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Apr 10, 2024 - 12:09:11 PM

Merlin

USA

4 posts since 4/10/2024

A dear old friend and bandmate has just moved in to an Alzheimer's care facility; sadly his playin' days are over. I am helping his wife value and sell some of his gear. He bought this old Dobro back when we played bluegrass together in the early '70s. From Tom Gray's Vintage Guitar article "A Guide to Vintage Dobros", it appears to have been built around 1929-1930. There is what I take to be a serial number but no model number: 1815, stamped on the top edge of the headstock.

According to the article, "Dobro started its serial numbers around 800...An early California instrument can be identified by the square slot-ends in the headstock, coverplate screws in the points of the numbers on a clock, and the lack of a dot at the 17th fret (check). The dot at the 17th fret was added in late 1930. By 1933 Dobro moved the screws to the half-hour pints so a repairman could open a guitar without removing the tailpiece." All of these are true. This one also has a round neck.

I have look at as many pictures as I can find, but I don't see any thing quite like this pattern anywhere. The pattern looks like it may have been sandblasted to create a shallow relief.

If you have any ideas about a) model number, b) more exact build date, c) value, or d) how to reach Steve Toth, please let me know. I ran across Steve's name in several places but haven't found a phone or email. I thought he might have some insights since he wrote a book about Dobros.
Thanks in advance!

Apr 10, 2024 - 12:22:52 PM

Merlin

USA

4 posts since 4/10/2024

hope the photos are visible. I uploaded twice, but I don't see them yet

Apr 10, 2024 - 12:27:09 PM

docslyd

USA

521 posts since 11/27/2014

I believe that is a 1931 (I haven't checked the serial number/date timeline) model 66. Sandblasted pattern and painted. I would guess value around $2500.00, but others here may know more, particularly Cory McQuade.  You photos will be under your profile in the "media" section.

Edited by - docslyd on 04/10/2024 12:28:08

Apr 10, 2024 - 4:47:13 PM

docslyd

USA

521 posts since 11/27/2014

...correction, 1930.

Apr 10, 2024 - 7:23:43 PM

4723 posts since 7/27/2008

Going off info from Steve Toth's book, this guitar as Eric wrote based on the serial number is in fact circa 1931, built in Los Angeles. But in that year the model numbers ended in "5."  So instead of Model 66, which came a little later,  it is a Model 65 with the sand blasted finish.

The old roundnecks typically don't bring as much money as prewar squarenecks because players looking for roundneck resonators from that era generally prefer Nationals. Of course many of the old roundneck Dobros were retrofitted with a high nut so that they could be played lap style. $2500 seems like a lot because this one from what I can determine in looking at the photos is kind of rough around the edges. The area in between the coverplate and fretboard, I wonder what happened there?

I got to hang out at Steve Toth's place in November for a couple hours in  when my wife and I stayed on the beach in Oceanside in North San Diego County. We like to go down there in Fall because it's still good beach weather. Steve is a great guy and I also was able to meet his lovely wife. They live in nearby Vista. He had contacted me a few months prior because I was on the hunt for a nice mid 1930s Regal built (in Chicago) Dobro, with a solid headstock like Mike Auldridge and Jerry Douglas played at different times in their careers. I played one he had for sale along with several other Dobros, had to sleep on it for awhile, but I had him ship it to me in December as a Christmas present to myself. It's a wonderful old Dobro - I have yet to play one that sounded better, and I have played a bunch of them.

Apr 11, 2024 - 2:54:49 PM

Merlin

USA

4 posts since 4/10/2024

quote:
Originally posted by docslyd

...correction, 1930.


Thanks docslyd, yes that's what i was thinking, only because it lacks a dot on the 17th fret.   That dot seems to have appeared in "late 1930" according to the article, although the were lots of variations.   

I appreciate the help!  

Apr 11, 2024 - 3:07:18 PM

Merlin

USA

4 posts since 4/10/2024

quote:
Originally posted by MarkinSonoma

Going off info from Steve Toth's book, this guitar as Eric wrote based on the serial number is in fact circa 1931, built in Los Angeles. But in that year the model numbers ended in "5."  So instead of Model 66, which came a little later,  it is a Model 65 with the sand blasted finish.

The old roundnecks typically don't bring as much money as prewar squarenecks because players looking for roundneck resonators from that era generally prefer Nationals. Of course many of the old roundneck Dobros were retrofitted with a high nut so that they could be played lap style. $2500 seems like a lot because this one from what I can determine in looking at the photos is kind of rough around the edges. The area in between the coverplate and fretboard, I wonder what happened there?

I got to hang out at Steve Toth's place in November for a couple hours in  when my wife and I stayed on the beach in Oceanside in North San Diego County. We like to go down there in Fall because it's still good beach weather. Steve is a great guy and I also was able to meet his lovely wife. They live in nearby Vista. He had contacted me a few months prior because I was on the hunt for a nice mid 1930s Regal built (in Chicago) Dobro, with a solid headstock like Mike Auldridge and Jerry Douglas played at different times in their careers. I played one he had for sale along with several other Dobros, had to sleep on it for awhile, but I had him ship it to me in December as a Christmas present to myself. It's a wonderful old Dobro - I have yet to play one that sounded better, and I have played a bunch of them.


Congrats on the purchase and Merry Xmas to you!

Not sure what you mean about the "area in between the coverplate and fretboard".  If you're talking about the space with the three hole, I saw those three holes in many of the pics of old Dobros so I didn't give it a second thought.  When I look closely, the area around the holes is the color and at the same level as the rest of the sound board, at least where it wasn't sand blasted.   Let me know if I misunderstood your comment.  Oh, and this one has a raised nut.

Thanks for your comments.  And yes, Fall is lovely in SoCal.  My parents were there awhile and my son later went the San Diego State.  Fabulous weather almost always.

Can you tell me how to reach Steve?  I'd love to chat with him.   And if you have recommendations about how/where to list this for sale, I'm all ears.

Thanks!

Apr 11, 2024 - 5:53:36 PM

docslyd

USA

521 posts since 11/27/2014

For selling, try here on Resohangout, on the Dobroholics Facebook page or on the Resophonic Sales and Trades Facebook page. Other avenues...Steel Guitar Forum and there are multiple Facebook groups interested in Dobros and resonator guitars.

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