10/22/2015

1999 National Reso-Phonic Polychrome Tricone Resonator Guitar




NRP guitars are hecka-good and are a nice, modern interpretation of the oldies. I like the baked-on finish that these have -- it's an elegant and more practical (wear-wise) variation on the sometimes-funky finishes Nat'l sprayed on their guitars back in the 30s. This one is some sort of "champagne" color that's in-between a ruddy pink and a taupe color. It suits.

The owner of this guitar plays mostly in open D on it and requested slightly higher action for sometimes-slide. Fair enough -- I dial to 3/32" overall for that and it seems to work for most slide players. The trouble with this guitar is that the fretboard extension had a bad "ski jump" and the neck's truss rod is actually maxed-out (did I mention that I find truss rods frustrating for the most part?). I solved the former by taking the guitar apart and jacking the neck-angle back via the handy designed-in dowel that runs through the guitar's body and solved the latter via leveling/dressing the already-very-worn frets. It's turned-out a nice player and, if desired, it could be setup for "spot on" 3/32" bass, 1/16" treble action.



Tricones have a "singier" voice than biscuit-cone Nationals. I find their more open and lingering sustain is a bit like a more clear and airy "Dobro" sound.


The deco headstock and truss cover are very cool (and crisp). Bone nut.


The radiused rosewood board has ivoroid binding and a medium C profile. It's also got a quite long scale length (25 3/4") which puts pretty good tension on the set of mediums the owner prefers to use.




Such a cool design, isn't it? Classic machine-age style.

I forgot to mention that this guitar needed a new saddle after work. I used bone to replace the maple (which was obnoxiously glued-in) and compensated it. The sustain and volume was boosted slightly to my ears.




The Kluson Deluxe tuners are a nice thing to have. Newer Nationals use repro-looking units, but I do have a fondness for Klusons.


No comments: