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
So I swapped out the cone from the Duolian and I am now looking at restoring the equilibrium, I already have a mid 30's cone lying around (they are everywhere!!) so I have to organise a biscuit as the original is long gone along with it,s 4 tacks. Michael kindly supplied me with a biscuit last year and I need to elongate the saddle as we are talking square neck spacing, luckily I have a strip of boxwood and cut a few samples. One is thicknesses down to the slot and glued in my handy dandy mobile clamp. The pictures should show more and I will update in a few days when we move to the next stage.
Cutting saddles from scratch is very rewarding IMO. With varying degrees of success, all I use is a hand saw, several files and a couple of kitchen knives (bread knives work well) to cut the slots. I'm a fan of compensating them too. TT
New cone arrived swiftly from Thoman unfortunately I am sending it back as there is a crease/line in the cone. It arrived intact so I am thinking it is a manufacturing defect or it occurred in Germany. So the saga rolls on.....
Very Sad to see a 85 years survivor dying, just for cutting a saddle too high.
You don't need that height, it doesn't allow to bring back the coveplate, so why?
One milimeter or two ad so much weight on the cone, its bad for the sound, and very risky specialy on an old cone with years of work, keep the sadlle around 1/4'' (on the last picture it looks better).
NRP cone are stiffer than the old ones but can be crushed too with that kind of tall saddle.
Its way better to strung up your guitar with the coveplate, the body wasn't rigid at all, the cover helps to keep everything in the right place and helps to mixing the frequencies to the sound we all love.
(Beautiful Duolian with the enigmatic "Sears" coverplate, I wish you find an issue, I'am also a "Sears" lover; that's why I'm registered on this forum after years of reading, hope my english wasen't too bad).
Vastopol thanks for the observations but it is a square neck so all of the angles haven to be taken into consideration to get the 15 or so degree break over the cone. What is not apparent from the photos is it is down to the correct height and break angle prior to tensioning up, prior to this the cone had been removed from its original 4 tack saddle fixing and had to be massaged back into shape, I got it as a freebie from a friend but it had sung it,s last alas
the damage was done before I got it so it was always going to be a long shot at success. The last picture with the Omi cone shows the successful fitting but it has not got the dynamics required in tone sustain and harmonics, the picture of the saddle sprayed black is how it finished up on the National and the Omi cone so although it looks extreme in the photos but I can assure you it was not. Hopefully Thoman will come up with the goods soon and I will see an end to this saga. I am aware of the sound properties with the coverplate creating the echo chamber although I disagree that the neck stick will provide more rigidity than needed for the setup. To set up and get the height and angles I never go beyond a 1/4 Tension then when happy take it up to pitch. I have done one or two of these over the years. Regards Lee
Its fine I am always nervous myself realising there are not too many chances to get it right, this old girl came with a Hotrod cone already in situ so I had no qualms regarding transplanting it into the fiddle edge, I am working towards getting a Hotrod back in situ and using resources as I go on the journey, the 30,s cone was a long shot it had already been reshape do around the biscuit so much like our politicians it,s integrity was already in question. Making the saddles has been fun although the Cone was a let down so far. Of interest is the Sears coverplate is held on with only five screws yet there are a lot more factory holes???
(cheapskates) It also had no endblock behind the neckstick as it is post 35 which meant everything was floating, as luck would have it I had a 36 style 2 in bits last year so used the endblock from that to template out an endblock out of some 50 year old seasoned mahogany that is cluttering the garage, if I can resize the photos that is an interesting project also.
I'am very glad to peep an eye under that coverplate! Thanks for sharing these pics.
My twelve frets Sears Duolian also got 13 holes; but she's got some square holes...yes, the ones needed for fitting a "Hooks on plate"!
They keep just one hole in common, and redrill four holes on a standard nine holes body, clever idea, but I wonder if birth of the Sears coverplate could be explained by another fact.(I will talk about it on another thread).
Your instrument look like new, beautiful; Mark makin had located only seven 14 fretters with a Sears plate, so you are very-very lucky.
Do you really feel necessary to dismantle that beauty, and add something? It could be safer to find a more common pre 35, originaly fitted with the end block. I don't know if this wood block gives more sound, so I never had the luck of playing a 14 fret model, or compare pre / or post 35.
(Very sad to know your style 2 was broken...do you talk about a Squareneck tricone?)