THE penultimate guitar for Leadbelly style music.
Every year I scout the January LA NAMM show for interesting developments. Most of my time is spent in the boutique guitar makers booths. Every year I make the National ResoPhonic booth my second stop of Day-One. My first stop is the nearby espresso bar.
This year I strolled up as Don Young was hanging his latest creation; a 12 string Tricone built in mahogany.
The six string M-1 is already making a reputation as the fullest bass response in the Tricone family. We have already ordered two baritones and 2 square-necks in the same format. So a 12-string M-1 was an automatic no-brainer.
I asked to have that very guitar set aside for me. I also snagged the first two new Collegian guitar prototypes from the display. ( it pays to be in the right place at the right time ! )
Don Young, President and co-founder of the National Reso=Phonic
My very first chord on this 12 string brought to mind the music of Reverend Gary Davis. I snuck into a bar in Guelph Ontario when I was 16 to see him play his 12 string guitar. My guess is this was in 1971, shortly before he died. From what I recall, he was playing a big-old Gibson B-45-12 string for most of the night. He used a complex right hand ragtime picking technique with an incredibly hard attack. I’m sure that hard attack was habit from the necessity of playing loud enough acoustically to fill smoky tap-rooms, which he undoubtedly did for many years without the aid of a pickup or microphone.
Years later during one of the hundreds of visits that the late Rick Fielding made to my shop, he perched himself on a stool near my workbench and played a Reverend Gary Davis tune, Slow Drag; the first ragtime-blues tune I learned as a kid. It happens that Rick met Reverend Gary Davis and had been strongly influenced by his playing. That conversation lead to discussions of Leadbelly and the unusual low C tuning that Leadbelly used on his old Stella 12 string guitar.
All this brings me to the National ResoPhonic M-1 12-string guitar. Possibly THE best 12 string guitar for old fingerstyle Blues, Ragtime and folk styles.
At regular pitch it sounds huge.
Drop it down to the Leadbelly C-tuning…time to fasten your seatbelts !
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