The dobro is one of the easiest instruments to learn. Chords are made by placing a steel bar on the strings over a particular fret. Each fret is a different chord and memorizing the chord name for each fret is very easy. It’s just like the alphabet, from A-G (with a few sharps and flats in between). You can simply strum the strings with a pick (thumb or straight) and it sounds beautiful! No need to memorize a bunch of finger patterns! Sliding into a chord from one fret below gives the classic “slide” sound of dobro and steel guitar music. Contact Stringbender Music if you want it give it a try
Click here to hear a dobro->
Also…in case you didn’t know…a lap steel is comparable to the dobro! The difference is that you must have an amplifier for the lap steel…whereas the dobro is totally acoustic.
Boyd plays dobro with Bill Grant at a festival in Cooper Texas
Here is a diagram showing the chords at each fret for a dobro or lapsteel tuned to G.
The bottom row shows the chord (highlighted in yellow) for each fret position.
The top row shows the fret numbers from 1 to 12. Fret 0 shows the tuning for G.
For example: to play a song in the key of A, you would use frets 2, 7 and 9 for chords “A”,”D” and “E”. My grandfather, John Edelhauser encouraged me memorize the three major chords in some basic keys. Here are a few:
KEY of G -> G, C, D
KEY of C -> C, F, G
KEY of D -> D, G, A
KEY of A -> A, D, E
KEY of E -> E, A, B