When I first started making guitars I made quite a few wood bodied resonators but I was never really happy with the sound. To me, they sounded a bit flat and lifeless. I was using lamitated wood (plywood ) as was the tradition for these types of guitars, and eventually I stopped making them.
A few years ago I made an acoustic guitar based on the Gibson L1 (Robert Johnson’s guitar). Queensland Maple back and sides and spruce top. Unfortunately it did not sound all that good and I hardly ever used it. Recently I cut the top off it and replaced it with a single cone resonator top. It sounded great! Full of life and volume but a bit more mellow than a metal body.
Not surprising really, I suppose because, after all, luthiers wouldn’t go to all that trouble and expense to find the right woods to enhance the sound of their guitars if it did not have a positive effect.
So now I’ve started making wood bodied resonator guitars again, this time using more traditional flat top guitar materials for the back and sides.
On the left is my latest, a tricone with Wandoo (a Western Australian hardwood) back and sides. More info soon.