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
Just had a long conversation with Steve Evans and I thought I'd ask him about "numbers" while I was on the phone. Off the top of his head he believes there were 270ish instruments of all types made of metal. In the early years, all instruments had a letter prefix detailing the type of instrument - a ukulele had a U prefix, mandolin had M and Triplates had a T prefix. He remembers that the last series numbered Triplate was T042. After this, which was around late 1994, all instruments were sequentially numbered without a prefix. All the metal bodied instruments were finished by 2003 in New Zealand. He thinks the last Triplate was made in 1995 and there were something like 80 made in total.
Although Mark it is.not the end of the tale, when Steve Evans had gone back to N/z Bill Johnson continued to make a few metal bodies, Dave King was commisioned to make a few Triplates for the London Resonator centre called Angel Resonators, Dave then bought up the last bodies Bill ever made and made a batch of single cones in 2006, I had one commisioned with a 12 Fret body a custom coverplate and a flamed sycamore neck, knowing what I know now Mahogany is the warmest sounding wood for a resonator and is my preferred choice. For a neck Lee
One time I was in Dave King’s workshop in his back garden, I think, circa late 2002, or early 2003, I think. He had a GOLD-plated Tricone he was building, for I think he said a local Police Chief, or something. I think I have a photo of the body with neck on, but no cones or coverplate. I’ll look for the photo. This was when he was making me a Baritone neck for an ex-bakelite necked Triolian. I was in Windsor one day a monthly for a Dental course, and would phone him to check on it’s progress - and he’d say it was nearly finished - and then I asked if I could pop round in an hour, to find he only had a pencil sketch of a neck outline, on a slab of wood, which he possibly did in the hour it took me to get there !! But you can’t rush quality !!!
My own brass-bodied plated Triplate (#104) was built for me in April 1997 - Steve Evans modelled the neck shape from my buddies '30 Style 0 (rounded, not 'V' shaped) and we drove up to Leeds to collect it.
Whilst there he confirmed the brass-bodied Tri-plates were coming to an end, but he still had several bodies in his shop awaiting completion