Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Resonator Guitars

Hey all,

I’m looking to purchase a Resonator guitar to replace my mandolin. Yep, I’ve decided I’m just not a mandolin player. Flatpicking guitar will always be the nearest and dearest to my heart, but it’s time to let this go and move on to something else… a Dobro!

Speaking of Dobros, I found a '74 square neck Dobro with dark shade top finish. It looks really cool. I can get it for 900.00 from an acqaintance right here locally in Covington, OH. I played it, sounds ok I guess, but how would I know? I’m a guitar player and not familair with resonators. What do I look for in sound. What else do I look for in general? Should I go for a nice Beard and skip the starters or would this one I mentioned be a good one? I can probably get 3500.00 for my mandolin, maybe 2500.00 to 2800.00 on trade and I could add some cash. I’m not afraid of buying used, I actually prefer it, bit I’m open to either one.

I guess I’m looking for some advice and input and maybe someone with knowledge on this Dobro.

Thanks and God Bless you all.

Oh, if anyone’s looking for a high end, really good mandolin, let me know. It’s a Highland Strings Copperhead model (built by Jason Harshbarger in Cincinnati, OH) January 2012 serial #049.


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These reso guitars can be fickle. I didn’t know what to look for till I played some good ones, and I really can’t put that into words. You can’t go wrong with the Beard, and I would consider it if I were you. Is the square neck an actual Dobro brand? I assume it is by what you typed. That’s not a bad price if it doesn’t buzz and rattle.

Thanks for the reply Ben.

Yes, it is a Dobro but after the Dopyera brothers formed OMI Original Musical Instrument Co. in California. No buzzing or rattles, but no Beard nearby to compare to either.KIMG0925 (2)KIMG0923 (2)

I have a cheapo “Dobro” Square neck resonator. It does have a rattle and I’ll be danged if I can find it. It’s clearly somewhere in the resonator but I don’t have the nards to tear it apart.

I think it’s worth the price. I paid $1,000 for one a few years newer…that was over 15 years ago. The question is whether you should apply a bit more money toward a nicer guitar. I will say those Beards beat these old Dobros by a mile.

Ah just go for it! What have you to lose? There’s plenty of folks here that would be willing to give some long distance help if you run into anything.

No doubt! But… in the meantime I found out about about a fine fella only 25 minutes from home. Have you ever heard of Harlow Resonator Guitars? Frank Harlow builds some very fine resonators! Ferrell Stowe, Tim Surrett both play Harlows and Gene Wooten of the Osborne Bros was Frank’s biggest endorser for many years. I got to spend a couple hours with Frank at his home yesterday playing Gene Wooten’s guitars along with many others that Frank built and they were all fantastic! Check out Harlow Resonator Guitars on Youtube, I think you all will be impressed.

I also found a later version (1984 model) of the Dobro I posted pics of. It’s nicer and has a better tone and I can get it for under 800.00… Decisions!!!

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Yes, he does. I occasionally pick with a friend (Dan Simon) who plays them…fine sounding insturments

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