« "These are a few of my favorite things" #7 - Venta Airwasher | Main | Cavins tenor guitar - Part 2: Sonic representations of wasabi, grapefruit, and orange »

1930 National Tricone Squareneck

I have become increasingly enamored with my Beard Vintage R squareneck resonator recently. I've had it for years, but have just rediscovered it in the back of my closet. While I’m clearly still a beginner, I can play proficiently in an intermediate bluegrass jam, assuming things stay in the key of G or A.

Over the weekend I headed over to the semi-annual Philadelphia Guitar show. I hadn't been in a couple of years, and I’ve never purchased a guitar there, but it’s a fun way to spend a couple of hours. Since I’m pretty flush with flattop guitars, other than the vintage Martins and Gibsons I couldn’t afford, I spent more of my time browsing the vintage Dobros, Nationals, and other lap steels. There were a couple of interesting Gibson house-brand instruments with original Hawaiian set-ups (a blonde Kalamazoo Oriole and a sunburst Recording King Carson Robison Model-K), but the guitar that captured my attention was a National Style 1 Squareneck Tricone.

This particular National was being offered by a dealer from Arkansas who had made his way up to Philadelphia for the show. He acquired the instrument from the family of the original owner in Kansas City. The serial number dates it to 1930, and it is in remarkable condition. There are no big dings or dents, and it is purported to be all original, including the tuners (i.e., have the correct engravings) and cones. The dealer even mentioned that the screws on the coverplate look untouched, so the coverplate may never have been removed.

This was my first experience with a squareneck National, and I played it for about 15 minutes, enjoying it thoroughly, then headed on to check out the rest of the show. Low and behold, I run into another nearly identical National Style 1 Squareneck Tricone of similar vintage at another booth. This one had neck binding that was coming off, was more banged up, had rattles and buzzes coming from the cones, and was several hundred dollars more. After making a couple of more laps around the show, I ended up back with the first National from Kansas City via Arkansas. And after spending another half-hour with it, I decided to bring it home with me. And luckily I didn’t put it down, because as I was closing the deal, another gentleman came over to (potentially) purchase it.

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>