The Twelfth Fret ~ Since 1977 ~

❌SOLD❌ Regal Dobro Resophonic Guitar, 1935


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The Regal Dobro Resophonic Guitar Model 37, built in Chicago during 1935 has been functionally restored by Grant MacNeill. This guitar is now both fully playable and an interesting historical example of American musical instrument production.

Regal had a long history, beginning in 1896 as a brand of the Emil Wulschner Music Company in Indianapolis, Indiana. Emil died in 1900 and the Regal name and manufacturing stock was sold to Lyon and Healy in 1904. By 1908, production was moved to Chicago, Illinois under the name of the Regal Musical Instrument Company. By 1930, they were one of the largest American makers of musical instruments, which also meant one of the largest in the world.

The Resophonic guitar was invented by George Duchamp and John Dopyera around 1925, and by 1927 their National Stringed Instrument Company was producing tri-cone guitars in Los Angeles. They built perhaps a dozen wood bodied tri-cones, with most being metal bodied. Many of the metal parts were made by Adolph Rickenbacker’s company, which went on to producing their own guitars.

Dopyera and Duchamp split in 1928 and Dopyera formed Dobro with his brothers. The Dobro name references DOpyera BROthers, and is also a play on the Slovak word Dobro, meaning ‘goodness’. The Dopyera brothers gained control of both companies in 1932 and merged them under the name National Dobro Corporation.

Regal was the actual manufacturer of many of the wood bodied resophonic guitars for both brands, and early on had gained a license to offer the instruments under the Regal name. By 1937 it was the only brand of wood bodied resophonic guitars.

Resonator production stopped abruptly in 1941, due to the American entry into WW2 and restrictions on availability of the aluminum and other metals used in resonator cones and parts. It did not resume until the mid 1950’s.

Regal ceased production of all instruments in 1954, but the name has been used by other companies. Fender licensed it in 1965 for a series of banjos, and in 1987 Saga Musical Instruments purchased it, with production in Pacific Rim nations.

Here’s Grant MacNeill describing this 1935 Regal Dobro Model 37:

“This old warhorse came to me with very high action, strung for Hawaiian playing. I did a neck reset and fret dress and installed a new Beard Maple/Ebony saddle, and it plays beautifully now. The action is set to ‘low fingerstyle’, at 5/64 treble, 6/64 inches bass.

This guitar has the original finish and original cone, with 4 holes on the bell and short arm spider that sits on the cone lugs. The finish is original; the previous owner scratched his own ‘serial number’ into the back of the peghead.

It would sound much fuller and louder with a new Beard cone & spider but I don’t have the heart to replace this original 1930s cone that is working as it did when new. This is a lovely example of the standard Dobro-Regal from the mid 1930s.”

This vintage instrument is provided with a newer standard hard shell case.


Price: $1,290.00 CAD
View Spec Sheet (PDF)
  • Model: No. 37
  • Year: 1935
  • Finish Brown Burst
  • Class: Vintage
  • Serial Number: 701251498
  • Country of Origin: USA
  • Condition: Brand New
  • Date Posted: 06/03/2018

  • This instrument has been sold
  • Not Consignment

  • Required CITES documentation
  • Including Hard case
  • Instrument Weight: 4.9lbs 2.23kg
  • Scale Length: 24.75in 628mm
  • Nut Width: 1.77in 45mm
View Spec Sheet (PDF)

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