National Style N Resophonic Guitar (1932)

National  Style N Resophonic Guitar  (1932)
This item has been sold.
Item # 11972
Prices subject to change without notice.
National Style N Model Resophonic Guitar (1932), made in Los Angeles, California, serial # S-3432, nickel plated finish, German silver body, brass coverplate; mahogany neck with ebony fingerboard, black tolex hard shell case.

This is a really superb example of one of the rarest pre-war Nationals, the 1932 Style N single-cone resonator guitar. While the brass body, Hawaiian-decorated Style 0 was one of the company's 1930s mainstays the less flashy but higher-priced Style N was pretty much a non-starter, built in only very small numbers from 1930-34.

The Style N was originally designed to be the highest grade single cone National, built with the same materials as the top-line Tricones but using the new single-cone layout. The body is made of German silver, not brass or steel and the mahogany neck has a bound ebony fingerboard. All Style Ns have a 12-fret neck and "flat cut" F-holes on the body. The round coverplate is the same as the Style 0, made of plated brass. Visually the style N is distinguished by a flashy pearloid-faced headstock with an engraved National shield logo and etched border. In contrast, the body is plain nickel plate with no decoration at all.

This plain body put it at a disadvantage to the Style 0, the most striking of National's single cone guitars. That model's gleaming nickel plated body had heavily decorated surfaces with sandblasted Hawaiian scenes. In 1932 the Style N sold for $85.00, $22.50 more than the Style 0 but $40 less than the least expensive Tricone model. The Style 0 was hard to beat for its combination of volume, tone, and sheer visual appeal and in those economically tough times the Style N was massively outsold by it, finally discontinued in 1934.

As a result, even many dedicated resonator fans have never played one of these. This is a great feeling and sounding guitar, generally similar to the more familiar Style 0 with a slightly darker, rounder tone than most. The neck is round-backed, a bit chunkier than some Nationals with just a hint of a spine and very comfortable. The Style N may be not much more than a footnote in National history but is a truly fine instrument still, a rewarding guitar to play especially for period musical styles with the spotlight on early blues.
Overall length is 38 3/4 in. (98.4 cm.), 14 1/4 in. (36.2 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 3 3/8 in. (8.6 cm.) in depth, measured at side of rim. Scale length is 25 in. (635 mm.). Width of nut is 1 13/16 in. (46 mm.).

This is an very fine example of this rare National creation, used but not abused and overall one of the nicest we have seen. There is some fairly light wear to the nickel plating from years of contact with players' hands, most notably on the coverplate just above the handrest, the usual upper body armwear spot and the side just below the neck heel. There are some small isolated dents to the back, top and sides; only a couple are deep enough to be really noticeable. Overall the metal body and plating are better preserved than many period Nationals with this easily worn nickel finish.

The tuners, tailpiece, cone and biscuit are original, the saddle has been lowered slightly but still has some meat to it. The neck finish is original with some light scrapes and dings mostly towards the heel end. The guitar was neatly refretted some time back with appropriate wire and is a fine player, with a straight neck and the action optimized for the mixed finger/slide technique typical of Delta blues playing. This is a fabulous sounding guitar, with the deep rich ring of the best single cones touched with a hint of Tricone sweetness courtesy of the German silver body. This is the only Style N we have had in 20+ years and one of the best and rarest Nationals we have had the pleasure of offering. Overall Excellent - Condition.