I hadn’t opened the guitar I would never have noticed.
Inside the body, the cones rest on what looks like an ‘egg poaching dish’. The one fitted here is well constructed - a nice job. Unlike some cut-price resonators we get the proper through-body style of construction where a block of wood extends from the heel of the neck right through the guitar to the strap button. All in all this is the proper construction and it’s tidy enough and taking the price into consideration I am not worried about those stamped cones.

Construction aside, the Amistar is well balanced for a brass bodied resonator and feels ‘right’. It arrived, however, with a set of acoustic strings that weren’t going to maximize its potential. I fitted a set of UK made Newtone strings  gauged .016 to .059”. Heavy strings are important to get the best out of Tricones - you’ve got to get those cones shaking.

The factory set string height is a little low for most slide styles though the heavy gauge strings helped get some bite. But unlike an electric with its adjustable bridge, raising the string height is a professional job and even with the heavier strings it would be necessary here for a clean slide tone.

I initially tuned to open G (GDGGBD low to high ) and the guitar sounded and felt happy. With the lighter gauge strings supplied you would be better off in open A (EAEAC#E). The volume and projection is good for a Tricone and using thumb pick and fingerpicks it is typically loud - around five times the volume of your average wooden acoustic guitar.

The tone certainly captures the smoother bark of a Tricone, as opposed to the rawer sound of a single-cone resonator, but could be improved with better cones. Overall the sound is a little thinner than it could be, especially in the bass end. Again though with replacement cones and a good set-up you’d be chasing the real thing nicely. I’ve certainly played many old Nationals with the same problem that have been cured with some skilled adjustment to the neck and break-angle of the strings.

The slide sound is great for blues. It has good sustain and a bright character. I also found it worked well as a lap-steel/Hawaiian/Dobro-type of instrument. Compared to the original’s this guitar lacks some sweetness and finesse but don’t forget a 1920’s National Tricone (if you can find one) will cost around eight times more than this Amistar.

I never thought I’d see the day when a company based in the Czech Republic would be producing Tricones at  this price. Frankly, this is what the real world of working musicians has been waiting for: resonator guitars that have good playability and tone with an affordable price tag. It’s not built to the same quality as similar guitars from National Reso-Phonic, or Fine Resophonic, but that’s reflected in the price. Put simply, there is no other instrument like this available in the UK - this Amistar is therefore a really good buy.  I really don’t think you’ll be disappointed.