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  #1  
Old 04-15-2018, 03:24 AM
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Default National Resonators -- seems to be a lot of duplication

I'm looking at buying a resonator. A National. Am I crazy though or are a lot of their models so similar as to be almost the same guitar? For example, a Style N and a Style 0 have the exact same specs on paper. An NRP and a Resorocket look different (the rr has a cutaway) but otherwise the specs are nearly identical. Although they do sound different. There's plenty of other examples I could identify.

Can anyone condense this down for me to the basic types that the rest are based on? I feel like they make 3 or 4 basic guitars that turn into a multitude of different offerings by changing small things here and there. Obviously a single cone and a try-cone will be quite different, but within those categories I sense there are just variations on a few base models.
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Old 04-15-2018, 04:13 AM
Silly Moustache Silly Moustache is offline
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Hi, well ther are 12 and 14 fret versions and tricones, but let's stay with single cones for a while.
The cones and spiders are all the same as far as I know.

I only really have experience of the 12 fret round neck designs as that's all I'm interested in.
The differences are in the body material and the degree of trim.

I've had a Style "0" deluxe and now have an Estralita Deluxe.

Things have changed somewhat since I bought my first National but the bodyies are either steel (very shrill , piercing tone)
Bell brass (smoother tone, but still very loud) Wood(laminate) louder than a flat top, but more mellow that metal bodies.

My Style "O" was very loud, and beautifully made but VERY HEAVY. I wasn't surprised when the bought out the lighter versions (NRP?)

Decoration on metal bodies vary quite a lot. The originals mostly had Hawaiian scenes and other patterns acid etched, inscribed, or sprayed on the bodies but over the years the finishes corroded and so now they make models that "look" like old instruments, ('cos that's cool).

The important thug to investigate is whether you want a "thin metal body or the more original thicker material.

In my opinion, the new company make instruments which equal or exceed the originals.

Personal experience:

* They really don't need heavy gauge strings. Mediums are fine.
* To play slide , you don't need have the action very high - just a little higher than normal so you can still fret easily.
* Get yourself a heavy bottleneck, and let its mass make the tone rather than pressure.

Hope that helps.

Here's one of my songs with Mando Bob playing his old style Estralita :



Here's my Estralita :

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  #3  
Old 04-15-2018, 01:35 PM
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Thanks, Silly.

The two guitars from National that have the sound I like best are the El Trovador and the NRPs. I played those and several others yesterday. The El Trovador is not a particularly easy guitar to play, that long scale is fine for slide but not for my hands when fretting; the NRP is one of the easiest guitars I've ever played, even with the higher resonator action. I'm leaning toward the NRP because I like that trashy metal tone for haunting slide Blues and eclectic tones. I tend to play in open or alt. tunings. I also have been looking at the steel Reso rocket which seems like a great choice with that cutaway for when I need to get down to the 14th and 15th, but it sounds significantly different to my ears from an NRP. I guess an NRP with a 14-fret neck might just be the ticket then.

I played a brass National (can't recall the exact model) and it was indeed smoother, but I'm not sure it had that tone I want. Wood is nice sounding too, but a bit too close to how my flat tops sound. Obviously not the same, just closer than the metal ones and I'm looking for something as different from that as I can get. The Eastralita was nice sounding in person too; the store had one, it was very pretty and easy to play too. I like the tone in your video. I think I'm after something trashier than that. Your song was smooth and mellow. I do sometimes want to play that way too. I'm wondering if I need to buy two Nationals and decide which to keep after playing them for a few months, or maybe keep both. I'm quite new to resonators though so I'm feeling a bit lost in this quest. Just a bit.
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Old 04-15-2018, 02:50 PM
slimey slimey is offline
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See if you can find a Dueco to try, steel body but it has a mellower tone, a nice in the middle National.
https://youtu.be/hko-nxpoVHA
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Old 04-15-2018, 05:33 PM
rockabilly69 rockabilly69 is offline
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One's man's good tone is another man's crap tone when it comes to National. Many people hate the steel tone, I like it. But the brass models Like the Type O seem to have more musicality across the board and seem to be more versatile. I personally think the metal bodied tri-cones are the most versatile of all Nationals as they have a complex tone great for single note lines and fingerpicking, but you can still get a good metal bodied blues tone out of them. Though if you are a hard core bluesman the steel ones have a punch that I feel just can't be beat. I own a modern triolian that just kills for that kind of stuff. And if that's what you do I would check out a triolian. here's mine...

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Old 04-15-2018, 05:52 PM
frankmcr frankmcr is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frozen Rat View Post
I'm looking at buying a resonator. A National. Am I crazy though or are a lot of their models so similar as to be almost the same guitar? For example, a Style N and a Style 0 have the exact same specs on paper.
Style N: Body is made of "German silver" (a copper/nickel alloy)

Style O: Body is made of nickel-plated brass.

Big difference.
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Old 04-15-2018, 10:26 PM
rockabilly69 rockabilly69 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frankmcr View Post
Style N: Body is made of "German silver" (a copper/nickel alloy)

Style O: Body is made of nickel-plated brass.

Big difference.
Style N resos are only german silver when special ordered, typically they are the same spec as the Style O.

http://www.nationalguitars.com/specs
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Old 04-16-2018, 12:57 AM
frankmcr frankmcr is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rockabilly69 View Post
Style N resos are only german silver when special ordered, typically they are the same spec as the Style O.

http://www.nationalguitars.com/specs
Oh? (or perhaps 'En?') Seems pretty clear from this that G.S. is standard for Ns:

http://www.nationalguitars.com/style-o

(Scroll down, the page describes both N & O.)
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Old 04-17-2018, 06:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rockabilly69 View Post
One's man's good tone is another man's crap tone when it comes to National. Many people hate the steel tone, I like it. But the brass models Like the Type O seem to have more musicality across the board and seem to be more versatile.
After significant deliberation and listening on Youtube and playing whatever I could find locally, which were most of the models, I ended up buying a National NRP B 14-fret with a Lollar pickup. It'll be here next week. Can't wait. I love those new finishes they put on them. The one I bought looks like the outside of an old fridge from the '50s that has been sitting out in the weather and having been subjected to mischievous miscreants with BB guns.
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Old 04-18-2018, 03:36 AM
joe paul joe paul is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frozen Rat View Post
After significant deliberation and listening on Youtube and playing whatever I could find locally, which were most of the models, I ended up buying a National NRP B 14-fret with a Lollar pickup. It'll be here next week. Can't wait. I love those new finishes they put on them. The one I bought looks like the outside of an old fridge from the '50s that has been sitting out in the weather and having been subjected to mischievous miscreants with BB guns.
Nice choice, show us some photos when it arrives!
I find wood bodied Nationals and Style Os have a lot of charm, but as rockabilly69 said, the steel bodied ones stand out. That's what I like.

Last edited by joe paul; 04-18-2018 at 09:00 AM.
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  #11  
Old 04-18-2018, 12:21 PM
rockabilly69 rockabilly69 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joe paul View Post
Nice choice, show us some photos when it arrives!
I find wood bodied Nationals and Style Os have a lot of charm, but as rockabilly69 said, the steel bodied ones stand out. That's what I like.
Here's my steel body....

https://youtu.be/jKmM-VIBdFA
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Old 04-18-2018, 12:37 PM
joe paul joe paul is offline
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Great guitar! Those walnut Triolians sure are pretty, that's what it's about.
Is that your original song? Cool.
There's a bandcamp link in my signature, I'm playing my polychrome triolian on the recent songs if you want to hear it.
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Old 04-18-2018, 01:47 PM
rockabilly69 rockabilly69 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joe paul View Post
Great guitar! Those walnut Triolians sure are pretty, that's what it's about.
Is that your original song? Cool.
There's a bandcamp link in my signature, I'm playing my polychrome triolian on the recent songs if you want to hear it.
Yes that's my original song. And yes, that polychrome triolian of yours sounds great.
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Old 04-19-2018, 01:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joe paul View Post
Nice choice, show us some photos when it arrives!
Of course! I really gotta show off this one.

Quote:

I find wood bodied Nationals and Style Os have a lot of charm, but as rockabilly69 said, the steel bodied ones stand out. That's what I like.
I originally wanted an El Trovador, but after playing one I felt it was a bit too close to my normal flat tops, and that 25.65 scale was not working for me. At first blush the steel guitars sounded too harsh to me on Youtube. But when I played a 12-fret NRP I just loved it. I bought a 14-fret though so I could hit the 12th frets notes with the slide without bending my wrist.
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Old 04-19-2018, 01:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rockabilly69 View Post
Here's my steel body....

https://youtu.be/jKmM-VIBdFA
That was really good. I like the sound, and the production touches were really nice. That is the kind of soulful sound I like playing. That kind of sound that always puts me in a bit of a trance and pulls me away from the harsh edges of full consciousness.
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