National Style 4 Tricone Squareneck Resophonic Guitar (1929)Just Arrived!
National Style 4 Tricone Squareneck Model Resophonic Guitar (1929), made in Los Angeles, California, serial # 1648, nickel plated finish, German silver body, ebony fingerboard, original black hard shell case. Item # 7762
This Style 4 Tricone is a simply a wonderful Hawaiian National, the finest instrument of its type made in 1929-some would say ever! The National Tricone is generally considered the best sounding of all acoustic Hawaiian guitars, and this is an excellent example. Built just as the 1920's Jazz Age party was crashing down, this is a wonderful representative 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 resophonic guitars would continue to be built until WWII, but only in small numbers as the great bulk of National's production from 1930 on would be the far cheaper single cone instruments, and eventually those new-fangled electrics by the end of the decade.
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 the original Hawaiian style or other 6-string 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 shows some light wear overall but remains superbly original and an excellent player. The nickel plated finish is still bright; there is scuffing and some small areas of wear but no major plating loss. The elevated handrest on the coverplate shows plating loss on the bass side; typical as this is where the player's hand rests. There are some dings and small dents to the top, and the side edge on the treble side near the fingerboard has some marks where it looks like the slide bar may have banged into the edge. There are some small hammer marks on the side of the square neck under the nut, which on VERY close inspection prove to be tiny embossed letters spelling out the name "Steve". The pearloid headstock's engraved logo is still crisp. All hardware is original including the cones, tri-bar, nut and tailpiece; the Waverly strip tuners have been remounted in the now-standard worm-over-cog orientation instead of the original "reverse" position. The original cones and saddle are in excellent playing condition and still produce the lush warm sound these are prized for. This stunningly beautiful instrument is a lovely reminder of the golden age of Hawaiian music in the US, and a splendid slide instrument for any style of play. Excellent - Condition.
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