Have you just come across the dobro guitar at a music gig, or seen it lying around on your visit to the music store? If so, then you have to give this instrument a shot. It has been truly designed to perfection. It is used by guitar players to amplify and produce unique tunes, both of which add dimension and charm to the tunes played. Dobro guitars are thus known as resonator guitars as well.
While it may look like a complicated piece of equipment that is only for professional guitar players to use, in reality, this is far from true. The dobro guitar can be played by anyone, even a beginner who has just started on their journey towards playing the guitar.
Dobro Guitar – Its History
The Dobro guitar was invented by a Slovak immigrant in 1920. John Dopyera, an instrument inventor and repairman who had a passion to bring together unique elements, thus creating music that touched hearts. His idea came to life in a small music shop in Las Vegas, and since then the dobro guitar has been an instrument many have connected with.
In its essence, a dobro guitar is like an acoustic guitar, however, it has a few differences. The first is that it has a metal resonator that is embedded into its body, taking the place of the sound hole. What this helps with is amplifying music as per the player’s liking. Secondly, the strings of the dobro guitar are made of phosphor bronze. They are 6 in number and are a mix of sonorous treble strings and low-tone bass strings.
The way this works is quite extraordinary. It’s no less than clockwork. As the strings are tugged on, the vibrations produced are transferred from the bridge to the resonator. The resonator is often known as the metal cone as well. From then on, these metal cones direct the resonance to produce sound and tones that are a lot sharper and brighter than acoustic guitars.
Tunes Best Played On The Dobro Guitar
Here are some tunes best played on the dobro guitar. If you find any song that turns out to be your favorite, be sure to learn it and play it on the dobro. The thrill and fun you are going to reap from playing it on this instrument are sure to be twofold.
- Wild Horses
- You Are My Sunshine
- I Am A Man Of Constant Sorrow
- Amazing Grace
- Wagon Wheel
- Travelling Riverside Blues
- I’m Thinking Tonight Of My Blue Eyes
- Smoke On The Water
- Keep Your Lamp Trimmed And Burning
Pros Vs. Cons Of Investing In A Dobro Guitar
We can also break down some of the pros and cons of the dobro guitar. Here are some of them.
When it comes to the pros, the list is quite expansive.
- It Can Be Used To Play Multiple Genres
If you have a taste for playing bluegrass, country music, or even western swing, then the dobro guitar is the right pick for you. By investing in this guitar you can enjoy playing a wide range of tunes. No wonder it is used to play the soundtrack of most movies, the bright and clear sound is perfect for bringing any track to life.
- Ease Of Use
The dobro guitar is not just easy to use, but it is also easy to learn complicated tunes on. Getting a hang of the basics may take time, as is the case with all instruments, but once you have the technique mastered, you can find yourself playing any tune with minimal effort. You can then experiment and play around with the different genres and perfect your instrument playing skills further.
This is one of the main reasons why the dobro has done so well on the market. It is inexpensive and easily found at most local music stores. However, this is just for the starter models, for the vintage models you may have to pay a higher price.
- Improves Muscle Memory And Confidence
Since the dobro guitar is easy to learn, it adds to your cognitive development, and further enhances your hand and brain coordination. Thus, helping your brain stay alert and sharp. In addition, it also allows you to explore your creative side and gives you the boost of confidence you need.
There are however a few drawbacks to the dobro guitar. Here are some of the most common ones.
- Requires Frequent Maintenance
Unlike acoustic guitars which can be tuned when producing sounds that are high or low pitched, the resonator in the dobro guitar requires special skill to repair in case it acts up. At times, the metal cones become subject to dust and debris accumulation. Similarly, a shift in the cone may cause the dobro guitar to produce buzzing and rattling noises. Thus, having your dobro guitar inspected regularly is something that is a given.
Tips On How To Maintain A Dobro Guitar
To maintain your dobro guitar, you can follow the tips below.
- Gently shake your dobro guitar to remove any dust and debris.
- Have your cone replaced once every 2 years
- Use polish designed to clean wood and metal both, this can help your dobro guitar stay spotless and ensure the resonator produce the desired tone
- Tighten and adjust the screws as needed. Trust a reliable and professional to do this the first few times till you learn how to do it yourself.
For more information on how to set up and maintain the resonator click the link provided here.
Can I Convert My Acoustic Guitar To A Dobro?
This is a frequently asked question, the answer to which is a yes. You can convert your acoustic guitar to a dobro by following a few steps. To learn how to do this, you can follow the procedure in the video here. But, be sure to have this done in a meticulous and focused manner.
Wrapping It Up
So, now that you know all about the dobro guitar, you can make your decision and invest in it. It is a great way to sharpen your eye for complicated tunes and helps add value and depth to your performances. If you want, you can even head on over to your nearest music store and give it a try. See if its playability is what appeals to you and makes it worth the investment for your desired way of playing the guitar.
In addition, if you wish to learn more about the different types of guitars, and tips on how to play some easy guitar songs for beginners, then visit our website Musician Authority! We have a wide range of music-related articles, guides, information, and more. It can help add to your knowledge bank related to guitars and music.
For more information, you can even get in touch by dropping us a message. We shall get back to your queries as soon as possible.
Eduardo Perez is a multi-instrumentalist with over 20 years of experience playing instruments such as piano, guitar, ukulele, and bass. Having arranged songs and produced music in a recording studio, he has a wealth of knowledge to share about analyzing songs, composing, and producing. Currently pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Interdisciplinary Musical Studies at Berklee College School of Music. Featured on Entrepreneur.com. Subscribe to his YouTube channel, or follow him on Instagram.