3/23/2017

1932 National Style 0 Resonator Tenor Guitar



The surprise workload today was this beaut -- with a serial dating it to 1932 per Bob Brozman's book. This has the later-style guitar-shaped body (like an even-smaller 0-18T shape) featuring 16 frets free and a long, 23" scale. The last National tenor I worked on was back in 2012 and that one prepared me for how good this one would sound after buttoning it up.

Work included knocking the neck angle back, a fret level/dress, tidying-up the supports in the body to keep the neck snug and stable, and making a new saddle and adjusting the cone's seating to provide good compensation for said saddle. The owner plays this strung GDAE and I wish I'd grabbed a soundclip as this instrument sounds the business. It has that sweet, airy, "hollow" midrange that the better Nationals have while also supplying a healthy bottom-end and velvety top.

The owner plays this in an "old-timey swing style" and I was serenaded a bit by him on this while I finished-up his baritone uke. It sounded superb for all of those vintage chord voicings -- sultry and tight at the same time, especially when played fingerstyle.



I've always liked the look of the natural maple headstocks on Style 0s from this period. It's very "Vega" of the 20s, but when mated to the deco look of the metal body it looks surprisingly fresh.


The neck is solid, quartersawn maple and the fretboard is ebony with ivoroid binding.



Painfully clean, isn't it?


If you noticed the bit of foam on the back side of the bridge cover -- that's muting the string afterlength overtones. Many string sets of the period used chenilled ends which killed those overtones but modern strings tend to not have them.

Without that muting, Nationals can be overtone-intense for many players and if you've never treated yourself to the sound of them with that afterlength muted, you're missing out on the clean, fundamental, round, full tone that these instruments have bottled-up inside.





The original, geared, banjo pegs are still in great health.





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