National Triolian Resophonic Guitar (1931)

National  Triolian Resophonic Guitar  (1931)
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Item # 9167
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National Triolian Model Resophonic Guitar (1931), made in Los Angeles, California, serial # 1691W, Walnut Sunburst finish, steel body, maple neck with rosewood fingerboard, black hard shell case.

The well-worn steel-bodied Triolian is a good player's example of National's "bread and butter" guitar during the Depression. This model was one of the company's most successful 1930's instruments, offering great sound and serious volume at the relatively modest price of $45.00. National's Tricone guitars were all priced over $100 and the flashy brass-bodied Style 0 at $62.50, but the fairly plain single-cone Triolian made the powerful National sound available to a much wider range of players.

Made of slightly better grade materials than the bottom-of-the-line Duolian, the Triolian was extremely popular among blues and hillbilly musicians and is still an excellent choice for many styles of playing. This 1931 example (from one of the worst years of the Great Depression) is in somewhat worn in but good playing condition. It features a walnut enamel finished steel body with flat-cut f-holes and a 12-fret maple neck with a bound fingerboard. The walnut sunburst finish on these Triolians was hand-sprayed so no two are exactly alike. This guitar has been heavily used over the past 80 years; it shows a lot of wear and some restoration to achieve optimum playability but remains a fine-sounding and playing Triolian, definitely "Blues Approved".
Overall length is 38 3/4 in. (98.4 cm.), 14 in. (35.6 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 3 1/4 in. (8.3 cm.) in depth, measured at side of rim. Scale length is 25 in. (635 mm.). Width of nut is 1 7/8 in. (48 mm.).

This veteran Triolian shows a LOT wear but is a real survivor, what we call these days a "genuine relic". The enamel body finish is original, heavily worn just about everywhere with large areas chipped or flaked down to the bare metal. The whole guitar has a very funky played-in look that no artificial relicing could re-create! The back of the neck is worn almost completely down to the wood, the headstock finish is darkened and chipped, the original decal is "smoked' almost to black with some areas flaked off. This guitar has definitely "took a lickin" over the last eight decades but like the old Timex watch ad said "Keeps on Tickin".

The original cone and biscuit are intact, with a newer maple saddle. The neck has been reset and the bound rosewood fingerboard is a later correct pattern replacement, probably from the modern National company. The original dyed maple National boards from this period are often unsalvageable, virtually crumbling when the frets are removed so this is a not uncommon restoration. There may have been a graphite rod inserted in the neck when this was done, as it is quite straight. The headstock is fitted with recent very high-grade strip tuners that work extremely well if looking a bit "uptown" for this down-home instrument. The frets and nut are obviously newer as well, and the neck angle is excellent making for a super funky-town relic-looking guitar that is nevertheless an excellent player with a very powerful sound. Very Good + Condition.