1933 National "Walnut" Triolian Resonator Guitar

Update 2019: This guy is back in for consignment -- the owner ran into need for cash during a house renovation. I've updated the information where necessary, took new pictures, and added a video clip... now back to the original entry...

This "walnut" sunburst Triolian flew the coop really quickly! I finished this one off in the wee hours of Thursday night (back in 2016) and the interested party came in midday Friday and brought it home. I love the look of a nice, beat-up, old steel-body National and this Triolian has the stuff I like to see -- a few dings, lots of honest playwear, and a radiused, rosewood fretboard. It also has a shorter 24 3/4" scale length and a nice, bigger C profile to the back of the neck. Everything is original save the new bone (compensated) saddle and parts-bin vintage tuners.

Work included: a neck reset, fret level/dress, adding those aforementioned tuners, cleaning, a new saddle, and general setup with "lights" in gauges 54w, 42w, 32w, 24w, 16, 12. It plays spot-on (3/32" EA and 1/16" DGBE action at the 12th fret) and has cannonfire tone. It's got guts. The saddle is drop-in so one can adjust height to taste via shims. Under the hood this has its original cone with "riveted/nailed" biscuit (which I converted to screw-tightened as the rivets tend to vibrate). When I did the neck reset I moved the two "islands" under the dowel a bit and added a third one, too. This increases rigidity in the neck/body join.

Scale length: 24 3/4"
Nut width: 1 13/16"
String spacing at nut: 1 19/32"
String spacing at saddle: 2 3/16"
Body length: 18 1/4"
Lower bout width: 14"
Upper bout width: 10 1/8"
Side depth at endpin: 3 1/4"
Neck wood: maple
Fretboard: rosewood
Neck shape: f10-12" radius board, medium-V rear
Bridge: maple biscuit/new bone compensated saddle
Nut: original bone

Condition notes: it's mostly original save replacement vintage tuners and a new saddle. There's also tons of wear-and-tear to the finish all-over in a most delightfully-used way.

The bound, radiused rosewood fretboard also has pearl dots and sported, initially, those old Regal-style "triangular" fret crowns. After the level/dress they're a little more comfortable under the fingers, for sure. The frets on the extension over the body at its very end are a bit more leveled-down than the ones on the neck proper.

I like having 14 frets clear, myself, especially when using a guitar as a "chorder." I like sliding chord shapes for group work.

Who doesn't love seeing pickwear like that?

This has "rolled" f-holes. These stiffen the top a bit.

Two mounting screws for the coverplate are replacements as the originals were quite stripped.

The headstock serial 3225W corresponds to 1933.

It comes with a very nice, National-brand, modern hard case with blue plush lining, an arched top, and reinforcements to its edges.


Rob Gardner said…
Just an observation—I played this guitar yesterday and it plays and sounds great. I thought it was outstanding. And I am partial to a lot of play wear, so there is that too. I think it is a peach of a National, IMHO.
Unknown said…
Serial # 3225 W puts it at 1934.