Text Size

Stevie Ray Vaughan's Dobro guitar

 

Dobro is a specific brand of resonator guitar. This is the type of acoustic guitar that has a large steel resonator. It's almost like a kazoo guitar. The name Dobro is so identified with this type of instrument, that it can be compared to Kleenex or Coke in the way that it has come to identify a generic type.

 

Compared to a conventional acoustic, the sound is thinner, louder and somewhat distorted sounding.

 

The sound is perfect for slide. Some are set up in a way that would allow both slide and conventional fingering, while others are for slide only. Either way, they are VERY cool.

 

They are most populer among blues players. Johnny Winter has used them a lot. One example in the pop world is the lead part in Clapton's "Running On Faith".

 

A Dobro is a acoustic guitar that has a metal resonator in place of a soundhole, and is used mostly for playing slide. The resonator creates a kind of "metallic", sound, thats not a great description but it will sorta work. Is it contagious... hell yeah!! You can hear one on (God help me) Eric Clapton's unplugged CD on Runnin On Faith, or Rollin And Tumblin. They really are cool sounding guitars.

 

I think the name comes from the Dopyera Brothers (sp?) Do-bro who built steel guitars or wooden guitars with steel resonaters, that relied on the metal to carry the sound, as opposed to the nice wooden face of a Martin or Taylor, creating sort of that Hawaiian, slide, National steel sound.

 

It's a metal bodied resonator guitar - like a metal acoustic. Usually played with a slide. SRV cover of In Step - that guitar is a type of metal bodied Dobro style. Dobro is a brand name a la Fender. Can't think just at moment what has Dobro on it, but I'm sure there are loads of things we know with this type of guitar on there. They are only contagious if you already own 3 Strats, a Tele and still aren't satisfied!

 

It's an acoustic guitar that has a resonator (looks kinda like a tin pie plate) under the strings. It has a very high action and it's played face-up with a slide bar, almost always by hot-shot bluegrass musicians. Dobro is the brand name, short for Dopera Brothers.

 

I think the person who mentioned it here had it confused with a National steel guitar though. They look like Dobros, but they are made of shiny steel and are usually set up like a normal guitar. Other Nationals have wooden bodies with resonators. I think there was one set up behind Stevie on Unplugged, if you have it on tape.

 

Some songs that feature these "Res-o-phonic" (TM) guitars are Oreo Cookie Blues by Lonnie Mack and Little Martha by the Allman Brothers. Lots of bluegrass bands have Dobros in them, but I can't think of any tune you might recognize at the moment. Somebody else probably will, though. Contagious? You bet! :)

 

One example of a dobro being used on a disc that most of us have is 'from the cradle' by eric clapton (i'm actually surprised snorri hasn't mentioned this yet). it's an overdub on the song 'how long blues' by leroy carr. you can hear it perfectly. another picture of a dobro is on the cover of corey harris' disc 'between midnight and day.' since dobros often produce that hawaiian slide sound many of them have hawaiian pictures on them (palm trees, surfers, etc.) corey harris' dobro looks extremely old and is very colorful compared to others' that i've seen.

 

Wonder if he's playing it on "Boot Hill", one of his few slide songs recorded?

 

Nope. Not on the commercially released (Sky Is Cryin) version, anyway. That's a conventional electric guitar. I don't know about his own releases, but SRV plays a National Steel on Oreo Cookie Blues on Lonnie Mack's Strike Like Lightning cd.

 

There were a lot of great and informative replies to this one. i did not see anyone mention that the dobro was designed to be a portable steel guitar and used in a very similar fashion early on.

 

A Dobro is an acoustic guitar that has a big metal cone (called a resonator) in the body that opens toward the back (you can't see it since it's inside the body, you just see the cover). The guitars are either wooden (like a regular acoustic) with a metal grille-type cover in the center of the body (covering the resonator). Keb'Mo' plays one like this. Otherwise, the entire body of the guitar is metal (chrome coated brass), but it still has the chrome grille that covers the resonator. The guitar on the cover of the Dire Straits' "Brothers In Arms" has an all metal Dobro on it. The resonator functions like a speaker. The small end of the cone picks up the vibrations of the strings and amplifies the sound. The sound hits the back of the guitar and comes out louder through the front. It was an attempt to increase the volume of the guitar (before electric guitars). It works too, the sound really carries. These guitars were (and still are) really popular blues guitars, especially for slide. There are lap steel models too.

 

Dobro is one of the most popular companies that builds resonator guitars. That's why resonator guitars are called Dobros a lot. National is another company that builds 'em.

You have no rights to post comments

Search