1938 Dobro 8-String "Norwood Chimes" Custom Squareneck Resonator Guitar

So this old Dobro -- it's a lot! It's an original, 8-string, squareneck (Hawaiian-style lap slide) instrument. In the '60s or '70s it acquired new life as a 10-string instrument (played by a pro) and gained a fancy, insanely-engraved coverplate-plus-bridge-cover and a fresh (at the time) set of Grover Rotomatic tuners and some clumsy tuner-hole fill jobs.

Did I mention that the body shape is unusual, too? It has the mini-jumbo-shaped Norwood Chimes (Regal-made) body rather than the more-typical squared-shoulder Dobro-style body.

More-recently it appears to have been returned to its original 8-string configuration, fit with a newer quality (Beard?) cone, and new ebony/maple saddle and bone nut. Its tailpiece was also upgraded to an Allen model that's modified for 8-string mounting. I yanked the extraneous, slightly-rattly Grover tuners and plugged the icky holes put in the top of the peghead.

The current owner plays it in open G6 tuning (like what's used on the 8-string Gold Tone instruments) with notes EGBDEGBD from low to high. My brain translates that to... it sounds Hawaiian in the same way C6 tuning on lap steel just sounds Hawaiian to me as I'm just not skilled-enough in this area to get it to sound like anything else.

Suffice to say, it sounds lovely. It's got a lush, full sound that's also very round and punchy. It does that honky "burr" thing you'd expect of a Dobro but not in a nasal sort of way. It's saucy. I wish I'd had a Stevens bar or similar around to play it with in the video because my old bullet-style bar was not sufficient to the job. More mass! We need more mass!

Repairs included: cone repositioning, minor adjustments.


Top wood: ply spruce

Back & sides wood: ply birch

Bracing type: N/A, Dobro-style resonator cone

Bridge: spider w/maple/ebony-cap saddle

Fretboard: ebony

Neck wood: maple


Action height at 12th fret: N/A
String gauges: unsure

Neck shape: square

Board radius: flat

Neck relief: straight

Fret style: medium


Scale length: 25 1/4"

Nut width: 2 3/8"

Body width: 15 3/4"

Body depth: 3 3/2"


Condition notes: oh, my! It has a replacement cone, replacement (but much fancier) coverplate, replacement saddle and spider, replacement nut, and replacement tailpiece. The tuners are also '70s replacements. There are old filled tuner shaft holes on the headstock. There's minor wear to the body here and there throughout but the finish is all-original and looks great. There's a small piece of replacement  back binding near the tailpiece. The owner spec'd this out as a 1938 but I don't see any serial number stamp that's obvious. It's clearly mid-late '30s, though.


It comes with: a not-so-hot hard case, but it works just fine and fits it, which is more than I can say for most cases a squareneck might want to fit into.



















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