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Post new topic 1997 OMI/Dobro koa Kona prototype
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Author Topic:  1997 OMI/Dobro koa Kona prototype
Ben Elder


From:
La Crescenta, California, USA
Post Posted 30 Nov 2017 1:04 am     Reply with quote

This account is the culmination of a twenty-year pursuit and ties into this previous thread about American Guitar Company and its post OMI/Dobro beginnings:

http://bb.steelguitarforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=303368&highlight=michael+witcher+american




I have photos of this Kona (one of four prototypes made in this flamey koa as I recall) on the bench, unfinished, at the Huntington Beach factory in early 1997 or thereabouts. It seems some gesture was made toward my getting this when finished. (It originally was promised to the employee who sourced the koa, but he apparently transgressed several accepted standards of conduct and was fired.)




This Kona was among the instruments and equipment shipped to Nashville and wound up with a salesman or rep who received it in lieu of cash to reimburse his travel and business expenses. The division was so cash-strapped that barter was the only way to make the rep whole.

The guitar languished for the better part of two decades and earlier this year, I made an offer to cover the purchase of the finished but uncompleted guitar, as well as shipping and a facilitator's fee for the friend of mine in Tennessee who brokered the deal.

Once received back here in SoCal, I took it to John at the Claremont Folk Music Center. He shimmed the original bridge (included but not attached) and made a bone nut.

One detail that I missed involved an optical illusion that tripped up the builder too.



The triangle below the nut fooled him when it came to fretmarker dots above the 12th-fret diamond. Fretmarkers wound up at 14, 16 and 18, so John pulled those dots, filled the holes and installed a 15th-fret dot.



He also notched the tuning-gear plates (Stew-Mac repros of vintage Waverlys) so as not to cover the Dobro decal on the back of the headstock.



I've seen another of these prototypes for sale on Orange County Craigslist and photos of OMI/Dobro mahogany prototypes, made prior to the efforts of the American Guitar Company.

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Jack Hanson


From:
San Luis Valley, USA
Post Posted 30 Nov 2017 10:05 am     Reply with quote

That's altogether lovely. The flamed koa top plate is stunning.
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Erv Niehaus


From:
Litchfield, MN, USA
Post Posted 30 Nov 2017 11:14 am     Reply with quote

Beautiful, just beautiful. Very Happy
Erv
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Mark Eaton


From:
Sonoma County in The Great State Of Northern California
Post Posted 30 Nov 2017 11:50 am     Reply with quote

That's a great looking guitar Ben!

Relating to your link from the earlier thread, I'm thinking of Mike Replogle. He is still in the music business as his main gig - I'm "friends" with him on Facebook and he shows photos of business trips to China - mostly interesting looking meals, and he works for Saga Musical Instruments in the Bay Area, the folks who import Regal resonators, Blueridge Guitars, Kentucky mandolins, Golden Gate picks, etc. His position at Saga:
Product Manager, Purchasing Manager. Chief of Quality Assurance

He also has a side gig producing Replogle resonator cones, spider bridges, and bridge inserts. These are sold through www.stewmac.com

But he doesn't seem to have much of a presence in the little corner of the world devoted to dobro guitars - he's not out there like a Paul Beard and being "visible." He probably doesn't have the time - the Saga job sounds like a "full plate."
_________________
Mark
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Joe Breeden


From:
Virginia, USA
Post Posted 30 Nov 2017 5:03 pm     Reply with quote

Very very, very pretty. I am so envious. Joe
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Lee Holliday


From:
United Kingdom
Post Posted 1 Dec 2017 7:01 am     Reply with quote

Dobro around this time made some interesting attempts (or last fling of the dice) at other markets, they made some flat top parlours and the valco inspired map shaped electrics.

All are interesting, the pre-Gibson era of Dobro has an interesting story.

A shame Gibson have buried the legacy.

Lee
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Jerry Overstreet


From:
Louisville Ky
Post Posted 1 Dec 2017 7:23 am     Reply with quote

I see Mike has just become a member of the forum. Looking forward to input for any and all things reso here... Exclamation
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Erv Niehaus


From:
Litchfield, MN, USA
Post Posted 1 Dec 2017 8:16 am     Reply with quote

It appears like that Weissenborn doesn't have a hollow neck.
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Lee Holliday


From:
United Kingdom
Post Posted 1 Dec 2017 9:52 am     Reply with quote

No it,s a Kona= solid neck with weiss style body.

Lee
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