In a possibly foolish quest to create the smallest travel Dobro, I've made this instrument. I wanted it to have cone amplification but pondered on how to achieve it for a very long time – I started making it in about 2016, the body shape loosely based on a Gibson solid body steel guitar, with a 24 inch scale neck. How to use a 6 inch diameter cone, more usually used for low tension ukuleles, without it collapsing under the tension of a GBDgbd tuning? A bit of research and lateral thinking eventually led me to this solution which is structurally stable, with a small but definitely Dobroish voice.
The lightbulb moment was to turn the cone upside down and fabricate a rigid 4 legged spider in brass to support the bridge, with a connecting screw to the cone like a spider bridged Dobro. Also, a conventional tailpiece didn't work and there's not enough length between the end and the bridge so I've used a steel guitar tailpiece which also provides a good break angle of around 3 degrees over the bridge, which is sufficient pressure to make the cone work but not deflect the spider or make damage the cone.
I also wanted to make it amplifiable, so cut down a couple of cheap ukulele undersaddle piezo pickups and superglued them between the ebony and maple sections of the saddles, like a Fishman pickup, and fed them into an onboard preamp. The sound is very pleasingly acoustic with a bit of eq tweaking.
The flat cover plate was cut to my specification by a local laser cutting company and I fabricated the removable palm rest from brass. I had both components chrome plated by another local company.
Well done. Hopefully you can provide some audio samples too. My venture into size reduction is a little less enthusiastic than yours. The resos I build have a 24.25" scale, a proportionally smaller body, and utilize full size components without loss of volume or tone. I also build weissenborn style guitars including a 23" Hybrid model that is " travel size". Again I appreciate your creativity and the desire to make something different.
Man would I love to buy that! I’m always on the quest for new travel instruments. I’ve had mini banjos built and I have a Beard E minor travel dobro- but nothing that small.
Make some more to sell!
Edited by - LukeL on 11/24/2022 15:26:33
Super cool! Great job and very creative!
Thanks for the encouraging comments, here's a video I've made demonstrating the instrument against a parlour dobro I made about 7 years ago, and a Beard mahogany R model. They all sound very different of course but I'd be quite happy to take the small one on holiday to keep my hand in.
Edited by - miktavus on 11/25/2022 07:10:33
'Help ID Regal Reso' 1 day
'Paul Beard Roundneck' 2 days
'Bridge Inserts...' 2 days
'Tablature' 4 days