National Style 3 Tricone Squareneck Resophonic Guitar (1931)

National  Style 3 Tricone Squareneck Resophonic Guitar  (1931)
$9,500.00 + shipping
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Item # 11851
Prices subject to change without notice.
National Style 3 Tricone Squareneck Model Resophonic Guitar (1931), made in Los Angeles, California, serial # 2396, nickel plated finish, German silver body, ebony fingerboard, original black hard shell case.

This Style 3 Tricone is the nicest example we have ever seen of this truly beautiful Hawaiian National, a visual feast of a guitar. While not the absolute top of the line, the Style 3 like all Tricones was finest instrument of its type made in 1931; some would say ever! The National Tricone is generally considered the best sounding of all acoustic Hawaiian guitars, the "state of the art" steel guitar from the jazz age. "The Tricone guitar flowed like a river" is how inventor John Dopyera described the sound decades later.

Built in 1931 just after the 1920's Jazz Age party came crashing down, this is a wonderful representative Style 3. This Tricone was one of the most superlative resonator instruments made by National, just under the top of the line from 1928-1940. Much rarer than the plain Style 1, the Style 3 with its elaborate "lily of the Valley" engraving is not quite the fanciest but to some the most aesthetically pleasing of all Nationals. This pattern was designed by John Dopyera himself, along with his wife and is extremely finely executed.

The Tricone is built on a German silver body with an integral sheathed wood-core neck. Style 3 models feature a bound ebony fingerboard inlayed with pearl diamonds while the headstock is faced in pearloid decorated with an engraved National shield logo at the top. The flowing floral engraving pattern covers the top, back and sides of the body. This one is additionally engraved "Ellen Goodart" on the bass side of the neck for the player who originally ordered it. She was likely in Canada (or possibly overseas) as the guitar is additionally engraved "Made in USA" below the patent numbers on the face. Whoever Ellen was, she had the means to order a $145 guitar during one of the worst years of the depression.

This guitar plays is immaculately preserved and perfectly and with the smooth deep Tricone sound, fabulous for both the original Hawaiian style or other 6-string steel guitar playing. These ultra-modern fancy resophonic guitars would continue to be built until WWII, but only in small numbers as the great bulk of National's production from 1930 on would be the far cheaper single cone instruments, and eventually those new-fangled electrics by the end of the decade. The company's early publicity proclaimed the National Silver Guitars "The Greatest Musical Sensation of the Age" and before electricity took over they were not far wrong!
Overall length is 38 7/8 in. (98.7 cm.), 14 1/8 in. (35.9 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 3 1/8 in. (7.9 cm.) in depth at side, taken at the end block. Scale length is 25 in. (635 mm.). Width of nut is 2 in. (51 mm.).

This Style 3 shows only very light wear overall and remains a superb, completely original piece. The nickel plated finish is still bright; there is typical light scuffing overall and some small areas of wear but no major loss. The elevated handrest on the coverplate shows the only notable plating loss on the bass side and wear into the metal along the front edge; this is typical as the player's hand rests in that spot. There are only the tiniest dings overall, and the body edges are still crisp without the common dents. The engraved pearloid headstock logo is bold and crisp.

All hardware is original including the three cones, cast tri-bar, bone nut, stamped metal tailpiece and the engraved Waverly strip tuners. The cones and saddle are in excellent playing condition and produce the lush warm sound Tricones are prized for. This stunningly preserved instrument is a lovely reminder of the original golden age of Hawaiian music and a splendid slide guitar for any style of play. It resides in the rare original hard case, with a enlarged reprint of a newspaper article seemingly from 1926 enigmatically describing Miss Goodart as "A clever guitar player". Whoever she was she procured an exceptionally fine instrument in 1931, and apparently took loving care of it for generations. Overall Excellent Condition.