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Louis Dopyera and employees Victor Smith and Al Frost bought the company around 1934 and renamed it Valco, combining the first letters of the founders’ first names.In 1936 they relocated to Chicago to be near suppliers and other manufacturers, according to Victor Smith, as quoted in Wheeler’s book.Other Dopyeras started other guitar companies in warmer climates.Using parts from Harmony and Regal (another significant Chicago-based guitar manufacturer), they built wooden-body resonator guitars, Spanish guitars, lap steels, and later, electric guitars and amps.“The basic models were the Holiday and the Sahara, which evolved into the more elegant Coronado, Val Trol, and Martinique models.The pickups are humbucker sized, but they’re single coils.

(The Dobro features a different resonating device, a single bowl-shaped resonator, which Dopyera developed but kept from National.) The Dobro name is a mash-up of “Dopyera” and “brother,” and which also means “good” in Slovak, the brothers’ native language.

For dating pre-Valco acoustic instruments, see this page.

I am looking for some help in dating a couple of SUPRO 6 string lap steels.

Regal also built resonator guitars using Valco parts, selling them under its own brand.

Valco created the Supro brand, applying it to Regal- and Harmony-built student acoustic models.

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