Dobro 12-String Acoustic/Electric 1979 | $1495 | (v2122) Dobro has a long an convoluted history. The short version is at the end of 1928 John Dopyera left the National company which he helped establish and developed a new type of cone/resonator configuration with his brother Rudy, and the two founded the Dobro company (DOpyera BROthers). Over the next fifty-plus years the company went through various ownerships and name changes. But by the end of 1970 Ed Dopyera regained the use of the Dobro name began making guitars under that brand. The manufacturing plant was located in Huntington Beach, California, and that is where this 12-string Dobro was made in 1979.
Metal-body Dobros from this time period are not all that common, and a 12-string version is very rare. The letter/number sequence 'B 511 9' is stamped on top of the head stock. The B indicates a brass body, the 511 is a factory order number and the 9 is the year of manufacture, 1979. The body is brass, chrome plated and engraved with floral decorations front and back. The neck is maple and the fingerboard appears to be rosewood. The board has a 14' radius. The neck joins the body at the 14th fret, and has an adjustable truss rod. The tuners are enclosed Grovers. The classic 'Dobro' decal adorns the head stock. The resonator is the traditional Dobro set up with the inverted aluminum cone under a cast aluminum 'spider'. There is a factory-installed under-the-saddle transducer pick up with input jack on the lower bout. A piece of dried out masking tape was pasted on the 'stick' inside the sound well with the word 'Electric' in pencil, which leads us to believe that the pick up was factory installed. We saved the tape a put it in the case box.
The body measures 14 1/8" across the lower bout. The scale length is 24 1/8". The neck measures 1 3/4" across at the nut and string spacing is 2 1/8" across at the saddle.
When acquired, the guitar was set up as a six-string with raised nut and reversed tuners (and could easily be converted back). We made a new 12-string nut, reversed the tuners and leveled and dressed the frets. Action is set a 5 & 6/64". The insulation on the pick-up lead wire had deteriorated so the pick up is 'unplugged', but new insulation could be added in the future for a functioning pick up. The neck and finger board are essentially unplayed and in pristine condition. There is some black residue (from the case?) on the back of the head stock. The chrome is very shiny, with some scuffing from wear, and slight indication of oxidation in some areas of the side. The side along the lower bass bout shows a stress crack in the brass that is about two inches long (we've seen this in vintage Nationals, too).
Overall, a rare guitar in excellent condition that plays well. The tone is the high and lonesome sound you'd expect to hear from a Dobro instrument, with great sustain and octave overtones .. a very distinct sound in the greater world of guitars.
Comes with its original hard case also in excellent condition.
Check out the sound clip.
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