Our new website has short sound clips of each model we produce. These are located on the individual instrument pages and will automatically start playing as you enter each instruments ?ore?section (turn your speakers on). In our Media section under the Sound Clips menu there is a running list for quick comparison. Our 2006 Catalogue includes two CD?, Artist? in Resonance Vol. II and the AudioCatalogue Vol. III. The material on the AudioCatalogue has been assembled to facilitate comparisons of the various instruments. This CD is designed to answer such questions as "What is the difference between a steel body and a brass body?" and "What is the difference between a Tricone and a Single cone?" The Artists in Resonance CD features 23 different musicians playing a variety of tunes on their National Reso-Phonic instruments?uitars, mandolins, and ukuleles.
For polished, bright nickel guitars: Start with the least abrasive cleaning techniques before moving on to the more abrasive ones. Clean the nickel with a soft cloth (we use cloth diapers) & some glass cleaner, rubbing alcohol, or white vinegar. This should be done each time you use it, and should remove fingermarks. For stubborn stains, we recommend Flitz metal polish. You can buy Flitz at most hardware stores or from our online store: http://store.nationalguitars.com/flitz.aspx. Once the instrument is pristine, you can apply a coat of wax that has carnauba in it, such as Johnson's Clear Paste Wax or Meguire's No. 26 Car Wax.
The key factors in determining the value of a vintage National are the age of the instrument, its overall condition, and the demand on the vintage market for one like it. There are a number of online vintage guitar shops for you to price compare. Please visit www.vguitar.com, www.elderly.com, www.gruhn.com, or www.folkwaymusic.com to see if there's a guitar like yours for sale.
LittleBrotherBlues.com has some good information regarding guitar lessons, gear, repair, and general guitar maintenance. The string changing tutorial is located here: http://littlebrotherblues.com/Gear/National-EN-Setup/StringingTips.html
We use John Pearce strings for all of our instruments. Here are the following gauges:
Each instrument that we build is carefully setup prior to shipping. We start by setting the neck straight, or with a small amount of relief. Next, we address the string action at the nut. The slots are left a touch higher than most standard flattop acoustic guitars, to allow for clean bottleneck slide play. Finally, we set the height at the saddle and check the measurement at the 12th fret. Measuring from the top of the fingerboard to the bottom of the string, the measurement for the high E string is .140 inches, the measurement for the low E string is .150 inches. For El Trovadors, these measurements are .130 for the high E string, and .140 for the low E string.
Whenever you adjust a truss rod, whether you are a certified repair person or not, always use caution. For many years, our truss rods have adjusted the opposite of what is considered “normal” (counterclockwise to straighten the neck, clockwise to add relief). When we introduced the ResoRocket in 2004, we also introduced our newly designed truss rod that adjusts clockwise to straighten the neck, and counterclockwise to add relief. In January, 2005, we started using the new truss rods for all of our instruments.
Visit our repair page at the following link Repairs
Yes, we do artful customizations on new instruments. You may be interested in engraving a significant name or date on the body, or inlaying it on the headstock or fretboard. You may want a unique fretboard design or you may want more elaborate engraving. We can accommodate most customization requests. We will work with you on the design and make sure that it is executed with skill and precision.
We offer a few different types of pickups for our instruments. We can install a Highlander pickup system in our Single cone, Tricone and Spider cone guitars. Please visit http://www.highlanderpickups.com for more information and specs. Also, we have the National Reso-Phonic HotPlate available, which was designed in collaboration with Mike Dowling. It is a direct, drop in replacement for all 9.5” Single cone National guitars. It features a Tele-style, single coil pickup hand-wound by Jason Lollar, along with passive volume and tone controls: http://store.nationalguitars.com/hot-plate.aspx
We have come to the conclusion that using a raised/Hawaiian nut adapter on any roundneck guitar is a good way to damage your instrument. Our roundneck instruments were not built to handle the heavy gauge strings and high action required for lap style playing. Squareneck guitars were designed for this very purpose. A squareneck instrument was designed to stay in tune under the high tension of a lap-style setup. If you choose to use a raised/Hawaiian nut adapter on your roundneck guitar, we recommend detuning the strings immediately after playing the guitar. Also, please note that any damage caused by the use of a raised/Hawaiian nut will not be covered under warranty
The following image shows the most common location for a qualified guitar repair/builder to install a strap button.
We recommend that if you want to play open E and open A tuning, use a light gauge set of strings. We also recommend that you tune it down a step or two after your finished playing your instrument.
The first thing to check is the date of manufacture on the label. The label is located inside the body, on the bass-side “F” hole, upper bout. We began using the new alloy Tricone resonators on all Tricone guitars sometime in August, 2006. The first few batches of these new resonators were marked with a red dot on the underside or outer-edge of each cone. The markings will be difficult to spot through the coverplate, so you will probably have to remove the coverplate to verify. The 9.5” new alloy single cone went into production a year later, in September of 2007. All new alloy 9.5” single cones are stamped with the National shield in two places on the face of the resonator. You should be able to see the stamped shields through the sieve holes in the coverplate.
The new alloy cones are direct replacements for both vintage and new National guitars. For Tricone guitars, the installation is usually very simple. Remove the strings, tailpiece, and coverplate. Next, remove the aluminum T-bridge and the old cones. Place the new cones in the soundwell and reinstall the T-bridge. Make sure to carefully align the 3 pins of the T-bridge with the small holes at the apex of each cone.
All Duco finished guitars are currently discontinued. We are working on a new formula for the Duco finish and will reintroduce them upon completion of this process.