National Style 4 Tricone Squareneck Resophonic Guitar (1930)
National Style 4 Tricone Squareneck Model Resophonic Guitar (1930), made in Los Angeles, California, serial # 2048, nickel plated finish, German silver body, ebony fingerboard, brown hard shell case. Item # 7395
This Style 4 Tricone is a wonderful sounding Hawaiian National, the finest instrument of its type made in 1930-some would say ever! The National Tricone is generally considered the best sounding of all acoustic Hawaiian guitars, and this is an excellent player's example. Built just as the 1920's Jazz Age party was crashing down, this is a wonderful example of the 'state of the art' acoustic steel from the jazz age. The Style 4 Tricone was the most superlative resonator instruments made by National, the top of the line from 1928-1940. Much rarer than the plain Style 1, the Style 4 with its extremely elaborate "chrysanthemum" engraving is the fanciest and to many the most aesthetically pleasing of all Nationals. These ultra-modern fancy geophonic guitars would continue to be built until WWII, but in small numbers only as the great bulk of National's production from 1930 on would be the far cheaper single cone instruments and eventually electrics.
The Style 4 features a bound ebony fingerboard inlayed with pearl diamonds mounted to the integral square metal-sheathed neck. The headstock is faced in pearloid with an engraved National shield logo at the top. The flowing floral engraving pattern was supposedly designed by George Beauchamp himself and is extremely finely executed; this version has fronds running through the coverplate as was standard after 1928. The guitar plays perfectly and has the smooth deep tricone sound, fabulous for both any Hawaiian or other steel guitar playing.
Overall length is 38 7/8 in. (98.7 cm.), 14 1/8 in. (35.9 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 3 1/8 in. (7.9 cm.) in depth at side, taken at the end block. Scale length is 25 in. (635 mm.). Width of nut is 2 in. (51 mm.). This Style 4 has some wear overall but remains an excellent player. The plated finish is still relatively bright; there is scuffing and wear but no major plating loss. The elevated handrest on the coverplate shows a repair with a piece of different metal brazed in on the bass side; this was done well but not perfectly and is still visible, with the engraving in the region worn down somewhat. There is some wear to the top "woven" soundhole design where it looks like the slide bar may have banged into the top repeatedly. The pearloid headstock shows some wear but the engraved logo is still crisp. The tuners are excellent modern reproductions of the original Waverly strips, mounted correctly in the "reverse" position. The cones and saddle unit are still original, and the lush original sound is still quite evident. A lovely reminder of the golden age of Hawaiian music in the US, and a splendid slide instrument for any style of play. Very Good + Condition.
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