1940 National Collegian Resonator Guitar

The National Collegians are somewhat rare birds as they weren't built for all that long. This guy is a brass-bodied instrument and it even still has its original cone under the hood. The body has been refinished to a brown/redburst (a long while ago) but there is much original to it at heart and it plays and sounds like a gem. Thankfully, the neck is in original finish and the refinish job is so worn-in that, at a glance, it just looks like a factory one-off color scheme.

Much work was needed to bring it up to snuff, but now it's a pure player's instrument and it's stable and good to go. I currently have it setup for flatpicking/fingerpicking but it would be easy-enough to shim the saddle up (I have it friction-set so that's easily possible, now) to bring it up to a height a slide player would enjoy.

The serial number points to right around 1940. Latter-era "early" Nationals like this one have a sort-of bigger, C/V neck shape but a curvy fretboard and tallish frets that give it an interestingly-modern feel, in a sense, compared to a lot of other period guitars. This era also featured rosewood (rather than ebonized maple) fretboards, which is a plus in my book. The "bullet holes" coverplate is also a neat feature.

Repairs included: a neck reset, fret level/dress, replacement (period) tuners, e tra "mushroom" blocking near the heel area internally for more neck stability, a new bone (fully compensated) saddle, cone seating, resoldering of crack in the side/lower bout, and setup work.

Body: brass

Cone type: single cone

Bridge: maple biscuit, bone saddle

Fretboard: rosewood

Neck wood: mahogany

Action height at 12th fret:
3/32” bass 1/16” treble (fast, spot-on)
String gauges: 54w-12 lights

Neck shape: medium-bigger C/soft V

Board radius: 10"

Truss rod: non-adjustable

Neck relief: straight

Fret style: narrow/tall

Scale length: 25 1/8"

Nut width: 1 3/4"

Body width: 14 1/8"

Body depth: 3 1/4"

Weight: 8 lbs 2 oz

Condition notes: the body has been entirely refinished to rattlecan brown/redburst with white-painted "binding" on the top edge. It was obviously done a real long time ago as there's plenty of rubbing to the corners, edges, and in general throughout the body. The cone and biscuit are original, too, and the pickguard as well. I've had to replace all of the coverplate screws but the pickguard and tuner-plate screws are a mix of original and replaced. There are a number of small nicks and scratches and tiny dings throughout the body on the edges but the big one is a crack in the metal on the "knee side" that I've resoldered and it's good to go (it had been soldered before but not very well). The tuners are replacements but from around the same period.

It comes with: a presumably-original chip case.