Resonator guitars
A resonator guitar or resophonic guitar is an acoustic guitar whose sound is produced by one or more spun metal cones (resonators) instead of the wooden sound board on the top face of an acoustic guitar.

Resonator guitars were originally designed to be louder than conventional acoustic guitars which were overwhelmed by horns and percussion instruments in dance orchestras. They became prized for their distinctive sound, however, and found life with several musical styles, most notably bluegrass and blues well after electric amplification solved the issue of inadequate guitar sound levels.

Resonator guitars come in two styles:
Square necked guitars designed to be played in lapsteel guitar style.
Round necked guitars, which may be played in either the conventional classical guitar style or in the lap steel guitar style.

There are three main resonator designs:
The "tricone" with three metal cones/resonators, this was the design of the first National resonator guitars.
The single cone "biscuit" design of other National instruments.
The single inverted-cone design of the Dobro.

Many variations of all of these styles and designs have been produced under many brands. The body of a resonator guitar may be made of wood, metal, or occasionally other materials. Typically there are two main sound holes, positioned on either side of the fingerboard extension. In the case of single cone models, the sound holes are either both circular or both f-shaped, and symmetrical; The older "tricone" design has irregularly shaped sound holes. Cutaway body styles may truncate or omit the lower f-hole.


he resonator guitar was developed by John Dopyera, seeking to produce a guitar that would have sufficient volume to be heard alongside brass and reed instruments, in response to a request from steel guitar player George Beauchamp. Dopyera experimented with configurations of up to four resonator cones, and cones composed of several different metals.

In 1927, Dopyera and Beauchamp formed the National String Instrument Corporation to manufacture resonator guitars under the brand name National. The first models were metal-bodied and featured three conical aluminum resonators joined by a T-shaped aluminum bar which supported the bridge, a system called the "tricone". Wooden-bodied tricone models were originally produced at the National factory in Los Angeles, California. These models were called the "Triolian", however only 12 were made and the bodies meant for tricones were changed to single cone models, but the name remained.
In 1928, Dopyera left National to form the Dobro Manufacturing Company with his brothers Rudy, Emile, Robert and Louis, Dobro being a contraction of Dopyera Brothers' and also meaning "goodness" in their native Slovak language. Dobro released a competing resonator guitar with a single resonator with its concave surface uppermost, often described as bowl-shaped, under a distinctive circular perforated metal cover plate with the bridge at its centre resting on an eight-legged aluminium spider. This system was cheaper to produce, and produced more volume than National's tricone.
National biscuit

The History and Artistry of National Resonator Instruments
By Bob Brozman

List Price: $35.00
Our Price: $27.80

These beautiful instruments have long been a favorite with musicians. This book is a history, source book and owner's manual for players and fans which covers the facts and figures necessary for serious collectors. In addition to many black and white historical photos, there is also a 32-page color section highlighting models. The book covers the company's full history, specific styles and models of all instruments, Hawaiian, blues, and jazz artists who have used Nationals, a history of their advertising, set-up and maintenance, and much more. Appendixes include serial numbers for all instruments, a company chronology and a Hawaiian Artist Discography.

National countered the Dobro with its own single resonator model, which had previously been designed by Dopyera before he left the company; while also continuing to produce the tricone design which many players preferred for its tone. Both the National single and tricone resonators remained conical with their convex surfaces uppermost; the single resonator models used a wooden biscuit at the cone apex to support the bridge. Both companies at this stage were sourcing many components, and notably the aluminium resonators themselves, from Adolph Rickenbacher.
National Dobro, Hound Dog, and Gibson

After much legal action, the Dopyera brothers gained control of both National and Dobro in 1932, and subsequently merged them to form the National Dobro Corporation. However all production of resonator guitars by this company ceased following the US entry into World War II in 1941.

Emile Dopyera (also known as Ed Dopera) manufactured Dobros from 1959, before selling the company and trademark to Semie Moseley, who merged it with his Mosrite guitar company and manufactured Dobros for a time.

In 1967, Rudy and Emile Dopyera formed the Original Musical Instrument Company (OMI) to manufacture resonator guitars, first branded Hound Dog. In 1970 they again acquired the Dobro trademark, Mosrite having gone into temporary liquidation.

OMI was acquired by the Gibson Guitar Corporation in 1993, which announced it would defend its right to exclusive use of the Dobro trademark, which had come to be commonly used for any resonator guitar. As of 2006, Gibson produces several round sound hole models under the Dobro name, and cheaper f-hole models both under the Hound Dog name and also its Epiphone brand. All have a single resonator, and many are available in either round or square neck.
With thanks to Wikipedia

Bob Brozman
" Open tunings mean freedom
from rules! The only guide
you need in open tuning is
your ear - if it sounds good,
then it IS good.

Bob Brozman

Bob Brozman (born March 8, 1954, New York, United States) is an American guitarist and ethnomusicologist.
He has been called "an instrumental wizard" and "a walking archive of 20th Century American music. He has recorded numerous albums and has won the Guitar Player Readers' Poll three times in the best blues, best world and best slide guitarist categories. From 2000 to 2005 his collaborations have landed in the European Top 10 for World Music five times. Brozman is well known for his use of National resonator instruments from the 1920s and 1930s, as well as National Resophonic resonator instruments. He also uses Weissenborn style hollow neck acoustic steel guitars. Among his National instruments is a baritone version of the tricone guitar, which was designed in conjunction with him in the mid to late 1990s. This instrument is now part of National's actual range of products.


copyright © - all rights reserved