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Can anyone identify this Dobro?

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Jan 21, 2022 - 7:00:54 AM

LukeL

USA

281 posts since 5/11/2018

Hi everyone- I’m not an expert in old Dobros- I know more about modern resonators than these. This Dobro has been available for sale for a little while and I’m curious if anyone knows what year/model it is, and whether it has any value. The seller hasn’t gotten back to me with the serial number yet, and I only have two pictures. I don’t want to pass it up if it’s something that’s worth something, but on the other hand it might not be.

Thanks,
Luke




Edited by - LukeL on 01/21/2022 07:02:00

Jan 21, 2022 - 11:25:13 AM
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3964 posts since 7/27/2008

It appears to be an early Model 55, ballpark 1931-32. Built in Los Angeles.

This general appearance of this model was the inspiration for the Beard Jerry Douglas BlackBeard. 
 
Sure it has value - pretty standard construction - soundwell inside, likely either laminate mahogany or birch body with a solid mahogany neck. But no frills as in the lack of binding. 

Edited by - MarkinSonoma on 01/21/2022 11:27:54

Jan 21, 2022 - 11:43:50 AM

LukeL

USA

281 posts since 5/11/2018

quote:
Originally posted by MarkinSonoma

It appears to be an early Model 55, ballpark 1931-32. Built in Los Angeles.

This general appearance of this model was the inspiration for the Beard Jerry Douglas BlackBeard. 
 
Sure it has value - pretty standard construction - soundwell inside, likely either laminate mahogany or birch body with a solid mahogany neck. But no frills as in the lack of binding. 


Appreciate the expertise! I can likely get it for around $600 total. Is it worth my time?

Jan 21, 2022 - 12:03:06 PM
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3964 posts since 7/27/2008

600 bucks? That's a steal!

These aren't as valuable as something like a mid 1930s Regal-built Model 27 or Model 37, as played in the past by the likes of Mike Auldridge and Jerry Douglas. Those guitars have solid headstocks and the main difference was a little beefier tone because the bodies are slightly deeper than the earlier Dobros. 

But  this Model 55 will still give you the classic old Dobro sound. 

I have been noticing a trend in the past several years in that there is a renewed interest in the prewar Dobros. I think people in the past 10+ years were inspired to take up the instrument by the great modern players, but typically didn't start out with a prewar guitar (like I did many years ago) and the prices have been climbing on the used market, similar to what has happened with vintage lap steels. 

I would expect to see an old Model 55 like this which appears from the two photos to be in pretty decent shape  for sale in a lot of places for north of $1000, and some at $1200-$1300 depending on condition. 

Jan 21, 2022 - 12:08:03 PM

3964 posts since 7/27/2008

...and I'm guessing this is a squareneck?

Jan 21, 2022 - 12:29:26 PM

LukeL

USA

281 posts since 5/11/2018

quote:
Originally posted by MarkinSonoma

...and I'm guessing this is a squareneck?


I'm hoping it's a square neck… The seller is quite vague and hard to communicate with.

Jan 21, 2022 - 12:36:21 PM

3964 posts since 7/27/2008

quote:
Originally posted by LukeL
quote:
Originally posted by MarkinSonoma

...and I'm guessing this is a squareneck?


I'm hoping it's a square neck… The seller is quite vague and hard to communicate with.


Sounds like he/she doesn't know what they have. Do they have any prewar Martins for sale? wink

Jan 21, 2022 - 12:40:08 PM

LukeL

USA

281 posts since 5/11/2018

quote:
Originally posted by MarkinSonoma
quote:
Originally posted by LukeL
quote:
Originally posted by MarkinSonoma

...and I'm guessing this is a squareneck?


I'm hoping it's a square neck… The seller is quite vague and hard to communicate with.


Sounds like he/she doesn't know what they have. Do they have any prewar Martins for sale? wink


No but he said something about a gold banjo with an engraved tension hoop in his closet. He said the brand started with a G? I'm kidding. laughIt's a typical clueless online seller. As far as I know it could be a scam.

Jan 21, 2022 - 1:02:25 PM

3964 posts since 7/27/2008

Yeah - a lot of potential for a scam. 

I know you've figured out by now  if he can't provide additional photos of the tip of the headstock with the serial number, and a view of the back and neck profile - you may may want to steer clear. 

But there is the chance that the seller is generally clueless - even in the age of Google those folks are still out there. 

Jan 21, 2022 - 1:05:22 PM

LukeL

USA

281 posts since 5/11/2018

quote:
Originally posted by MarkinSonoma

Yeah - a lot of potential for a scam. 

I know you've figured out by now  if he can't provide additional photos of the tip of the headstock with the serial number, and a view of the back and neck profile - you may may want to steer clear. 

But there is the chance that the seller is generally clueless - even in the age of Google those folks are still out there. 


Yep for sure yes

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Jan 22, 2022 - 7:54:33 AM
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223 posts since 1/3/2011

quote:
Originally posted by MarkinSonoma

...and I'm guessing this is a squareneck?


Hey Mark... Is it me or does there appear to be some fretboard and fret wear at the first position chords? Hard to see at the picture's resolution... but it would possibly indicate a round neck with standard tuning. Dunno, could be my eyes...

Jan 22, 2022 - 7:56:35 AM

LukeL

USA

281 posts since 5/11/2018

I wish I could get more pictures and information, but the seller isn't especially enthusiastic. I'll keep everyone updated if more happens.

Jan 22, 2022 - 10:26:28 AM

3964 posts since 7/27/2008

quote:
Originally posted by Phaedrus
quote:
Originally posted by MarkinSonoma

...and I'm guessing this is a squareneck?


Hey Mark... Is it me or does there appear to be some fretboard and fret wear at the first position chords? Hard to see at the picture's resolution... but it would possibly indicate a round neck with standard tuning. Dunno, could be my eyes...


Good eye Jason.

I did the finger expansion bit on my iPhone to get a closer look, and in doing so I noticed that the guitar in fact has a nut riser. So odds are it's a roundneck...and there are only 5 strings. Maybe he's a fan of Keith Richards' take on Open G but played lap style. wink 

Edited by - MarkinSonoma on 01/22/2022 10:30:03

Jan 23, 2022 - 1:54:49 PM
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6 posts since 7/31/2021

On a side note, I have the same polar-fleece blanket, featuring bespectacled penguins, that is featured in the first photo.

It is also of a pre-war design, and keeps my shoulders warm while reading.

I thought you all might want to know that...

Edited by - Martinipen on 01/23/2022 13:55:13

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