Whether acoustic or electric, Pyle is a name that’s securely associated with the super-value market – there’s nothing high-end about their instruments. But what they lack in premium polish, they make up for with a good budget model that anyone can afford. Their PGA48BR resonator is the cheapest model in our best resonator chart, but it comes with a host of accessories and electronics. Piece of junk or a decent find? Let’s see…
Aimed at beginners, the PGA48BR is actually quite an attractive instrument with a natural sunburst finish and AVS binding around the top and back. It sports a full-size body, with a scale length of 24.9”, and a roundneck style, so is more suitable for conventional six-string playing than a lap steel set-up. The body itself is made from laminated spruce (on the top) and laminated mahogany (back and sides). Meanwhile, the mahogany neck features a rosewood fretboard and 21 frets.
So, there’s nothing too surprising here. It looks nice enough, but the mass-produced nature of it lets it down in some places, including some loose hardware and sharp fret edges. Perhaps Pyle can be forgiven, as they try to add value elsewhere. Our advice – get a good professional set-up, then you’ll have yourself a very playable instrument.
As we’ve mentioned, Pyle really try to cram a lot of hardware and extras into such an affordable package. There’s an aluminum resonator cone with spider bridge, die-cast tuning keys, and screened soundholes, along with a rosewood saddle. In addition, it comes with a built-in preamp that allows you to plug directly into an amplifier, with a control panel offering a volume control and 3-band EQ (bass, middle and treble). For the price, it’s a fine system to introduce players to the world of resonator amplification.
As well as the guitar, the PGA48BR comes with a host of accessories. These include a basic gig bag, a set of spare strings, a set of pearloid plectrums, a strap, a cable and a pitch pipe. For a complete beginner, these are fine and offer good convenience – although they shouldn’t sway your decision, considering they are very basic and would be the first things you’d upgrade.
This beginner’s resonator is great for those players exploring blues, country, bluegrass and similar styles on a budget. While it doesn’t offer the full, sweet tone you’d find in higher priced models, it’s not that bad acoustically. Plugged in, the electronics offer some versatility, although we certainly wouldn’t describe it as gig-worthy. Still, it gives you plenty of scope for experimenting and jamming.
Unlike acoustic and electric guitars, it’s trickier to find a cheap resonator. So, for complete beginners – or those players on a strict budget – Pyle once again delivers a relatively solid instrument with the PGA48BR. The construction is decent, the electronics work, and, after a good set-up, it plays quite nicely. The accessories are a nice bonus, although the guitar alone is worth the price you pay.