1930 National Triolian Resonator Guitar

Unfortunately, I don't have a video for this guitar as the owner picked it up right when it was done. In fact, he went to lunch in town while it was finished-off. Suffice to say, it had a killer sound when it was done.

The owner brought this in as an absolute basket-case sometime last year. It's super-rusted and corroded inside, has been repainted and then rusted/flaked for the last 70 years or so, and when it came in the neck was warped more than 1/16" overall and the fretboard was popping-off. The tuners were also shot. Still, the guts were good. We could do it!

It was a big haul to get this going. First I took it all apart, cleaned it as much as possible, and replaced bad components with as much vintage bits as I could (per his request). Next I planed the neck level, installed (with epoxy) a deep steel bar (like you'd see in Danelectro necks -- almost as deep as the neck's back profile) non-adjustable truss rod in the neck, and reglued the fretboard. The neck then got replacement binding, repairs to damaged areas of the fretboard, a fret level/dress, replacement tuners (of the same vintage type), and a new bone nut. Two of the inlay dots disappeared in the process at the fretboard extension.

Inside, I reset the neck, made a new (compensated) bone saddle for the biscuit, added my customary additional back/neck bracing right next to the heel area of the dowel (this keeps the neck from moving around/turning-twisting as you use it as on most Nat'ls without it), shimmed-up the "mushroom" braces, and cleaned-up the hideous-looking (dirty) cone.

The result is a guitar that plays with 3/32" action overall at the 12th fret (but with plenty of saddle to bring it down -- the owner, however, plays bottleneck-style on this), has a dead-straight neck, and sounds glorious. It's loud, proud, and lovely.

The finish was originally a tobacco-brown-sunburst National called "walnut." This probably looked like another 1930 Triolian I worked on recently (click to see).


Brandon McCoy said…
My god. If this comes back for sale, I’m there. I’ll figure it out. 😂