1930's DOBRO
Model 50

Info on Dobro Guitars



From what I can glean from other sites on the web, the Model 50 is shrouded in the same mysteries of the rest of  Dobro wooden body guitars of this era.
My friend Mike Cass, an authority on the subject stated this:
the 1929 to 1937 serial number info is not very accurate.
 It  applies mostly to wooden body resonator Dobro guitars

There are very few references that I have found so far on the Tenor Guitar by Dobro.
National , that is another story and it was manufactured in fairly large numbers as a metal body .
But when you get into their wooden body tenors you find that they are very rare, but I think not as rare as this Dobro brand TG.
Anyone is welcome to chime in and help properly describe this instrument


By 1933 Dobro moved the screws  positioning  to aid  Luthiers by opening a coverplate without removing the tailpiece.

Double bound body
Bound fingerboard

Dual Screen style
Notice it is 21 fret, and marked in an old way after 12
16 - 18 and 20

Celluloid overlay long gone
I can recreate this in some manner and try to obtain a decal from Dobro

Home made top plate, no spider and cone

The Tenors are regular guitar sized bodies with Mandolin sized resonator parts so to understand its coverplate, one must go to the Dobro Resonator Mandolins for that pattern, this threw me off for a few minutes.
To me the pic below leaves little doubt as to is claim of  it being an actual Dobro brand Tenor Guitar
EXAMPLE  Mandolin


Removing the non original friction tuners.
I will go back with period Grover 2:1 geared tuners like it originally had on it.

The only designation is a "J" and no number in the proper area
Mike Cass says this designates"Canada Export" and the USA version would have a number after the letter.
Thanks Mike

All is tight on the inside
I will need all of the "Guts" for it
Spider bridge and cone and any hardware it may require
I will work on the body, seal a crack up and go from there while the parts are on order.

After sealing the finish with Tung oil, it was machine buffed and waxed

What is nice is that Dobro had a radiused board, unlike National
Board is oiled and polished and frets are polished

All metal polished, body triple waxed

I need a little celluloid for the peghead, Im almost out :)
This is from a 30s Dining table, nice tight color pattern

After trimout, I mounted it back to the peghead and drilled for the Grovers

Filling and dyeing old Grover holes for this pattern hole

Ready to go

Now to wait on parts while I study up on the setup procedure, I'll need some tricks others have already found.
Now when my DOBRO water slide decal comes in, I'll install it and it will look spiffy

Matching Heel cap installed

It will be a really nice little guitar, Im glad I took it on

Allen Guitars

#14 Spider
Quarterman cone

Also since these are made for high action slide Dobros, the saddle channel is way too tall, I will reduce its topside to a level I feel will work

Final adjustments on spider

Maple bridge with ebony insert created and radiused

A little more load on the cone and I'll put on the coverplate


Since the heat press was ineffectual, I have taken the high road and will add a carbon fiber truss

Fingerboard removal went well

The fingerboard extension is held to the body in a similar way to National
They have 4 screws that are under 4 dot inlays on the fingerboard

But the center inlay doesn't have a screw but you don't know until you look so I replaced it

Truss cavity cut, carbon fiber rod embedded and sealed into place

Sanded smooth, ready to install fingerboard

Glued and clamped under heat, 48 hours

Ready to shave heel to get some neck angle, and lower the action

Thats after the cutback, ever so slight but not its good to go on action

Rubbing some Tung in to hide the edge

That's alot better, now it is slick and low with the radius fingerboard actually working

4/32,  and easy to go higher now if wanted but it plays great here too.


Now I will get it into the hands of a man that can get some recordings of it playing in all styles
This is much sweeter in tone than any metal body resonator and better than my old wooden bodied national tenor.
Thanks for looking,Vinnie


YOUTUBE of this instrument