Mike Replogle has been intimately intertwined in the history of the Dobro guitar since 1993, when he was hired by Gibson Guitar to manage the transition of Gibson’s acquisition of the Original Musical Instrument Company (OMI). Coming from the world of electric guitars, live performance and studio recording, as Mike recounts it “when Gibson hired me to manage OMI/Dobro, my knowledge of the resonator guitar was limited, to say the least… I came from the solid-body electric world… I think I had seen a metal body guitar once, and that was it!”.
That didn’t slow him down, and Replogle grabbed the bull by the horns and proceeded to marshal resources and artists to guide and help him- notably including Richie Owens, who introduced him to Al Perkins, Mike Auldridge and many other Dobro “insiders”.
Within the first 18 months, Replogle increased the OMI production over 600% and was working with Dobro Legends including Pete “Oswald” Kirby, “Uncle” Josh Graves, Tom Swatzell, Jerry Douglas, Cindy Cashdollar, Gene Wooten, Phil Leadbetter, Sally van Meter, Ben Harper, Taj Mahal, Ronnie Wood, Sonny Landreth, Paul Barrere… the list goes on. During that time, he had the incredible opportunity to inspect and analyze all of the most iconic Dobros, and figure out “what made them tick”.
“I tore apart Jerry Douglas’ dobros, Josh’s and Os’ as well as Sonny Landreth’s metal body”, says Replogle. “I had the first hand opportunity to see what mattered, what worked, what was different and exactly the “why” that made each of these instruments so iconic. It was an incredible education, and it was priceless.”
The results of his research led Replogle to create Limited Edition Artist Signature Series with Pete “Oswald” Kirby, “Uncle” Josh Graves, Tom Swatzell, Al Perkins, and to design the original Jerry Douglas Signature Model Dobro. A guitar-builder himself since the late 1970’s, while at OMI Replogle also designed the revolutionary DobroLectric thinline guitar with Replogle’s patented dual pickup system, and the unique Dobro 4 and 5-string resonator bass guitar.
(Next:) Genesis & Legacy