Dobro Vs Resonator Guitar: Difference & Which is Better?

People are greatly confused thinking Dobro and Resonator guitars are two different branded guitars. But things are totally different. The comparison between Dobro Vs Resonator does not make any solid sense because a Dobro guitar is itself a type of resonator guitar.

But of course, there are some features that make the Dobro guitars different from Resonator guitars. These differences mostly lie in the outward and bodily features.

The Primal Differences in Short –

We found the body material of a Dobro guitar is always wooden whereas the Resonator guitar might not be built with the same material. Rather they come with metal-made bodies. This evokes a great difference in the sound quality too.

Besides that, all Dobro guitar is technically Resonator guitar but not vice versa. Another prominent difference is a Dobro guitar has only one cone while the other can possess several cones.

Dobro Vs Resonator

There are more differences that we will reveal gradually. For now, a review and comparison table is added for your better understanding.

Features – Dobro:
Cones SingleSeveral
Sound quality LoudLouder, darker
Versatility EfficientMore efficient
Weight MediumA little heavy
Strings Phosphor bronze alloyPhosphor bronze alloy
Music genre CountryBlues, jazz

N.B: Before going to the full-fledged review, one fact you must be sure about is that “Dobro” is a brand name under Gibson. So you should not get confused. When you say “dobro” mentioning lowercase, it becomes the guitar type of Resonator guitars.

Review of Dobro and Resonator:

As we have already mentioned that a Dobro guitar comes within the types of Resonator guitars, and there is not much individual discreteness you will see. Yet, there are many more to describe a Dobro guitar and a Resonator guitar separately.

About Dobro Guitars –

About Dobro Guitars

A Dobro guitar has many similarities with a Resonator guitar for it falls under the category of the latter. What makes the difference between these two named guitars is the material of the body. A Dobro guitar greatly comes with a wooden body.

This wooden-based body is the primal specialty of Dobro guitars. They also come with cones but you will not find more than one cone in a single Dobro acoustic guitar. This cone is responsible for a resonator and it helps to increase the sound level like a speaker.

You will get the cone either in a spider bridge or in a biscuit-bridge. Also, there is diversity in Dobro guitars, for example, the Dobro Duolian Resonator guitar comes with noticeable design upfront and sounds great.

For country music and bluegrass brand, Dobro guitars serve a great deal. Besides providing a special mellow tone, you will witness a “crying” tone coming out of the guitar.

Things We Liked (Pros):

  • Great wooden-bodied guitar with a special metal-made cone (resonator)
  • Can amplify the sound of the guitar to a great extent
  • Great for playing country music and other genres
  • Comes with diversity and different designs with the test of the musicians

Things We Didn’t Like (Cons):

  • They only come with a single cone thus amplifying the sound comparatively less

About Resonator Guitars –

About Resonator Guitars

Resonator guitars have great demand in the market as they come with unusual body materials. Most of the Resonator guitars come with a metal-made body. This enhances the sound quality of the guitar to the greatest extent.

Besides, a Resonator guitar comes with several cones and they are all either Nickle-plated or steel-made. With all the metal structure, the guitar provides a loud and even darker sound. To some extent, it gives off a vibe of an electric guitar.

Not only that, a Resonator guitar can allude to a metallic tone too, though the conventional metal player would not appreciate the sound. For blues and jazz, this guitar is suitable for sure. However, the Johnson Resonator guitar with its magnificent sound quality still held the best-ranked Resonator guitar.

Things We Liked / Pros:

  • Comes with a full metal body that looks unique in its own way
  • Can amply the sound without requiring any amplifier big time
  • Can produce both metallic tone and darker or louder tone
  • Perfect for blues and jazz music genres

Things We Didn’t Like / Cons:

  • The metallic tone is not that praiseworthy

Key Difference Between Dobro Vs Resonator Guitar –

There are some significant similarities between Resonator guitars and Dobro guitars. They have the same kind of strings made of the alloy of phosphor bronze and have almost the same kind of spacing. But they have differences in the slightest way but they are effective.

1) Body-Material:

The primal difference lies in the material of the body of Dobro and Resonator guitars. The former has a wooden body whereas the latter has a metal body. Because Dobro guitars are made of wooden material, they have a similar look to any other ordinary guitars.

But Resonator guitars are greatly unique because of their metal-made bodies. They have a sleek and hard look.

2) Sound Quality:

Resonator Sound Quality

Because of their body materials, Dobro guitars sound a lot different than Resonator guitars. The metal structure of the body makes the Resonator guitar sounds loud and clear. It also brings variations as they tend to sound a little like an electric guitar too.

Conversely, Dobro guitars cannot provide the loudness a Resonator guitar can. But the former also provides great sounds.

3) Cones:


The specialty of a Dobro guitar or a Resonator guitar is in their feature of cones. A cone comes with the purpose of enhancing sound. Dobro guitars carry a single cone and they are metal-plated. But Resonator guitars have several cones or resonators and are made with the same material.

Because these guitars have several cones they sound better than Dobro guitars. Cones affect greatly the sound quality and that’s why they don’t require an amplifier much.

4) Versatility:

Both Dobro and Resonator guitars have versatility and uniqueness. But while comparing each other, Resonator steals the show for sure. It’s because Resonator guitars can provide a darker tone, and a metal-like tone too.

5) Music Genre:

Music Genre

People choose Dobro mostly for their ability to contribute to country music. On the other hand, Resonator guitars greatly contribute to blues and jazz music.


There is not much variation in the prices of the Dobro vs Resonator guitars. They vary from model to model for both types of guitars.

So, which one is better?

It is to some extent clear that a Resonator guitar is much more sufficient than a Dobro guitar. Even though Dobro guitars are one of the types of Resonator guitars, because of their construction with different materials, they vary from each other. Both guitars are efficient. So, adopting any of them will give you a great experience.

FAQs –

Question 1: What are Resonator guitars good for?

Answer: Resonator guitars sound so magnificently that they contribute a lot to the music genres. Basically, blues and jazz require loud and clean sound and Resonator guitars can provide it nicely because of their metal-made body.

Question 2: Why is a Dobro called a Dobro?

Answer: Dobro’s name originated contracting the name “Dopyera brothers”. It has a Slovakian meaning and that is “goodness”. So, it’s basically for the greatness of the produced guitar they are called Dobro.

Question 3: How do I know if my guitar is a Dobro?

Answer: A great way of recognizing a Dobro guitar is to see its body material and cones. A Dobro guitar has a wooden body and they have only one cone made of a metal plate. The sound of it gives off the folk vibe too.

Question 4: Is a Dobro a Resonator guitar?

Answer: Technically, the answer to the question is yes. A Dobro comes from the type of Resonator guitar. They are just different in the body material from the Resonator guitars. Otherwise, from the strings to the tuning, there are a lot of similarities.

Question 5: Can you play a Dobro like a regular guitar?

Answer: The Dobro with the “square-neck” feature is meant to play differently. You need to rest it on your lap flatly and then play it using a bar. But you can play the “round-neck” Dobro guitars like a regular guitar.

Question 6: What is the point of a Resonator guitar?

Answer: The primal point of a Resonator guitar is to enhance the sound quality and make it sound louder. To avoid the lack of an amplifier, people choose a Resonator guitar. I chose the Dobro guitar when playing country music.

Last Updated on February 12, 2023 by Perry Garner

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