1935 National Trojan Resonator Guitar

This surprisingly-clean Trojan is a customer's guitar. Like all of the Harmony-made National bodies, this guy was a little quirky "as-is," but now that it's fixed-up it's quite the good box of twang. The serial number dates it to around 1935 or '36 at the latest. It has the later, all-ply body construction which is a huge benefit, as the earlier Trojans that have solid birch backs and sides (with thinnr-ply tops) often drive me nuts because they're not really built tough enough for the job.

In addition, the poplar neck on this one has steel reinforcement in it, too, which has kept the neck nice and straight over its lifespan. While the Harmony-built necks don't always stay true, the extra girth on the cut of this neck has kept it happy. Everything on the instrument is original and stock except for a new rosewood (compensated) saddle I made for it.

Repairs included a fretboard reglue, neck reset, fret level/dress, side dots install, better cone seating, a new rosewood saddle, mild cleaning, and setup. After work it plays perfectly with 3/32" EA and 1/16" DGBE action at the 12th fret, strung with 54w-12 gauges.

Everything went smoothly with the repairs except for the reglue of the fretboard extension on the body. Because the fretboard is cruddy old ebonized maple (or pearwood), the board split under tension overnight while it was clamping. This often happens with this material as it gets very, very brittle when it ages. It was frustrating to me, though, as I was working pretty hard so that wouldn't happen. I've reglued so many of these old Harmony fretboards that I know the drill on these.

Oh well! I did tidy it up as much as possible and it's not obvious at a glance, though it is obvious if you're looking for it. It rumpled my extension a little bit, though, which was the major annoyance of it, as now the frets are a little lower compared to the rest of the board than I wanted them to be. Still -- I don't know many people who do a lot of gymnastics on a non-cutaway acoustic at frets 17 and above.

It sound is loud, proud, robust, and projecting. Often Trojans can be a little disappointing (read: a little woody and too relaxed and unfocused), but this is one of the ones that isn't. It's alpha-dog.

The fretboard shrunk over time just slightly in comparison to the neck proper, so I had to blend the sides of the neck into the board's profile -- hence the lighter-colored patch you see just below the board's bottom edge.