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1931 National Duolian, Rare Nickel Finish
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Serial #: 1(8)1 Scale length: 25" Nut width: 1 3/4" Neck depth, 1st/10th frets: .79/1.15
Materials: Rolled steel body; solid one-piece curly maple neck; maple fingerboard and bridge; bone nut; pearl dot fingerboard inlays.
Hardware: All original hardware includes 10" spun aluminum cone with diamond pattern perforated coverplate; nickel 3-on-a-plate tuners; nickel stamped tailpiece.
Notes: Introduced in 1931, the Duolian model was among the most popular resonator guitars in the National Company's long and fabled history, and widely sold through mail order firms throughout the Great Depression.With a rolled steel body and conventional (Spanish) neck, the guitar was fitted with a single 10" spun aluminum resonator cone. Originally a 12 fret model, the Duolian had been redesigned with a shorter 14 fret body by 1935, a shape it retained until its demise in 1940.
Usually finished with an unusual 'Frosted Duco' enamel, the Duolian was typically graced with random crystallized patterns, in a gray to greenish gold patina. However, this very early example is quite out of the ordinary, as it is finished in a brilliant polished nickel, like the more costly Style '0', minus the stenciled Hawaiian scenes on the body. No other Duolian like it is documented in Brozman's exhaustive National history, so it may well be a unique one-off in the model's earliest development.
The flat cut f-holes are a signature of the earliest models, as is the one-piece maple neck, which in this case shows highly flamed curly figure in both neck and fingerboard. All original hardware remains fitted, from the open gear brass tuners to the stamped contoured tailpiece, including the original resonator cone and coverplate.
Well maintained over many decades, the body is without cracks, and shows all original plating, with moderate playwear and normal oxidation. An older headstock repair has been soundly doweled, and the neck refinished in a graceful sunburst pattern.
Compared to their more common brass or German Silver bodied counterparts, true steel bodied Nationals are renowned for their gritty punch and quick attack, giving them unmatched cutting power in the most raucous jam sessions. The voice of this instrument is truly thunderous, with massive volume and a cavernous natural reverb: in either standard or open tunings, the guitar is a powerhouse of clarity and projection.
Action is set to accommodate either slide or fingerstyle play, with a comfy gentle V profile neck and lightly radiused fingerboard. An exceptionally rare example of the guitar that got National through the Great Depression. One only: call now.
This instrument has been given a fresh high precision setup, and is strung with medium gauge nickel roundwound strings. It will accommodate lighter or heavier gauge strings, according to preference.
Case: Deluxe black plush lined hardshell case.