Post by Michael Messer on May 19, 2006 10:20:09 GMT
As Mark & Rick have pointed out, this is a pretty well documented piece of National/Dobro history. The problem with so much of what has become 'the Bible' of this subject, is that it is only seen from an American collectors point of view. UK collectors and National 'coneheads' - Mark Makin, Steve Phillips, Mark Knopfler, Stan Jolly, Colin Brooks, Colin McCubbin, Chris Trigg, Bob Greenwood, Mike Cooper, myself ....and a few that I haven't mentioned, have known about the UK history of these instruments for many years.
In addition to Mark & Rick's excellent posts - many National & Dobro guitars did come into the UK with the US forces.
Yeah, its nice to get back but its nice to have been away.... Wonder what song John Lennon was playing there, he doesnt seem to have a slide on, and I'm sure someone will come up with where that guitar is now and how little they paid for it.....!
Us poor suckers who got into playng these instruments late have missed the boat as far as getting vintage bargains, apparently Mark Knopfler paid a pittance for his back in the early 80s and I bet J.L. got his Tricone for a song too. I remember even in the early 1980s steel bodied guitars were going for very little money, punk was all the rage (with me too, nostalgia, it ain't what it used to be) no-one wanted guitars that looked like theyd fallen off a black and white photo. As for manufacturers producing copies for sale on the mass market, well it would have been commercial disaster. Now its very diiferent. We all have to make do with Chinese and Korean copies, good as they may be. Mind you as far as electric guitars are concerned you can get some awesome 80s guitars for very little cash, SH Gordon+Smiths and Westones/Westburys are going for tiny ammounts and they are very playable axes indeed. Search em out!
Heres something else I found, Resophonic Guitars on Album Covers.
Post by Michael Messer on May 21, 2006 10:39:19 GMT
Yeah....good to be back, but now we're drifting again!
I realize that it is very difficult/expensive for anybody getting into collecting Nationals & Dobros these days. It has been that way since the mid 1980s when Dire Straits 'Brothers In Arms' was on every record deck on the planet. Although saying that, the Style 2 Tricone (now owned by Mark Makin) in 79/80 was £750 or £850, which back then was a lot of money.
I remember in 1983 having a conversation with Mike Cooper, and he was very proud of the fact that his Style ! Tricone was worth the best part of £1000. Mike bought his Style 1 Tricone in a second-hand shop in Reading for a few quid (£8 / £10 / £12) in 1957, I forget the exact amount, but around £10. Mark Knopfler bought his Style O in Wales (if I remember the story correctly) for £50 (it was early 70s, not 80s). Due to Mark's fame that guitar is now priceless.
So although Nationals do cost a serious amount of money these days, generally it is all relative. I remember buying a Style 1 square-neck in London from Chris Trigg in 1987, I paid £900. In 1985 I bought a Style O from Gruhn's in Nashville for £500. I seem to remember paying Mark Makin £350 for a Duolian in 1983. In 1981 I bought a brand new Dobro 33H which cost me £330.
Back in the 1920s you would have had to be pretty wealthy to afford a National Tricone, even back then they were very expensive.
There are still bargains to be found - I just got a 1938 Dobro for the price of an Ozark (I will add the story to this forum when I get the time), and quite a few of our forum compadres have bought great guitars from eBay at really good prices.
Around 1969/70, the going rate for Duolians, at least, the ones I bought/saw, was around £100/£120 (I once turned down a pristine roundneck Style 1offered as a straight swap for one - oops!); ten years later, I paid £250 for a Duo, which chimed with my notion that the prices doubled about every ten years, roughly on a par with inflation - but on that basis, the price should now be c £1500, so they've gotten a little ahead of themselves, presumably due to the 'Knopfler factor'/scarcity/rich retired baby-boomers,One of the more painful aspects of being old enough to have bought & sold instruments back then is the nuggets that one let slip away ( eg a late 40s Brazilian rosewood Martin 000 28 for £150 that would have eased my fast-approaching pension years somewhat ) - congrats on that Dobro, Mike, good to know that bargains can still be had; don't s'pose anyone will ever cap Cooper's tricone tho - what's that in today's money? £200 - sheesh ( they must've seen HIM coming! )..
Post by Michael Messer on May 21, 2006 11:50:12 GMT
I remember seeing Nationals for sale in London in the late sixties and early seventies for around the £100 too.
In addition to the Mike Cooper Tricone - The shop actually had two round-neck Tricones, but sadly Mike could only afford one of them!
I think you are right about the Tricone being used on 'Attica State'. John did play slide, the famous one is on 'Let It Be' ...the song is 'For You Blue' ..."Go Johnny Go", which I seem to remember posting a photo on this forum a while ago of John playing lap steel with a plastic lighter. Does anyone have a copy of the photo of John with the Dobro? (I think it was in the 'Imagine' film, the uncut version?)
Just returning to the PANDA for one last time - This is the actual quote from Bob when it last got mentioned on IGS
"Oh, THIS poor guitar! It has been bought and sold at least 20 times in the last 15 years, nobody ever keeps it, it is like a curse. In fact in went through my hands twice. Once in the late 80s I looked at it at 3,000 and passed on it. And again it became avaalble to borrow for Tone Poems 3, and you can hear it played, and how weak it sounds. This guitar was cobbled together during or just after WW2, made from various parts: model 97 neck, style 2 coverplate, TENOR guitar T-bridge, coverplate as installed was crooked, back and top are really rigid, braced, coated with wierd black goop over wierd metal powder goop, in short, this thing is really a dog.
My take on wood bodt tricones is that they sound pretty good, but you don't get a sense of the cone system REALLY driving the body very much. Still, nothing is ever finished!
I found this blogger's description of John Lennon playing the tricone:
Tue Dec 28, 2004 John Lennon's Dobro
I've been obsessed with finding a picture of John playing bottle neck slide dobro since first hearing "John Sinclair" on the Lennon boxed set.
I found a bootleg VHS of the famous December 1971 Ann Arbor rally for John Sinclair. Although the event was filmed, the footage was never been officially released. Audio from this show was culled for the boxed set (and the newly released "Acoustic"). But the VHS was of such poor quality that I couldn't even make out what he was playing!
Next I found a home-made DVD on eBay which was a compilation of several of John's early 70's TV talk show appearances. On the David Frost show from January 13, 1972 he played "John Sinclair". Unfortunately there are no clear views of John's dobro. Frost's head gets in the way of the stage right camera, and Yoko is holding a piece of paper (the lyrics?), which partially blocks the center camera view
The best snapshots are shown here and John appears to be playing a National Tricone roundneck. Two of the three characteristics of this model are clearly visible on the video: the slotted head and the distinctive grid pattern soundholes on upper body. I can almost make out the T-shaped bridge cover which would definitely nail it as the Tricone model. Unfortunately there is not a crystal clear shot of the bridge.
And for those who haven't seen it, here's the picture of John playing the Hofner lap steel -- with a plastic lighter as a slide -- on "For You Blue." (George Harrison not only says "Go, Johnny, go!" but he adds "Elmore James' got nothing on this baby." You may not agree ... )
Hi all There's a nice pic of Keef & Mick in this month's 'Guitarist'. Keef is playing a National. I played the 1930s National German silver tricone in the resocentre on Saturday. Great guitar, but £6,000...? silverslider
Hi guy`s I just saw a documentary on Swedish TV about the hippie movement in the US in the 60`s There was an interview with Pete Fonda and in the background there was a National single cone whit non ribbed cover plate,any one seen it?