1931-32 National Duolian Roundneck Resonator
A Brief History from our Tech Writer
During the early 1900s, before easy access amplification, the best way a blues player could fill a room or open-air venue was with a metal resonator guitar. It was to this end that National String Instruments was formed, manufacturing the first resonating string instruments such as ukuleles, mandolins, and guitars. The first National resonators were made with a tricone system in which three resonating cones were connected for a more sweet sounding tone with more sustain. Later, double and single cone options were offered, with the single, larger cone making for some serious volume. The Duolian in particular is a sort of blues guitar benchmark, with their steel bodies and single cones providing that perfect jangly, banjo-like tone.
This Duolian is from 1931 or 1932, based of off its serial number. Its features are also consistent with that time; the grey/green “frosted duco” finish over a steel body, flat cut f-holes, a flat radius fretboard on a mahogany neck, and the 12th fret heel. The aforementioned finish has worn away considerably, and the guitar as a whole has seen some decent wear from decades of use. The fretboard has finger impressions in the fretboard from the 1st to the 5th frets, but the replaced frets look to be in great shape with plenty of life in them. The mahogany neck is worn smooth by hands, but it does have some dents and dings, likely from over zealously leaning the neck against a hard surface. The neck is also fairly straight, with the only problem being a dip at the heel that is so common in set necks of this age. Despite those issues, it still plays very cleanly with no serious fret buzz to speak of. There is a broken bridge in the case that we assume was the original, but the replacement is a good fit and works fine. There is also some separation happening from the back plate and the bottom side, but it looks to be under control and is not spreading. The only other originality issue is that one or both of the tuner sets has been replaced, but both function normally. This guitar is a fine pick for anyone looking for premium vintage blues tone! Ships in a chipboard case.
Weight: 7 lbs. 1 oz.
Nut Width: 1 ¾”
7/10 (very good condition) 1931-32 Made in the USA
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