My name is Don Morrison and I have been making resonator guitars, mandolins and ukuleles for nearly twenty years now. All Donmo instruments are handmade so the chances are that no two are exactly alike.
Due to the wonders of the internet, e-mail and international air freight I have been able to make instruments for people all over the world.
Donmo Resonator Guitars
- Rustbuckets and Relics
- Wood Bodies
- Galvo Bodies
- NEW! Guitars made from re-claimed copper. Polished but still showing the story of it's past. Beautiful tone.
I make metal bodied resonator guitars from brass, copper, steel and wood.
All of the variations in style, ie “F”holes, slots, single cone style coverplate on tricones, are available in each material.
Rustbuckets are made from old sheets of corrugated steel that I scrounge from building demolition sites and farms etc. I flatten the sheets as best I can by walking on them (luckily I'm no lightweight!) so I can fit them through my ancient set of sheet metal rollers and then the material is fine to use.
Much of this material is more than 100 years old and can be identified by the makers stamps that I use on the backs of my guitars. I have found that the newer stuff (from about 1965 on) is too brittle to use for guitar making.
**All models, including tricones, can be made left handed at no extra cost.**
Single Cones - 24.75” 630mm
Tricones - 25.5” 648mm
Nut width 46mm *
Width @12th fret 56mm*
I use Australian timbers for my necks and fretboards. Mulga and Gidgee, which I use for fretboards, are superbly suited for this purpose and are a much better alternative to the ebony and rosewood that is available now.
*These are my standard dimensions but you can order your own preference at no extra cost.
I started my musical career as a harmonica player at high school. My first band, Pus Supernostril and the Bubonic Plague (later re-named The Mecca Powerhouse Five), featured amongst other things, washtub bass, washboard, and the “Drainola”, a piece of plastic drain pipe played via a trombone mouthpiece. The bloke who played it had perfect pitch so we used to tune the guitars to the drain. For a while we had a jug player called Grogan but one night he passed out from hyperventilation and retired.
Our attempts to go electric were thwarted because no one was old enough to drive a car. The bass player bought an amp and we had to get it to our practice room some three or four kilometres away. We decided to push it through the streets on its castors. The roads were so rough that the speaker cabinet fell apart en route and so the washtub survived a little longer.
Music became the dominating influence in my life from then on. You can read and hear all about my musical career on my other site HERE . As time went by I leaned more toward playing acoustic music which lead to my search for a metal bodied resonator guitar. They just weren’t available here in Adelaide in the days before Ebay and Asian mass production so I decided to try to make one. I’d always been handy with tools and my last hobby - grinding telescope mirrors and lenses - gave me confidence that I could make almost anything! There are no books, videos or classes on metal body guitar making so I had to start from scratch.
My first efforts involved the steel from the door of an old Volvo car but I soon realised it was way too heavy. I would lay awake at night thinking of ways to overcome difficulties and eventually got one guitar made well enough to string it up.
I made another, better, one and then one for a friend and now, 20 years later, I don’t have time to do very much else. In 2018 I sold my 500th instrument and so far I have made 380 guitars, 65 or so mandolins and more than 80 ukuleles.
Because I use my own guitars in many different situations – solo, duo, band, amplified, acoustic, for recording, for busking – I get a chance to see how they perform in all conditions. (Some customers may be disturbed to hear that their guitar has been road tested at the local markets!)
I’m always looking for improvements in all areas of the instrument, especially the sound, and make time to experiment with new ideas.
Don Morrison is a songwriter, singer, guitarist, story teller and guitar maker
As well as making musical instruments I have been writing, singing and recording songs for a long time. You can see some of that: HERE