Other Guitars

Resonator with bigsby and b-bender


This appears to be one of those “Why didn’t someone think of this before?” ideas. Seems like a good, versatile one whether on a resonator or other guitar.


We saw one recently at a friends studio. It was a “what the heck is that?!” moment. Really cool.


I doubt I could use it well, but it's very tantalizing.


I like the sound. I would have liked to have heard an actual song that would have sounded good with it. Don't most guys push in on the bigsby rather than pull out? Just asking, I'm not a big bigsby user.


Like my full Hipshot system... Impossible to stay in tune.. And the squeaks and groans as the strings travel back and forth over the resonator pancake bridge must be a nightmare..


Very curious. Seemingly well-implemented, in that the bender is built into the function of the Bigsby (pulling up bends the B up to a pre-set stop) rather than as a knee lever. I didn’t hear any intrusive mechanical noises in the better studio demo that follows the band performance of that utterly inconsequential ballad.

The concept combines a number of things I like - reso, Bigsby, and bendiness - so in some ways I’m relieved I don’t find it a particularly compelling combination. (Meaning I won’t have to want one, convinced it’s the instrument that will finally let me express my innermost feelings).

Some combinations of good things may end up as less than the sum of their parts.

Frankly, I’m finding the same thing with the Duesenberg Fairytale dual-bender lap steel. It does its thing, which is to sound a bit like a pedal steel. I acknowledge I certainly haven’t mastered all its possibilities, but what falls most easily to hand are the most cliched and trite of pedal steel conventions.

What I LIKE about pedal steel (when I like it) are the rich harmonic complexity, and the inventive ways a great player can negotiate multiple shifting and sometimes contrary-moving improbable musical lines simultaneously. So far I’m not finding that in the Fairytale (with two bendable strings), and I can’t imagine the Dobrato, with just one, goes there easily either.

All of that may be to say I haven’t worked long enough or tried hard enough to find the magic - I’ve heard some Fairytale demos that blow what’s left of my mind - but it might also mean that, for me, the interesting possibilities of pedal steel require more strings at closely spaced intervals, and more bends on more strings. (Not to mention years of serious commitment.) Maybe you just can't get there with a couple of benders on a 6-string thing.

I’m having more brain-twisting entertainment from the triple-neck 8-string National I got a few months ago - with no pitch-bend pedals.

So. I commend the inventor and maker of the Dobrato (great name, too) for a new-old idea, well executed in what appears a handsome and well-made instrument. I’m just a little relieved I don’t feel compelled to have one!


I like the concept, and the guitar is good-looking, but the overall sound leaves me "meh." It isn't how I like to hear a dobro, I suppose.

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