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The National String Instrument Corporation was an American guitar company, that first formed to manufacture banjos and then the original
resonator guitar A resonator guitar or resophonic guitar is an acoustic guitar that produces sound by conducting string vibrations through the bridge A bridge is a structure A structure is an arrangement and organization of interrelated elements in a ma ...
s. National also produced
resonator ukulele A resonator ukulele or "resophonic ukulele" is a ukulele The ukulele ( ; from haw, ukulele , approximately ) is a member of the lute A lute ( or ) is any plucked string instrument with a neck and a deep round back enclosing a hollow cavi ...
s and
resonator mandolin up300px, 1930 National Triolian resonator mandolin from Lowell Levinger's collectionA resonator mandolin or "resophonic mandolin" is a mandolin A mandolin ( it, mandolino ; literally "small mandola") is a stringed musical instrument in the lute ...
s. The company merged with
Dobro Dobro is an American brand A brand is a name, term, design, symbol or any other feature that identifies one seller's good or service as distinct from those of other sellers. Brands are used in business, marketing, and advertising for reco ...

Dobro
to form the "National Dobro Company", then becoming a
brand A brand is a name, term, design, symbol or any other feature that identifies one seller's good or service as distinct from those of other sellers. Brands are used in business, marketing, and advertising for recognition and, importantly, to cre ...

brand
of
Valco Valco was a US manufacturer of guitar amplifier A guitar amplifier (or amp) is an electronic device or system that strengthens the weak electrical signal from a pickup on an electric guitar An electric guitar is a guitar The guita ...
until it closed in 1968. An unrelated company was founded in 1989 with similar name, branding, and product line under the name
National Reso-Phonic Guitars National Reso-Phonic Guitars is a manufacturer of resonator guitar A resonator guitar or resophonic guitar is an acoustic guitar that produces sound by conducting string vibrations through the bridge A bridge is a structure A structu ...
, but it bears no historical connection to this company.


History


Early years

The second company was formed by
George Beauchamp George Delmetia Beauchamp (; March 18, 1899 – March 30, 1941) was an American inventor of musical instruments. He is known for designing the first electrically amplified stringed instrument to be marketed commercially. He was also a founde ...
, a vaudeville
steel guitar A steel guitar ( haw, kīkākila) is any guitar played while moving a steel bar or similar hard object against plucked strings. The bar itself is called a "steel" and is the source of the name "steel guitar". The instrument differs from a conventi ...

steel guitar
player and house painter, and inventor
John Dopyera John Dopyera ( Slovak: ''Ján Dopjera''; 1893–1988) was a Slovak- American inventor and entrepreneur, and a maker of stringed instruments. His inventions include the resonator guitar and important contributions in the early development of t ...
, a violinist and
luthier A luthier( ) is a craftsperson who builds or repairs string instrument String instruments, stringed instruments, or chordophones are musical instruments that produce sound from vibrating strings when a performer plays or sounds the string ...

luthier
). Dopyera had seen an amplified Stroh stick violin nearby with a small flat diaphragm and long attached horn. He used that initial idea, but with a large spun conical inverted speaker to create his patented multiple resonator designs. Dopyera was assisted with his nephews Paul and Carl Barth spinning the first aluminum diaphragms on wooden bucks. They first experimented with their novel ampli-phonic design in a large walnut console instrument. Soon afterwards the first German silver Hawaiian guitar was built by John and Rudolph Dopyera. This guitar, #101 was later modified with a mahogany Spanish neck for regular guitar playing. Beauchamp had suggested to Dopyera the need for a guitar loud enough to play a melody over brass and other wind instruments. In 1927, National produced the first resonator instruments and sold them under their ''National'' brand. They had metal bodies and a ''tricone'' resonator system, with three aluminium cones joined by a T-shaped aluminium ''spider''. Brother Rudolph Dopyera, who previously worked with Weissenborne, hand built the original tri-cone models with diamond holes, prior to the second production stamped metal bodies by engineer Adolph Rickenbacher. They built metal resophonic mandolins, tenor guitars and ukuleles, some of which were ornately engraved with rose, lily of the valley and chrysanthemum designs. Wooden-bodied Triolian and Trojan single resonator models eventually followed once the Dopyera brothers departed, based on inexpensive
plywood Plywood is a material manufactured from thin layers or "plies" of wood veneer In woodworking, veneer refers to thin slices of wood and sometimes bark, usually thinner than 3 mm (1/8 inch), that typically are glued onto core panels (typic ...

plywood
student guitar bodies supplied by Kay,
Harmony In music, harmony is the process by which the composition of individual sounds, or superpositions of sounds, is analysed by hearing. Usually, this means simultaneously occurring frequencies, pitch (music), pitches (timbre, tones, note (music), ...
, and other established instrument manufacturers.


Dobro

In 1928, Dopyera left National, and with four of his brothers formed the to produce a competing single resonator design, with the resonator cone inverted. John Dopyera continued to hold stock in National. The ''Dobro'' design was both cheaper to produce and louder than the tricone. National soon introduced their own single resonator design, the "biscuit", which Dopyera claimed to have designed before leaving, though the patent was registered by Beauchamp. National also continued to produce tricone designs, which some players preferred. In their 1930 catalog, National list eight key ''associates'', including
Adolph Rickenbacker Adolph Rickenbacker (April 3, 1886 – March 21, 1976) was a Swiss-American electrical engineer who co-founded the Rickenbacker Rickenbacker International Corporation is a string instrument manufacturer based in Santa Ana, California. The c ...
, George Beauchamp, Harry Watson, Paul Barth, and Jack Levy. In 1932, the Dopyera brothers secured a controlling interest in both National and Dobro, and merged the companies to form the "National Dobro Corporation".


National Reso-Phonic Guitars

In 1989, a new company in California named
National Reso-Phonic Guitars National Reso-Phonic Guitars is a manufacturer of resonator guitar A resonator guitar or resophonic guitar is an acoustic guitar that produces sound by conducting string vibrations through the bridge A bridge is a structure A structu ...
began manufacturing reproductions of resonator instruments based on designs originated by
John Dopyera John Dopyera ( Slovak: ''Ján Dopjera''; 1893–1988) was a Slovak- American inventor and entrepreneur, and a maker of stringed instruments. His inventions include the resonator guitar and important contributions in the early development of t ...
.


Resonator guitar designs

The ''National'' brand and trademark are particularly associated with two of the three basic
resonator A resonator is a device or system that exhibits resonance Resonance describes the phenomenon of increased amplitude The amplitude of a Periodic function, periodic Variable (mathematics), variable is a measure of its change in a single Pe ...
designs: * The tricone design with three resonator cones * The biscuit design with a single cone Terms such as ''National'' or ''National pattern'' are often used to distinguish these patterns from the ''
Dobro Dobro is an American brand A brand is a name, term, design, symbol or any other feature that identifies one seller's good or service as distinct from those of other sellers. Brands are used in business, marketing, and advertising for reco ...

Dobro
'' design.


Notable artists

Some artists associated with National guitars include: *
Johnny Winter John Dawson Winter III (February 23, 1944 – July 16, 2014) was an American singer and guitarist. Winter was known for his high-energy blues rock albums and live performances in the late 1960s and 1970s. He also produced three Grammy Award–w ...

Johnny Winter
*
John KayJohn Kay may refer to: * John Kay (flying shuttle) (1704–c. 1779), English inventor of the flying shuttle textile machinery * John Kay (spinning frame) (18th century), English developer of the spinning frame textile machinery * John Kay (caricatur ...
*
Black Ace Black Ace was the most frequently used stage name of the American Texas blues Texas blues is blues Blues is a music genre and musical form which was originated in the Deep South of the United States around the 1860s by African-Americans fr ...
*
Scrapper Blackwell Francis Hillman "Scrapper" Blackwell (February 21, 1903 – October 7, 1962) was an American blues Blues is a music genre and musical form which was originated in the Deep South of the United States around the 1860s by African-Americans from ...
*
Bumble Bee Slim Admirl Amos Easton (May 7, 1905 – June 8, 1968), better known by the stage name Bumble Bee Slim, was an Americans, American Piedmont blues singer and guitarist. Biography Easton was born in Brunswick, Georgia, United States. Several original so ...
*
Bo Carter Armenter Chatmon (June 30, 1893 – September 21, 1964), known as Bo Carter, was an early United States, American blues musician. He was a member of the Mississippi Sheiks in concerts and on a few of their sound recording and reproduction, recordi ...
*
Ray Davies Sir Raymond Douglas Davies, ( ; born 21 June 1944) is an English singer, songwriter and musician. He was the lead singer, rhythm guitarist and main songwriter for the Kinks The Kinks were an English rock music, rock band formed in Musw ...

Ray Davies
*
Reverend Gary Davis Reverend Gary Davis, also Blind Gary Davis (born Gary D. Davis, April 30, 1896 – May 5, 1972), was a blues and gospel blues, gospel singer who was also proficient on the banjo, guitar and harmonica. Born in Laurens, South Carolina and blind sin ...
*
Blind Boy Fuller Blind Boy Fuller (born Fulton Allen, July 10, 1904 or 1907February 13, 1941) was an American blues Blues is a music genre and musical form which was originated in the Deep South of the United States around the 1860s by African-Americans fro ...
* Arvella Gray *
Son House Edward James "Son" House Jr. (March 21, 1902His date of birth is a matter of some debate. House alleged that he was middle-aged during World War I and that he was 79 in 1965, which would make his date of birth around 1886. However, all legal rec ...

Son House
*
Mark Knopfler Mark Freuder Knopfler ( ; born 12 August 1949) is a British singer-songwriter, guitarist A guitarist (or a guitar player) is a person who plays the guitar The guitar is a fret (in the background, coloured white) and first four fre ...

Mark Knopfler
*
Babe StovallImage:Hedwig Gorski with blues singer Babe Stoval Mississippi 1973.jpg, 175px, Poet Hedwig Gorski with Babe Stovall on a 1973 trip to rural Mississippi. Stovall was arrested for carrying a fifth of whiskey in his back pocket, while jamming at the hom ...
*
Tampa Red Hudson Whittaker (born Hudson Woodbridge, January 8, 1903March 19, 1981), known as Tampa Red, was an American Chicago blues musician. He is best known as a blues Blues is a music genre and musical form which was originated in the Deep South ...
*
Bukka White Booker T. Washington "Bukka" White (November 12, 1906 February 26, 1977) was an American Delta blues guitarist and singer. ''Bukka'' is a phonetic spelling of White's first name; he was named after the African-American educator and civil rights a ...
*
Bob Brozman Bob Brozman (March 8, 1954 – April 23, 2013) was an American guitarist and ethnomusicologist Ethnomusicology is the study of music from the cultural and social aspects of the people who make it. It encompasses distinct theoretical and me ...

Bob Brozman
*
Sol Hoopii Sol or SOL may refer to: Arts, entertainment and media Music * G (musical note) Sol, so, or G is the fifth note Note, notes, or NOTE may refer to: Music and entertainment * Musical note In music, a note is a symbol denoting a musical sound. ...
*
Chris Whitley Christopher Becker Whitley (August 31, 1960 – November 20, 2005) was an American blues/rock singer-songwriter and guitarist. During his 25-year career he released more than a dozen albums, had two songs in the top 50 of the Billboard mainst ...
*
Oscar "Buddy" Woods Oscar "Buddy" Woods (born c. 1900–1903, died December 14, 1955) was an United States, American Texas blues guitarist, singer and songwriter. Woods, who was an early blues pioneer in Lap steel guitar, lap steel, slide guitar playing, recorded thi ...
*
Dan Auerbach Daniel Quine Auerbach (born May 14, 1979) is an American musician, singer-songwriter, and record producer, best known as the guitarist and vocalist of the Black Keys, a blues rock band from Akron, Ohio. As a member of the group, Auerbach has re ...

Dan Auerbach
* Reverend J. Peyton *
Tinsley Ellis Tinsley Ellis (born June 4, 1957) is an American blues and rock musician, who was born in Atlanta, Georgia (US state), Georgia, United States, and grew up in South Florida. According to ''Billboard (magazine), Billboard'', "nobody has released ...


See also

*
Resonator guitar A resonator guitar or resophonic guitar is an acoustic guitar that produces sound by conducting string vibrations through the bridge A bridge is a Nonbuilding structure, structure built to Span (engineering), span a physical obstacle, su ...
, particularly the ''history'' section * *
National Reso-Phonic Guitars National Reso-Phonic Guitars is a manufacturer of resonator guitar A resonator guitar or resophonic guitar is an acoustic guitar that produces sound by conducting string vibrations through the bridge A bridge is a structure A structu ...


Further reading


"The Earliest Days of the Electric Guitar"
at
Rickenbacker Rickenbacker International Corporation is a string instrument String instruments, stringed instruments, or chordophones are musical instruments that produce sound from vibrating strings when a performer plays or sounds the strings in some m ...

Rickenbacker
website * Wheeler, Tom: ''The Guitar Book: A Handbook for Electric & Acoustic Guitarists'' (1978), Harpercollins - * Hill, Matthew
George Beauchamp and the rise of the electric guitar up to 1939


References


External links


Vintage National guitars
{{Mandolin family instruments Manufacturing companies established in 1927 Resophonic instruments Guitar manufacturing companies of the United States Musical instrument manufacturing companies based in Los Angeles 1927 establishments in California