Jerry Douglas is a true master of the resonator guitar. He seems to effortlessly translate his distinct resophonic slide sound across myriad musical languages, from bluegrass to Celtic to country . . . you name it. His playing can be heard on albums from Earl Scruggs, Paul Simon, Emmylou Harris, Garth Brooks, not to mention his own groups, the Earls of Leicester and the Jerry Douglas Band. Suffice to say he is the Dobro man, man!
For this AG Sessions in Place Douglas performs “Foggy Mountain Rock,” a rocking bluegrass tune made famous by Josh Graves with Flatt and Scruggs. He also graciously shows some of the techniques he uses, while breaking down a couple parts of the song for anyone who wants to try it for themselves.
He also shows off his Signature Blackbeard resophonic guitar, based off a 1928 Dobro, the first reso guitar he ever saw. Douglas’ all-mahogany model also has a “double hip shot,” which is a lever that enables him to switch back and forth from G tuning to open D tuning.
If you want to learn more, Douglas recently launched an instructional course called The Resophonic Guitar, with Modern Music Masters. “I wanted to put out a course that offered some easily understood starting places for the beginner reso player… that also gives more advanced players and even fans of the instrument some insight into how reso guitars are constructed, played properly, and how I approach making music on them.”
Quick aside: Dobro, like Kleenex, is an eponym; it’s a contraction of Dopyera Brothers. Dobro also translates to “good life” in John Dopyera’s native Slavak language. An early slogan Dobro means good in any language!