My dad, who was my biggest supporter when I was starting out in bluegrass music, died in November of His most prized possession, besides his kids, was a mid's Dobro that he had bought brand new in Charlotte, NC. Now, for you enthusiasts out there, you know that the mid's Mosrite version of the Dobro, by today's standards, are lacking uh, pretty much everything.
Every one of them seems to have been built just a bit differently. This cone, or that cone First things first, I am NOT a Dobro player by the furthest stretch of one's imagination, but I do know a man that is, and knows what to do to an instrument, old or new, to breathe the breath of life into it Bobby Wolfe.
Tag: Prewar Dobro
Now Dobro or Resonator Guitar aficionados are very familiar with Bobby and his skills as a player and luthier I have known Bobby since I was a kid. We were in a band together way back around when I was a mere 16 years of age called the Southern Partners from Huntersville, NC. This was the first Bluegrass Band that I was an official member of check out that hair and I still have a cassette of one of our shows at the Mineral Springs Music Barn in Mineral Springs, NC gotta get that transferred to cd soon.
We didn't always wear the same clothes. Sometimes I would change clothes with Joe, and Joe would change with Howard and so on. Anyway, as I said, my dad passed away and left me his little brown Martin and a Mosrite style, 14 fret to the body, Dobro. I hadn't been home since dad had passed away so I decided to leave a few days early and meet up with some old friends, view the "new" Huntersville, Davidson and Cornelius, NC sites and pay a visit to my old friend Bobby Wolfe.
He had insisted via emails that I bring dad's old Dobro and So, after a 7. I parked the jeep, stepped out and immediately heard the sound of Bobby playing in the shop I walked into Bobby's shop and there was my old friend. After a quickie look-around of the shop it was off to the kitchen for a fresh cup of coffee.Dudley Francis Cecil Wolfe February 6, — July 30, was an American racing yacht owner and captain who was the first person to race a sixty-foot yacht across the Atlantic, competing against much larger vessels.
He was to inherit a large fortune from his maternal grandfather provided he changed his family name to "Smith", to which he agreed before reverting again. Wolfe became posthumously famous when he died on the American Karakoram expedition to K2 in controversial circumstances.
His father had immigrated from England in and was a coffee importer. Claiming to have an aristocratic background, Wolfe senior mixed in New York high society telling entirely fictitious stories of his life tiger hunting in India and so forth.
His mother was the daughter of the immensely wealthy Benjamin Franklin Smith, [note 1] who together with his three brothers had made their money in gold and silver mining in Colorado in the mid s. They wisely sold at the height of the boom to move into real estate and railroads. Benjamin's three brothers had no children so he was able to pass down the entire estate. Wolfe's parents had married on October 15, and within a year his father's business was bankrupt.
Despite these circumstances, the family lived a wealthy lifestyle thanks to a steady flow of cash from his mother's family. The couple had four children, three sons and a daughter — Dudley was the middle son. They had lavish educations at a series of boarding schools but none of the boys did well academically at school. Dudley was, however, good at sports — football, hockey, running, boating and hunting. Eventually Wolfe's academic progress was so poor that he was not allowed to continue at Phillips Academy even though the headmaster recognized his "faithful, conscientious effort" and the goodwill he had engendered at the school.
Inunable to find a satisfactory job, Wolfe tried to join the WWI war effort by applying to join several branches of the U. He then put himself on the year-long waiting list for the French Foreign Legionwhile in the meantime joining the Red Cross ambulance corps. In he sailed for Europe. In Liverpool by complete chance he met Lucien Wolf who, for the first time, told him of his father's true background.
Lucien Wolf's brother, Dudley Wolf before he changed his name to Wolfehad been the son of a Bohemian Jew who escaped antisemitic uprisings in to become a tobacconist in London.
It is not clear whether the Smith side of his family ever knew about Dudley Wolf e 's true background. Wolfe volunteered to work at various war fronts driving an ambulance, a slightly converted Model T Fordunder appalling conditions taking wounded soldiers back from the front to the field hospitals.
After ten months' ambulance service, in October he was called up into the Foreign Legion but only served for a month up to the armistice — he was awarded the French Volunteer Medal and Campaign Medal.
Phillips Academy now acclaimed him as having won more medals than any other alumnus. Wolfe stayed in Europe for a year before returning to Omaha to take part in running the family real estate business.
This was not to his liking so every summer he went to Maine for yacht racing. In he left Omaha for good and that year he and his brothers were summoned to the vast Maine estate of their year-old grandfather Smith.
By strong family tradition his fortune would normally have been inherited by Mabel's brother but he had died long ago after leaving one son, Clifford. Smith so strongly disapproved of Clifford that he announced that his heirs would be his three grandsons from Mabel. The proviso was that the three boys were required to change their family name to Smith and they agreed to do this legally. However, after a while Dudley felt the change of name had been disloyal to his father so he went to his grandfather to say he would change back and decline the inheritance.
The elder Smith was impressed with this principled stance and agreed to leave the share of his fortune to him anyway; Grandfather Smith died in Wolfe was gentle, cheerful and rather shy.
He was very stockily built, strong and very determined. Although he was extremely wealthy he was not ostentatiously so in his manner although he had refined tastes.The sixth member of the bluegrass family of instruments the orphan child that Bill Monroe still refuses to recognize and the only one invented in America, the dobro is still the least understood. Comments like "Wow! Lookit the action on them strings!
And it never fails to surprise me when I find that even seasoned bluegrass veterans and I'm talking here about folks who have won banjo contests, played in for decades in the top amateur bands, and have worked in the recording studio don't know very much at all about the dobro, unless they happen to play one questions like "Hey!
What's that thing? This essay on dobrology will, I hope, fill in some of those knowledge gaps, but most of all may help you, as banjo, guitar, mandolin, bass, or fiddlepickers to interact with those of us who, as Waldo Otto of the Trailblazers likes to say, "have a metal block.
Much of this essay is based on those sources, and the rest is based a personal viewpoint that comes from 15 years of opinionated dobro picking. Here we'll discuss such matters as dobro serial numbers, the value of pre-war dobros, how the thing works ie.
The history of the dobro is a labyrinthine nightmare, one that is only sketchily documented and based on sometimes contradictory sources. Personally, I wish both you and I could skip this section and go on to the next, but I've got to stick with it. The only undisputed fact seems to be that the dobro was NOT invented by French Canadian fur trappers. As far as I'm concerned, the most definitive source is Wheelerspecifically the chapters on National, Dobro, Valco, Regal, and Mosrite, but other details can be found in King and Gear The details given below may seem to be of little intrinsic interest, but they show why it is often impossible to tell how old a given instrument might be.
Almost everyone knows that the dobro was developed by the Dopyera brothers who later Americanized the spelling to "Dopera"Czechoslovakian immigrants who came to America inand that Dobro is an anagram formed from "DO pyera BRO thers. But when was the dobro invented? Was itas some histories say, oror was it in or as other sources imply? To answer that, we must be more specific.Guild R37SE Dobro Review
The bluegrass dobro as we know it woodbodied, with a single resonator, 8-legged aluminum spider, and raised nut apparently was first produced in According to King it was invented in the summer of and offered for sale later that same year although on the same page there is reprinted an article from Guitar Player magazine giving the date as the spring of - see what I mean?
Two patents for this kind of instrument were filed by Rudy Dopyera on June 29,and February 1,and awarded in andrespectively. The instrument pictured in the drawings for the second patent see King is the bluegrass dobro as we know it.
King says that dobros produced before the patents were issued have "Pat. But if we delve into the history a little further, it gets more complex. The first resonator guitar was not the single-cone woodenbodied bluegrass instrument that we are familiar with, but the tri-cone National guitar.
This instrument had three small metal cones arranged in a triangular pattern, joined by a three-legged bridge, carried in a metal body, and this is the familiar blues dobro, still played in slide guitar style by musicians like Steve James, of San Antonio. The patent for the threeand four-cone version was filed in According to John, he experimented with tin, copper, brass and other metals over about a six-week period before settling on aluminum for the cones.
Then, inJohn left National, the company he founded, to his expartner Beauchamp and created the Dobro Company, using the newly invented single cone.We're the 1.
Heritage dealer. Heritage guitar. They sound amazing, look amazing, and because of this, they are amazingly popular. They are so popular that it takes the shop almost a year for us to get them after ordering. For a good reason, John Mayer describes his signature model as a modernized version of past guitars. Of course, he is implying the Fender Stratocaster. He says Don't believe me? Check out this video of the man himself playing the guitar.
The Gibson melody maker, a Classic slab guitar. They call it slab because it's just a slab of wood with some pickups and strings. But this guitar despite the nickname is so much more. The melody maker was famously played by Slash, Joan Jett and Mick Jones along with many other rock n roll legends.
Basically, if you played rock n roll, you owned a melody maker. It's an American classic. Our Current Inventory. Follow Us. Join Our Mailing List. We offer selection, service, and price!
Wolfe Guitars is the largest volume guitar shop in the Palm Beach County area! We carry a great selection of new, used and consigned guitars. You can count on our great reputation, built on our years of fair and honest dealing. Our knowledgeable staff has over years of combined experience in playing and repairing guitars, as well as mentoring and teaching new players. Visit our store in person or give us a call at The Floyd Experience.
The venue was packed to its maximum capacity with Pink Floyd fans eager to see amazing playing mixed with great visuals. The venue was so packed that they even had to turn people away. Our Manager Tom is one of the masterminds behind the great Floyd Experience tribute.
He and his band replicate exactly what it would sound like if you were to see Pink Floyd Live. It was a complete success. They had an encore and a standing ovation.When National first introduced the resonator into the musical world inno one thought this would translate into a remarkable piece of instrument. They brought the best in single and tri-tone resonator guitars. The first Nationals features a brass design and much like the all-steel version Duolian were designed later to fit the cost of budget-minded musicians.
A resonator musical instrument allows musicians to achieve a unique and distinctive sonic flair to their musical arrangement, without the use of external electric sources. But modern designs have seen resonators with electronic versions.
That said, resonators have always been. Resonator guitars come in different forms and design to meet the need of players playing different genres of music.
Below are some notable resonator guitar styles in the market today. These round-neck resonator guitars offer players the ability to play in lap steel guitar style or conventional classical guitar style.
What this means is that they can be played horizontally as a steel guitar or traditional guitar. This guitar takes into consideration the taste of the player loves to play in a steel guitar style or lap steel guitar style. They are also intended to be played from a suspended strap angle. While most tri-cones feature a metal body construction, guitars with Spider Bridge designs are mostly available in wood. On the other hand, Bridge guitars incorporate both designs from the other two categories.
The sound is the unique factors that differentiate wood from metal guitars. Wood resonator guitars produce more of a mellow sound. The sound is usually warmer, organic and tolerant. The type of wood will largely decide the level of sound generated.
Most wooden resonators are made of mahogany plywood, which is sturdy, long-lasting and durable.
New (to me) Dobro Setup / Action Issues
Conversely, metal resonators are famous for their brash and metallic sound. Guitars with metal designs could be brass, steel or German silver metals. Most of them come with a nickel coated design. They look similar, but each has its peculiar sonic capability. The Epiphone Dobro stand as one of the best resonators with open sound well designed to achieve a balanced tone.
There are more expensive Hound Dog Models, but this one gets the job done without much fuss. The guitar comes with remarkable designs at the neck and overall body construction. For instance, the Dobro Hound Dog Resonator features a round neck construction that you can covert for lap slide using cheap nut extender since there are no square neck versions within this price range. The Hound Dog sounds excellent, with growling low end and sweet highs.
This Dobro Hound Dog deluxe square-neck features a solid built. It has a good sustain and a delicate balance of range. The guitar appears to sound better when playing with the medium gauge strings. However, if you wish to get the deeper bass, you will have to get the heavier strings.SJ: How did you get started playing the dobro? Who or what inspired you to start playing?
ST: When I was growing up, my father loved country and western music and he would listen to it all the time on the radio so naturally I would hear it too. My parents would also take the family on vacations to a dude ranch each summer and I would hear country music there. That was my initial exposure to the dobro. Wow, was he terrific! SJ: How did you learn to play? Did you take formal lessons or were you self-taught?
Looking back, what were the things that were most helpful in learning to play the dobro? SJ: What model was your first dobro? My father got it for me from a music store he knew about and that was all they had available so he bought it.
That was a big mistake! Since we were not aware of any stores or anyone in the New York City area that had a dobro for sale, I ended up with a National Duolian with a warped neck and broken neck heel. But, with a high nut on it, it played OK and had pretty good volume.
We got it in Upstate New York and I still have it! I was certainly not aware of anything and even now the history of the dobro during that period is still quite vague. But there was still relatively no market for them so they stayed where they were stashed away. Did you start out to become a collector or did that evolve over time?
ST: I once said I would never collect prewar Dobros because it took me about 15 years to find just one for sale. But as the years went by, more and more prewar Dobros came on the market for sale but there were very few buyers. So I decided that it would be alright if I started collecting them too since I always had a love for them. And it was only possible because of the Internet. I would never have had access to the number of instruments I was able to see on the Internet which were up for sale at any time without that resource at my disposal.
I decided to start by looking for one of each model made in the prewar period focusing on the wood body Dobros with the round screens. I was also looking for ones that sounded good too, if possible. In the case of the rare models sound was of less importance. I started to find that the lower end models like the Model 27 and Model 37 seemed to have a better sound than the higher end walnut models. This confirmed what Bobby Wolfe had said in his great articles about the Model 27 Dobros.Discussion in ' Acoustic Instruments ' started by 6StringaOct 22, Log in or Sign up.
The Gear Page. Oct 22, 1. Messages: So I was given a Wood body Dobro that was my uncles. I took it apart and it was built in 94 so I'm not sure if that's pre-Gibson or not.
Any ideas would be welcome. Regardless I've been trying to make it more playable as the action is really high. I'm fine with slightly high action but this is ridiculous. I thought about sanding down the bridge but am a little nervous about messing it up.
The other problem with the string height is the intonation. It sucks. If this is normal tell me I'm being a wuss and I'll start doing finger push-ups or something.
Otherwise opinions are welcome. Lastly I'm in Pittsburgh so if anyone knows a good Dobro guy I'd be happy to pay. Oct 22, 2. Messages: 36, Oct 23, 3.
Oct 23, 4. Messages: 8, Is this a "spider bridge"? If it is a Dobro-brand dobro, then it likely is. You'll notice it's just two straight pieces of maple for the saddles. Sometimes there is enough play that the spider can be mislocated.
Measure accurately from the leading edge of the nut to the center of the 12th fret.
Measure again from the center of the 12th fret to the saddle. You'll want those two measurements to be the same. If they aren't, see if you can manipulate the spider into position so that they are. That will help, but you've still got the limitations of straight saddles. How tall are the saddles? You can reduce the height of these saddles until there is just enough protruding from the slot in the spider to keep the string from touching the metal.