National Model 1122 Cosmopolitan Solid Body Electric Guitar (1953)

National  Model 1122 Cosmopolitan Solid Body Electric Guitar  (1953)
$1,650.00 + shipping
Buy Now
Item # 12007
Prices subject to change without notice.
National Model 1122 Cosmopolitan Model Solid Body Electric Guitar (1953), made in Chicago, serial # X-24048, sunburst lacquer finish, maple body and neck, rosewood fingerboard, original brown hard shell case.

This diminutive early 1950's electric guitar is a very cool and unusual National, one of the first series of "Spanish" solid body models from their line. National's Model 1122 is a contemporary of the first Les Pauls and their initial answer to the Fender Broadcaster/Telecaster which set the guitar world on its ear in 1950-51. National/Valco was one of the first companies to follow Fender down this road, although this is a somewhat primitive instrument in some ways it is a well-built and great sounding if not particularly versatile electric. It was originally issued just as the "Solid Body Electric Model 1122" but the name "Cosmopolitan' was added in 1954.

The small non-cutaway solid body is just over 11" wide, single bound and finished in a dark orangey sunburst. It is most likely made of maple and appears to have a mahogany veneer over the bound top and back. The full scale heel-less "Stylist" neck is maple with metal core, topped with an unbound dot-inlaid rosewood fingerboard. It is set into the body with a pivoting screw-on flange allowing some angle adjustment covered with a cream plastic cover over the heel. The headstock is faced in black plastic with a contrasting white plastic "National" logo; the very earliest ones still had the older metal logo shield. The tuners are Kluson Deluxe strips.

The electronics are the quirkiest part of the design. The powerful early Valco pickup is mounted floating over the body, pinned to the treble end of the fingerboard. It has 6 small screw polepieces set into a contrasting cream stripe in the black plastic cover. The controls housed in a hollow molded plastic shell on the treble side that sits over the top of the body; there are no routs in the body itself. The controls are tone and volume; the tone works in reverse of the standard practice. The trapeze tailpiece and adjustable wooden bridge are standard Valco fare.

This guitar was built in 1953, the model's second year. It has the earlier control array but the second logo style; the pots are dated to the 19th week of 1952. This is the most basic version; these models were also offered with a cutaway and two pickups. The small body and full scale neck make for a very compact but practical package; it looks rather like a lap steel turned on its side! The original list price in 1952 was $100 (plus $20 for the case) and National described the 1122 as "Compact and graceful". They continued "Electronics as applied to guitars has resulted in some revolutionary changes, and (the) Model 1122 has become widely popular as a fine example of the new trend in Electric Spanish Guitars". This is a very nice playing and chunky sounding guitar, easy handling and perfect for swampy sounds and rootsy blues.
Overall length is 37 in. (94 cm.), 11 1/16 in. (28.1 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 1 5/8 in. (4.1 cm.) in depth, measured at side of rim. Scale length is 24 3/4 in. (629 mm.). Width of nut is 1 5/8 in. (41 mm.).

This cool and funky 70 year old National remains all original showing some general wear. The finish has checking, dings and chips overall, more heavily on the back. The neck finish has several areas in the lower positions where the finish appears to have been scraped or sanded off for reasons unknown. This is a bit ugly but not overly distracting when playing.

The electronics are all original with the pickguard-mounted Amphenol connector still intact. The plastic assembly is not broken or cracked as these often are. The original thin frets are in good shape and the neck is straighter than most, overall this is a pretty nicely preserved example of this unusual National electric still in the rectangular hard original case. Overall Very Good + Condition.