The history and future of an American classic
The Dobro® Resonator acoustic guitar has been one of the most influential instruments in American music, its sound simultaneously evoking bluegrass, traditional country music, Hawaiian, folk, and American blues.
Epiphone's modern Dobros follow the same design features and profile of the original Dobros crated by John Dopyera and his brothers starting in the mid 20s that made an instant and lasting impact on rural and urban guitarists. The earliest Dobro family creations were made primarily of wood, brass, or steel with a large round aluminum cone set into the guitar in the soundhole and played with low action like a "Spanish" guitar or with a raised nut to accommodate slides made of metal, bone or glass. The popularity of the steel guitar around the U.S. and Europe had been on the rise for almost two decades prior to the Dopyera family thanks to Joseph Kekuku, a native of Oahu, Hawaii, who had moved to the mainland U.S. in 1904 and whose tours with his Kekuku Hawaiian Quintet and his Bird of Paradise traveling show (complete with Hawaiian scenery, and costumes) popularized the instrument as a much more intuitive (not to mention a friendlier traveling instrument) than the piano.
John Dopyera made the first "tricone" metal-bodied guitar in 1925 while working with George Beauchamp at the National Corporation. It featured three smaller cones set in a triangle, which helped amplify the instrument with a rich tone that didn't over power singers.
When Dopyera resigned from National in 1929, he and his brothers formed the Dobro Corporation (a form of Doperya Brothers). To avoid litigation with National, John began working primarily with wood bodies which featured a redesigned bridge that sat in the center of a cone that had eight divisions --"spider legs"-- that extended to the cone's outer edge. String vibrations travelled along the aluminum legs and along the outer edges producing a much louder tone than the original Tri-Cone design.
John's brother Louis purchased National in 1932 forming the National Dobro Corporation. Over the next decade as the black and white rural population relocated into urban industrial centers like Detroit, Chicago, and Cleveland, hi watt radio stations like WLS in Chicago, and WSM and WLAC in Nashville, introduced the Dobro through live performances and through spinning "folk" records (renamed by Billboard --on Ernest Tubb's suggestion-- as "Country & Western" in the late 40s). During the early days of radio, the Dobro's most prominent champion was Bashful Brother Oswald, WSM and Columbia recording star Roy Acuff's main instrumental voice in his Smokey Mountain Boys. Check out Oswald's performance of "End of the World" (sponsored by Epiphone!) from the 90s with Roy Husky Jr., on bass, Marty Stuart on guitar, Earl Scruggs, on banjo, and Mark O'Conner on fiddle.
In the late 40s, Josh Graves' work with Flatt & Scruggs would influence a new generation of modern stylists like Gene Wooten, Mike Auldridge, and Jerry Douglas, whose phenomenal chops and a graceful melodic sense are still inspiring the next generation of Dobro players.
Today, Epiphone's line of Dobro® instruments combine the best of old world hand craftsmanship with modern features including truss rods and the world famous Fishman® Resonator pickup.
Dobro® Hound Dog Round Neck
The Dobro® Hound Dog Round Neck is an entirely acoustic resonator featuring a Maple wood body with 3.5" depth, stylish f-holes, and a classic single cone resonator/spider bridge construction. The round Mahogany neck joins the body at the 12th fret and has a classic 25" scale with a Rosewood fingerboard with 19 frets, a standard 12" radius, and a 1.75 nut.
The single action adjustable truss rod (not found on vintage models) comes with a classic "bell" cover. Most vintage Dobros® now suffer from years of wear and tear along with an out-of-reach price tag that puts them beyond the reach of most musicians. The Dobro Hound Dog Round Neck brings back the cherished Dobro sound with incredible tone and volume and made with modern building techniques that will last for a lifetime of playing and at an affordable price. The Hound Dog comes in a beautiful and distinctive Vintage Brown color finish.
Dobro® Hound Dog Deluxe Square Neck
The full warm tone of the Hound Dog Deluxe Square Neck can be heard on any stage thanks to the cutting-edge Fishman® Resonator pickup along with a standard proprietary nickel plated Dobro® Cone with a nickel fan cover plate and round sound holes with screens. Like all Dobros, the Hound Dog Deluxe comes with pro Grover® machine heads. Watch "Uncle" Josh Graves on his vintage Dobro in an early tv performance with Flatt & Scruggs.
Dobro® Hound Dog Deluxe Round Neck
The Dobro® Hound Dog Deluxe Round Neck also features a Fishman™ Resonator pickup, perfect for any size stage, along with a Dobro® Cone, Grover® machine heads, and laminated flame Maple top with black binding. Check out Epiphone's Gary Clark Jr. performing "Nextdoor Neighbor Blues" on his new Dobro® Hound Dog Deluxe Round Neck.
Dobro® Hound Dog M-14 Metalbody guitar
The newest member of the Epiphone Dobro family is the Dobro® Hound Dog M-14 Metalbody guitar which draws its inspiration from John Dopyera's early work just prior to founding the Dobro company. The Dobro Hound Dog M-14 Metalbody brought to you by Epiphone is the perfect instrument for players who want the beautiful articulation of a metal body guitar for blues, fingerpicking, jazz, or even light slide for Delta or Hawaiian styles. Featuring a Bell Brass nickel-plated body, Mahogany neck, and Hard Maple saddle with Ebony Cap.
Feeling inspired? Visit your favorite Authorized Epiphone Dealer to try out any of Epiphone's Dobro Resonator guitars!