1973 Dobro 60D Roundneck Resonator Guitar

Below is a fresh video I just recorded in March 2020:

By 1970, the Dobro name was back in the hands of OMI and the Dopyeras. The name had a stint with the Mosrite company (and those Mosrite-made Dobros were pretty fantastic in their own right), but this is a modernized incarnation of the classic '30s Dobros and they were made this way right-up until Gibson gobbled-up OMI in the '90s. This one has a 1/4/73 date penciled on the neck's dowel.

I bought this out of the back of a car on Friday and at that point it was still filthy, setup with a slip-on nut for Hawaiian/"Dobro" play, and needed some work to get it singing. Post-work, this thing is full, loud, and very satisfying. It has that honky-mids, creamy-bass Dobro vibe to a T. Through the '80s, the roundneck Dobros used a slim-C, wide-nut profile on their necks and I find these very comfortable and much more fun to play than the big old V-necks of the '30s Dobros, too.

Repairs included: a neck angle adjustment, fret level/dress, compensation and adjustment of the saddles, cleaning, a replacement truss rod cover (and excavation of the truss rod cavity to allow easier access to the rod), and setup.

Setup notes: the neck is straight and the truss works and it plays spot-on with 3/32" EA and 1/16" DGBE action at the 12th fret, strung with 54w-12 gauges. I really like the tone of this guy in open tunings as well as standard, and the truss means that if you want to gauge-up you don't have to worry about the neck.

Scale length: 24 1/2"
Nut width: 1 3/4"
String spacing at nut: 1 1/2"
String spacing at bridge: 2"
Body length: 19 3/4"
Lower bout width: 14 1/4"
Waist width: 9 1/8"
Upper bout width: 10 7/8"
Side depth at endpin: 3 5/16"
Top wood: ply birch
Back/sides wood: ply birch
Bracing type: soundwell
Cone type: original spider-bridge, Dobro cone
Fretboard: rosewood
Bridge: plastic saddles, aluminum spider
Neck feel: slim C, ~10-12" board radius

Condition notes: finish is weather-checked throughout and there are scratches, nicks, and small dings here and there all over. The back of the neck is particularly scarred. The last two position dots at the very end of the fretboard (which cover two screws to hold the board down to the top) are black replacements. The strap button has been moved from the back of the heel to the side of the body. The truss-rod cover is non-original, the side dots are new, and the nut is probably a replacement.

It comes with: a beat-up chip case -- presumably-original.

Note that I've strung the tailpiece "reversed." I mounted the ball-ends on the top. On Dobros I like to do this to 1) keep the tailpiece off the top of the coverplate so it doesn't rattle and 2) add extra down-pressure from the strings onto the bridge. Dobro cones need as much tension as you can give them to get "juicy." This lets me "cheat it" with lighter gauges to get the tone out.

Here's the odd scarring on the back of the neck -- I'm assuming this happened while it was being used as a Hawaiian/raised-string guitar.

The neck-angle adjustment on Dobros of this period is pretty smart -- it has a place to adjust the angle back/forward in the guitar itself and then it has this bolt that tensions-up the dowel at the back of the heel. The latter makes this joint more stable than traditional/vintage Dobros. However, one has to be careful with it -- it needs to be tightened-up to the point that the fretboard extension is just a paper's-width floating above the top at the joint.

If you tighten it up hard, it'll pull the extension against the body and make a hump right at the joining fretboard area. It'll also eventually peel that board away from the neck. So -- if in doubt, don't touch!

Compared to the rather cheesy tuners these guitars often came with originally, these original-install Schallers are excellent.