I Love My New Guitar!

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Project by GnarlyErik posted 04-30-2017 10:59 PM 2233 views 3 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is a new 4-string resonator dobro type guitar just completed. I will keep this one for myself. The guitar found its voice for the first time today, and boy, doesn’t it sound awesome to my ears! All through the building process I wondered about the resonator I made for it. Was it made right? Was the material too thick? Did I mount it right? And, so on and on. I needn’t have worried because it turned out awesome! Today I was able to strum it for the first time, and it seems to vibrate the entire room as it sustains the resonance for a good ten seconds after it is struck. The guitar seems to have a sort of throaty growling sound which is fun. (That’s an opinion from this amateur guitar builder/luthier).

The scale length is 26” and the body is 16” x 10-1/2” x 2-1/4” deep. The top is New Zealand pine, cherry, cocobolo with small accents of walnut. The tuning head is cocobolo while the fret board is cherry, as are the sides of the body. There is also a cherry inlay on the back just for fun. I purchased good quality tuning gears which work great. This 4-string guitar is tuned to ‘G-D-G-B’. The guitar is finished with several coats of marine varnish.

I also fabricated and installed a neck torsion rod in case that may be needed in the future. This guitar took longer than I expected, partly because I had retinal surgery about halfway through the building process, which took me out of action for a few days. This one is my twelfth stringed instrument build, and I think I will lay these aside for a while now to concentrate on something else. I did fiddle around with a ukulele in a shop the other day, so maybe one of those too? I am also still toying with the idea of another mountain dulcimer since my wife doesn’t want me fooling with the one I built for her.

Incidentally, if you’ve never worked with cocobolo wood, do yourself a favor and find some to play with. It smells heavenly when worked, almost like a fine perfume.

Searching online for resonators I found a batch of about ten or so nickel-plated brass candy and serving dishes and covers on eBay which I got for almost nothing. After my wife picked through those and pulled out a couple for herself, I still had plenty to work with. The resonator is made from a candy dish bolted face-to-face to a cut-down serving dish cover, and looked a lot like a flying saucer before it was installed. The candy dish is the visible part and is slotted for sound transmission and decorative reasons.

I do not play myself, but this guitar is sure to motivate me to learn. There’s a link to a short sound file below which will give some idea of the awesome resonance this thing has. I could not put the thing down last night and fooled around with it until well after 1 AM this morning.

The pictures include some of the interior and components for this build.

I apologize for the amateur sound of my ‘playing’, but am just now getting a feel for trying to play:

-- "Never let your dogma be run over by your karma!"

10 comments so far

View johnstoneb's profile


3224 posts in 3669 days

#1 posted 04-30-2017 11:54 PM

Great looking guitar. Glad it sound nice. I really like the inlays that is something I need to try.

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

View oldrivers's profile


3151 posts in 3063 days

#2 posted 05-01-2017 12:27 AM

Congratulations on such a fine build, very nice!

-- Soli Deo gloria!

View Woodknack's profile


13594 posts in 3877 days

#3 posted 05-01-2017 12:35 AM

This is fantastic.

-- Rick M,

View John Hansen's profile

John Hansen

35 posts in 1892 days

#4 posted 05-01-2017 12:54 AM

Beautiful job!! Hopefully this will stay in your family for many years.

-- John Hansen

View tyvekboy's profile


2185 posts in 4510 days

#5 posted 05-01-2017 01:00 AM

Nice work. Nice instrument.

-- Tyvekboy -- Marietta, GA ………….. one can never be too organized

View hunter71's profile


3564 posts in 4683 days

#6 posted 05-01-2017 10:15 AM

Fine craftsmanship, bet it sounds great.

-- A childs smile is payment enough.

View Ivan's profile


17331 posts in 4364 days

#7 posted 05-01-2017 11:50 AM

It’s realy wonderful made instrument, amaizing skill you have.

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 4363 days

#8 posted 05-01-2017 01:45 PM

This is a beautiful and creative guitar. You really did a nice job on this.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Mainiac Matt 's profile

Mainiac Matt

10059 posts in 3825 days

#9 posted 05-01-2017 01:47 PM

I attended a function where they had a guy in the lobby providing ambiance music with one of these Dobro type guitars and I was amazed at how much sound came out of one guitar with no amplifications.

Yours looks really nice! Enjoy it!

-- Matt -- I yam what I yam and that's all what I yam

View PaulDoug's profile


2701 posts in 3200 days

#10 posted 05-01-2017 03:32 PM


-- “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil, is for good men to do nothing"- Edmond Burke

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