Duane Allman’s 1930s Dobro Wood-body

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
10 months ago

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 that guitar with the photo you referenced of Duane playing his Dobro you will realize these are different instruments. At that time in 1974 there was a separately published Capricorn Records promotional photograph of a seated resting Betts holding Duane’s Dobro upright in front of him. Compare this pictured guitar to the picture of Duane playing his. It’s the same guitar. It’s a Dobro.

Jeff Markowicz
Jeff Markowicz
5 months ago

Regal was licensed to build Dobros in 1932.


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