1982 Dobro 1000

The Original Musical Instrument Company was founded in 1967 by Rudy and Emile Dopyera to continue an old family business: building resonator guitars. They reacquired the Dobro name in 1969 after the previous owner, Mosrite, went bankrupt and its assets were sold. Throughout the 1970s and later, OMI built Dobros in the pre-War style (albeit with a few modern upgrades) and continued to produce new designs. The company was sold to Gibson in 1993, where it continued in the same vein for a while longer.

The original Dobro company did build some metal-bodied resonators, known to collectors as “fiddle-edge” guitars due to the nature of their construction. While the high-end models are sought after by collectors for their rarity and beauty, they are not generally considered to be among the better-sounding Dobros from the period. When OMI started building metal-bodied guitars in the late ‘60s, they took a different approach: instead of being slotted together like the fiddle-edge guitars, they were soldered together in the tradition of National. The superior volume and tone of the new guitars over the originals is more likely due to improved cones and bridges than body design, but the brass Dobros of the 1970s have a higher reputation among players. Still, the higher prices and lack of prominent players meant that they were never as popular as the brand’s wood-bodied models.

Nonetheless, OMI continued to build brass-bodied Dobros. By 1972 they had introduced their most expensive guitar, the Super Custom Deluxe, which would soon be renamed the Model 1000. The model number’s four digits among a sea of 2- and 3-digit counterparts indicated its exalted status. Other brass models had engraved or sandblasted decoration, but the 1000’s body was engraved over its entire surface. The front and sides featured a ribbon pattern, while the back displayed the brand’s shield logo surrounded by a wreath. The fret markers were unique for Dobro, with an ornate pattern that the Dopyeras had previously used on at least one banjo years before. The pearl inlays were probably available commercially.

The 1000 was offered as both a round-neck and a square-neck guitar, and it remained the brand’s flagship model into the 1990s. Gibson briefly offered it with a biscuit bridge and even as a tricone, though few of these were ever built. However, it was never catalogued as an 8-string, which means that this particular guitar was a custom order. It features the same 12-string tailpiece used on OMI’s standard 8-, 10- and 12-string models, though its nickel plate contrasts with the chrome body.