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
Hi, I recently got a National Radio Tone Bendaway. It needed a clean (made 12/00 & I bought new 08/04, so it had been in the shop for a while!!) & a change of strings. I took off all the strings to clean it up. I hadn't realised that the bridge just sits on the cone and it 'rattled about' as I cleaned it up. Anyway after a clean & new strings it sounds great (Newtones of course!!) but I just wondered how one is supposed to change strings - just one at a time?, how do you know the bridge is in the correct place or can't you mess up? Suggestions for keeping the pan bright would also be appreciated (UK materials). This resonator thing is all consuming!! Thanks
Post by David Kampmann on Nov 6, 2004 21:39:36 GMT
Well, I don't know how to allign the bisquit right, if there's a correct method of ensuring that your intonation is as good as possible, but I always change strings on my Nationals one at a time. Take off the low D, put the new on, and so forth. Keeping a relatively constant pressure on the bridge/resonator assemble is usually recommended. The general word is that you shouldn't disassemble your National lest there be an imperative reason to do so.
Enjoy your bendaway - last I heard they kick butt - albeit in a sweet sort of way
Thanks David. Yes, it is a great guitar and sounds BRILL with a bit of reverb thro an amp (highlander pickup is great). Does anyone know of where I can see a clear diagram/photo as to how the bridge sits on the cone as I can't visualise it. National suggest wax polish to stop the metal tarnishing quickly - what UK wax product does anyone suggest? And isn't it harder to clean if most of the strings are still on?!! I have emailed National TWICE in the last 6 weeks but NO RESPONSE at all...!!!!!
If you want to protect your guitar against sweat, smoke, beer and anything else that could hit it, you should use a light coat of car wax. I use regular old fashioned Turtle Wax on all my guitars, it is a fantastic water resistant protector. I don't put it on the fingerboard or the neck because it feels a little squeaky when you play. A little lemon oil once or twice a year on the fingerboard will clean, feed & protect it. Turtle Wax on the body, coverplate & headstock, but remember >>>It will polish up and become more shiny than the factory finish.
If you are worried about doing this with the strings on, just leave the two outer ones on (slightly tuned down) and everything will stay in place. Don't be scared of your National guitar, it is very tough and will withstand 50 years of professional use & abuse. The only way to learn about this stuff is to live with it, use it & enjoy it. It is better not to take it apart if you don't know what you are doing, but if you are sensible, logical & careful, you cannot do any harm. These instruments are tools and should be used and treated like you would treat a good quality set of tools.
If your cone moves and the intonation goes out, you will have to put it back - use a tuner to get a good note on the open string and at the 12th fret. DO NOT MOVE THE CONE WITH THE STRINGS IN TUNE > slacken them down a little, move the cone with a pen or stick and tune the strings up again.
The bridge sits on the cone like a handle on a saucepan lid, If I can find a picture I will post it on this thread. A great way to see how your guitar is assembled is to take it on a plane as hand-luggage (they won't let you do it these days) - but the X ray machine, especially the new colour ones, are fantastic for seeing the construction!
The Highlander pickup system is unquestionably the best way to amplify a National, that is apart from a good quality microphone (Shure SM57 is the dogs B****X). One thing to remember is that Highlanders do sound pretty good through guitar amps, but they are really designed to be used through PA systems and acoustic amps, not electric guitar amps. I have never got a satisfactory sound from plugging a Highlander into an electric guitar amp. However....If it sounds good to you, that's okay, it is your sound! Keep in touch & best wishes, Shine On, Michael.
Thanks for your response Michael, really good & helpful. Yes, you're right I do mean the coverplate!! (it sorta looks like a pan to me!!). And, as you say, the guitar is probably a lot tougher than me; but the bridge being loose did suprised me, but thinking about it in retrospect there is no other way of adjusting for intonation - dooh!. On a general note, I'm really impressed with this forum. Keep on keeping on!
Hello new to the forum and this thread looks like a good place to start. I've been toying for years with acoustic and electric guitars as an amateur luther taking good candidate low/mid range instruments, modifying with quality nuts/saddles and setups with some good outcomes for my personal use. This past year I dove into the world of resonator guitars acquiring a Korean made Dean steel body (a discontinued National single cone copy) with a black chrome finish). My current style of play is fretted notes versus slide and I intend on setting the guitar up close to a regular acoustic. I would like to learn everything I can about resonator setups and have some snips of information from varying resources (Stewmac, National, Paul Beard, etc.) and would really like a good book but it seems to be a stealthy topic. In the quest I emailed Mike who suggested this forum.
My refurbishment project includes replacing the original plastic nut with a delrin zero glide (I would have used bone on a regular nut but I like zero frets), new cone (have one from National and Beard Guitars to see which one I prefer difference being the National is stamped with the spirals/dimples after spinning and the Beard one is smooth turned, and a new biscuit which I opted for the National Revolution system (aluminum biscuit/varying wood species saddles).
Here goes the questions:
a. Is there a good complete book on the topic? b. My theory on the cone is that the Beard cone will be more true/responsive than the National Hot Rod because there is no stamping post turning (down side as far as I can tell is that it may be less durable where as the National cone form has more structure to it). Opinions? c. How tight should biscuit mounting screw be? Got it that it shouldn't be cranked down but something like hand tight + 1/8 - 1/4 of a turn? d. Biscuit gluing to cone or not. Stewmac does not recommend, Beard does, Nationals instructions on the Revolution system doesn't call for it. Again I'm going to try the National aluminum biscuit thus it attached to the cone with a machine screw versus a wood screw. I could see the need to thread seal or use a nylon keyed lock screw to keep it where set but what about the gluing to the cone? The aluminum biscuit will not expand/contract due to environment. Opinions? e. I will want the best intonation that I can get with my playing style and plan to have the action at 12th fret down to 4/64 bass perhaps 3/64 treble depending on multiple factors. The National saddles are also compensated but from what I've read the cone position is of primary importance and is advised that it floats. Tips and Tracks?
I'm sure there is more but before over extending my welcome, look forward to working with all you.
Beard make excellent Dobro cones, NRP make excellent biscuit cones, each top of there respective trees. mounting screw is just tight enough, I use titebond glue as well. Intonation = very slight rotation of cone, if it were a clock it would be 29 minutes past 11. The national saddles are not compensated, the new contraption they have devised is like the phillips video disc......