In-depth Guide to Johnson Resonator Guitars: Quality, Features, and Purchasing Options

Sitting there in the quiet, I strummed softly on my Johnson resonator guitar. Its deep resonant timbre a comfort, the vibrations traveled up my hands, through my arms, and straight to my heart. I was on the cusp of making a significant choice, one that was intimately linked to this guitar. Ready to dive into the story of my journey? Follow me, as we unravel the secrets and qualities of these magnificent instruments, plucked from firsthand experience and engrossed in authentic anecdotes.

As a devoted fan of the Johnson Resonator, I have spent countless harmonious hours with this Resophonic guitar, understanding it up-close and personal. This in-depth guide will underline the quality, features and various purchasing options available for these guitars. Woven within my narrative, you will find the heart and spirit of these instruments, their capabilities, and the profound attachment aficionados like me develop over time.

Whether you’re deeply interested in the nuances of resonator guitars, pondering over advancing your guitar collection, or simply a music lover seeking deeper insights, this guide promises to take you on an engaging journey. Let’s resonate with the distinctive offerings of Johnson Resonator Guitars, and explore their core aspects and immense potential together.

Overview of Johnson Resonator Guitars

Playing a Johnson Resonator

Playing a Johnson Resonator

Having delved into the unique construction of Johnson Resonator guitars, understanding the playing techniques behind these remarkable instruments is what will truly unlock their distinctive tone. As a seasoned resonator player, each strum, slide, and pick echoes countless hours exploring and refining the technique needed to extract the instrument’s full potential.

Playing a resonator demands a different technique than a typical acoustic guitar. With a Johnson Resonator, however, the challenge is worthwhile. The metallic strings and cone-shaped amplifier contribute to the creation of an enriching, vibrant sound unsurpassed by traditional guitars. This signature tone will have you viewed as a seasoned resonator player.

It’s worth noting two popular resonator guitar playing styles: bottleneck and fingerstyle. The bottleneck technique, akin to slide guitar, involves placing a glass or metal tube, the “bottleneck”, on a finger to glide across the frets, creating a smooth and continuous tone. This style is integral to playing blues on a resonator guitar. Fingerstyle, on the other hand, involves plucking the strings with your fingertips, allowing for greater control and versatility in sound variety.

Mastering these styles on a Johnson Resonator opens the doors to a new world of blues, jazz, country, and bluegrass tones that will set you apart from the traditional guitar-playing crowd. The resonator’s unique voice is, after all, its key feature that sets it apart.

Stick with your Johnson Resonator, dedicate time and effort to perfect these techniques and soon enough, the rich, potent sounds echoing from your strings will prove it was all worth it. As we progress into the next section, remember that maintaining and setting up your resonator guitar properly is a crucial part of preserving its exceptional sound.

Maintenance and Setup

Maintenance and Setup

While exploring the remarkable features of Johnson Resonator Guitars, you’ll soon realize the pivotal role of proper setup and diligent maintenance. Over the years, I’ve discovered that this element is vital to preserving the quality sound and longevity of these instruments.

Guitar setup is the foundation of your playing experience. Fiddling with the various components of the guitar tailored to your preference, such as action height or string gauge, not only alters the ease of playing but also significantly affects its resonating qualities. Having your Johnson Resonator professionally set up can help ensure a smooth playability, optimal sound quality, and overall greater satisfaction.

Resonator guitar maintenance goes hand-in-hand with your initial setup, aiming to keep your guitar in its prime for years. It’s particularly crucial for resonator instruments like Johnson’s, where a primary appeal features their robust resonation. Regular cleaning, timely string changes, fretboard oils, and correct storage are just a few of the many components in an effective maintenance routine, which should be customized to your use frequency.

This knowledge and expertise in maintenance and setup for my Johnson Resonator came with years of experience, numerous trial-and-error moments, and conversations with seasoned professionals. Sharing these insights with you should only enhance your overall understanding and optimize your experience with these unique guitars. As we delve deeper into the following sections, you’ll gain a comprehensive perspective on why Johnson Resonators sustain their influential presence in the guitar world, holding a distinguished place amongst varied brands.

Comparing Johnson Resonators to Other Brands

Comparing Johnson Resonators to Other Brands

I’ve been on a quest to find the perfect resonator guitar throughout the trajectory of my career. Along this path, I’ve had the privilege—and sometimes, the burden—of trying dozens of resonator brands. So when it comes to comparing resonator brands, my hands-on experience creates a seasoned perspective that goes beyond specifications, component compositions, and popular opinion.

The resonator guitar market is filled with a variety of options, each having its unique features and characteristics. From the Dobro with its punchy, loud projection and distinctive tone to the Tricone guitar, with its subtler and full-bodied tonal profile, every brand has something unique to offer. However, deep in this ocean of choices, the one that always seems to lure me back with its siren song is the Johnson resonator.

So If all Resonator guitars are not created equal, what sets Johnson Resonator guitars apart from the rest?

I have found Johnson resonators to consistently deliver on a few critical fronts that tower above the competition. The first being quality. The aesthetic finesse, craftsmanship, and the choice of materials all speak to the brand’s commitment to quality. These guitars are built to last a lifetime, and perhaps even beyond.

When one thinks of the top-tier resonators, luxurious build materials and impeccable craftsmanship jump to mind, often leading us deeper into our pockets. But, here’s another area where Johnson resonators come out on top. These guitars deliver an unmatched balance of quality and cost-effectiveness that’s hard to beat. A Johnson resonator is a practical choice where you aren’t required to compromise on quality.

The tonality, another essential facet of a resonator guitar, has been a mixed bag with other brands. Sometimes, it’s too sharp or too subdued, making it challenging to conjure the right mood. But, with Johnson, I’ve found a tone that is well-rounded, rich, and capable of producing beautiful melodies with impressive volume and sustain.

The comfort of playability is an aspect that resonates with all guitarists on a deeply personal level. While some brands err on the larger and weighty side, making it a strain to play for extended periods, Johnson resonators excel with a comfortable feel in your arms. The neck is smooth, and the action is just right, making playing for hours an effortless task.

Just a quick note here: While this might sound like an all-out endorsement for Johnson, my intention is to provide an unbiased comparison based on personal experiences. Like any guitar, Johnson might not be the perfect fit for everyone, but for those who value durability, cost-effectiveness, versatility of tone, and ease of playability, it is certainly a brand worth considering.

Throughout my journey, I’ve played, tweaked, and even abandoned various brands of resonator guitars. But the allure of the Johnson resonator keeps drawing me back. As the journey continues, with every pluck of the string and strum of the chord, I find myself enveloped in the warm, rich, and iconic sound that Johnson resonators have come to symbolize.

Reviews and Opinions on Johnson Resonators

Reviews and Opinions on Johnson Resonators

In my years as a music journalist, I’ve played, dissected, and penned countless instrument reviews. My hands have felt the weight of a myriad of guitars, my ears fine-tuned to the subtle notes that set exemplary craftsmanship apart from the mundane. This expertise lends itself uniquely to a deep dive into the realm of Johnson guitars.

Permit me now to share my observations, insights, and a personal touch to my evaluation of the Johnson Resonators. When you choose to explore music gear, to strum a new guitar, you’re not just investing in a tool for your art. You’re connecting with a companion that either sparks a light in your spirit or leaves you cold. Let’s delve deeper to see if Johnson Resonators can spark that light for you.

Would you believe that Johnson Resonators hold a charm that few other brands can capture? They club simplicity with class – an exquisite balance that few have been able to achieve. While other brands work intensely on flamboyancy, Johnson focuses on the core – the soul of music, and that’s what makes them stand apart. You strum a Johnson resonator, and you feel a warmth that enlivens your senses. It’s not just sound; it’s pure emotion that resonates from each string.

The build quality is impressive; robust yet refined, gracefully enduring the test of time and relentless jamming sessions. The full-bodied, distinct tone is perhaps the standout feature, a testament to Johnson’s dedication to high-quality sound production. Each note rings true, affirming the authenticity that Johnson Resonators bring.

Let’s not overlook the playability. The comfort and ease with which you can glide through the fretboard and hit the right notes effortlessly is noteworthy. This comfort creates an avenue for free expression, undeterred by the limitations often encountered with other brands. Often nestled in the reviews of Johnson guitars, you’ll find repeated accolades for this aspect.

Yet, like any other brand, Johnson isn’t without its downsides. Some users have pointed out that the factory setup leaves a bit to be desired. However, this minor setback provides you with the opportunity to transform the resonator into your unique instrument with your custom setup.

As we embark on the comparison of Johnson Resonators to other brands in the following section, let this in-depth review shape your perspective. Are these the right resonators for you? That depends wholly on what you seek in your musical companion. Hopefully, my insights aid you in that crucial decision.

True beauty, after all, lies in the ears of the beholder.

Where to Purchase Johnson Resonator Guitars

Where to Purchase Johnson Resonator Guitars

Having been an enthusiast of the music industry for several years, my extensive network with musicians, guitar manufacturers, and sellers has provided me with a depth of insight into the world of guitars that few possess. My particular fondness for Johnson resonator guitars has led me to unravel some of the most reliable places to purchase this exceptional instrument, and I am excited to share these with you.

Finding the perfect Johnson resonator guitar can often feel like a treasure hunt. Want to know where X marks the spot? Well, stay tuned because in this section of the guide, I’ll reveal to you the places that I trust for delivering not just high-quality instruments, but also excellent service and deeply rooted musical knowledge!

Embarking on your guitar buying journey online might seem overwhelming, but trust me, it’s a treasure trove filled with countless gems. There are several trusted musical instruments online platforms specializing in high-quality guitars. Websites such as Guitar Center, Musicians Friend, and Sweetwater provide a wide range of Johnson resonator guitars. These platforms ensure secure transactions, trustworthy return policies, and often offer helpful technical support.

However, nothing quite matches the experience of walking into a brick-and-mortar music store. Feeling the vibrations of the instrument, hearing its sound, and experiencing its playability firsthand are pivotal parts of making an investment decision. Stores like Sam Ash and Guitar Center house an extensive selection of Johnson guitars. Their friendly, knowledgeable staff can guide you through the different models, helping shed light on how each resonator’s unique properties match your personal musical style and needs.

But remember, buying a guitar isn’t about picking one out of a line-up—it’s about finding one that resonates with you, your style, and your ambitions. That’s where smaller boutique guitar shops really shine. Using my connections in the industry, I’ve found a few boutique stores like Gryphon Stringed Instruments in Palo Alto and Artisan Guitars in Nashville, where their passion for music is matched by their expertise.

Whether you opt to search for your Johnson resonator guitar in a physical store or explore the vast musical instruments online, my advice is always the same: trust your instincts and never compromise on quality. You’re not just buying a piece of musical equipment; you’re investing in your musical journey and dreams.

Thus concludes this section of my in-depth guide on Johnson resonator guitars. Stay tuned for the next part where I’ll answer frequently asked questions you might have about these fabulous instruments. I hope to make your guitar buying journey somewhat less daunting and much more enjoyable.


What is a Johnson Resonator Guitar?

A Johnson Resonator Guitar is a unique type of guitar that uses metal cones in its body to amplify the sound. It’s popular among blues and bluegrass musicians for its distinctive tonal qualities.

What are the quality features of a Johnson Resonator Guitar?

The Johnson Resonator Guitar is known for its robust build quality, using carefully selected woods for optimal resonance and tone. It also features a hand-spun aluminum cone and a hard maple bridge for increased volume and sustain.

What are the purchasing options for a Johnson Resonator Guitar?

You can purchase a Johnson Resonator Guitar from various online retailers, such as Amazon or eBay. Many music stores also carry this brand. To ensure you’re getting a genuine Johnson product, consider purchasing from an authorized dealer.


Ready to resonate with the pulse of delta blues through the chords of a Johnson Resonator? This guide should serve as your North Star in your quest. After my extensive exploration into the world of acoustic and resonator guitars, I am convinced that the quality, unique features, and reliable purchase options make Johnson Resonators a worthy investment.

The innate ability of these guitars to reflect the delta blues resonator vibe sets them apart. Famous resonator guitarists, myself included, often gravitate towards the distinctive Justin Johnson signature guitar – it’s an absolute tour de force in the scene. Delving into the swirls of tones it emits, one can’t help but respect the craftsmanship, and value the deep thought invested in every curve and fret.

Investing in a Johnson Resonator means joining a distinguished community, resonating to the melodic language of their strings, and emboldening your musical journey. The rhythm, the feel, and the sound emanated by these guitars is unmistakable. Enjoy every strum, and remember, your Johnson Resonator is not just an instrument, it’s a lifelong companion.

May your journey with your Johnson Resonator be as fulfilling and enthralling as mine continues to be. Let the melodious journey begin!

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