Duane Allman’s 1930s Dobro Wood-body

access_time First seen circa 1969

Duane bought this guitar in 1969 from George Gruhn (GTR, Fourth Avenue, Nashville) for $350. The guitar was made by a Chicago-based company called Regal, that manufactured resonator guitars licensed by Dobro.

I remember selling a Dobro to Duane Allman in 1969. At that time, a fancy Dobro was only $350. And Duane paid me at the rate of $50 every other week. Music was not a lucrative career for him at that time. The part of his career where he had any money was very brief – George Gruhn: Nashville’s Vintage Guru; Guitar Aficionado

We, unfortunately, couldn’t figure out the exact model of the guitar. Based on the photos available, it seems that Duane’s guitar features gold-plated hardware and custom inlays, which would indicate that it belongs among the top-of-the-line models 200/205/206 (ResoGat). If you happen to know anything more about this guitar, please be sure to forward it to us. For your own personal research, please refer to this image – Duane Allman on a Dobro.

This wooden body Dobro/Regal was widely used in the studio, on songs such as ‘Little Martha’, ‘Please Be With Me’, and on ‘Mean Old World’ with the Dominos. After Duane’s death the guitar ended up with Dickey Betts who still owns it to this day (see Dickey with the Dobro), and it can be seen on the cover of his 1974 album “Highway Call”.

Fun fact is that Duane also made a quite an impression on Eric Clapton with this guitar, who admitted that the first time he saw a blonde Dobro was when he met Duane:

The first important one I had was around 1970 – around the time I met Duane Allman. Because his was the first one I ever saw, it came from GTR. – from the Christie’s auction of Eric’s late 30s Dobro.

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Terry Jackson
Terry Jackson

I believe you are mistaken in the identity of the manufacturer of this guitar. have seen a detailed enough picture of Duane Allmans resonator guitar to know it is a Dobro-branded product. The logo on the headstock is distinctive. I have also had a conversation with George Gruhn wherein he told me that it was a “Dobro” model he sold to Duane; he is a unique published authority on these guitars and this one in particular. Also, you said that Duane’s Dobro is pictured on the cover of Dickey Betts’ Highway Call album. However, if you compare the front of… Read more »

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access_time 1969

1930s National Duolian

Duane was photographed playing this guitar in the late 60s/early 70s, but according to Gregg Allman, he owned another one – both of which ended up with Gregg after Duane’s death. He later gave one of them to Eric Clapton and the other one to Ronnie Wood. [Gregg Allman: Organic Acoustic, Guitar World Acoustic, p.84][Alan Paul, One Way Out, p. 78] Based on Chris Darrow’s recollection, it is possible to track down when exactly Duane purchased […]

access_time 1967

1960s Gibson J-45

This guitar didn’t actually belong to Duane but to his brother Gregg, but due to the historical importance, we decided to include it in the list nonetheless. Duane gave this Gibson J-45 acoustic guitar to Gregg after trading it for his Telecaster that he played at the time. To learn more about the Telecaster, please visit our article about Duane Allman’s 1950s Fender Telecaster. He [Duane] traded his main road-ax – […]

access_time 1970

1940s Kalamazoo KGN-12

Duane was photographed playing this guitar in his hotel room in Spartanburg, South Carolina on October 17, 1970. Unfortunately, aside from those photos, the guitar is practically a mystery. From the looks of it, it appears to be a vintage Kalamazoo, model KGN-12, but we haven’t been able to find any background story behind it. It could’ve been just something Duane picked up while on to the road. Embed from Getty Images

access_time 1969

1960s Gibson Dove

Duane was seen with this guitar on a photo of him sleeping right next to it, taken at a hotel room sometime in the late 60s or early 70s. That photo is the only instance where Duane was pictured with the guitar, so we can’t say for sure that it was he himself who owned it. This particular Gibson acoustic is easily identifiable by the white dove on the pickguard, which is of […]

access_time 1970

Martin D-18

According to Gregg Allman, Duane oned a Martin D-18 that looked “very dark – sort of dark mahogany color”. [Gregg Allman: Organic Acoustic, Guitar World Acoustic, p.84][Alan Paul, One Way Out, p. 79] Unfortunately, since that is the only time that this guitar has ever been mentioned by anyone, there’s really nothing else to be said about it. We don’t know whether Duane actually used it, how long he had […]

access_time 1969

1960s Gibson Heritage

According to Galadrielle Allman [Galadrielle Allman, Please Be With Me, p. 182] Duane bought this guitar together with his Les Paul Goldtop and a Marshall amp, probably sometime in early to mid-1969 (the exact date of purchase is unknown). The guitar is mentioned in a letter that Duane sent to Holly Barr, Ralph Barr’s wife (Ralph Barr was guitar player for the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band). This same letter was recently auctioned at Bonham’s […]

access_time 1970

Gibson Archtop Acoustic

According to Gregg Allman, Duane owned an old Gibson acoustic. Based on Gregg’s statement, this guitar had an oval hole and was an archtop. Unfortunately, beyond these two pieces of information, the guitar is a mystery. Duane also had an old Gibson acoustic with an oval hole and an arch-top. I’ve got that one. Dickey has Duane’s National in his living room. [Guitar Player magazine, Jas Obrecht, Duane Allman Remembered, October […]

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