From the soul-piercing wail of Delta blues to the homespun sounds of bluegrass masters to the edgy tones of modern Americana, resonator guitars have been lending their distinctive voice to pop for nearly 90 years. The resonator guitar was invented by John Dopyera in the mid s in an attempt to make an acoustic loud enough to compete with big bands in the pre-electric guitar era. In the early s, the brothers would take control of National to form the National-Dobro Corporation. Though tricones were—and still are—sought for their complex tone, National was developing a single-cone resonator guitar at the time Dopyera left to form Dobro. The single cone resonator became a hallmark of his new company. The marriage of the wood and resonator gives Dobros their trademark projection and focused tone. A few popular models in production today with this design include the steel-bodied National Collegian and wood Gretsch G
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A resonator guitar or resophonic guitar is an acoustic guitar that produces sound by conducting string vibrations through the bridge to one or more spun metal cones resonators , instead of to the guitar's sounding board top. Resonator guitars were originally designed to be louder than regular acoustic guitars, which were overwhelmed by horns and percussion instruments in dance orchestras. They became prized for their distinctive tone, however, and found life with bluegrass music and the blues well after electric amplification solved the problem of inadequate volume.