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Shining like the Mississippi Delta
July 20, 2005 10:49 PM   Subscribe

The personal instrument collection of John and Rudy Dopyera is for sale. John and Rudy are the inventor-craftsmen behind the resonator guitars that made the National and Dobro (DOpyera BROthers) guitar companies famous. No, you can't afford the collection, but it is pretty to look at (my personal favorite).

Bonus string link: Chordie (previously discussed) has added chord diagrams for ukulele, banjo, mandolin and lefty guitar!
posted by etc. (28 comments total)

 
and i just got a banjo today! and now I notice there is a dynamic preview of my comment beneath me, sweet, shaping up to be a great day.

Somehow I missed the previous Chordie discussions, so thanks for the link. These are amazing instruments.
posted by adzm at 10:52 PM on July 20, 2005


No, you can't afford the collection

I'm a billionaire, you insensitive clod!
posted by Deathalicious at 11:01 PM on July 20, 2005


Then will you buy me the ukulele, Deathalicious? Please?
posted by etc. at 11:05 PM on July 20, 2005


I severed the last third of my ring finger on my left hand in a tablesaw accident. I rescenty got a banjo, but am unable to make an 'E' chord.

Um.. can these guys make me an unbelieveably expensive banjo that I can finger with the digits I have left?
posted by Balisong at 11:12 PM on July 20, 2005


Freakish! Only yesterday I looked up "Graceland" on Chordie. Alas it was all for naught as I gave up, yet again, the game of inside pool Mr. Simon designed when he crafted the song.
posted by mwhybark at 11:19 PM on July 20, 2005


Hot damn boys!
posted by stenseng at 11:39 PM on July 20, 2005


Even more freaky: Just a few months ago I worked on a National Resonator Uke...but it wasn't the Tricorn body style on that page.

It was by the same company, was a steel body, but had a traditional Uke shape.

It was made clear to me before I worked on it that it was worth a mint.
posted by sourwookie at 11:44 PM on July 20, 2005


Balisong,

I can't tell which tuning you are using, but this should work for 5-string, Scruggs tuning - GDGBD.

For the E chord without using the left ring finger try this: wrap your thumb around the top of the neck to fret the 4th sting at the second fret (the root note - E), fret the 3rd string on the 1st fret with the index (G#), let the 2nd string ring open (B), and fret the 1st string at the the second fret with the middle finger (E). Do not play the the 5th string as it will clash.

Look at the E chord on this page to see a diagram of the chord.

That should work without using the ring finger.
posted by wsg at 12:14 AM on July 21, 2005


~he used to own an old dobro, used to play it cross his knees
i'd give old curt my money, he'd play all day for me~

posted by kjh at 12:17 AM on July 21, 2005


I live in a small flat crowded by instruments from floor to ceiling. Fiddles, squeezeboxes, mandolins, and one Johnson single cone resonator guitar. I wake up and your post dares challenege me to reduce my living space further! Well, I ain't got the money, but want the Tricone mandolin. Want it bad.

Seriously, the Dopyera brothers were naive geniuses. Their design was originally developed to create a loud guitar that could replace the banjo in early jazz bands. When the National resonator guitar failed in sales around 1930, large amounts of them were dumped at $36 each on the southern general store circuit, there to become a country blues icon.

Tons of info at Bob Brozman's site, expecially his amazing History of the National Resonator guitar.

Oh, and balisong: if your finger is really holding you back, consider taking lessons on guitar from somebody who plays Django Reinhardt style. Django's left ring and pinky fingers were fused together in a fire, and he still managed to play amazing guitar. Or maybe try your hand at lap steel or dobro?
posted by zaelic at 1:34 AM on July 21, 2005


Out of curiosity to the banjo-players out there: how difficult an instrument is it to learn? I've played guitar for about 15 years, and always secretly held a lusting for bluegrass banjo.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 2:15 AM on July 21, 2005


Civil_Disobedient-
As a guitar player I've found the banjo to be a much more natural playing instrument. It's basically your 4th, 3rd, and 2nd string from your guitar with a D tuned first string and a high G drone on the bottom (top). Coming from a guitar background you shouldn't have much trouble picking up the chords.
posted by Jawn at 3:19 AM on July 21, 2005


Civil_Disobedient-
As a guitar player I've found the banjo to be a much more natural playing instrument. It's basically your 4th, 3rd, and 2nd string from your guitar with a D tuned first string and a high G drone on the bottom (top). Coming from a guitar background you shouldn't have much trouble picking up the chords.
posted by Jawn at 3:20 AM on July 21, 2005


It's the picking that scared me. Though, banjoists use finger picks on their first three fingers, right?
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 3:21 AM on July 21, 2005


Civil_Disobedient-
As a guitar player I've found the banjo to be a much more natural playing instrument. It's basically your 4th, 3rd, and 2nd string from your guitar with a D tuned first string and a high G drone on the bottom (top). Coming from a guitar background you shouldn't have much trouble picking up the chords.
posted by Jawn at 3:21 AM on July 21, 2005


I've been playing guitar for 2 years and I can play a couple songs on the banjo. I don't use picks for the finger but I can see how they would help. If you don't fingerpick already on guitar, then you'll have a tough time adjusting to banjo. If you can already fingerpick on guitar, it will be easy! Except the bottom string is the high G drone instead of the lowest E.. that will mess you up sometimes. Either way, it's not a question of if, just when. Enough time and you'll get it. Fingerpicking rocks anyway.
posted by adzm at 5:02 AM on July 21, 2005


Civil Disobedient : You wear the finger picks on the thumb, index and middle fingers.
posted by mrs.pants at 5:49 AM on July 21, 2005


OT: How many banjo players in here? If you count my lousy playing, we can start the count with 1 here.
posted by mrs.pants at 5:50 AM on July 21, 2005


These instruments belongs in the Smithsonian, not a private collection.
posted by password at 5:55 AM on July 21, 2005


Banjo player here as well. Good to see that there are a few more of us out there.

I severed the last third of my ring finger on my left hand in a tablesaw accident. I rescenty got a banjo, but am unable to make an 'E' chord.

Um.. can these guys make me an unbelieveably expensive banjo that I can finger with the digits I have left?


what wsg said, in preview.... or try one of these. It sounds a bit like a banjo crossed with a dulcimer, and you only need one finger to start playing.
posted by bradth27 at 7:05 AM on July 21, 2005


you banjo wannabes do know aboot the exciting happenings involving banjo lessons and podasting over at Plunkthumping.com, doncha?

(link cited from memory as I am on the bus, corrections encouraged!)
posted by mwhybark at 7:37 AM on July 21, 2005


you banjo wannabes do know aboot the exciting happenings involving banjo lessons and podcasting over at Plunkthumping.com, doncha?

(link cited from memory as I am on the bus, corrections encouraged!)
posted by mwhybark at 7:44 AM on July 21, 2005


There's a guy playing a knockoff Dobro on the new Coke zero commercial.

p.s. to those in the know: Frailers aren't failures.
posted by xowie at 9:12 AM on July 21, 2005


Guitar and banjo here. Plunkthumping.com is down, unfortunately. I'd like to check it out.

The thing about banjo is it's all right hand. If you have the right hand down, the left hand is easy. This is the best banjo resource I have found on the internets. It's got tons of lessons, hundreds of tabs and a great discussion board.

BTW, that's G Love in the new Coke commercial.
posted by wsg at 10:17 AM on July 21, 2005


Here's Plunkthumping. It's good, basic instruction.
posted by wsg at 11:05 AM on July 21, 2005


Guitar, for many years, then picked up banjo and mandolin. Dixieland and folk are my preferred style on banjo, 'cause I fingerpick too horribly for decent bluegrass.
posted by Cookiebastard at 12:31 PM on July 21, 2005


Another banjo player here. The beauty of the banjo is that there are many ways to play: three finger Scruggs-style bluegrass picking; two and thre finger Seeger-style "up picking"; classic or "guitar style" fingerpicking on gut or nylon strings; "stroke style" minstrel "down picking" (the original way) on gut strung instruments; clawhammer style (stroke style on steel strings); and, chord melody style on four string tenor and plectrum banjos.

Just depends on what you like and what feels comfortable. . .and it's all in the right hand. . . .
posted by rdone at 4:32 PM on July 21, 2005


Hey, how about us mandolinistas? That Safari resonator looks mighty sweet to me! Holla back if you play the mandolin too!
posted by Lynsey at 10:32 PM on July 22, 2005


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