Yet More Instrument Trivia

by Dick Bowden

The Winners

This Contest is Closed
The winners are:
Dick Stock
Todd Evans
Bobbi Bowden
Andy Bing

click photo to enlarge


What bluegrass instrument is currently offered in this group of brand names?

Beard, National, Scheerhorn

A. Guitar

B. Banjo

C. Bass fiddle

D. Dobro

E. Mandolin

F. Fiddle


Additional Bowden Comments

Resonator schmesonator!!! I am not one of those who is told what I can call things!

D is the correct answer. These three companies are among the remaining “boutique” builders of The Instrument Commonly Known as the Dobro. Or, if you will, Hawaiian Steel Guitar. (Resonators are on banjos…). I think also the Regal company, whose brand has been bought out by an Asian manufacturer, also turns out good budget-level slide guitars too (my cousin plays one). The American Regal of Chicago was an official partner or sub-contractor or the like to the original Dobro company in Los Angeles. Regal of Chicago was licensed to copy the instrument under their own name, and also put the Dobro logo on instruments. They are nearly indistinguishable except for tiny details.

Gibson owns the Dobro brand, but as far as I can tell, they no longer make them. Like banjos.

Interestingly enough, “resonator guitars” are one of the few instruments where new ones are typically valued much higher than the old pre-war vintage original models. That’s because modern “Dobros” have been hot-rodded for maximum volume to compete with loud herringbone Martins, flat head Mastertones, etc. Dimensionally they’re a bit larger than the original Dobros (particularly in body DEPTH) and the metal guts of the resonator have been tweaked to an extreme of volume. Dobro strings are now typically heavy gauge bronze (for volume and power) where the old time strings were nickel. It’s a long way from Bashful Brother Oswald’s old Dobro with its quiet silvery pearly sound, to the roaring beasts played by Jerry Douglas and the other slide gunslingers.

To my sister Bobbi who complains that she gets the new Trivia Questions late, just remember you’re way up there in Maine, and things take time!!!! Each question stays up for two weeks, and you’re listed with the winners. Well done don’t despair. Try getting on the internet, instead of waiting for the paper newsletter to arrive in the mail. You’re welcome.

Dick Bowden

Dick Bowden recently retired after a 45 year career in the paper industry, and moved from Connecticut to Big Indian NY (Ulster County) where he ekes out a precarious existence as a groundskeeper. Dick has been performing bluegrass music on banjo and guitar since 1966 in his home state of Maine, throughout New England, and internationally with The Case Brothers - Martin & Gibson. He has performed for HVBA with the Old Time Bluegrass Singers, and also sent in a squadron of Dick Bowden's Flying Circus. Most recently Dick has played Dobro (tm) with the Tennessee Mafia Jug Band. Dick has written many articles for Bluegrass Unlimited, Bluegrass Today, MoonShiner (the Japanese bluegrass magazine) and HVBA.

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