A Brief Introduction to the Dobro Resonator Guitar

Dobro Guitar pic

Dobro Guitar
Image: gibson.com

An accomplished researcher with decades of experience in genetics and molecular biology, Dr. Jef Boeke serves as the founding director of the Institute for Systems Genetics at the NYU Langone Medical Center. In his free time, Dr. Jef Boeke enjoys being outdoors, spending time with his family, and playing the Dobro. Jef Boeke has played the Dobro in the Celtic-bluegrass fusion trio, the Southern Blots, for over 35 years. The Southern Bltos’ album can be heard on Bandcamp.com

Most often played in bluegrass, country, and blues music, the Dobro is a type of acoustic guitar featuring a conical metal resonator that amplifies the instrument’s sound and gives it a unique metallic timbre. Although many use the term Dobro for all resonator guitars, the name technically refers to a trademark that has roots in the early history of the instrument.

Now owned by the Gibson Guitar Corporation, the Dobro trademark was secured by the Dopyera brothers, who launched the Dobro Manufacturing Company in 1928. The Dopyera family continued to manufacture resonator guitars off and on for several decades, and the name Dobro was eventually acquired by Gibson in 1993. Since then, Gibson has released several resonator-style models with the Dobro name, including the more affordable Hound Dog series, which is available through Epiphone, a Gibson subsidiary.

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