The Dobro™ is a beautiful, lyrical, and haunting instrument. Invented in the 1920’s, the Dobro™ was originally produced by only one company: the Dobro Manufacturing Company.
As the instrument slowly gathered a following, several other companies began to produce them: National Resophonic, Saga Musical Instruments, and Scheerhorn. Gibson guitars now owns the Dobro™ brand name and defends the term “Dobro” for marketing purposes. The term “resophonic” is now used to describe this style of guitar.
The sound of the resophonic guitar is today ingrained into American music through artists like Earl Scruggs, Johnny Cash, Alison Krauss and Union Station, and even the soundtrack work of T Bone Burnett. As the resophonic’s popularity has risen, the level of expertise has also risen. Today, there are quite a few top-notch players. Here’s a look at the top 25 resophonic players out there:
Note: Be sure to check the comments below for more suggested players.
The Top 25 Dobro Players
In alphabetical order:
1. Mike Auldridge (1938 – 2012)
A legendary player, founding member of the band The Seldom Scene, and an influence on following generations of dobro players.
2. Johnny Bellar
A brilliant, prolific player; does a lot of session work.
3. Greg Booth
A veteran player, Youtube hit, and regular instructor at Rob Icke’s ResoSummit.
4. Bob Brozman
Resophonic player, producer, and author with an emphasis on world musical influences.
5. Curtis Burch
Was part of the New Grass Revival in the 70’s; also a great guitarist.
6. Billy Cardine
An active session player and producer with a long string of credits.
7. Cindy Cashdollar
8. Jerry Douglas
Considered the best resophonic player in the world, he’s definitely the most well-known with 13 Grammy’s and a long list of big name gigs.
9. Josh Graves (1927 – 2006)
10. Martin Gross
Great German reso player.
11. Rob Ickes
A prodigy with an extensive knowledge of bluegrass and jazz; his instructional videos first got me playing reso.
12. Andy Hall
Resophonic player from the Infamous Stringdusters
13. Jimmy Heffermnan
A Nashville session player; also works as a sideman and producer.
14. Orville Johnson
A player, instructor, and author.
15. Pete “Bashful Brother Oswald” Kirby (1911-2002)
16. Phil Leadbetter
17. Lloyd Maines
18. Stacy Philllips
A great resophonic player, fiddle player and instructor.
19. Ivan Rosenberg
An award-winning bluegrass player with numerous songs in TV and film.
20. Josh Swift
21. Tut Taylor
A veteran player; known widely for using a flat pick on the instrument rather than finger picks.
22. Sally Van Meter
A great reso player leading the contemporary bluegrass music scene.
23. Lou Wamp
According to Ivan Rosenberg, “Lou Wamp is the best dobro player you never heard of.”
24. Mike Witcher
25. Gene Wooten (1953 – 2001)
Did we miss anyone? Put ’em in the comments below!
FYI: I’ve also written a post on the beginner’s gear that got me started with Dobro. It’ll give you a sense of the basic equipment necessary to get going.