New resonator guitar includes a Beard Legend cone and composite back and sides.
by Teja Gerken
February 15, 2018
Luthier Paul Beard has built instruments for many of today’s top resophonic players. Recently, his company, Beard Guitars, introduced the new Copper Mountain line of more affordable instruments built with composite back and sides. The resophonic guitars include Beard’s acclaimed Legend cone and original #14 spider, and the Copper Mountain line’s composite construction not only helps keep the cost down but also creates a more durable instrument. Available in squareneck and roundneck models (check out Peghead Nation’s video of the roundneck), the guitars can be ordered with various custom options, including several pickup choices. We recently had a chance to check out a Squareneck Copper Mountain, which Peghead Nation dobro instructor Mike Witcher demonstrates in this video.
Copper Mountain guitars may have composite material back and sides, but they appear fairly traditional. Solid black in color, the back and sides are shaped traditionally, and while the body is thinner than most dobros, it has a familiar feel. The guitar’s top is made from laminated Finnish birch, and the neck is maple.
The Copper Mountain base models come without electronics, but our demo instrument had a dual pickup setup with a Fishman Nashville Series pickup mounted in the bridge and a Lollar Silver Foil magnetic pickup mounted on the top. The two pickups are routed through a Fishman Powerchip onboard preamp powered by a nine-volt battery.
Of the instrument’s acoustic properties, Mike says, “The first thing I notice is that you’re not missing any volume, even though it has a shallow body.” Mike also noted the guitar’s sustain and projection. Plugging into a Fishman Loudbox Mini and a Fishman Aura Spectrum (adding a resophonic sound image to the Fishman bridge pickup), Mike demonstrates the instrument’s amplified tones, noting how the dual pickup configuration allows for a wide variety of sounds, including the option of running through electric guitar–type effects.
Overall, the Copper Mountain is a great addition to the current resonator guitar market. Whether you’re looking for a lower cost way to get the classic Beard sound or a versatile acoustic-electric option, Beard’s Copper Mountain instruments are definitely worth checking out.
SPECS: Squareneck resonator guitar. Laminated birch top. Composite back and sides. Maple neck. 25-inch scale. Beard triple-spun Legend cone and original #14 spider. Fan cover plate. Enclosed chrome tuners. Fishman Nashville Series and Lollar Silver Foil pickups. Fishman Powerchip preamp. $2,250 as shown (base models without electronics start at $1,500). beardguitars.com
Comments and Discussion
The Fishman Aura Spectrum DI is a full-featured Aura processor with dozens of sound images for virtually every type of guitar, but it also includes additional functions, such as DI output, EQ, tuner, etc. You can also load the unit with additional images, which can be downloaded from Fishman's website. We used it with one of the stock Resophonic images (from the "Bluegrass Instruments" image bank), which was created with Schoeps CMC64 mics. While not exactly the same as the images that are include in the Jerry Douglas Aura, the technology is the same, and the tonal results are similar.
You can check out the specifics about the Aura Spectrum DI here: https://www.fishman.com/products/series/aura/aura-spectrum-di-preamp/
I hope this helps,
Co-Founder, Peghead Nation
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