1960s National 3/4 Scale Solidbody Electric Guitar

Update: Originally I put this back together after work as an electric Cuban tres. Since then I've converted it back to guitar and so I've updated the entire post.

This guitar is, basically, a National-badged version of the Supro Super -- a Les Paul Jr 3/4 copycat with a short, 22" scale length and one single coil pickup in the bridge position. It came to me with a wonky aftermarket humbucker installed and I replaced that with, of course, a P90 measuring around 8k ohms -- but in a big old chrome shell.

After doing work on it -- which included a fret level/dress, installation of an "antiqued" nickel Gotoh adjustable bridge (to replace the original archtop-style bridge), general cleaning, side dot installs, a new nut, and some old string trees added at the headstock -- I pulled that humbucker out and wired-in said P90 with most of a "riser base" installed under it. I set it up with a set of 49w-11 strings with a wound G and, after strumming the first chord... instant vintage LP Jr tone!

That said, it's a LP Jr tone with a National twist of a bit more grit and peculiar (reverb-like) overtones that lend it a more bluesy vibe. The 11s are average tension tuned E-E on the short scale and give it the feel of 9s on a 25 1/2" scale instrument. 

The body is roughly the same size as a Les Paul Jr, though the neck joins at the 12th fret. It's finished in a sparkle-gold-green color that's "sunbursted" into blac at the edges. Much on the guitar is original, but the bridge, pickup, and nut are replacements.

The headstock is at a pretty flat angle, so I added old Fender-style string trees for the ADGB strings.

I added side dots, too. The neck is a hefty, baseball-bat round shape with a 12" radiused rosewood fretboard. The nut is 1 5/8" in width. While the frets in the middle are about as "tall" (short, small) as they were originally, the first fret and neck-joint area frets are shallower but still "note" just fine.

The controls are actually pretty clever -- it's basic volume and tone but the switch is a tone-pot bypass which effectively allows for a "two pickup" sound, though there's only one pickup on it. With the tone pot rolled off and the switch engaged for it, you can get a darker/mellower/slightly-less-volume tone and then switch it to "bypass" mode which lets the bright/biting/louder tone shine right up front.

The chrome-covered P90 is a generic, Alnico-magnet variety, but it sounds great. I like the metal covers on these as they seem to reject poor-lighting noise a little better.

For whatever reason, National decided to use gold-plated tailpieces on a lot of these offbeat student models.

The bridge is a new, Gotoh, antiqued nickel TOM unit. Note the filled mounting holes for its adjusters -- I had the bridge slightly more forward for the alternate stringing I had this in previously.

The stickered serial number tells us this is at least a 1964 model and probably more like a 1965. The original Klusons are nice to have, though, too!

The two larger bolts are original and I added the two smaller, recessed ones. The two main bolts left the neck with too much play so that just tightened it up.


Acoustic Guitar said…
Very informative blog. It was a beautiful 1960's National electric guitar. You can find more details about beautiful electric guitars. Thanks