DOBRO
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DOBRO
Current trademark of instruments currently built by Original Acoustic Instruments (OAI), located in Nashville, TN. Original Acoustic Instruments is a division of the Gibson Guitar Corporation. Previously manufactured by Original Musical Instruments Company, located in Huntington Beach, CA. In 1997, production was moved to Nashville, TN. Distributed by the Gibson Guitar Corporation of Nashville, TN. The original Dobro company was formed in 1928 in Los Angeles, CA.
The Dopyera family emigrated from the Austro-Hungary area to Southern California in 1908. In the early 1920s, John and Rudy Dopyera began producing banjos in Southern California. They were approached by guitarist George Beauchamp to help solve his volume (or lack thereof) problem with other instruments in the vaudeville orchestra. In the course of their conversation, the idea of placing aluminum resonators in a guitar body for amplification purposes was developed. John Dopyera and his four brothers (plus some associates, like George Beauchamp) formed National in 1925. The initial partnership between Dopyera and Beauchamp lasted for about two years, and then John Dopyera left National to form the Dobro company. The Dobro name was chosen as a contraction of the Do pyera Bro thers (and it also means good in Slavic languages).
The Dobro and National companies were later remerged by Louis Dopyera in 1931 or 1932. The company moved to Chicago, Illinois in 1936, and a year later granted Regal the rights to manufacture Dobros. The revised company changed its name to Valco in 1943, and worked on war materials during World War II. In 1959, Valco transferred the Dobro name and tools to Emil Dopyera. Between 1966 and 1967, the Dobro trademark was sold to Semie Moseley, of Mosrite fame. Moseley constructed the first Dobros out of parts from Emil´s California plant, and later built his own necks and bodies. Moseley also built Mobros, a Mosrite-inspired Dobro design. After Mosrite collapsed, the name was still held by Moseley; so in the late 1960s, Emil´s company produced resonator guitars under the trade name of Hound Dog and Dopera (note the missing ´y´) Originals. When the Dobro name finally became available again, Emil and new associates founded the Original Musical Instruments Company, Inc. (OMI) in 1970. OMI has been producing Dobros ever since.
In 1985, Chester and Mary Lizak purchased OMI from Gabriela and Ron Lazar; and eight years later in 1993, OMI was purchased by the Gibson Guitar Corporation, and production continued to be centered in California. The production of Dobro instruments was moved to Nashville, Tennessee in the Spring of 1997 (early company history courtesy Bob Brozman, The History and Artistry of National Resonator Instruments).
For further information regarding Dobro acoustic guitars, please refer to the Blue Book of Acoustic Guitars.

From Blue Book Publications:


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