Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Dobro is a trade name, originally used by the Dopyera brothers and now owned by Gibson Musical Instruments. The instrument is sometimes referred to as a "resonator guitar", "resophonic guitar", or "Hawaiian guitar". However, Dobro remains the most common name in use for this type of instrument.
The conventional playing position of the Dobro is with the instrument held in the lap and strings facing up. Note that Dobros are shaped like conventional acoustic guitars, and that many hold them in this standard manner.
The Dobro was introduced to bluegrass music by Josh Graves , who played with Flatt and Scruggs, in the mid-1950s. Other notable bluegrass players include Mike Auldridge , Jerry Douglas, and Rob Ickes . It was used in older country music, notably by "Brother Oswald" of Roy Acuff's band, but has been largely supplanted by the pedal steel guitar.
The Dobro is also significant to the world of blues music, particularly the southern style of blues that grew out of the Mississippi Delta and in Louisiana. Unlike country and bluegrass Dobro players, blues players play the Dobro in the standard guitar position, with the strings facing away from the player. Many do not use slides, although some do. Many players in the 1920s and 1930's, including the great Son House, used the instruments because they were louder than standard acoustic guitars, which enabled them to play for a larger crowd in areas that did not yet have electricity for amplifiers. The instrument is still used by some blues players, notably Taj Mahal and Alvin Hart.
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