What is a Dobro?


The Dobro, also known as a resonator guitar, is a unique stringed instrument that produces a distinctive sound. It was first invented in the 1920s by the Dopyera Brothers and has since become a popular instrument in a wide range of musical genres.

History of the Dobro

The Dobro was invented in 1928 by Slovakian immigrants John and Rudy Dopyera. The brothers had been working on developing a new type of guitar that would produce a louder and brighter sound than traditional guitars.

The Dobro was originally designed for use in Hawaiian music, but it quickly became popular in other genres, including country, bluegrass, and blues. Today, the Dobro is used in a wide range of musical styles, including rock and roll and jazz.

Design of the Dobro

The Dobro is a unique instrument that is made up of several parts. The body of the Dobro is made of wood and is shaped like a traditional guitar. However, instead of a sound hole, the Dobro has a metal resonator cone that is located on the front of the instrument.

The resonator cone is made of metal and is designed to amplify the sound of the guitar. The cone is connected to the bridge of the guitar by a series of metal rods, which transmit the vibrations of the strings to the cone.

Playing the Dobro

Playing the Dobro requires a unique technique that is different from playing a traditional guitar. The Dobro is played by sliding a metal bar, called a slide or a steel, along the strings. The slide is typically held in the player’s left hand and is used to create a gliding sound as it moves up and down the fretboard.

The Dobro can be played in several different positions, including flat on a table or lap, or held upright like a traditional guitar. The instrument is typically tuned to an open tuning, which means that the strings are tuned to a particular chord.

One of the best ways to learn to play the Dobro is to play along with Dobro tabs.

Buying a Dobro

If you are interested in buying a Dobro, there are several things to consider. First, you will need to decide what type of Dobro you want to buy. There are several different types of Dobros available, including the round-neck Dobro, the square-neck Dobro, and the resonator ukulele.

You will also need to consider the quality of the instrument. Look for a Dobro that is well-made and has a good sound. You may also want to consider buying a used Dobro, as these instruments can often be found at a lower price.

Is a Dobro the same as a Resonator Guitar?

First and foremost, a Dobro is a type of resonator guitar that is trademarked by the Gibson Guitar Corporation. The term “Dobro” is actually a brand name, and refers specifically to the resonator guitars produced by the Dobro Manufacturing Company, which was acquired by Gibson in the 1990s.

On the other hand, a resonator guitar is a type of acoustic guitar that uses a metal resonator cone instead of a wooden soundboard to produce sound. The resonator cone is placed in the center of the guitar’s body and is responsible for amplifying the sound of the strings.

While all Dobros are resonator guitars, not all resonator guitars are Dobros. In fact, there are many different types of resonator guitars, including the metal-bodied resonator guitar, the wooden-bodied resonator guitar, and the tricone resonator guitar.

One of the main differences between a Dobro and other types of resonator guitars is the shape of the body. Dobros typically have a square or rectangular body shape, with the resonator cone visible through a series of circular sound holes on the top of the guitar.

In contrast, other types of resonator guitars may have round, triangular, or even non-traditional body shapes, and the resonator cone may be visible through a single large sound hole or a series of smaller ones.

Another key difference between a Dobro and other resonator guitars is the way they are played. Dobros are often played lap-style, with the guitar resting on the player’s lap and played with a slide. This playing style produces a distinctive sound that is often associated with bluegrass and country music.


The Dobro is a unique and beautiful instrument that has a distinctive sound. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced musician, the Dobro is a great instrument to learn and play. If you are interested in buying a Dobro, be sure to do your research and choose an instrument that is well-made and has a good sound. With practice and dedication, you can become a skilled Dobro player and enjoy the beauty of this wonderful instrument.

Check out the most expensive Dobro ever sold.