The Rarest Resonator:
1929 Dobro Style 206



This month's featured instrument is an exceptionally rare guitar. Style 206 existed in Dobro literature, but we had never seen one until late 1995, and this is the only other one we have seen. It is the most deluxe Dobro, and is highly collectible both for its rarity and beauty.

The resonator guitar was patented in 1927 by John Dopyera because guitarists were seeking more volume from their instruments. Builders had tried larger bodies and other refinements to make guitars louder, but resonators abandoned the idea that the top of the instrument had to vibrate in order to generate sound.

Instead of mounting the bridge on the guitar body, it was placed to drive an aluminum cone that acted like a loudspeaker. This generated much more volume than any guitar at the time and could compete with a banjo in a band.

National was the originator of the resonator and Dobro was formed by employees of National in 1929. The basic Dobro design is a plywood guitar with a single cone instead of National's early metal-body, three-cone configuration. These features made the Dobro much less expensive than Nationals at that time and Dobros were an immediate success.

What differentiated one Dobro model from another was the amount of ornamentation on each guitar. This guitar is the ultimate in decoration -- gold and pearl dominate Model 206. All the metal is gold-plated, including the tuners, screen holes and even the resonator itself; the cover plate and tailpiece are also more extensively engraved than any other Dobro. This one sports gold sparkle binding on the front and back of the body as well as the headstock -- a feature that does not appear on any other Dobro. Style 206 is decorated with pearl fingerboard inlay similar to Style 156 and has an engraved pearl logo on the headstock, which also has genuine pearl tuner buttons.

We acquired this guitar from the son of the original owner and it is in very good condition. It has the wear one would expect from nearly 70 years of use, but still has excellent playability and warm resonance characteristic of early Dobros.

This instrument is SOLD