Uncover the Answer to the Question: How Many Strings Does a Dobro Have?

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As a fan of the resonator guitar, the question that I have been asked time and time again is “how many strings does a dobro have?” To answer this question, it’s important to understand the history and construction of the resonator guitar, commonly known as the dobro. In this article, I’ll be exploring the various models of dobro and the number of strings they are typically equipped with. Along the way, I’ll also be sharing some interesting facts about dobro’s unique sound and how it has been used in popular music. So, if you’ve been wondering how many strings does a dobro have, then keep reading to unlock the secrets of this fascinating instrument.

Types of Dobro Guitars

Types Of Dobro Guitars

1. Traditional Dobro Guitars

Traditional Dobro guitars usually have three or four strings and are usually tuned in an open G tuning. The strings are usually made of steel and the resonator is usually made of aluminium.

2. Resonator Guitars

Resonator guitars are similar to traditional Dobro guitars, but they usually have six or eight strings and are usually tuned in an open G tuning or a drop D tuning. The strings are also usually made of steel and the resonator is usually made of aluminium.

3. Electric Dobro Guitars

Electric Dobro guitars are similar to electric guitars, but they usually have six or eight strings and are usually tuned in an open G tuning or a drop D tuning. The strings are also usually made of steel and the resonator is usually made of aluminium.

String Configuration

String Configuration

Traditional Dobro Guitars

Traditional dobro guitars typically have three strings, tuned to a G major chord. The strings are made of nylon or steel and are arranged in a single course. The strings are commonly tuned to G, B, and D.

Resonator Guitars

Resonator guitars generally have four strings, tuned to a G major chord. The strings are made of metal and are arranged in two courses. The strings are commonly tuned to G, B, D, and A.

Electric Dobro Guitars

Electric dobro guitars usually have six strings, tuned to an E major chord. The strings are made of metal and are arranged in three courses. The strings are commonly tuned to E, A, D, G, B, and E.

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String Gauge

String Gauge

A Dobro typically has six strings, and the most common string gauge for a Dobro is .010/.010/.012/.012/.020/.020. This gauge provides a clear, bright sound that is suitable for many playing styles.

Gauge String
.010 1st and 2nd strings
.012 3rd and 4th strings
.020 5th and 6th strings

The heavier gauge strings give the Dobro a fuller, richer sound and are preferred by many country and blues players. Heavier gauge strings are also beneficial for slide players as they provide more sustain and better intonation.

1. Traditional Dobro Guitars

1. Traditional Dobro Guitars
1. Traditional Dobro Guitars

  • Most traditional Dobro guitars have six strings.
  • They can be tuned to an open G tuning, which is a G-B-D-G-B-D tuning.
  • These guitars have a square neck and a round resonator, typically made of wood.
  • The bridge and tailpiece are usually made of metal, and the strings are usually steel.
  • Dobro guitars usually have a single-coil pickup for added sound projection and volume.

2. Resonator Guitars

2. Resonator Guitars
2. Resonator Guitars
Resonator guitars, also known as Dobros, are a type of acoustic guitar with a resonator cone instead of a sound hole. They have six strings and are commonly used in bluegrass, country, and other genres. The resonator cone amplifies the sound of the strings, giving the guitar a distinctive twangy sound. It also makes the guitar loud enough to be heard in larger venues without the need for an amplifier. The resonator cone is made from metal, usually steel, and is usually quite large. It is attached to the guitar body and usually has a decorative cover. These guitars are usually played with a steel slide and often with a pick.

3. Electric Dobro Guitars

3. Electric Dobro Guitars
3. Electric Dobro Guitars

  • Electric dobro guitars typically have six strings, just like acoustic dobro guitars.
  • These guitars are equipped with pickups, which can be either single-coil or humbucker, depending on the model.
  • Electric dobro guitars have a volume and tone control, and some models may also have a pickup selector switch or additional knobs or switches.
  • The body shape and design of electric dobro guitars can vary greatly, ranging from traditional-style, hollow-body instruments to solid-body guitars.
  • These guitars are typically used in genres such as blues, country, and rock.

Tuning

Tuning

  • Dobro guitars usually have 6 strings.
  • The standard tuning for a dobro is G, B, D, G, B, D.
  • The strings are tuned in intervals of a fourth, with the lowest string being the G note, which is the same as a guitar.
  • It is also possible to use alternate tunings, such as open G tuning or dropped D tuning.
  • Alternate tunings can help to create a unique sound for the dobro guitar.

1. Traditional Dobro Guitars

1. Traditional Dobro Guitars
1. Traditional Dobro Guitars

  • Traditional Dobro guitars have six strings.
  • The standard tuning for a Dobro guitar is G-B-D-G-B-E.
  • The strings are usually made of phosphor bronze, which is a type of metal with a bright, ringing tone.
  • The strings are usually tuned to a fifth, which means the strings are in intervals of five notes apart.
  • Dobro guitars are usually played with a metal or glass slide, which produces a unique, twangy sound.

2. Resonator Guitars

2. Resonator Guitars
2. Resonator Guitars

Resonator guitars, or Dobros, are a type of acoustic guitar that have a metal resonator built into their body to amplify the sound. They usually have six strings and are tuned to an open G tuning, which is the same tuning as a standard six-string guitar but with the 5th and 6th strings dropped one whole step lower. It also features a unique cone-shaped resonator built into the body of the guitar, which amplifies the sound of the strings.

String Note
1 D
2 B
3 G
4 D
5 G
6 B

The resonator guitar has a distinctive sound that is great for a variety of musical styles, including blues, country, and bluegrass. It is a highly versatile instrument and is used in many different genres.

3. Electric Dobro Guitars

3. Electric Dobro Guitars
3. Electric Dobro Guitars
Electric Dobro guitars are similar to acoustic versions, but are fitted with a magnetic pickup, allowing them to be amplified. These guitars typically have six strings, but some variations may have as many as seven. The strings are typically tuned to an open G major chord, with the top four strings in unison and the bottom two tuned to the same note but an octave apart. Electric Dobro guitars are popular among bluegrass and country musicians, and are often used in blues, rock, and pop music.

String Replacement

String Replacement

  • Check the number of strings on the dobro.
  • Purchase a set of new strings in the same gauge as the old set.
  • Remove the strings one-by-one, starting with the highest string.
  • Remove the bridge pins from the bridge and the bridge plate.
  • Install the new strings, starting from the lowest string.
  • Tune the strings to the desired pitch.
  • Secure the bridge pins to the bridge and the bridge plate.

String Maintenance

Dobros typically have six strings. These strings are made of steel and should be regularly maintained in order to produce the best sound quality. String maintenance includes checking the strings for rust, replacing them when they become worn out, and adjusting the bridge and nut as needed. Cleaning the strings on a regular basis with a cloth and a guitar polish can also help to keep them in good condition. Additionally, it is important to make sure that the strings are properly tuned and the bridge and nut are adjusted to the correct height. Taking good care of the strings will ensure that the Dobro produces a great sound for years to come.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Dobro?

A Dobro is a type of resonator guitar. It is equipped with a metal resonator cone which amplifies the sound and gives the instrument a unique tone. It is generally played with a slide, creating a bluesy sound. Dobros typically have 6 strings and are most commonly used in bluegrass, country and rockabilly music.

What type of music is typically associated with the dobro?

The dobro is most commonly associated with bluegrass, country, folk, and blues music. It is often used in solo performances and as a lead instrument in a band, providing a unique melodic and percussive sound. It is also used in jazz and rock music, although less frequently.

What is a Resonator Guitar?

A resonator guitar is a type of acoustic guitar that uses a metal resonator cone to amplify the sound of the guitar. The resonator cone is usually made of spun aluminum and is placed in the center of the guitar body. The resonator cone vibrates in response to the sound vibrations of the strings, creating a louder sound than a traditional acoustic guitar. The resonator guitar is most commonly associated with bluegrass and country music, but it can be used in many styles of music. A dobro, which is a type of resonator guitar, typically has six strings.

How Does the Resonator Guitar Work?

The resonator guitar is an acoustic guitar that utilizes a metal resonator cone in place of a traditional wooden soundboard. This metal cone amplifies the vibrations from the strings, resulting in a distinctive sound that is louder and brighter than a traditional acoustic guitar. The resonator guitar typically has three, four, or six strings, although some models may come with eight or ten strings.

What are the Benefits of Playing a Dobro?

Playing a dobro provides a unique musical experience, combining elements of both guitar and banjo playing. It can be used to play a variety of musical styles, from traditional country and bluegrass to blues, jazz and rock. The dobro has a distinctive sound that is loud and resonant, making it suitable for live performances or recordings. It is also a relatively easy instrument to learn, as it only has six strings, compared to the usual twelve for a guitar. Players of all levels can progress quickly and enjoy the dobro’s unique sound.

Conclusion

The answer to the question of how many strings a Dobro has depends on the type of Dobro and its tuning. A traditional Dobro has six strings, but some modern Dobros have eight. The Dobro tuning also determines the number of strings. Ultimately, the best way to find out how many strings your Dobro has is to look at the tuning and the model.

References

About the author

Hi there! I’m Jack Little – an avid country music fan with tons of live country performances in the past. I used to play banjo in a country band with my best friend John Peters, who’s a true country harmonica master. Those were great years and I’m still mastering new banjo playing techniques, writing my own country songs and lyrics, and collecting banjos!

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