Saturday, September 16, 2006

Dopyeras for sale

Twelve stringed instruments made by John and Rudy Dopyera, along with two workbenches, are being offered are for sale as a collection. From the Elderly Instruments website:

The Dopyera brothers were born in what is now Slovakia, and came to the U.S. with the wave of Eastern European immigrants around the beginning of the 20th century. (In fact, the word "Dobro" is both a contraction of "DOpyera BROthers" and the word for "good" in their native tongue.) Engineers, tinkerers, businessmen, and accomplished musicians (their family had a history of violin making going back centuries, and Rudy was by many accounts an exceptionally talented and soulful Gypsy-style violinist), the two Dopyera brothers combined their Old World skills and traditions with the booming technology and futuristic tastes in art of pre-WWII America. Who else thought that spun aluminum might be a good material for sound projection? Who else engraved beautiful Art Deco designs on the bodies of their guitars? Only the Dopyeras.

The unusual, experimental, and mostly one-of-a-kind instruments in this collection – John’s unusual (and spectacular sounding!) resophonic violin, Rudy’s balalaika-inspired Lullabyka, the Art Deco-influenced steel body uke and tenor guitar, even the actual workbench on which John perfected the fabled tri-cone resonator system – are uniquely American (and uniquely Dopyera) innovations.
The instruments shown on the Elderly website are fantastic - i.e., "so extreme as to challenge belief" (Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary). Who could resist something called the Troika Resophonic Balalaika? Best of all: the Dopyera Resonator Violin, its body looking like a pair of metal colanders painted gold.

Link: The John and Rudy Dopyera Collection (from Elderly Instruments)

comments: 2

SavageInsight said...

Oh man - How did I miss this by 7 years?

I've been playing music since I was 4 - don't think I'm any good, but I love it when its right, and a Dopyeras violin? Maybe *the* -

Least I know its still out there somewhere. Thanks for posting

Michael Leddy said...

As I just discovered, the Wayback Machine still has the page from the Elderly Instruments website, with photos.