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National Tricone Resonator Guitar.... New post, observations and questions!!!

#1 User is offline   onewilyfool 

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 02:31 PM

SO....where to start?
1. This is ONE beautiful guitar, not even a fingerprint on it. The previous owner was meticulous in caring.....so my question is this......those vintage guitars, Nationals from the 30's and such.....do they also improve in sound quality over time or just in Mojo appearance? I mean do the cones improve over time? It seems that only the neck can wear out....lol
2. My wife, who will occasionally say something like, "That guitar sounds nice", really doesn't care much about my "hobby", but when she heard this one, she let me know that she wants this one when I die!!! And I must agree, this guitar has an amazing sound, and so far, I'm just playing it in standard tuning and a little slide. SLowly moving into open tunings, but just enjoying it as is!
3. As you know (National owners) or can guess (non-owners), these guitars are heavy, about 9.5 lbs., easily twice any of my acoustics. Because of this extra weight, I've been struggling trying to find a position that is comfortable for playing. The two I seem to stumble on are lying in bed with the guitar resting on my stomach, or sitting in a chair, assuming the "classical guitar position. I have not tried a strap yet, maybe that will help. Any suggestions appreciated.
4. I can easily see this as a blues machine, and even when I play jazz, the comping sounds great, leads are fantastic, but I'm finding my arrangements of Beatles songs just don't fly on this thing. So, my question is what other KINDS of music do you guys play on your resonators? Do you have any youtube stuff you could share, I'd be interested in seeing your techniques on non-blues songs.
"The sole of my shoes is thin, and I'll soon be on my feet again" Lonnie Johnson

#2 User is offline   Mojorule 

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 02:53 PM



#3 User is offline   flatbaroque 

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 04:23 PM

This guy has some nice Delta blues lessons, I'll link to one of the lessons rather than his website as he's now charging for some stuff on the website...but there is still heaps of free stuff on youtube accessed from this link. He's a humorous bloke too,think Liverpudlian accent...as in Beatles. Plently of slide and he has some tasty old guitars...Deltabluestips is his name



I just had a look and that wasn't one of his best lessons...too hungover..just picked that randomly...but there are plently of good ones..haha

#4 User is offline   L5Larry 

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 05:53 PM

WHAT....... No pictures!

#5 User is online   BigKahune 

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 06:15 PM

.
Hey Larry -

Can you believe it? . Wily left us hanging with only this link for stock pics - http://www.nationalg...le1/style1.html


.
13 Gibson CS Advanced Jumbo R/Spruce..O12 Gibson Southern Jumbo TV....O11 RainSong JM-3000 12
11 Martin 000-15M Elderly LE....................O10 Gibson ES-359......................o10 Rickenbacker 360/12
09 Jackson PC-1.....................................O09 Fender 52 Telecaster AVS..ooO08 Gibson SJ-200 (Colosi S/P)
08 Gibson Robot SG LTD........................oO08 Fender Am/Dlx Stratocaster.....08 Gibson Les Paul Push Tone
07 Epiphone Les Paul Ultra II.....................o07 Guild F412...........................O07 Taylor NS74ce
98 Martin D-45VR.....................................097 Guild X-700 Stuart.................O73 Yamaha G-55A
65 Gibson Melody Maker.............................Amps: Bogner Alchemist (Head/212Cab);. Line6 Spider Jam & Micro Spider
..............................................................oKeyboard: 06 Yamaha DGX220

#6 User is offline   onewilyfool 

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 06:20 PM

Kahune......lol....in this case "they all look alike to me!" actually means something.......I will try to get up some pics soon!
"The sole of my shoes is thin, and I'll soon be on my feet again" Lonnie Johnson

#7 User is online   BigKahune 

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 06:26 PM

.

Well alright Wily. . I'm watching for them. . . Posted Image


.
13 Gibson CS Advanced Jumbo R/Spruce..O12 Gibson Southern Jumbo TV....O11 RainSong JM-3000 12
11 Martin 000-15M Elderly LE....................O10 Gibson ES-359......................o10 Rickenbacker 360/12
09 Jackson PC-1.....................................O09 Fender 52 Telecaster AVS..ooO08 Gibson SJ-200 (Colosi S/P)
08 Gibson Robot SG LTD........................oO08 Fender Am/Dlx Stratocaster.....08 Gibson Les Paul Push Tone
07 Epiphone Les Paul Ultra II.....................o07 Guild F412...........................O07 Taylor NS74ce
98 Martin D-45VR.....................................097 Guild X-700 Stuart.................O73 Yamaha G-55A
65 Gibson Melody Maker.............................Amps: Bogner Alchemist (Head/212Cab);. Line6 Spider Jam & Micro Spider
..............................................................oKeyboard: 06 Yamaha DGX220

#8 User is offline   QuestionMark 

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 07:21 PM

View Postonewilyfool, on 08 April 2012 - 02:31 PM, said:

SO....where to start?
1. This is ONE beautiful guitar, not even a fingerprint on it. The previous owner was meticulous in caring.....so my question is this......those vintage guitars, Nationals from the 30's and such.....do they also improve in sound quality over time or just in Mojo appearance? I mean do the cones improve over time? It seems that only the neck can wear out....lol
2. My wife, who will occasionally say something like, "That guitar sounds nice", really doesn't care much about my "hobby", but when she heard this one, she let me know that she wants this one when I die!!! And I must agree, this guitar has an amazing sound, and so far, I'm just playing it in standard tuning and a little slide. SLowly moving into open tunings, but just enjoying it as is!
3. As you know (National owners) or can guess (non-owners), these guitars are heavy, about 9.5 lbs., easily twice any of my acoustics. Because of this extra weight, I've been struggling trying to find a position that is comfortable for playing. The two I seem to stumble on are lying in bed with the guitar resting on my stomach, or sitting in a chair, assuming the "classical guitar position. I have not tried a strap yet, maybe that will help. Any suggestions appreciated.
4. I can easily see this as a blues machine, and even when I play jazz, the comping sounds great, leads are fantastic, but I'm finding my arrangements of Beatles songs just don't fly on this thing. So, my question is what other KINDS of music do you guys play on your resonators? Do you have any youtube stuff you could share, I'd be interested in seeing your techniques on non-blues songs.


Being metal, their sound doesn't change with age like a wood instrument...however,some neck angle changes as well as some saddle sinking involving the non-metal structure can occur. A lot of vintage all metal resonators often have morphed from age to be set up signicantly different from how they were originally...which can result in a more potential string buzz. Some view more string buzz on a resonator as better some not. I've seen some vintage ones where they are really cool looking and sound cool, but have some severe playing limitations from the instrument's original intent due to the neck angle and saddle being pretty whacked out from their original specs.


You might want to purchase the book The History and Artistry of National Resonator Instruments by Bob Brozman to see some pristine photos and descent research about vintage Nationals...plus, how they were originally intended to be played.

I have a round neck Regal Dualian (replica) and a square neck Regal. The Dualian troubled me as a player for a number of years until I realized that the instrument is really meant to be played the same as a guitar and its only difference is its design using a resonator to acoustically amplify the instrument. Over time we've been accustomed to only slide players on it...but, it really was designed for all types of music and simply to be louder. Now as a player I play it for all kinds of music in standard tuning. (Using it for slide in open tuning only occasionally as a show-stopper of sorts at jams or at gigs.) The square neck was a lot more simpler for me to develop an approach and playing style on as it clearly is a lap-steel guitar instrument.

Holding the round neck...hold it just like a regular guitar. Classical position if that's more comfortable. When I was coming to terms with how to play the round neck, I added a strap button on the neck where it joins the body, the same as on all of my other guitars. It works fine with a strap the same any other guitar and I got used to its weight pretty quick with it positioning itself on me due to the mentioned added button.

The only time I find its excessive weight could be a potential problem is when I pick it up by its neck from it being in the case, the same as I do with other guitars. Make sure you mentally prep yourself for using your arm (or two arms) and positioning on it when you pick it up so you don't potentially develop tennis elbow and using arm muscles you normally do not use when picking up a much lighter weight wood guitar. The repeated motion over time, if you're not anticipating its added weight, can result in tennis elbow from its added weight. Sounds a bit weird, I know, but better to warn you ahead of time. These suckers are heavier than you're accustomed to with wood guitars for one handed lifting.

Hope this helps.

QM (aka Jazzman Jeff)

#9 User is offline   jt 

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 07:51 PM

Wily,

My responses:

View Postonewilyfool, on 08 April 2012 - 02:31 PM, said:

1. This is ONE beautiful guitar, not even a fingerprint on it. The previous owner was meticulous in caring.....so my question is this......those vintage guitars, Nationals from the 30's and such.....do they also improve in sound quality over time or just in Mojo appearance? I mean do the cones improve over time? It seems that only the neck can wear out....lol


Bob Brozman contends that the cones do improve over time. They are made of very thin aluminum, which can become more flexible with use, so this makes some sense to me. I've got a 1991 (and a 1931) National in which I replaced the cone for National's more recent "hot rod" cones and ended up switching back because I preferred the sound of the cone that is 20+ years old.

View Postonewilyfool, on 08 April 2012 - 02:31 PM, said:

2. My wife, who will occasionally say something like, "That guitar sounds nice", really doesn't care much about my "hobby", but when she heard this one, she let me know that she wants this one when I die!!!


It's not a good sign when you get another guitar and your wife starts fantasizing about her life after you're dead.

View Postonewilyfool, on 08 April 2012 - 02:31 PM, said:

3. As you know (National owners) or can guess (non-owners), these guitars are heavy, about 9.5 lbs., easily twice any of my acoustics. Because of this extra weight, I've been struggling trying to find a position that is comfortable for playing. The two I seem to stumble on are lying in bed with the guitar resting on my stomach, or sitting in a chair, assuming the "classical guitar position. I have not tried a strap yet, maybe that will help. Any suggestions appreciated.


Yeah, the classical position works best for me when I play my tricone.

View Postonewilyfool, on 08 April 2012 - 02:31 PM, said:

4. I can easily see this as a blues machine, and even when I play jazz, the comping sounds great, leads are fantastic, but I'm finding my arrangements of Beatles songs just don't fly on this thing. So, my question is what other KINDS of music do you guys play on your resonators? Do you have any youtube stuff you could share, I'd be interested in seeing your techniques on non-blues songs.


Well, I've already shared my old tyme tune on my style 1 tricone. I really think that Nationals in general and tricones in particular are more versatile than most folks believe. My advice is just to try every style you play and see what you and your audience think. You could ask your wife, too, but she's already thinking of her new life after you've departed this one.

#10 User is offline   BluesKing777 

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 08:00 PM

[quote name='onewilyfool' timestamp='1333917072' post='1173700']
My wife, who will occasionally say something like, "That guitar sounds nice", really doesn't care much about my "hobby", but when she heard this one, she let me know that she wants this one when I die!!!

The woman DO love a shiny guitar! Keep that polishin' cloth in its case. Ask at the gig for some bright lights to blind the patrons.

these guitars are heavy, about 9.5 lbs., easily twice any of my acoustics.

Only 9.5 lbs? I don't know what my bell-brass metal Dobro weighs, but it is a LOT. Great guitar to have a roadie! (Hey the gig is on the third floor can't see a lift?)
Avoid the tennis elbow by having him pass it to you body first....(I had tennis knee and tennis neck from playing my Dobro and I really love the feather weight Gibson LGs)

You could use a strap even when sitting to stop it sliding around, or you could get a few more of those armrests for top and bottom?

If desperate, you could do a bit of weight-relieving on the back (Get the tin snips and cut the back off!)

I saw a video of Junior Brown playing a twin neck electric that he made - strat/tele style on one neck and lap slide on the other neck - he had a stand with the guitar already on it ready to walk up to and play!
http://www.youtube.c...h?v=VRMNeoaosQw


You need heavier sets of strings to make them sound good with bottleneck - a compromise setting is a compromise setting! Sore fingers for standard tuning playing or rubbish sound for bottleneck? Your decision.

And lastly, someone else mentioned Bob Brozman - get everything he has done and worship at the feet of the National Master!!



BluesKing777.


#11 User is offline   zombywoof 

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 08:28 PM

I really only have one piece of advice that I learned the hard way.

Because the cone is held in place by tension, change the strings a few at a time rather than all at once.

Now, in the inspiration category you gotta start with Bukka White. Story is he played so hard that when somebody once loaned him a guitar he got it back all dented up

http://youtu.be/bsMpHHSLSlc

Then there is the guy who many decades ago got me started off - Son House. Pure emotion and raw power.

http://youtu.be/NdgrQoZHnNY
__________________________________________________


"I play so rough - I stomp 'em"
Bukka White

#12 User is offline   pschaafs 

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 08:38 PM

put it on a stand and play with a bar...

#13 User is offline   Rambler 

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 09:04 PM

Hold it? Paul Rishell, folkie stle. Solid support on right knee, but that lowered left shoulder could be a problem.

Play it? Another old time clip (Dave Holt with Doc Watson).
"As through this world you ramble, you meet some funny men. Some rob you with a six-gun, some rob you with a fountain pen"
Woodrow WIlson Guthrie.

"Aint no easy job to sit down and play guitar!" Rev. Gary Davis

#14 User is offline   Rambler 

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 06:29 AM

To play, con'td. Here's another one.


No blues, no 'billies, no bottle.
"As through this world you ramble, you meet some funny men. Some rob you with a six-gun, some rob you with a fountain pen"
Woodrow WIlson Guthrie.

"Aint no easy job to sit down and play guitar!" Rev. Gary Davis

#15 User is offline   pfox14 

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 10:35 AM

Don't know much about Nationals, but I would love to see some pix. Is it engraved?

#16 User is offline   onewilyfool 

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 10:05 AM

Guys, thanks for all the comments, advice and support. I will get pics up soon, this one is NOT engraved.....but I could shave myself in the mirror reflection of the back! And by the way, that was just my wife's way of saying, "Don't sellthis one!"......I think.......anyway, I have all of you as witnesses, right??? :rolleyes:
"The sole of my shoes is thin, and I'll soon be on my feet again" Lonnie Johnson

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