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Sticky PostNational ResoPhonic: The Hollowneck Report, Part 1

Featuring Square-neck and Hollow-Neck National guitars played in contemporary Bluegrass tuning.

Every time we get a late 1920′s National Tricone Hollowneck coming in the door the entire shop grinds to a halt while we drool over this incredible rare and historic guitar.

Squareneck players are fascinated by these historic National guitars. Originally built for the Hawaiian market, one rarely hears squareneck Nationals outside of that musical context.

For years I’ve been convinced that National Resophonic Squarenecks make superb Bluegrass guitars.

I’ve set out on a quest to prove this to the world !

The Plan:
Burke Carroll, local squareneck and pedal steel session player would demonstrate several new Squareneck Nationals by playing each one in Standard Bluegrass GBDGBD tuning.

He would record three tunes per guitar to better show how great these guitars are for Bluegrass.

We will have more about Burke Carroll’s interesting professional career in upcoming articles.

We ordered in 3 custom order National guitars in squareneck:

1: M-1 Tricone Squareneck model. mahogany wood-body.
2: Style 1 Tricone Squareneck model, brass-body, nickel plate.
3: NRP Single cone Squareneck Model, Steel-body, Brushed-steel finish

The plot serendipitously thickens:
At the January LA NAMM show, I told Don Young, president and Master-Luthier at National ResoPhonic about my project. The next morning Don cornered me saying he was so excited about this that he had not slept. He offered to send me two prototype Hollowneck Nationals that he had just completed; part of his pet-project for future production models.

So guitar numbers 4 and 5 were added to the “Project”.

4 Style 1 Tricone Hollowneck, Brass-body, Nickel plate.
5 NRP Tricone Hollowneck, Steel-body.

The Hollowneck Report: Success !!

Burke Carroll, with our own Chris Bennett on rhythm guitar demonstrated all 5 guitars, recorded for your viewing enjoyment below.

Conclusions: National Squarenecks make great Bluegrass guitars !

Great tone, lots of volume and warm bass response. Sweet and warm tone; different than a spider cone but certainly suitable for Bluegrass and a lovely complement to any squareneck spider-bridge Resophonic guitar.

Some of the comments on these guitars were as follows:

1: M-1 Tricone Squareneck model. mahogany wood-body.
Huge bass response: round, woody, fat tone. Good treble response but warmer than the metal body guitars.
2: Style 1 Tricone Squareneck model, brass-body, nickel plate. Sweet and complex trebles: warm midrange and very well balanced with bass response.
Not particularly loud but exceedingly rich tone.
3: NRP Single cone Squareneck Model, Steel-body, Brushed-steel finish.
This one is the “Banjo Killer”. Loud !! Incredible clear and present trebles that would easily cut through in the loudest setting. Well balanced and full bass. Certainly not “sweet and warm”…the single cone NRP is all about horse power !
4 Style 1 Tricone Hollowneck, Brass-body, Nickel plate.
Wow…this was an eye-opener indeed. Sweet and complex like the Style 1 squareneck but with a haunting, airy midrange tone. Great sustain. Incredible recording and studio guitar. Interestingly, Burke had to have this one !
5 NRP Tricone Hollowneck, Steel-body.
Surprisingly similar to the Style 1 Hollowneck but with slightly more treble edge and a tighter more compressed bass response. Lovely almost “echo-y” midrange.
Future versions of this will be Brushed Steel finish instead of painted.

A final note: We have the M-1 and Style 1 squarenecks in stock and several of the Hollownecks are currently in production; due here mid June.

For more details or to purchase these instruments contact us here

And now for the videos!

Join us in Part 2 of The Hollowneck Report for the National M-1 Mahogany Tricone.

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