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Dobro
Dobro
is an American brand of resonator guitar, currently owned by the Gibson Guitar
Guitar
Corporation. In popular usage, the term is also used as a generic trademark for any wood-bodied, single-cone resonator guitar. The Dobro
Dobro
was originally made by the Dopyera brothers when they formed the Dobro
Dobro
Manufacturing Company. Their design, with a single inverted resonator, was introduced in competition to the patented Tricone
Tricone
and biscuit designs produced by the National String Instrument Corporation. The Dobro
Dobro
name appeared on other instruments, notably electric lap steel guitars and solid body electric guitars and on other resonator instruments such as Safari resonator mandolins.

Contents

1 History 2 Generic usage 3 Products 4 Modern instruments 5 References 6 External links

History[edit]

1928 "Dobro-style" 37 tenor guitar

Resonator guitar
Resonator guitar
with single inverted resonator

Spider resonator detail

Dobro-style resonator guitar made by Hohner

The name originated in 1928 when the Dopyera brothers, John and Emil (Ed), formed the Dobro
Dobro
Manufacturing Company. Dobro
Dobro
is both a contraction of " Dopyera brothers" and a word meaning 'good' in their native Slovak. An early company motto was " Dobro
Dobro
means good in any language." The Dobro
Dobro
was the third resonator guitar design by John Dopyera, the inventor of the resonator guitar, but the second to enter production. Unlike his earlier tricone design, the Dobro
Dobro
had a single resonator cone and it was inverted, with its concave surface facing up. The Dobro
Dobro
company described this as a bowl shaped resonator. The Dobro
Dobro
was louder than the tricone and cheaper to produce. In Dopyera's opinion, the cost of manufacture had priced the resonator guitar beyond the reach of many players. His failure to convince his fellow directors at the National String Instrument Corporation
National String Instrument Corporation
to produce a single-cone version was part of his motivation for leaving. Since National had applied for a patent on the single cone (U.S. Patent 1,808,756), Dopyera had to develop an alternative design. He did this by inverting the cone so that, rather than having the strings rest on the apex of the cone as the National method did, they rested on a cast aluminum spider that had eight legs sitting on the perimeter of the downward-pointing cone (U.S. Patent 1,896,484). In the following years both Dobro
Dobro
and National built a wide variety of metal- and wood-bodied single-cone guitars, while National also continued with the Tricone
Tricone
for a time. Both companies sourced many components from National director Adolph Rickenbacher, and John Dopyera remained a major shareholder in National. By 1934, the Dopyera brothers had gained control of both National and Dobro, and they merged the companies to form the National- Dobro
Dobro
Corporation. From the outset, wooden bodies had been sourced from existing guitar manufacturers, particularly the plywood student guitar bodies made by the Regal Musical Instrument Company. Dobro
Dobro
had granted Regal a license to manufacture resonator instruments. By 1937, it was the only manufacturer, and the license was officially made exclusive. Regal continued to manufacture and sell resonator instruments under many names, including Regal, Dobro, Old Kraftsman, and Ward. However, they ceased all resonator guitar production following the United States entry into World War II
World War II
in 1941. Emil Dopyera (also known as Ed Dopera) manufactured Dobros from 1959 under the brand name Dopera's Original before selling the company and name to Semie Moseley. Moseley merged it with his Mosrite
Mosrite
guitar company and manufactured Dobros for a time. Meanwhile, in 1967, Rudy and Emil Dopyera formed the Original Musical Instrument Company
Original Musical Instrument Company
(OMI) to manufacture resonator guitars, which they at first branded Hound Dog. However, in 1970, they again acquired the Dobro
Dobro
name—Mosrite having gone into temporary liquidation. The Gibson Guitar Corporation
Gibson Guitar Corporation
acquired OMI in 1993, along with the Dobro
Dobro
name.[2] They renamed the company Original Acoustic Instruments and moved production to Nashville. Gibson now uses the name Dobro
Dobro
only for models with the inverted-cone design that the original Dobro Manufacturing Company used. Gibson also carries biscuit-style single-resonator guitars, but it sells them under names such as "Hound Dog" (through its subsidiary Epiphone).[1] The Dobro
Dobro
was first introduced to country music by Roy Acuff. Generic usage[edit] The name Dobro
Dobro
is generically associated with any and all resonator designs. Gibson, as the owner of the trademark, reserves the use of the name Dobro
Dobro
for its own product line. The name is still used generically for any resonator guitar, as indicated in such songs as The Ballad of Curtis Loew by Lynyrd Skynyrd, Valium Waltz by the Old 97's, When Papa Played the Dobro
Dobro
by Johnny Cash
Johnny Cash
on the Ride This Train
Ride This Train
album. Products[edit]

Hound Dog Roundneck Hound Dog Squareneck Hound Dog Deluxe Roundneck Hound Dog Deluxe Squareneck Phil Ledbetter Series Gibson Phil Ledbetter Signature Resonator Gibson Phil Ledbetter Mahogany "Limited Edition"

Modern instruments[edit] As of 2006[update], many makers, including Gibson, were manufacturing resonator guitars similar to the original inverted-cone design. Gibson also manufactures biscuit-style resonator guitars, but reserves the Dobro
Dobro
name for its inverted-cone models. These "biscuit" guitars are often used for blues and are played vertically instead of horizontally like a "spider" bridge. Contemporary manufacturers of the inverted cone design resonator guitar other than Gibson include Tim Scheerhorn and Paul Beard. Virtuoso resonator guitarist Jerry Douglas
Jerry Douglas
has primarily used guitars from these builders for nearly three decades. Both Scheerhorn and Beard produce instruments of a radically different structural design to the original Dobro
Dobro
instruments, while retaining the inverted cone and spider bridge. References[edit]

^ a b Bluegrass instruments at Epiphone
Epiphone
website ^ US Trademark Registration Number 0950801, January 16, 1973

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Dobro-guitars.

Dobro
Dobro
products on Epiphone
Epiphone
website "History of the Pre-War Dobro" by Randy Getz Dobro
Dobro
Valpro (1997) at Elderly.com

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