This is the place to ask Michael Messer and other forum members questions relating to National, Dobro and other resophonic musical instruments. Also questions and comments relating to National, Dobro, Supro, Valco amplifiers. No commercial advertising. To ask Mark Makin questions about anything in the Palm Trees, Senoritas & Rocket Ships thread, start a new thread in National Avenue
I just came into possession of a wood-bodied Triolian; from reading through Mark Makin's book, it looks like a very early one. It has flowers instead of the hula girl, a stenciled logo, and no primer under the paint. Unfortunately, it also has a replacement cone and biscuit, and the neck has bowed significantly. I strung it up at low tension into an open chord and it was amazingly loud as a lap steel, but I'm not sure if it can be made playable for fingerstyle without major surgery. The neck has already been off at least once, but it's the relief rather than the angle that's the big problem.
I doubt that heat-straightening will completely remove the bow. Would it kill the value of this guitar to remove the board and insert a stiffening rod of some kind? I'd have it done professionally, of course, but I also don't want to desecrate a piece of history in the eyes of the guitar market. I'd be perfectly happy to keep using it Hawaiian-style with a nut extender.
Also, I noticed that it doesn't have a "PAT APLD FOR" stamp like many other wood-bodied Triolians. Does anyone know what patent number this refers to? Presumably, this guitar was built before that patent application was filed.
My opinion: these guitars were meant to be played. Do what’s needed to make it playable in a way you can enjoy. You won’t want to ever part with it once it’s set up to your preferred style, so resale value won’t be an issue.
Post by Michael Messer on Mar 9, 2018 23:21:51 GMT
You have a very beautiful and rare guitar there. I agree that guitars like this were built to play, but 90 years after it was built it should be treated with great respect. There are plenty of old and new resonator guitars around that can be played and gigged with, but this is a special one and should IMHO be treated as such.
My advice is to talk with Mike Lewis (Fine Resophonic Guitars) in Paris, France, about what should be done and the best way to do it.
There are very few 1928 National Triolians like this in existence and there will never be any more, so before doing anything to it, talk to someone that knows these instruments and is passionate about playing them and preserving them. Mike has a collection of wood bodied National Triolians and would not touch your guitar without serious consideration about what should be done.
If you would like to call Mike, PM me and I’ll put you in touch.
Lovely guitar. Just wondering why the fret markers are on the 13th.fret? Looks like they may be covering a couple of screws added for whatever reason. Attempt along with the new pitprop to do a neck reset possibly.
Yup, they're definitely replacement screw caps from when the neck was taken off. I'm hoping they can be replaced with wood that can be painted to match the board.
Paris is a bit impractical for me, so I gave Marc Schoenberger a call in California. He suggested a couple of things that I don't think my normal restoration folks have experience with, so I'm going to send him the guitar. I guess I was never really comfortable with adding a stiffening rod, for exactly the reasons Michael mentioned.
Now that that's settled, I'm interested in any historical info you guys have. Any idea how many were built with this configuration?
Pretty cool that it has the tricone style fancy headstock shape.
There may actually be a support rod in the neck. If you take the fingerboard off you will find out. Sometimes they come loose and can be reglued or replaced. I would not consider that a desecration if done correctly it should enhance the instrument.