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1929 National Triolian Mandolin
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Serial #: 170 "Pat. Applied For" stamped in peghead Body width: 12 3/4" Scale length: 14 7/8" Nut width: 1 1/8" Neck depth, 1st/8th frets: .79/.97
Materials: Rolled steel body; solid one-piece maple neck; maple fingerboard and bridge; bone nut; pearl dot fingerboard inlays.
Hardware: Original hardware includes spun aluminum cone with diamond pattern perforated coverplate; nickel 3-on-a-plate tuners; nickel stamped tailpiece. Contoured firestripe pickguard.
Notes: Introduced in 1929, the National Triolian mandolin was a distinctive member of an extended family of single cone resonator instruments that included the round neck (Spanish) guitar, tenor and plectrum models, and an adorable, and extremely powerful, ukulele. With bodies of rolled steel, these popular priced models were available in two finish options: a sunburst of simulated rosewood grain, and a cheery polychrome finish, some of which were adorned with fanciful stencilled Hawaiian scenes.
This charming example from the first year of production bears a "Pat. Applied For" stamp on the end of its peghead, along with one of the earliest serial numbers known for this model. Maintained in exceptionally fine condition, the instrument retains all original finish, hardware, cone, and coverplate, and is graced with a fetching palm tree seascape on its tan polychrome body, with simulated multi-ply binding painted onto its edges. A period correct suspended firestripe pickguard is the sole addition to this gleaming instrument since it left its Los Angeles factory, just before the stock market nosedived into the Great Depression.
Remarkably free of pick, buckle or thumbwear, the instrument retains fine original frets on a straight maple fingerboard, with only a bit of wear on its painted position markers. Even its original plush lined rectangular hardshell case remains every bit as pretty as the instrument it's protected for almost a century.
Needless to say, this metal marvel is not shy, with volume and projection to carry handily from one island to another. But best of all, the thin, hand spun aluminum cone lends the voice a particularly appealing natural reverb, that positively shimmers under the pick. Action is smooth and low with a fresh high precision setup: this tropical treasure is ready to play right out of the case. A rare and exceptionally attractive instrument that keeps the Roaring Twenties roaring to this day. One only: call now.