c.1940 National Collegian Tenor Guitar

This tenor guitar is incredible.

It's a late-model National Collegian resonator tenor guitar (serial dates it t0 1940), but unlike most of its late-period tenor brethren, it's 100% original and features a brass, not steel, body -- the epitome of desirability in terms of material for the body's build. The cone is in perfect shape and aside from light setup at the bridge saddle and nut, I had nothing to do but take it apart, clean it up, and put it back together. The neck set angle is perfect and the frets only have the tiniest amount of wear -- not even grounds for leveling or dressing, though I did polish them up.

Like all good metal-bodied, vintage Nationals, this thing is very loud but also sweet-toned as all heck, with a full-spectrum sound and warm, focused bottom end with a good bell-like sweet high end. And the sustain is excellent.

Note how cool the mustard-yellow paintjob is! The coverplate is steel but the rest is brass under that paint.

The maple neck, complete with bone nut and thick rosewood fretboard, was made by Regal for National. Note the good-quality original geared tuners.

Cool National badge in really great shape.

Rosewood board with ivoroid/celluloid dots. Feels great!

Here you can see the original biscuit.

The pickguard is bound and has a black/red firestripe pattern. Really classy!

Unlike "the norm" for these guitars, the tailpiece is in perfect shape.

This thing just can't help looking awesome, especially with the original pickguard adding a "jazz" flavor.

So nice!

There's obviously some use-wear to the finish, but thank god for that brass body, because there's no rust to be seen -- just tarnish.


Serial plate dates the guitar to 1940 -- or 1941 at the latest.

Good neck joint.

And there's the strap-button/tailpiece area. Here you can see flecks of paint missing from the usual scuffs of putting this in and out of cases and on and off of floors, tables, whatnot.

I'm totally tempted by this instrument. It's seldom one sees Nationals like this in 100% original condition without funky repairs, lots of rust, or other odd stuff going on. And the sound? ...to die for. It's currently strung for CGDA (standard) but this sounds great in DGBE, CGCG & CGCE, and also GDAE/GDAD/GDGD -- all of which I've tried out on it this afternoon. Especially for folks who play octave mandolins, GDAE tuning is big, full and rich, while tenor-players will love the zing and cut of standard tuning.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Somebody is going to get a crazy good deal on a beautiful pre-war instrument