I recently decided to try learning how to play a dobro so I ordered a Dobro Hound Dog round neck and when it came in I noticed the strings are low to the neck like a guitar. Can I still play this like a traditional dobro (layed across your lap with a slide) or should I get a square neck with raised strings???
Welcome, draikes. Not too many dobro players on the forum, so it’s good to have you here.
I played a roundneck dobro in my lap up until about 2 months ago when I traded for a squareneck. You just need to pick up an inexpensive nut extender. There are a couple of kinds available:
I used the one in the second example and it worked fine for me.
I’ve heard some people worry that using GBDGBD tuning with a roundneck/nut extender might cause neck warping, but Brother Oswald and Josh Graves both used roundnecks with nut extenders for big portions of their careers and apparently it didn’t cause them any problems. Plus, I think most modern roundnecks (like your Hound Dog) are reinforced with a truss rod anyway.
One nice thing about having a roundneck is that you have options of how you want to play. If you get tired of playing in your lap you can always revert back to playing it like a regular guitar.
Congratulations on your purchase. Hope you have fun with it.