1936 Old Kraftsman (Dobro M-32, Regal-made) Spider-Cone Resonator Guitar

Despite its Old Kraftsman brand name, this Regal-made, Dobro spider-cone, steel-body, frosted green/gold duco-finished, resonator guitar is just a rebadged Dobro M-32 model. Many of this series of Dobro instruments used aluminum bodies, but this steel-body variant is basically a Dobro-style take on the National Duolian. It might be my favorite old resonator guitar I've played. I'm not sure. I really like old single-cone, metal-bodied Nationals a lot for a variety of reasons and I adore steel-body Nats. The warmth, volume, sustain, and fullness of this guitar is hard to beat, though. It makes the frequently-nasal/burred Dobro sound boom rather than feel too peaked. I like it.

Its owner sat-in with me for the nearly 3-hour fix-it session it took to get this thing going on Saturday and he actually filmed and snapped pics of a bunch of the work on it. You can check all that out here if you're brave enough to see my hacking at it. It's not in order, but you can get an idea.

So, yes, these "fiddle-edge" Dobros are pretty hard to find. They're out there, but they're not as numerous as Nationals or wood-body Dobros. Internally, they're built just like a National, save that the dowel is curved where the cone sits to make way for its inverted shape compared to a biscuit-bridge cone.

Repairs included: a neck reset and associated blocking modifications inside the body (extra "island" under the dowel near the heel, changed support bars for the fretboard extension under the extension, a block for the tailpiece to mount to), fret level/dress, 5 new pearl dots at the fretboard extension, cleaning, new (compensated) rosewood saddle, and setup.

Setup notes: action is bang-on at 3/32" bass and 1/16" treble at the 12th fret. The neck had some warp in it so that was removed via level/dress of the frets so some frets are lower than others, though it plays as if there's no warp in the neck. Strings are 54w-12 in gauge. There's plenty of room for action adjustment at the saddle -- it's nice and tall.

Scale length: 24 3/4"
Nut width: 1 13/16"
String spacing at nut: 1 1/2"
String spacing at bridge: 2 1/16"
Body length: 18 1/2"
Lower bout width: 14 3/8"
Side depth at endpin: 3 1/2" +arching
Body material: steel
Cone type: original Dobro spider cone, non-vented
Fretboard: rosewood
Bridge: rosewood saddle, aluminum spider
Neck feel: big V-shape, ~10" board radius
Neck wood: mahogany

Condition notes: it's all-original save replacement saddle and additional internal blocks at the neck joint and tailpiece. There's minor wear and tear throughout and a dent at the top-lower-bass-bout, but overall it looks great and the frosted duco finish still shows-up everywhere. I especially love the golden-looking sides. One tuner button-shaft is bent. It's also rare that the original tailpiece is still in good order -- these are lightly-made and flex readily.


7LiveFree7 said…
This has got to be one of the coolest looking things I have ever seen! Looks wicked steampunk. Sounds awesome, too.