FRETS.COM New Instrument Review
October 18, 1999

The Art Deco classic, for sure!
National Resophonic Tricone

© Frank Ford, 1999; Photos by FF

Now, if you don't appreciate "Deco" period designs, maybe this one isn't for you. If there's one vintage instrument that epitomizes that "between the wars" style, it's just gotta be the National tricone resonator guitar.

For some years now, our friends in San Luis Obispo, National Resophonic, have been providing us with reproductions of the old National resonator guitars. Here, I present my fav. It's the famous tricone design, with three 6" resonator diaphragms, and the distinctive metal body design.

Please click on the small photos

Just about the only "non-origial" touch is the adjustable truss rod - a definite improvement.

Ivoroid binding, cut "on edge" just like the originals.

Ivoroid inlay dots, too

The classy wrinkle finish

Actually, my real favorite tricone is the nickel plated model (Style 1) but I photographed this painted version because of the difficulty in capturing details on highly polished surfaces. Check out the close-up of the paint job, though. You'll never see a better vintage style "wrinkle" finish! It's mighty cool.

The tricone has a more mellow tone with greater sustain than the single cone (Style 0, etc.) and a bit less "punch." So, from the standpoint of blues and bottleneck performance, I prefer the sound of the single cone. Personally, though, I just can't get away from the stunning Art Deco styling of the tricone.

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