|Body And Neck:|
When people talk about resonator guitars, it’s not long until the word Dobro pops up. In fact, it’s a synonym for resonator. And for good reason: this historic brand was one of the pioneers of resonators, and created the innovative spider bridge in the early 1920s. In 1993, Gibson acquired the Dobro name, and their subsidiary Epiphone have made great use of it on this reasonably priced Dobro Hound Dog roundneck – a popular model in our resonator top ten chart. Let’s see what it feels like to own a real Dobro…
There’s actually nothing extraordinary about the Hound Dog’s look, but it retains most of the style points you’d see in the original 1929 model – although you get carved f-holes on the upper bout instead of the screened soundholes of the original. Most noteworthy is the iconic logo on the headstock, which tells the world that this is a genuine Dobro!
Moving away from the spruce and mahogany you find common in the entry-level market, this Dobro is crafted entirely from laminated maple, with a hand-rubbed vintage brown finish that looks awesome. This is a roundneck resonator, with a neck made of mahogany, a rosewood fretboard, and 19 frets, marked by simple dot inlays. Even though it’s an Asia-made model, the Hound Dog feels sturdy and well-built, as you’d expect from any Epiphone guitar in this price range.
Firstly, note that the Hound Dog we are reviewing is a solely acoustic resonator, although a very similar Hound Dog with a pickup is available for around $150 more. Still, this guitar sings nicely thanks to the resonator, which – as you’ll have guessed by now – is a Dobro cone with a spider bridge. Atop this sits an ebony-capped maple saddle, all enclosed by the traditional fan coverplate and nickel-plated tailpiece.
Completing the Hound Dog’s hardware is a set of good quality Grover tuners, which are a solid addition at this price point. The only slight letdown is that the factory strings are pretty poor – change these quickly and it’ll be a great improvement.
You can tell we’ve risen past the entry-level market with this Dobro as the guitar sounds lovely. The overall tone is great, with plenty of warmth and twang, which is all delivered articulately with ample volume. You also get the long, sweet sustain you associate with the spider bridge. Perfect for that Delta blues whining slide.
Who wouldn’t want an authentic Dobro? Epiphone have done a great job producing one which is accessible to those of us who don’t want to spend thousands on a true vintage resonator, but still crave the style and tone a Dobro can provide. This Hound Dog proves a versatile guitar, great for fingerstyle, blues and bluegrass players.