1960s Dobro (Mosrite-made) Columbia 12-String Resonator Guitar (Electrified)

I spruced-up a mahogany-bodied Columbia last year and I thought it might be the last one I'd ever see in person. These are not exactly easy to come by. Mosrite (yes, the surfy electric brand) made Dobros from '66 to '69 and while that makes them really uncommon, I think they're honestly some of the best-designed Dobros ever made. The necks are thin, fast, and super-stable and they feature one-bolt neck angle adjustment for quick setup changes. This 12-string variant has all of that plus... it's a dang 12-string resonator!

This one's here via consignment and it arrived totally stock save the addition of a Teisco-style goldfoil pickup (perhaps a Lollar?) and wiring harness -- probably done in recent memory as the job is professional inside, shielded, and with quality parts.

Totally stock is perhaps not best, though. As with most production resonator guitars, tolerances can be quite off when it comes to bridge placement and intonation. I have problems with $2000+ brand-new US-made factory guitars on that account so it's no surprise that '60s ones would have the same issues. In short -- I had to carefully cut/crimp the supporting edge of the cone and mildly-rout the soundwell lip to be able to scoot the cone down far enough so that the bridge was located in the right place. I then had to recut the coverplate opening slightly itself to allow that bridge to travel back more than 1/8" overall. Fortunately, it doesn't look out of place!

After mucking-around with that and then some glorified setup work, this thing plays beautifully and has a really fun, jangly, midsy, springy tone. It's not a whole lot louder than a big-bodied 12-string, but you get this good volume in a thin-body, 00-size, super-tough package with a voice that cuts instead of blending with other guitars.

As noted, the neck is thin and fast and has a short Gibson-style scale length -- it's perhaps one of the fastest 12-string necks I've played, acoustic or electric. It's also dead stable in service. Due to the needs of the magnetic pickup and the fact that I want to keep excess tension off the cone, I've also set it up to use electric-gauge strings (46w-10) with an unwound (low) G. This just increases the "speedy" feel. The aluminum saddle is thus fully-compensated for a set of electric 12-string 10s or 11s.

Repairs included: a fret level/dress, moderate cone and soundwell modifications to get proper intonation at the saddle, mild cleaning, and setup.

Setup notes: the neck is straight, the truss rod works, the original frets are smallish but have a lot of life left in them, and action is fast and low at 3/32" EA and 1/16" DGBE height at the 12th fret. Strings are nickel-wound electric "10s" with an unwound G.

Scale length: 24 5/8"

Nut width: 1 11/16"

String spacing at nut: 1 9/16"

String spacing at bridge: 2 1/4"

Body length: 18 5/8"

Lower bout width: 14 1/2"

Side depth at endpin: 3 3/8"

Top wood: ply flamed maple

Back & sides wood: ply flamed maple

Fretboard: rosewood

Bridge: aluminum saddle in aluminum offset spider

Neck feel: very slim C-shape, ~12-14" board radius

Neck wood: maple

Weight: 6 lb 13 oz

Condition notes: it's in beautiful shape, with a very pretty finish that shows all the usual weather-checking you'd expect of its age. The pickup, controls, and jack are all later additions but are in keeping with period vibes. I like those Mustang-style knobs! The truss rod cover is my own replacement as I had to elongate the slot a bit just to get a (modern) tool in there to turn it. It's now easy-enough to adjust and the original truss cover was not fit correctly, anyhow. The original tuners work just fine and hold well. It's missing the usual corded "buffer" between the neck heel and the body (that hides the gap caused by the adjustable joint), but that's fine by me because the compression factor meant that those can sometimes throw-off stability. Also, the fretboard extension over the body slopes down and away slightly from the rest of the board. It was built that way because the neck/board extension are glued to one another.

It comes with: a lovely original hard case that's kept it neat and tidy. It's an unusual case and well-fit. The instrument has a shallow depth so an average 00/000-size case would be a bit large for it.


Wes Carson said…
Jake worked on this Dobro for me. I have had all kinds of guitars serviced and repaired by top techs in major cities, most recently Portland, Oregon. Jake matches up with anybody I have ever seen ... and more than that, he is amazingly creative in his approach to instruments. I am totally impressed by Jake and his work.
Ben Jackson said…
Here, here! Jake is the best
Brandon McCoy said…
I can attest to that! Three cheers for Jake!
Geese said…
O my God
can you ask that shop stop buying your gear, and selling the price very very higher?
this is not first time i see this shop doing that
he grab your stuff and sell higher