I'm interested in finding any information about dobro guitars that I can..

I have seen these guitars played like a lap steel in blue grass music an alike

However I haven't seen the round neck version  in the "flesh" or played one.

from what I understand there are a lot of neck problems with this guitar..

I'm thinking of making one

if anyone has information on this guitar then please post and give up any info that

you might have..

thank you in advance for any info

Peace, Donald

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Google is your friend.

Search for Dobro, DIY dobro, making dobro, building dobro, dobro drawings, etc.

Use the search field and search for dobro to make sure you're not asking forum members to reinvent the wheel.

I'd suggest that you search for "resonators" or resonator guitars" too. Dobro is a brand name that is often used in a generic way but "resonator" guitar is more accurate.

BTW There are at least a couple of forum members that build resonators. Asking them for what they know may be a bit much.

Check Stew-Mac's Free Information Archives. Instructions for building their discontinued resonator kits are still available.

Elderly Instruments has a good plan for building this guitar but what I was wondering is why I am hearing is that there is a lot of neck problems with the round neck version.

Does anyone have any information on this??

Peace, Donald  

Donald, check-out this thread of mine from a couple of years ago. it may not have all the answers regarding roundneck strength, but (for safety) I ended-up putting a square-bar truss rod in a reso of my brother's... and it's never had a problem.

Donald, I don't know much about Resonators. I've never owned or worked on one. All I've done is read fairly extensively about them. 

 It seem to me that the problems I've read about on vintage resonators are more about the build quality  and lack of engineering than the idea that a resonator design will "just be that way". If you don't put a reinforcing/ adjustment rod in the neck and you don't insure that the neck block is properly supported, sooner or later there will probably be issues. I think that there are plenty of modern builders that have overcome these problem with better design and truss rods. 


Don't quote me in any of this but you might start looking at what new builders are doing rather than trying to find out what is wrong with the old instruments. 

I have two round necks from the early 30s and the necks are nice.

I have built a round neck single cut away for redd volkeart. Ask him.


Hi Ned- It seems to me that you have a valid point there - I was thinking the same as your post-

By putting an adjustable truss rod and a carbon fiber stiffener on either side of it to make it as stiff as possible.

I have used this method in making necks for bass guitars with a 34 inch scale.

also to make the neck block to handle any issues that mite be in that area.

I will make one and see what happens and post my findings when it is done.

Thanks to all that replyed and please be safe..

Peace, Donald


Dan Erlewine has a pretty good segment about resonstor guitars in general on his second acoustic guitar maintenance dvd.,_DVD/Dan_Erlewines_Repair_Series/...

It worth a look.

I've not seen the stewmac DVD, but the Beard DVD is very very basic.  Not much info there for the serious reso builder or repairman.


The History of Dobro's, is scattered with in Family Fights, Mergers and Take Overs.

As a Result of that, the Various Design Alternatives that emerged, were as much to get round Brand Trademark Issues. Rather, than genuinely bringing any New, Great, Sonic Benefit to the Instrument, as it was further developed.

Whether the Body is Metal or Wood, seems to directly affect the value of Roundnecks and Squarenecks.

As a general rule, Roundneck Metal Bodies are most valued, whereas Squareneck Woodbodies are rather more prized.

Some people will tell you they have never seen any problems with Round Necks , whilst others will conversely tell you that the Issues with them, are Absolutely Necessary to be Aware Of.

Boiling everything down to what it essentially amounts to, is that if you Tune a Roundneck with the Bass 6th String Tuned to "G" and the next String Tuned to "B", you are increasing the Tension on the Neck a Significant Amount, and course, with the Thickest Strings. When using Thicker Stings anyway. So its String Tension with Particular Open Chord Tunings that is the Main Issue.

However, there is an Additional Issue that can arise as a Result of the Main Issue. It's the Fact that although some Players will Perform with a Normal Sized Nut, many will quite naturally Insist upon a Radically Raised Nut for Slide Playing, and this can, on an Instrument with a Sharply Angled Headstock , and already Raised String Tension, Significantly Increase the Angled Tension on the Headstock still further, and introduce an undesirable risk to any Normal or Traditional Form of Headstock and/or Neck Joint.



So the essential point, will be to ask.

Who will Play this Instrument?

How will they Play it?

And Tune It?



This should Guide the Type and Style of Instrument you Make.

And Inform any Concerns.



The Big Problem is, that some Knowledgeable People will be Adamant that they have NEVER seen any Problem from a Roundneck, whilst others will Insist that it can be a Real Problem, they have Repeatedly Witnessed.

But it's for sure, that some people have had Serious Breakages at the Headstock, after swapping out a Normal Nut for a Very High Nut for Slide Playing,  and involving Tuning with a High String Tension.

The way I see it. Knowing how the Instrument will be likely to be used throughout its life.

Common Sense and a Good Dose of Wisdom .

Will See You Right!



Although there are Plenty of Exceptions to these Generalisations.

Squareneck "Dobro's" if I can use the Brand Name Generically. Are typically by Design, made with a High Nut, to be Played with a Bar Slide on the Lap.

Whereas Roundneck "Dobro's" typically by Design, made with a Normal Nut, Fretted by the Hand or Played with a Finger Slide or Bottle, with the Instrument held in a Normal Guitar Position.


The Roundneck "Dobro's" are typically Tuned to Normally to Standard, Open G or Open G Tunings.

The Roundneck "Dobro" meets the Body at the 14th Fret like a typical Martin Guitar, but a Squareneck joins at the 12th Fret.

A Squareneck is usually Wider, and may or may not have Actual Real Frets on its Fretboard, but will have a Tall Nut and usually, Heavy Strings.

Their Tuners Point Up, which facilitates Tuning on the Lap, the Necks being Thicker and Flatter are perceived as Stronger and More Stable, with More Accurate Intonation.



Searching the Internet for information, you may find the Brands National, Reslo, Dobro, Mosrite, Regal, helpful.

Click On the Right Panel and Download





Here's a bit of Lap Guitar fun from Brilliant Rory Hoffman.


Peace Donald.


A Guitar Lesson to Blow your Sock Off if you watch it all through. Seriously Recommended.


You can even do this Lap Playing with a Solid Body Electric Guitar



I do like to have a bit of Entertainment.

And all the above Movies are that!




Hi Peter-- thank you for your post- its very informative==

I plan on building a round neck version of the dobro style guitar ( on the drawing board at this time)

I plan on doing a good deal of bracing in the neck area of the body(also to build it on a dred. size body) to see if it has any effect on performance.

I'm also going to beef up the neck by adding a truss rod and some carbon fiber bracing to keep things in check.

I will be posting photos in the future for anyone who is interested in seeing them.

Once again thanx for you're post..

Peace, Donald


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